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Archive of Roundell Cecil Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne


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The collection includes correspondence, drawings, photographs, press cuttings and other papers of the 3rd Earl of Selborne; royal and other correspondence of the 2nd Earl of Selborne together with some reports; correspondence and papers of the Countess of Selborne and various other members of the Palmer family.


  • Creation: 1849-1968


17.71 Linear metres (161 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. a. 23, fols. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. hist. a. 23-24, b. 231-236, c. 975-1026, c. 1030-10311, d. 442-457, d. 479-480, e. 338, f. 27-29, g. 25-27; MSS. Eng. lett. c. 454-456, d. 422-433, e. 152; MSS. Eng. misc. c. 685-691, d. 997-998, e. 961-968, f. 561-564; MSS. Selborne adds. 1-37

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 11505


Papers of Roundell Cecil Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne and his wife Maud, together with mainly royal correspondence of William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne as well as papers of other members of the Palmer family.

Biographical / Historical

Roundell Cecil Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne (1887-1971) was educated at Winchester and University College, Oxford. Until 1941 he was known as Viscount Wolmer. In November 1910, at the comparatively early age of 23, he entered Parliament as the Conservative M.P. for Newton, Lancashire. From 1918 to 1940 he was M.P. for Aldershot. In 1941 he was called to the House of Lords in his father's barony of Selborne. He succeeded to the earldom in 1942.

Lord Selborne served in the First World War with the 3rd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Between 1916 and 1918 he was Assistant Director of the War Trade Department. During the inter-war years Lord Selborne was Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (October 1922-January 1924) and Assistant Post Master General (November 1924-June 1929). From 1940 to 1942 he was Director of Cement, Ministry of Works and Building. In 1943 Churchill appointed him Minister of Economic Warfare, with political responsibility for the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Lord Selborne was a major lay figure in British church affairs. From 1955 to 1959 he was Chairman of the House of Laity, Church Assembly, of which he had been a member since 1920. Between 1949 and 1961 he was President of the Church Army. For further details see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection, which was given to the Bodleian Library in 1973 and 1979 by Lord Selborne's grandson and heir. The bulk of the papers of the 2nd Earl (MSS. Selborne 1-235) were given to the Library in 1970 and are described in a separate catalogue.

Catalogue of the archive of Roundell Cecil Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne
Helen Langley
1978, EAD version 2008
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