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Francis Jenkinson: War Correspondence

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.6444

Scope and Contents

Correspondence relating to the collection of enemy propaganda in World War I. From the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, Jenkinson foresaw the need for a permanent collection of wartime publications which would range beyond the popular histories and scholarly monographs to include ephemeral material: posters, pamphlets, and - he laid particular emphasis on this - propaganda literature generated by both sides. Jenkinson saw his collection serving a lofty purpose. In a letter drafted for the vice-chancellor's signature on 3 May 1918 he justifies his scheme as a natural extension of Lord Acton's great library of the history of liberty, acquired by the Library some sixteen years earlier. The fight to preserve cherished liberties was, he believed, quite as important as any record of their past vicissitudes. Allied propaganda was relatively easy to come by, but Jenkinson faced many difficulties in acquiring samples of the work of German, Austrian and Turkish agents round the globe. The British authorities had to be pacified - censors took a dim view of the dubious papers and journals arriving daily at the University Library - and the range of sources had to be extended. This present collection reflects Jenkinson's unceasing efforts to seek out such material: relying on old college friends and contacts, and the all important 'friend of a friend', he established links with a diverse set of suppliers world-wide. Retired British colonels in Gibraltar, Swiss salami dealers, displaced Balkan diplomats, busy New York lawyers, and Colombian 'merchants' were all courted, and responded with the unusual, and the unique. Unless otherwise stated, all items are letters addressed to Francis Jenkinson.


  • Creation: 1914-1918


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


1 volume(s) (1 volume)

Language of Materials



The arrangement, at times rather inconsistent, preserves Jenkinson's working alphabetical sequence. Cross-references have been added where appropriate.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These letters were found in the Library on Jenkinson's death in 1923, and were allocated an additional manuscript number at that time.

Related Materials

The War Reserve Collection is located in the Rare Books Department of the Cambridge University Library with a classmark WRA-WRE.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom