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Album belonging to the Backhouse family

 Single Item
MS. 12299

  • Request

The album contains letters and drawings from Grace Backhouse to her sister Fanny, detailing family life in Havana, 1853-1855. The drawings depict her children, Alice and Johnny, their servants, and scenes from their family home. In addition the letters refer to her husband and his work, and visitors to their home. There are also earlier and later drawings by other family members, as well as cuttings of prints and engravings and pressed flowers and plants.


  • Creation: 1804-1874


1 volume

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, MS. 12299

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MS. 12299

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12299


Album belonging to the Backhouse family

Biographical / Historical

George Canning Backhouse (1818-1855) graduated from Christ Church, Oxford in 1838 and worked as a clerk in the Foreign Office. In December 1852 he was appointed Commissary Judge in the Havana Mixed Commission for the Suppression of the Slave Trade. He and his wife, Grace, and infant daughter Alice, arrived in Havana, Cuba in March 1853. A second child, John Sandham, was born there in October 1853. Grace and her two young children returned to England for an extended holiday in April 1855. She was pregnant and their third child, Beatrice Margaret was born in England in July 1855. George was murdered in his house in Havana by two intruders in August 1855. He was buried in Cuba but his remains were exhumed the following year and he was re-interred in Kensall Green cemetery in November 1856. His widow married Reverend William Jeudwine in 1861 and they had one son, Hugh Sandham.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bought from Bogislav Winner, 4 Oct. 2016.

Related Materials

The John Backhouse papers, which contain material relating to George and Grace Backhouse, are part of the William B. Hamilton Collection housed at the Special Collections Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.


  • Luis Martinez-Fernandez, Fighting Slavery in the Caribbean: the life and times of a British family in nineteenth-century Havana (M.E. Sharpe, 1998)

Physical Facet

The binding is missing. Marbled endpapers.

Album belonging to the Backhouse family
Catherine McIlwaine
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom