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Robert Fitzroy: Correspondence

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8853

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of a total of 75 letters. Nos 1-54 are comprised of letters from Fitzroy to his father, his brother George Fitzroy, and his sisters Emily Fitzroy and Frances Rice Trevor, 1816-1843, including some correspondence between his siblings. They include long descriptions of topography, local events and people, naval matters, and progress of the survey. Many were written from ships and ports of call in the Mediterranean and South America, including nos 39-52, written by Fitzroy whilst commanding H.M.S. 'Beagle'. Nos 55-70 consist of correspondence from 1852 exchanged between Fitzroy, his aunt Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry (wife of Fitzroy's maternal uncle, the 3rd Marquis), and his brother-in-law Lord Dynevor, regarding the proposed adoption of Fitzroy's daughter Emily by Lady Londonderry following the death of Fitzroy's first wife and Lord Dynevor's failed attempts to mediate between Fitzroy and the Marchioness. The remaining items, nos 71-75, are miscellanea, undated letters and covers.


  • Creation: 1816-1852


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 file(s) (1 box-file paper) : paper

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room, including a detailed biographical history of Fitzroy and summaries of the contents of the letters.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased, 1991.

Related Materials

The Royal Greenwich Observatory Archives, also held in the Manuscripts Department, contain exchanges of correspondence between Fitzroy as head of the Meteorological Office and George Airy, Astronomer Royal, classmark RGO 6, notably in the sections on magnetism and meteorology, RGO 6/641-704; Royal Astronomical Society, RGO 6/227-244; time balls, RGO 6/612-625; and astrology, chemistry and chronology, RGO 6/462-483. The Archives also contain correspondence of Fitzroy with Thomas McClear, H.M. Astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope, RGO 15.

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