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Archive of Sir William Harcourt and Lewis Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt


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The archive comprises:

  1. Papers of Sir William Harcourt, 1833-1921
  2. Papers of Lewis, 1st Viscount Harcourt, 1870-1922, n.d.
  3. Harcourt family correspondence, 1830-1928, n.d.
  4. Papers relating to the biography of Sir William Harcourt, c.1848-1926, n.d.


  • Creation: 1830-1928, n.d.


82.61 Linear metres (751 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Harcourt 1, fols. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Harcourt 1-751 (former reference MSS. Harcourt dep. 1-751)

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 14878


Papers of Sir William Harcourt (1827-1904), Home Secretary, 1880-1885, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1886 and 1892-1895; and Lewis Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt (1863-1922), private secretary to Sir William, 1880-1887, 1892-1895, First Commissioner of Works, 1905-1910 and 1915-1916, Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1910-1915.

Biographical / Historical

Sir William George Granville Venables Vernon Harcourt (1827-1904) was educated by private tutors and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He entered Lincoln's Inn in 1851 and was called to the Bar three years later. In 1868 he entered Parliament as Liberal member for Oxford and from that date devoted himself to politics. His papers in this collection cover every stage of his career. Separate sections contain his official papers as Home Secretary, 1880-5, and as Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1886, and 1892-5; while his letters to members of his family and his general correspondence throw light on his activities and thinking in all spheres.

Lewis ('Loulou') Vernon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt (1863-1922) was his father's close and constant companion. His journals as his father's private secretary, 1880-7, and 1892-5, illuminate Sir William's periods in office. The large number of press cuttings concerning Sir William were mounted, arranged, and partly listed by Lord Harcourt, who also had typescript copies made of much correspondence for the use of his father's biographer. Separate sections contain Lord Harcourt's official papers as First Commissioner of Works, 1905-10, and 1915-16, and as Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1910-15.

For further details of both men, see the Dictionary of National Biography.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was deposited in the Bodleian Library in 1972, with papers concerning the administration of the family's property and estates which are separately listed as MSS. D.D. Harcourt. The entire collection was transferred to the ownership of the Bodleian in March 2008 and the dep. element of the reference has therefore been removed.

Catalogue of the archive of Sir William Harcourt (1827-1904) and Lewis Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt (1863-1922)
Finding aid prepared by P.J. Bull, Elizabeth Turner, Mary Clapinson and Linda Tomlinson
1978, EAD version 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Conversion to EAD supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom