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Archive of Emma Alice Margaret (Margot) Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith


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The archive consists of diaries, correspondence, photographs, as well as literary papers and personal papers.


  • Creation: 1862-1945


17.05 Linear metres (155 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 6665, fols. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. c. 6665-6720, c. 6729; d. 3198-3218, d. 3262-3319; e. 3256-3257, e. 3280-3292; Photogr. c. 120-121, e. 11

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 11226


Correspondence and papers of Margot Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith, with correspondence and papers of other members of her family, 1862-1945

Biographical / Historical

Emma Alice Margaret (Margot) Asquith was born in 1864, the sixth daughter of Scots parents Emma and Charles Tennant. Her father 'an exceptionally enterprising and farseeing man of business' (DNB), became very wealthy, and developed a taste for collecting fine art and porcelain. He was a Member of Parliament from 1879 until 1886, and created a baronet in 1885. In 1853 he bought an estate in Peeblesshire, Scotland and enlarged the house The Glen, which was to become the family home in which Margot spent her youth. She received a very limited education from a governess, and recalled 'It was only because my father had a fine library and we were fond of reading that I learned anything before I was sixteen' ( More Memories, p. 12) but she and her elder sister Laura were introduced to a large circle of politicians and members of London society who were entertained at The Glen.

Margot had many suitors and in 1894 she married H.H. Asquith, the Home Secretary, as his second wife. His first wife, mother of his five children, had died in 1891. Margot and H.H. Asquith had two children who survived infancy, Elizabeth and Anthony. In 1905 Asquith became Chancellor of the Exchequer and in 1908 Prime Minister. His wife's leading position in London Society is reflected in her correspondence.

From an early age Margot kept a diary and wrote stories and observations about her life. When her sister Laura died in 1886 she compiled an account of her early life, illness and death. In later life she went on to write her autobiography and many other books. She also contributed articles to magazines and newspapers.


The collection is arranged in five main series: diaries, 1876-1923 (available on microfilm in the Library): general correspondence, 1876-1945, followed by family correspondence, 1884-1945: literary papers, 1879-1945: personal papers: correspondence and papers of other members of the family, 1862-1941. A few miscellaneous photographs were removed from the collection and stored separately as MS. Photogr. c. 78, fols. 55-75.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given (with MS. Photogr. c. 78, fols. 55-75) to the Bodleian Library by Mrs. Priscilla Hodgson, September 1998, except for the letters to Margot Asquith from H.H. Asquith (MSS. Eng. c. 6685-6692) which were given by the Trustees of the late Lord Bonham Carter, July 1999. Photocopies from two albums owned by the Trustees were made in the Library, Feb. 2000 (MS. Eng. c. 6729).

Catalogue of the archive of Emma Alice Margaret (Margot) Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith, 1862-1945
Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Turner
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom