Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge: Papers

Scope and Content

Diplomatic papers

47 volumes, covering 1880-1920, accumulated while Hardinge held Foreign Office posts. The bulk of the material consists of original holograph letters from Hardinge's friends and colleagues in ambassadorial and other posts abroad. There are also some typescript copies of Hardinge's letters and original correspondence with Lord Curzon of Kedleston. For the period at St Petersburg, 1904-1906, there are two volumes of Foreign Office confidential prints (the official dispatches from Hardinge to Lord Lansdowne, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs), a diary and a letter-book. The papers also contain copies of memoranda, reports, newspaper cuttings and a variety of personal material relating to Hardinge.

Viceregal papers

Material accumulated while Hardinge was Viceroy of India, containing correspondence with persons in India, with persons outside India, with the Secretary of State for India, and with King George V, Lord Stamfordham and others; printed telegraphic correspondence with the Secretary of State for India; printed correspondence relating to the European War; memorandum on questions likely to arise in India at the end of the war; and speeches by Lord Hardinge. These papers include around 30 volumes of original personal and semi-official letters, as well as other manuscript material, and approximately 50 printed volumes, produced on the Viceroy's private press for his own use.

Other papers

The collection also contains papers transferred from Kent County Archives. This material is in three main sections: Official papers, containing diplomatic papers for 1856-1916; Viceregal papers, 1907-1916, containing administrative papers, general correspondence, personal papers, special reports on the Persian Gulf and presentation albums; Miscellanea, 1914-1941, covering links with India, personal papers and retirement papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst (1858-1944), was born in London on 20 June 1858, the son of Charles Stewart Hardinge, 2nd Viscount Hardinge. He attended Harrow, and on graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1880 entered the Diplomatic Service. During his time in the Service his posts included secretary of legation at Tehran (1896), secretary of embassy at St Petersburg (1898-1903), assistant under secretary for foreign affairs (1903-1904), ambassador at St Petersburg (1904-1906), permanent under secretary of state for foreign affairs (1906-1910 and 1916-1920) and ambassador at Paris (1920-1922). While permanent under secretary of state, he accompanied Edward VII as minister in attendance when the King visited the continent. During 1910-1916 Hardinge served as viceroy of India. He was created Baron Hardinge in 1910, and retired in 1923. In 1933-1934 he was a member of the Joint Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform. He died at Oakfield, near Penshurst, on 2 August 1944.

Access Information

While most of the collection may be consulted by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room, Royal letters in the collection may only be viewed with the written permission of the Librarian, Windsor Castle.

Acquisition Information

The Library acquired 116 bound volumes of Hardinge's private papers in 1954. Further volumes were donated by the Dowager Lady Hardinge of Penshurst and Dr. A.N.L. Munby, Librarian of King's College, Cambridge, and 12 volumes were purchased in 1963. A collection of papers deposited originally by Lady Hardinge at the Kent Archives Office, Maidstone, in 1962, has also been transferred to the University Library.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

For details of the earlier acquisitions see N.J. Hancock, Handlist of Hardinge papers at the University Library Cambridge (Cambridge, 1968). Further catalogues of the collection are available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Alternative Form Available

Duplicates of some material, such as correspondence, can be found in the Public Record Office. Part of the collection has been microfilmed and is available in the University Library.

Related Material

The Seeley Historical Library, Cambridge, has a microfilm copy of further papers of Lord and Lady Hardinge.

Additional Information

The originals of some of the papers, such as dispatches, can be found in the Public Record Office, Kew.