Correspondence, 1905 - 1979
Scope and Contents
The principal interest of this collection lies in the day-to-day picture it presents of diplomatic life. Throughout his life Stevens sent lively and detailed letters home to his parents from his foreign postings as he did to his first wife, Constance, in the intervals when they were apart. These are full of vivid accounts of places visited and events witnessed, reflections on issues of the moment at the time and discerning descriptions of the people he was meeting in Argentina, the United States, Sweden, Paris, Antwerp, Rhodesia [later Zambia and Zimbabwe], Nyasaland [now Malawi] and Persia [now Iran]. The letters are supplemented by journals and diaries that Sir Roger kept throughout his life. An interesting example is Sir Roger's diary from 1962 (STVS 8/25 b) which documents his tour of South Africa and includes his observations on colonial policy and administration and newspaper cuttings regarding his view of apartheid. From his time as Ambassador to Persia, Sir Roger gained a passionate interest in the people, art and history of that country and the collection contains the notes he used in writing two books on Persia, "The Land of the Great Sophy" and a work on seventeenth century European travellers in Persia originally entitled "Persian Bandwagon" but renamed by Sir Roger after the revolution which overthrew the Shah as "First View of Persia". These documents are complemented by the many photographs Sir Roger took whilst travelling Persia which depict the people, art, architecture and scenery of the country (STVS 12). This also includes photographs taken throughout Stevens' life of his youth, his diplomatic role as Ambassador to Sweden and Persia, his role as Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University and his later life. The collection also includes speeches, notes, book reviews, lectures and articles written by Stevens after his retirement from the Foreign Office on topics including the Middle East, Iran and Persia (STVS 9). There are in the collection some letters, press cuttings and speeches relating to Sir Roger's Vice-Chancellorship of Leeds University (STVS 11) and also copies of reports by a number of committees to which he belonged after his retirement from the Foreign Office. However the bulk of the material of this later period relates to his membership of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal (UNAT), including several judgements delivered by this body. Two interesting items in the collection are Sir Roger's account of the attacks on British ships at Alicante and of the events in Valencia when he spent a brief period there during the Spanish Civil War (STVS 1/25) and the correspondence and notes he was compiling on Sir William Strang (STVS 10) with a view to writing his biography shortly before his own death in 1980.
- 1905 - 1979
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is available for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.
Language of Materials
Finding aid date
Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository
Churchill Archives Centre
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
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