Skip to main content

Papers of the Brookes of Sarawak


  • How to
  1. Papers of Anthony Brooke and Lord Tanlaw, 1847-1971, including correspondence, photographs, records of libel and civil suits, notebooks and maps
  2. Files relating to the history of Sarawak, 1841-1968
  3. Papers of Lady Halsey, mainly correspondence, 1933-1962
  4. Papers of Lady Bryant, mainly correspondence, 1938-1964
  5. Papers of Mrs. Noble, mainly correspondence, 1913-1976
  6. Papers of Dame Margery Perham, mainly correspondence, 1939-1962
  7. Printed material, including Hansard reports of debates on Sarawak and press cuttings mainly concerning the Cession, 1913-1969
  8. Additional papers received from various sources, including correspondence, cuttings and copy wills, 1803-1977


  • Creation: [1803-1977]


42 volumes, 18 boxes

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Pac. s. 83].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Pac. s. 83

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 967

Biographical / Historical

The papers cover the whole span of Brooke rule in Sarawak, as well as looking back to Thomas Cooke, father of Sir James, the first Rajah, and forward to the present day. Sir James Brooke ruled Sarawak from 1841 until his death in 1868. Although he had initially planned to make his nephew, John Brooke Brooke his heir and second Rajah, a rift developed between them over Sarawak's ability to maintain its independence unsupported and resulted in the passing of the title to another nephew, Charles Anthony Johnson Brooke, whose wife was the Ranee Margaret. Charles Brooke died in 1917, and was succeeded as third Rajah by Sir Charles Vyner Brooke. It was Sir Charles Vyner Brooke who oversaw the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown in 1946. His wife was the Ranee Sylvia. Until 1946 the Rajah Muda (heir-apparent) had been Anthony Brooke, the third Rajah's nephew, who initiated a ten-year span of correspondence with Dame Margery Perham in 1939. The Tuan Muda (heir-presumptive) had been Bertram Brooke, father of Lady Halsey and Lady Bryant. Lord Tanlaw, formerly Simon MacKay, was the Rajah's grandson. A large part of the collection was deposited by Margaret Noble, a close friend of the Brooke family, and includes her own papers.

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 82 in Manuscript Collections (Africana and non-Africana) in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Supplementary accessions to the end of 1977..., compiled by Wendy S. Byrne (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1978). The library holds handlists for the main collection and the two collections of supplementary papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were initially contributed prior to 1978 by nine members or friends of the Brooke family, including Anthony Brooke, Lord Tanlaw, Mrs. Evelyn Hussey - the third Rajah's executor, Margaret Noble, and Edward Banks - Curator of the Sarawak Museum in Kuching 1925-1946. The Department of Archives in Barbados also contributed material. Supplementary contributions were made by Mrs. Elizabeth Maunsell - sister of Anthony Brooke, Margaret Noble, and Mrs. Kathleen Brooke - former Ranee Muda, prior to 1980, and by Mrs. Angela Kerr-Moller, Kathleen Brooke's eldest daughter, in 1981. Several smaller deposits dating to 1999 are described in the library's correspondence files. Futher information on all additional and supplementary papers is listed here under accruals. The library's handlists for the collection contain more detailed descriptions of its archival history and source of acquisition.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some parts of the collection are held on microfilm by the Brunei High Commission.

Related Materials

  1. Papers of the Brooke family, c1830-1977, including papers of C.T.C. Grant, Laird of Kilgraston (ref. MSS. Pac. s. 90)
  2. Papers of Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, mainly correspondence, 1841-[1960] (ref. MSS. Pac. s. 66)
  3. Letters from Sir Charles Vyner Brooke to George C. Gillan, Treasurer of Sarawak, 1906-1930 (ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 119)
  4. Letters from Sir Charles Vyner Brooke to C.P. Lowe, 1922-1935, mainly concerning the Public Works Department in Sarawak (ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 118)
  5. Letters from Sir Charles Vyner Brooke to Dr. M.P. O'Connor concerning medical and health matters in Sarawak, 1940-1941 (ref. MSS. Pac. s. 58)
  6. Papers of Walter Francis de Vere Skrine, including correspondence from Sir Charles Vyner Brooke while in the service of the Sarawak government, [1909-1928] (ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 143)
  7. Personal letters of Sir Charles Vyner Brooke to Frank Kortright, D.O., Sarawak and his wife, Ina Kortright, 1924-1929 (ref. MSS. Pac. s. 74 (1))
  8. Diaries of Christopher William Dawson relating the cession of Sarawak by Rajah Brooke to H.M. King George VI, 1946 (ref. MSS. Pac. r. 7, 8)
  9. Papers of Arthur Bartlett Ward including a letter from Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, Rajah, 1929 (ref. MSS. Pac. s. 80)
  10. Typescript history of Brunei, 1946, including an account of Sir James Brooke's agreement with Pengiran Muda Hashim to govern Sarawak (ref. MSS. Pac. s. 69)
  11. Papers of Dame Margery Perham, 1881-1982 (ref. MSS. Perham)

The library also holds

  1. A letter of Anthony Brooke concerning the responsibility for Sarawak's administration, 1946
  2. Correspondence of Sir Charles Vyner Brooke with C. Pitt Hardacre, Government Agent, Australia regarding Sarawak, 1942
  3. A note on the administration of Sarawak under the Brooke regime, 1838-1939
  4. A file on Anthony Brooke libel, 1947-1951
  5. Correspondence of A.M. Hughes mainly with Anthony Brooke, concerning the cession of Sarawak, 1945-1956
  6. A letter to G.F. Gillan critical of the Rajah of Sarawak, 1947

The papers of Vice-Admiral Basil C.B. Brooke CB, CBE are held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

Fourteen boxes of supplementary papers, consisting of additional papers of:

  1. Anthony Brooke, 1841-1978, including correspondence, subject files, and material relating to the Cession, additional papers of Mrs. Margaret Noble, relating largely to the Ranee Margaret, Bertram Brooke and research into Brooke family history, 1837-1976, and albums donated by Mrs. Kathleen Brooke containing chiefly press cuttings, and a roll of posters, 1925-1949
  2. Three boxes of supplementary material, consisting of papers relating to Mrs. Kathleen Brooke's memoirs, mainly correspondence, 1941-1974, printed material and related papers concerning Sarawak, Anthony Brooke and other members of the Brooke family, c1945-1974, letters mainly from Anthony Brooke to Kathleen Brooke, 1942-1944, 1951-1980, letters from Anthony Brooke concerned with his world travels and work for the promotion of international understanding and peace, 1955-1973, correspondence relating to the Cession of Sarawak, between R.H.Reece, author of The Name of Brooke: the End of White Rajah Rule in Sarawak (Kuala Lumpur, Oxford University Press, 1981) and Anthony and Kathleen Brooke, 1974-1980, and miscellaneous items including photographs, 1877, 1913-1963, 1981

Smaller deposits of related material include

  1. Original copy of address of welcome to the Rajah Muda, from the Sarawak Museum, Kuching, deposited [June] 1980
  2. Further correspondence with Mrs. Noble, from Vice-Admiral Basil C.B. Brooke CB, CBE, deposited [May] 1982
  3. Photographs of Sheepstor, Devon, site of the Brooke family chapel, from John Falconer at the National Maritime Museum, deposited [November] 1986
  4. Papers relating to the Brooke family, c1934-c1950, from Farrer & Co., Solicitors, via the British Records Association, deposited 5th October 1999


  • Japanese empire in the tropics. selected documents and reports of the Japanese periode in Sarawak Northwest Borneo 1941-1945 edited and introduced by Ooi Keat Gin (Athens, Ohio, Center for International Studies, Ohio University, c1998); Ten years in Sarawak by Charles Brooke (Oxford, Singapore, Oxford University Press, 1990).
Papers of the Brookes of Sarawak
Paul Davidson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom