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Additional papers of Alfred Milner, Viscount Milner


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These papers are additional to those in the New College collection of Milner's papers deposited in the Bodleian Library (Dep. Milner 1-601). The collection includes numerous typed copies of letters, from the papers of other politicians as well as from Milner's own, evidently made in connection with the compilation of Cecil Headlam's The Milner Papers (London 1931-3). As well as general correspondence there are files of papers relating to some of Milner's public offices, especially that of Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1918-1921. There is also a small group of Lady Milner's papers and two diaries of Milner's cousin, Marianne Malcolm.


  • Creation: 1884-1990


4.2 Linear metres (28 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. hist. c. 686, fols. 1-2].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. hist. c. 686-709; d. 362; e. 305-307

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 13111


Additional papers of Alfred Milner, Viscount Milner, 1884-1920, statesman

Biographical / Historical

Alfred, Viscount Milner (1854-1925) was educated in Germany and at King's College, London and Balliol College, Oxford. He was elected to a fellowship at New College, Oxford in 1876, moved to London in 1879 and was called to the Bar in 1881. He turned to journalism to earn his living and worked with W.T. Stead on the staff of the Pall Mall Gazette. In 1884 he became private secretary to G.J. (later Viscount) Goschen and entered the world of politics and public service which was to dominate the rest of his life.

Milner's first independent work came with his appointment as director general of accounts in Egypt in 1889. He returned to England to take over the chairmanship of the Board of Inland Revenue in 1892. His services in that post were rewarded with the C.B. in 1894 and the K.C.B. in 1895. The turning point of his career came in 1897 with his acceptance of the post of High Commissioner for South Africa. The papers illustrating the momentous events of the next eight years form the greater part of this collection, and were extensively used by Cecil Headlam in his edition of The Milner Papers, South Africa (2 vols., London, 1931, 1933). After his return in 1905, Lord Milner worked in the City and served as a member of various committees and as a Rhodes Trustee. He became a member of the War Cabinet late in 1916. The papers which survive from the First World War reflect the extent and variety of his activities. In April 1918 he became Secretary of State for War and in December of the same year Secretary of State for the Colonies, a post which he held until his resignation in 1921.

After his resignation, Lord Milner resumed his work in the City and presided over the Tariff Advisory Committee. In 1921 he married Violet, widow of Lord Edward Cecil, with whom he visited South Africa in 1924. He died at Sturry Court, their home near Canterbury, in May 1925. Further biographical details can be found in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given to the Bodleian by Mr. Jan Milner in 1972.

Related Materials

See also Violet Milner Papers (MSS. Violet Milner 1-85).

Separated Materials

See also Archive of Alfred Milner, Viscount Milner, (MSS. Milner dep. 1-698, MS. Milner dep. adds. 1).

Additional papers of Alfred Milner, Viscount Milner, 1884-1920
Finding aid prepared by P.J. Bull, P.J. Roscoe
1975, edited and converted to EAD 2011
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