Papers of Sir Ralph Dolignon Furse

Scope and Content

Correspondence, diaries, memoranda etc. as Director of Recruitment in the Colonial Service, and as Colonial Office representative at Empire Forestry Conferences.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Ralph Dolignon Furse was born in London on the 29 September 1887 and educated at Eton, and Balliol College, Oxford. He joined the Colonial Office in 1910 as Assistant Private Secretary to the Secretary of State, Lewis (later Viscount) Harcourt. During World War I he was on active service in France and Italy; he was wounded in 1917, twice mentioned in despatches, and appointed to the DSO in 1918 with bar in 1919.

Furse rejoined the Colonial Office in 1919 as Assistant Private Secretary, later Private Secretary, to successive Secretaries of State (Viscount Milner, 1919; Churchill, 1921; Duke of Devonshire, 1922; J.H. Thomas, 1924; Amery, 1924, and Lord Passfield, 1929). In 1930 he was appointed Director of Recruitment in the Colonial Service, a post which he held until his retirement in 1948. After retirement Furse served as an adviser to the Secretary of State for the Colonies on training courses for the Colonial Service (1948-1950).

He was appointed CMG (1935), KCMG (1941) and in 1949 the University of Oxford made him an honorary DCL (Doctor of Civil Law). Furse died on 1 October 1973.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Marion Lowman, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Administrative/Biographical History compiled with reference to the Dictionary of National Biography .

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as no. 14 in Manuscript Collections (Africana and non-Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Supplementary accessions to the end of 1977 and Cumulative Index, compiled by Wendy S. Byrne (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1978).

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.