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Desk diaries of the Assistant Private Secretary (Appointments) to the Secretary of State for the Colonies


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Desk diaries of Colonial Office patronage secretaries, with notes recording impressions of prospective candidates for colonial employment at their preliminary interviews, 1899, 1902-1912, 1914, 1915.


  • 1899-1915


15 Volumes

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Brit. Emp. r. 21].
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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Brit. Emp. r. 21

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 1321

Biographical / Historical

The first separate organization for the administration of colonial affairs was a committee of the Privy Council appointed 'for the planta├žons' in 1660. In the same year this was redesignated the Council for Foreign Plantations, and in 1672 it was united with the Council for Trade to form the Council of Trade and Plantations.

From 1768 colonial affairs had also been dealt with by the Secretary of State for the American, or Colonial Department, until 1782, when the Privy Council once again assumed direct responsibility for the colonies.

For the following two years, colonial affairs were dealt with by the Plantations Branch of the Home Office. In 1784, the Committee for Trade and Foreign Plantations was formed, though this gradually lost influence to the Secretary of State for the War and Colonial Department (later the Secretary of State for the Colonies).

The new secretaryship was completely separated from the office of the Secretary for War in 1856. In 1925, a separate Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was appointed. The Colonial Office finally merged with the Commonwealth Relations Office in in 1966 to form the Commonwealth Office.

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 576 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The diaries were transferred from the Records Section of the Library Division of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the library through the Oxford Development Records Project, [c1980].

Related Materials

While the The National Archives is the official custodian of Colonial Office records, the library holds the following Colonial Office material:
  1. Photocopies of manuscript records held at the The National Archive relating to colonial emigration (to Trinidad in particular), 1856-1916 (ref. 100.241 t.2)
  2. Civil uniform for West Africa sanctioned for Administrative and Departmental Officers, 1923 (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 1925)
  3. Circulars, memoranda for the staff of Singapore prison, 1945-1949 (ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 137)
  4. Correspondence with the Customs and Medical departments in the Gold Coast regarding the conduct of their affairs and officials, 1893-1900 (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 215)
  5. Manuscript and printed papers concerning appointments to branches of the Nigerian administration, 1899-1900 (ref. (B) MS. Dep. Monk Bretton 97)
  6. Correspondence with Henry Elliot Fitzgibbon concerning local government in Crown colonies, c1938-1949 (uncatalogued)
  7. Typed copies of circulars on the treatment accorded to foreign consular officers and diplomatic missions in colonial dependencies, 1939 (ref. MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 289)
Desk diaries of the Assistant Private Secretary (Appointments) to the Secretary of State for the Colonies
Paul Davidson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom