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In-correspondence, 1806-1913

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS JM/B

Scope and Contents

This series contains letters sent to partners or employees of Jardine, Matheson & Co. It is split into two principal parts. The first part contains unbound private letters, exchanged by partners of the firm on business issues (B1-5), and general business letters, exchanged with clients and other parties (B6-11). The second part contains bound volumes of letters sent to the firm by correspondents in the Far East and the United States, comprised of letters to Hong Kong (B12-27), letters from companies (B28-30), and letters to New York (B31). Most of the letters are in English, but Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish also feature.


  • Creation: 1806-1913


Conditions Governing Access

The originals of B1-11 are not available to readers, but microfilm copies may be ordered in the Manuscripts Reading Room using the microfilm reference numbers listed in this catalogue, which are also found in the Outline Catalogue.


401 archive box(es) (401 boxes)

80 volume(s) (80 volumes)

401 archive box(es) (401 boxes)

80 volume(s) (80 volumes)

Language of Materials







Spanish; Castilian


The unbound in-letters (B1-11) were listed by Miss N. Bartlett between 1950 and 1957. They had previously been sorted by separating the 'Private' letters from the main series, and dividing the two resulting series into sub-series (Non-Local, Local, Formosa, Japan, Korea and unplaced) based on the places from which the letters were written. These sub-series were then sub-divided by location, and arranged chronologically within these series. The remaining letters (B12-31), which were added to the series after B1-11, have been arranged into a range of different sub-series.

Other Finding Aids

A listing of the series can be found in the Outline Catalogue, available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

A calendar and index to the unbound in-correspondence (B1-11) were compiled in the 1950s. They were written by hand on, respectively, foolscap sheets and cataloguing slips, and are kept in boxes on the open shelves in the Manuscripts Reading Room. The calendar is arranged in the same manner as the letters - in chronological sequences by the place from which they were written - and are numbered within each sequence. The calendar details the name of the writer, the name of the recipient, the date and the language, but gives no indication of the subject matter.

The index was compiled from the calendar, and records in one alphabetical sequence every individual and firm from whom, or to whom, there is a letter. It does not distinguish between writers and recipients, and gives no further information about the letter other than the number it has been assigned in the calendar. There are no entries for Magniac and Co. or Jardine, Matheson and Co., because they were found to be too numerous to include, but individual partners and members of the firm are named. Some entries include biographical information, and a few include detailed descriptions of the individual concerned.

Related Materials

The series that began as private letters was later renamed semi-official letters. These letters can be found in Series J1.


The catalogue of this series was created by Robert Steiner, with additional work on B1-11 by Liam Sims during 2010, and on B12-31 by Lawrence Brooks during March 2011.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom