Papers, 1843-1902, of John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (1826-1902)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Eng. a. 2013-14; b. 2047-9; c. 3993-4514; d. 2439-92; e. 2790-7
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      589 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Kimberley's papers include diaries, 1862-1901; political correspondence and papers, 1852-95, arranged according to the office held by Lord Kimberley; personal correspondence and papers, 1843-1902; and printed papers and newscuttings, 1870-1902. The papers form an invaluable record of Kimberley's career in public life and of the machinery of government in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (1826-1902) was a statesman. He held office as under-secretary of state for foreign affairs from 1852 to 1856; then served for two years as British minister at St. Petersburg, returning to the Foreign Office from 1858 to 1861. In 1863 he was sent on a special mission to try to settle the Schleswig-Holstein dispute. From 1864 to 1866 he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He served as Colonial Secretary from 1870 to 1874 and from 1880 to 1882, as Secretary of State for India from 1882 to 1886 and again from 1892 to 1894, and finally as Foreign Secretary from 1894 to 1895. In the final years of his life he became Liberal leader in the House of Lords and Chancellor of London University. Further details can be found in the introduction to the online catalogue ( and in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

The papers were purchased at Sotheby's 12 December 1991, with help from the Radcliffe Trust, the Friends of the Bodleian, the MGC/V & A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the National Libraries.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue of the collection is available online at

Custodial History

The papers remained in private hands until their sale in 1991

Related Material

The collection represents virtually all Kimberley's surviving political papers, with the exception of some diplomatic correspondence as minister plenipotentiary to Russia (1856-8) in the British Library (Add. MSS. 46692-4) and eight volumes of later correspondence acquired by the National Library of Scotland in 1973 (MSS. 10242-9).


Kimberley's journal of events during the Gladstone ministry, 1868-74 (MS. Eng. c. 3993), was edited by Ethel Drus and published in the Camden Miscellany, vol. xxi (1958).