Ernest, Lord Rutherford: Correspondence and Papers

Scope and Content

List of subscribers to a presentation made to Rutherford, McGill University, Montreal, 1 May 1907.

Letter from Rutherford to 'Mr Becker', 1 Feb. 1909.

Letter from the Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Leipzig, to Rutherford, 28 May 1912, with a rough translation by Rutherford.

Contract between the Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft and Rutherford, 7 Aug. 1912, with a rough translation by Rutherford.

Letter from W. Vaughan, Montreal, to Rutherford, 16 Aug. 1912.

Statement of accounts due to Rutherford from the Cambridge University Press, 1 Jan. - 31 Dec. 1912.

Letter from W. Macgregor, Brisbane, to Rutherford, 16 June 1913.

Letter (copy) from Rutherford to the Chairman of the Council, Manchester University, 24 June 1913.

Certificate of Rutherford's election to the Royal Institution, with a covering letter from Henry Young, Assistant Secretary, 7 July 1913.

Letter from the Inland Revenue to Rutherford, 18 July 1913.

Insurance policy for radium sent by Rutherford to W. Vaughan, Montreal, 28 Mar. 1914.

Letters (3) from Robert Harrison, Royal Society, to Rutherford, 11, 26 and 29 May 1914.

Certificate of Rutherford's resignation under the National Registration Act, 10 Sep. 1915.

Draft of a letter from Rutherford to two insurance companies, 5 May 1917.

Valuation of the contents of Rutherford's house, Newnham Cottage, Cambridge, December 1922.

Letter from Rutherford to John Collin, 5 Dec. 1923.

Letters (4) between Rutherford and the Inland Revenue, 26 Jan. -28 Feb. 1924, with a letter attached from S. Chaffers to Rutherford, 10 Oct. 1919.

Letter from John Collin to Rutherford, 17 Apr. 1931.

Letter from George Rutherford, Buckland, New Zealand, to Ernest Rutherford, 26 Dec. 1932, enclosing a letter to George Rutherford from the Bank of New Zealand.

Letter from Jim Rutherford, New Plymouth, New Zealand, to Ernest Rutherford, 11 Apr. 1935.

Letter from S.C. Roberts to Rutherford, 24 Dec. 1936.

Letter from 'Bay' to 'Grandpapa', 'Monday'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937), Baron Rutherford of Nelson, was born in Nelson, New Zealand. In 1895 he came to England to be a research student under J.J. Thomson at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. His first professorial appointment was at McGill University in Montreal, 1898-1907, where he and Frederick Soddy advanced the transformation theory, the interpretation of the phenomenon of radioactivity.

Rutherford returned to England to work at the University of Manchester, 1907-1919, where he succeeded Arthur Schuster as director of the physical laboratory. At the university Hans Geiger, a staff member, and Ernest Marsden, a student, performed the alpha particle scattering experiments that led Rutherford to formulate the concept of the nuclear atom in 1911. Shortly before leaving Manchester in 1919 for Cambridge, where he succeeded his own teacher, J.J. Thomson, Rutherford announced a major discovery, the artificial transformation of one element into another. This work was continued in the Cavendish Laboratory, primarily with Chadwick's aid. From 1925 to 1930 Rutherford was also President of the Royal Society.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Deposited on indefinite loan by Messrs Francis&Co., Cambridge, 1980.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was drawn from Lawrence Badash, Rutherford Correspondence Catalogue (American Institute of Physics, 1974).

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.