Papers of Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) and of his family
Benjamin Disraeli's papers include family, domestic and personal, political, and literary papers. The collection also contains papers of his father Isaac D'Israeli and his wife Mary Anne Disraeli's papers.
- Creation: 1681-1928 (predominantly 19th century)
63.66 Linear metres (382 physical shelfmarks)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Researchers making use of the archive must undertake to present free of charge to the National Trust a copy of any resultant work published which is based on, or incorporates material, from the papers.
Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. Dep. Hughenden 1/1].
Full range of shelfmarks:
Dep. Hughenden 1-382
Collection ID (for staff)
CMD ID 12032
The papers of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881), statesman and author.
Biographical / Historical
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) was a statesman and author. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1852, 1858-9, 1866-8 and Prime Minister 1868 and 1874-80. His father, Isaac D'Israeli (1766-1848), was an author. Details for both are given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
The collection is arranged into the following series: Family, Domestic and Personal; Political Papers; Honours and Titles; Papers of Mary Anne Disraeli; Literary Papers of Disraeli; Other Disraeli Family Papers; Isaac D'Israeli Papers; Press cuttings; Papers of Moneypenny and Buckle, including correspondence and notes for Life of Disraeli; Pamphlets; Miscellaneous Material; Rose Papers; Additional material deposited by the National Trust; out-size papers and guardbook; Addresses presented to Disraeli, and miscellaneous papers 'found in the cellar at Hughenden Manor, listed..'.
Other Finding Aids
The original typescript catalogue and index for the archive was prepared by the National Trust in 1961, and revised in 1968, and is available for consultation at the Library. The Bodleian Library produced an updated catalogue in 1996, based on the 1968 catalogue but including new references for the collection which have superseded those used in 1968 (e.g. what was once A/I/C/1-82 became Dep. Hughenden 8/1). The current catalogue represents an amalgamation of the two earlier catalogues.
The catalogue prepared for the National Trust in 1961 (and revised in 1968) contained an introduction by Carew Wallace. It is reproduced here in slightly edited form, and with a few small corrections.
Lord Beaconsfield left all his private and public papers to his friend and private secretary, Montagu Corry, Lord Rowton, with absolute discretion to destroy any papers which he thought necessary, and to arrange for the publication of the political papers. There are indications that Rowton did destroy some papers, because they appeared worthless, but he resisted suggestions that some potentially damaging papers should be destroyed.
The papers were examined and arranged, and many of them annotated, in the eighteen-eighties, under the supervision of Lord Rowton and Sir Philip Rose, chiefly by A.E. Soanes; the papers were kept at Messrs. Rothschilds in New Court. [There are pencil notes by Soanes on most of the documents in the collection.] Lord Trowton did not, however, publish the official life of Disraeli, as was expected, and seems to have made no serious effort to prepare one. The work was later entrusted by the trustees of the estate to W.F. Moneypenny. The first of the six-volume Life of d'Israeli was published in 1910. The papers were returned to Hughenden in 1928, in accordance with a direction in Disraeli's will. When the National Trust was given Hughenden Manor and its contents in 1947, twenty-eight boxes of papers were also handed over, in addition to the manuscripts of some of Disraeli's novels.
In 1949 an outline list was made by Mr. Robin Fedden to indicate the general nature of the papers in each box. This served as a most useful guide for those who wanted to study the archives, which were stored in a large dry strong-room in the basement. Due to the increased interest in the papers paid by serious students, it was felt that better facilities ought to be provided. In 1959 the committees of the National Trust agreed to include an item in the Estimates to cover most of the cost of forming an archives room on the ground floor in the west wing of Hughenden Manor, providing steel racking with special containers, and for the re-sorting and listing of the papers. The National Trust was particularly fortunate in being given a grant of £50 by the Historical Manuscripts Commission towards this.
The National Trust is very grateful to Mr. R. Ellis, secretary of the Commission, for his advice, and to Mr. E.J. Davis, chief archivist to the Buckinghamshire County Council, for carrying out an initial re-arrangement of the archives, and paving the way for this list.
The Trust has been extremely fortunate in obtaining the services of Mr. R.W. Stewart, librarian of the College of St. Mark and St. John, Chelsea, who was suggested by Mr. Robert Blake. Miss R.E. Reader has also given much help.
In 1978 the National Trust deposited the Hughenden Papers on long-term loan in the Bodleian Library. Over the next twenty years, generous grants were made by the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, the National Trust, and the Wolfson Foundation, to pay for preservation and conservation costs. The loose papers, mostly in excellent condition, have been placed in protective fascicules, and most of the volumes have been boxed. The majority of this work was done by Elizabeth Turner (of the Department of Western Manuscripts), foliating, placing the papers in their fascicules, and carefully annotating the catalogue, and by Audrey Thomas (of the Preservation and Conservation Division).
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The bulk of the papers were deposited in the Library in 1978 by the National Trust. Small additions were made in 1982 and 1984.
- Some letters have been published by 'The Disraeli Project' as Benjamin Disraeli letters. See Gunn, J. A. W, Wiebe, M. G., et. al. (1982-) Benjamin Disraeli letters Toronto, Ont.; University of Toronto Press.
- Papers of Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) and of his family
- Finding aid prepared by Original 1968 catalogue by R.W. Stewart. EAD version 2017 by Ashleigh Fowler, Rachael Gardner, Matthew Neely & Susan Thomas
- Language of description
- Script of description