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John Acton, 1st Baron Acton: Personal and Family Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8119-8123

Scope and Contents

A large part of the collection consists of correspondence with British, Continental and North American correspondents, notably Ignaz von Döllinger, Richard Simpson and Thomas Frederick Wetherell. Other correspondents include W. E. Gladstone and his family, J. H. Newman and many of the bishops associated with the minority at the First Vatican Council. There are also large groups of letters sent between Acton's immediate ancestors, and between Acton and his own family. In addition to correspondence, the collection contains a wide range of biographical, financial and legal papers.


  • Creation: 1600-1970 (circa)


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 (


26 archive box(es) : paper

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A piece-level catalogue is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were held initially by the Acton family. With the removal of Lord Acton to Southern Rhodesia in 1947 the collection passed to Mia Woodruff, grand-daughter of the first Lord, and her husband Douglas, at their residence at Marcham Priory, Berkshire. The papers remained at Marcham until their sale to Cambridge University Library in 1973.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm available for 8119

Related Materials

Cambridge University Library holds other papers of Acton, MSS.Add.4607-5021, 5347-5348, 5381-5710, 5751-5776, 7726-7732, 7892 and 9616; a set of letters to him on the subject of the Cambridge modern history, MS.Add.6443; and his personal library of around 60,000 printed books. Shropshire Archives holds papers of the Acton family of Aldenham, 15th to 20th centuries, ref. Acc. 1093 and Acc. 6701.

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