Duff Papers

Scope and Content

The collection consists of:

1. Papers concerning Colonel James Duff (1820-1898). These papers (three items only, 1966-1967 and [ca.1964-1970]) include a transcript of sixteen letters written by Colonel Duff while serving as an ensign with the 74th Highlanders in Canada1841-1845 and a memoir of him by his grandson Alan Colquhoun Duff.

2. Papers of James Duff Duff (1860-1940). These papers (53 items, 1871-1923, [ca.1946-1956] and [ca.1964-1973]) chiefly consist of correspondence, press cuttings etc. relating to his publications. They include four letters of 1904, 1911 and 1923and one paper of 1923 from A.E. Housman and a letter of 1916 from Edmund Gosse. There is also a memoir of James Duff Duff by [his son Alan Colquhoun Duff].

3. Papers of Sir James Fitzjames Duff (1898-1970). These comprise the bulk of the collection. They were heavily weeded before their deposit with the University of Durham to remove any material which might be thought sensitive or confidential,but, as well as family material, contain a series of papers relating to Duff and his career, [1916]-1967, correspondence addressed to him, volumes (including diaries, journals, lecture and teaching notes and notes relating to universities in Canadaand the United States of America), some photographs, a medallion and patents of appointment, and printed material, mainly consisting of his own publications, but also including intelligence test material, some of it annotated, [?1919]-1936. The BBCand lord lieutenancy material is almost exclusively photographic.

Administrative / Biographical History

Papers, mainly scholarly, of three generations of the Duff family:

Colonel James Duff of Knockleith, Aberdeenshire (1820-1898), grandfather of Sir James Fitzjames Duff.

James Duff Duff (1860-1940), father of Sir James Fitzjames Duff. A fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge 1883-1940, he was a Latinist, whose publications included editions and translations of Lucretius, Juvenal, Pliny the younger and Lucan, andlater a translator of Russian texts, including Years of Childhood (1915) and other works by Sergei Aksakoff.

Sir James Fitzjames Duff (1898-1970). His posts included the following: professor of education, University of Manchester 1932-1937; warden of the Durham Colleges in the University of Durham and alternating vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellorof the University of Durham 1937-1960; member of several commissions and enquiries, including the Asquith Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies 1943-1945, the Elliot Commission on Higher Education in West Africa 1943-1945, the Government ofIndia's Universities Commission 1948-1949 and a commission on university government in Canada 1964-1965 sponsored by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. He was also a governorof the BBC 1959-1965, vice-chairman of the BBC 1960-1965 and temporary chairman of the BBC 1964; mayor of Durham City 1959-1960; and lord lieutenant of County Durham 1964-1970. He was knighted in 1949.


Sections 1 and 2. Items are arranged chronologically within each section.

Section 3. Items are arranged in the following nine sub-groups and within each sub-group chronologically unless otherwise stated:

  • A. Family correspondence and papers, 1907-1977, mainly letters from James Fitzjames Duff (JFD) to hisparents and other relatives but also a few letters to or about him from other family members, and also including reports and letters concerning him from Winchester College to his parents, 1910-1916.
  • B. Papers of JFD, [ca.1916-1967] and n.d.
  • C. Medallion commemorating JFD's period of office as mayor of Durham, 1959-1960.
  • D. Patents of appointments granted to JFD, 1964.
  • E. Correspondence addressed to JFD, arranged chiefly alphabetically by correspondent and within each correspondent chronologically, [dates being finalised].
  • F. Volumes, 1909-1965.
  • G. Photographs, [dates being finalised].
  • H. Printed programmes, orders of service etc., 1912-1966.
  • I. Printed works, mainly publications of JFD but also including some works by other authors relating to his career or reflecting his interests, 1914-1969.

Access Information

Until the arrangement and listing of the collection is completed and the list approved by the depositor prior permission to inspect these documents must be obtained from Miss Duff or her representative.

Acquisition Information

Deposited on permanent loan on 14 July 1982 by Miss Hester L.E. Duff, sister of Sir James Fitzjames Duff. Further small additional deposits were made by Miss Duff on 29 July 1982 and 17 February 1986.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue available online at online catalogue

Separated Material

Trinity College, Cambridge: most of the papers of James Duff Duff are held by Trinity College.

On 29 July 1982 Miss Duff mentioned that the collection amassed by Sir James Fitzjames Duff had formerly included a letter from Alwyn Terrell Petre Williams, bishop of Durham 1939-1952, which had been sent to Lambeth Palace Library, London.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Geographical Names