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Archive of Sir Denis Wright


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Comprises of diaries, unpublished memoirs, manuscripts, a scrapbook, photographs, maps, cartoons, research, typescripts and transcripts, letters, papers and correspondence of Sir Denis Wright


  • Creation: 1915-2005


19.7 Linear metres (54 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Persian
  • French
  • German
  • Romanian; Moldavian; Moldovan
  • Amharic
  • Spanish; Castilian
  • Armenian

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is closed

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g.]

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 12226/1-54

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 6076, 6108, 12226


Correspondence, papers, photographs and diaries of Sir Denis Wright (1911-2005), diplomat

Biographical / Historical

Sir Denis Wright was born on the 23rd of March 1911 to Arthur Edgar Wright and Margery Hepworth Chapman in Surrey. He attended the Peak School in Hong Kong, before moving to the UK with his family and attending Brentwood School from 1921 until 1929. He studied Modern History at St Edmund Hall, the University of Oxford, from 1929 to 1932. There, he met his future wife, Iona Carmen Craig (m.1939). Wright found work at an advertising agency shortly after graduating from the University of Oxford, before moving to the advertisement division for the tobacco company, Gallagher & Co. in 1935 until 1939. He was employed at the outbreak of the Second World War at the British Consulate in Constanza, Romania, until he became Vice-Consul at Trebizond, Turkey (1941-1943). He continued to work for the British Consul in Mersin, Turkey, until the end of the war. He briefly took up employment at Ottoman Bank but soon joined the Foreign Service.

After the war, he worked as First Secretary to the British Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1946-1948), until he took a new position as Superintending Trade Consul at the British Consulate in Chicago, U.S.A (1949-1951). In 1951 he was moved to the Head of Economic Relations Department in Tehran, Iran, and appointed Chargé d’Affaires in 1953 and later Counsellor at the British Embassy in Tehran (1953-1955). After serving as an under-secretary in the Foreign Office, Wright was appointed ambassador to Ethiopia in 1959, and in 1963, to Iran, a position he remained in until his retirement in 1971. He was appointed a Knight of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1971. Wright’s work in the British Consulate and Foreign Office played a key role in Britain’s relations with Iran and Ethiopia.

In retirement, Wright became a director of Shell, the Standard Chartered Bank, and Mitchell Cotts, from 1971 until 1981. He became an honorary fellow of St Edmund Hall and St Anthony’s College in 1972 and 1975. Wright was chair of the Iran Society from 1976 until 1979, and later became president in 1989 until 1995. He was a member of the executive committee (1973-1987) and later president of the British Institute for Persian Studies (1978-1987), as well as a member of the executive committee of the Anglo-Ethiopian Society (1972-1977) and governor of the Overseas Service of Farnham Castle (1972-1986). Along with Roger Wood and James Morris, Wright contributed to the book Persia (1969), and wrote two books, The English amongst the Persians (1977) and The Persians amongst the English (1985), and a collection of his essays, Britain and Iran 1790-1980 (2003). Additionally, Wright gave lectures on tours in the USA and India, in addition to Black Sea Cruises. He died in Haddenham, Aylesbury, on the 18th of May 2005, from prostate cancer.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited at the Bodleian Libraries in July 2002 by Denis Wright

Related Materials

Further papers relating to Denis Wright's service as a British Vice-Consul in Romania and Turkey can be found in the Middle East Centre Archive at St Anthony's College, Oxford.

Catalogue of the archive of Sir Denis Wright
Chantale Davies
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First edition

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom