The collection comprises letters from Rudyard Kipling to Field Marshal Earl Roberts and his wife, and (in the great majority) their son-in-law Harry Lewin.
Field Marshall Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts (1832-1914) served mainly in India, 1852-93, and was successively commander-in-chief in India (1885-93), Ireland (1895-99), South Africa (1899-1900) and Britain (1900-04). In India, Kipling was greatly impressed by his rapport with ordinary soldiers, and his high opinion of Roberts led him to coin the term Bobs to describe the calibre of commander he felt was needed throughout the British Army. On his death, Kipling wrote an elegy Roberts, 1914.
Henry ('Harry') Frederick Elliot Lewin (1872-1946) began his army career in 1894, was gazetted captain in 1900, and rose to the rank of brigadier-general in 1917. He served with the Egyptian army between 1901 and 1911, and was awarded the Lgion d'Honneur during the First World War. His final posting, in 1925-29, was commanding the Royal Artillery, Northern Command. He married Earl Roberts's second daughter in 1913; she succeeded to her father's title after her elder sister's death.