The Chamberlain Family Collection

Scope and Content

A collection of miscellaneous items relating to members of the Chamberlain family. The collection comprises: Works by and about Joseph Chamberlain, 1897-1910; articles by Joseph Chamberlain, 1873-1906; items about Joseph Chamberlain, 1885-1948; works by and about Austen Chamberlain including articles, 1903-1935; miscellaneous printed items by various authors, 1896-1964; visitors' books belonging to Joseph and Mary Chamberlain, 1900-1916; Mary Chamberlain's diaries, 1887-1914; illuminated addresses and testimonials to Joseph and Mary E. Chamberlain, 1880-1914, illuminated addresses to Austen and Lady Chamberlain, 1906-1932; banquet and reception papers, 1891-1903; papers relating to South Africa, 1901-1916; press cuttings, scrap books and cartoons, 1889-1950; photographs relating to Joseph and Mary Chamberlain, 1900-1909; photographs relating to Austen Chamberlain and his family, 1901-1930s; Neville Chamberlain photographs; photocopies of letters from the Chamberlain family

Administrative / Biographical History

Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain, (1836-1914) statesman: Educated at University College School; member of screw-manufacturing firm in Birmingham, 1854-1874; interested in social reform; chairman of National Education League of Birmingham, 1870; mayor of Birmingham 1873-1875; became president of the Board of Trade and entered the second Gladstone cabinet, 1880; M.P. West Birmingham, 1885; president of Local Government Board in third Gladstone cabinet, February-March 1886, resigning on introduction of the home rule bill which he opposed; secretary of state for colonies in third Salisbury cabinet, 1895-1903; chancellor of the University of Birmingham, 1901; retired from public life in 1906.

Mary Chamberlain: (1864-1957); ne Endicott; then Chamberlain. Nationality: American. 3rd wife of Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain, m. 1888; 2nd wife of Rev. William Hartley Carnegie, m. 1916; step-mother of the Right Honourable Sir Austen Chamberlain and Right Honourable Neville Chamberlain, biography: Diana Whitehall Laing, Mistress of Herself , Barre Publishers, Massachusetts, 1965.

Right Honourable Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain, 1863-1937 statesman: Son of Joseph Chamberlain and half-brother of Neville; educated at Rugby and Trinity College Cambridge; liberal unionist MP, East Worcestershire, 1892-1914; West Birmingham, 1914-1937; civil lord of Admiralty; 1895-1900; financial secretary to Treasury , 1900-1902; postmaster general, 1902-1903; chancellor of the Exchequer, 1903-1905; secretary of state for India, 1915-1917; member of war cabinet, April 1918; chancellor of the Exchequer, 1919-1921; conservative leader, 1921; dissatisfaction with his support of Lloyd George culminated in Carlton Club meeting (19 October 1922) which brought coalition and his leadership to an end; foreign secretary, 1924-1929; Knight of the Garter and Nobel Peace Prize, 1925. Publications: Notes on the Families of Chamberlain and Harben , 1915; Down the Years , 1935; Politics from the Inside , 1936

Right Honourable Arthur Neville Chamberlain, 1869-1940: Son of the Right Honourable Joseph and Florence [nee Kenrick] Chamberlain, married Anne Vere Cole in 1911; half brother of the Right Honourable Sir Austen Chamberlain; educated at Rugby and Mason College, Birmingham; unsuccessfully attempted to grow sisal on his father's estate in the Bahamas, 1890-1897. In 1911 he was elected to Birmingham City Council and became Lord Mayor of Birmingham in 1915; established the only municipal savings bank, 1916; was appointed director-general of National Service by Lloyd George in 1916 and resigned, 1917. From 1918-1940 he was Conservative MP for a Birmingham division; while in opposition (1920-1931) reorganised Conservative Central Office; became postmaster general, 1922; Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1931-1937 and was Prime Minister, 1937-1940.

Reference: The Concise Dictionary of National Biography, 1901-1950 ( Oxford, 1967 ).


The collection is arranged by individual family members and document type.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details.

Alternative Form Available

The Chamberlain papers have been microfilmed by Primary Source Media as part of an ongoing project to publish the entire Chamberlain collection in series arranged around the three statesmen: Neville, Austen and Joseph and other family members.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Custodial History

This collection is an artificial one. It appears to have been created from miscellaneous materials, both printed and manuscript, in the collections of papers of Joseph Chamberlain and his son Austen Chamberlain which were presented to the University by the Chamberlain Family and Chamberlain Trustees at a public ceremony on 18 October 1960. Material has subsequently added to this collection when the papers of Neville Chamberlain were presented in 1974. Photocopies of Chamberlain correspondence in the Endicott Papers and the Morton Prince Papers held by the Massachusetts Historical Society, which were acquired in 1984, were also added to this collection.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The papers of Austen, Joseph, Neville, Beatrice, Ida, Hilda and Ethel Chamberlain are also held at University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department. Further artificial series of additional correspondence exist for each family member in the "Letters Additional" series.

Location of Originals

The originals to the photocopies of letter from the Chamberlain family are in the Endicott Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.