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Archive of Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams and Elizabeth Main


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The papers of Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams mainly relate to Africa but also include a small amount of material relating to his work in Cyprus and Australia. There are also letters of condolence sent to Lady Goold-Adams following her husband's death in 1920.

Elizabeth Main's papers mainly relate to her biography Man of Mafeking. The Bechuanaland Years of Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams 1884-1901 which was published in 1996 but which she had begun researching in the 1970s.


  • Creation: 1880-2001


1.05 Linear metres (7 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 588 / 1, fols. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 588/1-7

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 5406


Papers of colonial governor Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams (1858-1920) and of his daughter, Elizabeth Main (1918-2010).

Biographical / Historical

Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams was born in 1858 in County Cork, Ireland. In 1911 he married Elsie Riordan of Montreal, Canada, and they had two children, Richard and Elizabeth.

In 1878 Goold-Adams joined The Royal Scots Regiment and served in India, Ireland, Malta and the West Indies. In 1884 he travelled to Africa as part of the Bechuanaland Expedition led by Major-General Sir Charles Warren and in 1885 was seconded to the newly formed Bechuanaland Border Police. In 1896 he was appointed Administrator of the Bechuanaland Protectorate and became Resident Commissioner the following year. He saw active service during the South African War (mentioned in despatches) and was Commandant of the Town Guard during the siege of Mafeking. In 1901 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Orange River Colony and became Governor in 1907.

Following the formation of the Union of South Africa (1910) Goold-Adams left Africa to take up the post of High Commissioner of Cyprus (1911). In 1914 he moved to Australia as Governor of Queensland, a post he held until retirement in 1920. He died the same year whilst on a visit to South Africa en route back to England.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in 2002.

Catalogue of the archive of Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams and Elizabeth Main
Finding aid prepared by Marion Lowman
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom