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Alexander William Kinglake: Letters and Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.7633

Scope and Contents

The collection sheds light on the Kinglakes's family life, including the lavish amounts spent by William Kinglake on his children's education, and the support he gave his eldest son through his earliest and unsuccessful years as a barrister. They also show A.W. Kinglake developing a taste for the best society and its attendant expense (letters 1/38, 81 and 96) Kinglake's love of travel is seen in letters written on journeys in Wales, 1833 (1/76-9); France, 1834 (1/81-2); North Africa and Spain, 1839 (1/103); Switzerland, 1843 (1/108); as well as his Eastern Tour of 1834-1835 (1/85-6). There are two leaves of a journal describing a visit to Algiers in 1845 to follow the French military campaigns (4/1-3), and to the Crimea in 1854 (5/1-2). The material on the Crimean War (section 5) includes additionally a series of letters, 1854-1856, from W.G. Romaine, who was attached to the British Headquarters staff as Judge Advocate. The papers include some drafts of material intended for Eothen but not in the end included, principally a description of a visit to the Island of Scio (3/1-5). There are also articles by Kinglake produced for the Quarterly Review in response to the success of Eothen, and an article on the relations between Europe and the Turkish Empire (3/36) which was intended as a review of his friend Eliot Warburton's book The Crescent and the Cross, but which was never used. Kinglake's interest in politics, particularly in foreign affairs, is represented by letters written to him as an M.P. (section 6), which give a few details of his participation in debates in the House of Commons, and include letters from Henry Drummond Wolff in 1863 (6/29-33) on the problems of transferring the administration of the Ionian Islands from Britain to Greece. The final section of correspondence (7) contains letters to Kinglake from a wide variety of his friends, notably William Makepeace Thackeray, Caroline Norton, Lucie Duff Gordon, and her daughter Janet Ross.


  • Creation: 1819-1891


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 (

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright to the papers is held by the Library.


2 archive box(es) (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

When Kinglake knew he was dying he seems to have destroyed most of his papers, and he instructed his executor, his brother Hamilton Kinglake, to destroy all papers that were not necessary to be preserved. The remaining papers consist of items presumably kept by Kinglake for reasons of friendship or because they cast a favourable light on him and his writings. In addition, Hamilton Kinglake, who lived in the family home in Taunton, evidently inherited early family letters from his parents. The papers descended to Hamilton's granddaughter, Miss Beata Harford. Miss Harford presented them to the Library in 1963.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm available


For information on the life of Kinglake see W. Tuckwell, A.W. Kinglake, a biographical and literary study (London, 1902), and Gerald de Gaury, Travelling gent, the life of Alexander Kinglake (1809-1891) (London, 1972). De Gaury used the collection extensively, though not always accurately, in preparing his work.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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