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Papers of Sir Albert Charles Seward, Master of Downing College (1915-1936), 1879 - 1950

Reference Code: GBR/0269/DCPP/SEW

Scope and Contents

Correspondence and other papers compiled in his capacity as Master of Downing College.


  • 1879 - 1950


Conditions Governing Access

Some records series are subject to confidentiality restrictions with the following closure periods: 30 years from date of creation for general administration files, legal records and financial files; 50 years from date of creation for governmental records, including papers of the College Governing Body and College Council, and constituent committees; 100 years from date of creation for personal and personnel records, including tutorial files, staff and fellows files and appointment records, personal finance and pension records. In addition sensitive correspondence and papers concerning College affairs such as disputes and disciplinary matters are closed for 100 years. Restrictions apply on some personal and private papers.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Albert Charles Seward (1863-1941), botanist and geologist, was born in Lancaster on 9 October 1863. He attended Lancaster Grammar School and St John's College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a Harkness scholarship in 1888. He became a university lecturer in Botany in 1890 and was elected to a Fellowship at St John's College in 1899, although he shortly afterwards moved to Emmanuel as Science Tutor (and Fellow), 1899-1906. He was Professor of Botany, 1906-1936, Master of Downing College from 1915 to 1936 and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, 1924-1926. He was a prolific academic, writing ten major books and more than one hundred papers in the field of Botany, taking part in an expedition to Western Greenland in 1921. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society from 1886 (president 1922-23), a Fellow of the Royal Society from 1898 (Vice-President 1934-40, awarded the Royal Medal, 1925, and Darwin Medal, 1934) and Linnean Society and was also President of the British Association (1939) and British Philosophical Society. In later life, he presided over the committee of the Scott Polar Institute (founded 1920) and Fenland Research Committee. He was knighted in 1936, the year he retired from his Mastership at Downing and Chair of Botany. He died at Oxford on 11 April 1941.


3 file(s) : Paper

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Rare Books

Related Materials

See DCHR/1/2/SEW for reference file.

Related Materials

Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 3, No. 10 (Dec. 1941), pp. 867-880

Date information

DateText: Papers mainly date from 1915 onwards.


Seward, Sir Albert Charles (1863-1941) Knight, botanist and geologist

Finding aid date

2001-09-25 15:50:13+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Downing College Repository

Downing College Archive
Downing College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 1DQ United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 762905