Durand Family Papers

Scope and Content

The papers give a good picture of the work of the Durands, particularly Henry Mortimer Durand. These include a set of Henry Mortimer Durand's diaries (1870- 1907); a large selection of correspondence (1872-1922) (correspondents include Lord Lansdowne, Grey, Curzon and Roberts) and a collection of press cuttings (1902-1908) relating to the period when he was Ambassador in America. Henry Mortimer Durand also wrote a number of literary works, some of which are present in this collection. Also of interest are a number of family photograph albums, depicting scenes of India, Europe and America.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Marion Durand was born in 1812. He went out to India in 1829, arriving in May 1830, as Second Lieutenant in the Bengal Engineers. He was involved in the Indian Mutiny [Indian Rebellion / War of Independence] of 1857, as Agent to the Governor General of central India 1857-1858. By 1870 Durand was Lieutenant General of the Punjab. His prestigious career was unfortunately ended on 1 January 1871, when he died following an accident when he fell from an elephant whilst entering the town of Tank, with the local Maharajah.

Henry Mortimer Durand was born in 1850. He was educated at Blackheath School, Eton House, Tonbridge and at the Bar, Lincoln's Inn. He entered the Indian Civil Service, arriving in India on 1 February 1873. Durand rose up through the ranks of the Indian Civil Service, and from 1884 to 1894 was Foreign Secretary to the Government of India. This was followed by a period of service as British Envoy, at the Court of the Shah of Persia. In 1900 Durand was appointed British Ambassador to Spain, a post which he held until 1903. In 1903 he became British Ambassador to the United States of America, but was recalled at the end of 1906. Durand stood as Conservative and Unionist candidate in the election of 1910 for Plymouth, with Waldorf Astor, but failed. In addition to his work as a civil servant and diplomat, Durand wrote a number of novels and other works, including a biography of his father. Durand married Ella, daughter of Teignmouth Sandys in 1875. They had two children, a son and daughter, Amy Josephine (Jo). Josephine accompanied her father on many official duties owing to her mother's ill health. Lady Durand died in May 1913, aged 60. Sir Henry Mortimer Durand died in 1924.


The collection is divided into two parts: the papers of Major General Sir Henry Marion Durand (HMD1) and Sir Henry Mortimer Durand (HMD2). HMD2 is sub-divided into: diaries; correspondence; literary work; personal papers; press cuttings; miscellaneous papers and photographs and photograph albums. Within each sub- section, items are arranged in chronological order. There is an index to the handlist.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Purchased in 1969, with additional papers in 1972.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance