I’m pleased to let you know that thanks to a request from an HCA student the Library currently has trial access to World War 1 and the Spanish Civil War: as reported by an Ambassador, 1863-1939 from British Online Archives. This fascinating digital archive contains over 37,000 pages from Esmé Howard’s personal and professional papers. Howard (1863-1939) is widely regarded as one of the most influential British diplomats of the early-20th century.
You can access this database from the E-resources trials page.
Access is available on and off-campus.
Trial access ends 22nd February 2020.
Howard held a number of important posts before serving as British Ambassador to the United States between 1924 and 1930. This collection contains Howard’s papers, from private correspondence to professional records. These documents provide an interesting insight into the evolution of British foreign policy during and between the two world wars.
The collection is arranged in 8 volumes:
- Personal Records
Howards’s diaries follow his career through South Africa, Crete, Sweden, England, Geneva, Poland, Madrid and Versailles. Howard’s other interests are in evidence here through correspondence relating to art, British politics, and the preservation of the Lake District. Correspondence on Howard’s career covers his time in the military and the Ark Industrial Association.
- Estate Records
The primary focus of these records is upon the development of the rubber and cocoa plantation syndicate which owned plantations in Trinidad and Tobago during the latter 19th and early 20th century. As an absentee owner, Howard corresponded with the plantation manager on a regular basis and his so doing has resulted in an archive with a rare level of detail upon the running of such plantations. Other records show details of the Howard family homes between 1898 and 1939.
- General Letters Arranged Alphabetically
Most of this correspondence is on a wide range of topics that arose during 1936; however, some recurring themes are present. The items from assorted politicians and diplomats is readily anticipated; Howard’s correspondence with poets: Hilaire Belloc, Wilfred Scawen Blunt, and Alfred Noyes, is less predictable.
- General Letters Arranged by Date
General letters dated from 1867 until 1939, includes letters of congratulations to Sir Esme Howard on his elevation to the peerage.
- General Letters on Specific Themes
The dominant theme within this group of documents is of Esme Howard’s personal correspondence with members of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Diplomatic departments of the British Government. Other correspondence included herein features some content from: Ramsay MacDonald, Theodore Roosevelt, and George Bernard Shaw. Howard’s draft unposted letters include those intended for Kaiser Wilhelm II.
- Diplomatic Career
The significance of these documents lies as much with the range of countries they cover as with the subjects under discussion. During his diplomatic career Esme Howard served at British Embassies in the following countries: Ireland, Italy, Germany, Crete, United States, Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, Sweden and Spain. Howard was also present at the Versailles peace conference and this has led to the inclusion of the Conditions of Peace Agreed at Versailles alongside correspondence and memoranda relating to the conference.
- Subject Files
This group contains three core themes: diplomacy and peace negotiations, correspondence and printed reports re. Maltese affairs, and content on Catholic affairs. The focus of diplomatic and peace negotiations here is upon the establishment of the League of Nations as well as sanctions it imposed upon countries found to be in breach of its terms. The issue of the Free State of Danzig also features as a diplomatic anomaly created by the Treaty of Versailles. The correspondence upon Maltese affairs focusses upon the period when a power struggle was taking place between the British Government and the Vatican for political control of this, then British, colony. British relations with the Vatican and Catholic church, alongside questions of religious freedom in Mexico, Russia, and Italy, also feature in the latter part of this group. The final subject covered in this selection is that of war and disarmament; earlier papers discuss the end of the Boer War, while latter items focus on the promotion of disarmament from the end of World War 1 until 1936.
- Printed and Pictorial Records
These printed records cover an eclectic mix of subjects, the foremost of these are literary works and other compositions by Howard, succeeded by official publications from various official bodies including the Diplomatic Service, the League of Nations, the Psychological Warfare Department, the Baltic Institute, and the West India Royal Commission. Reports of a different nature can be found through the press cuttings and photographs which also feature. Howard’s academic writings take various forms, from politicial and socio-economic essays, to descriptions of his foreign visits and an assortment of speeches, letters, articles and forewords. Other issues covered here include: the treatment of Catholics, the preservation of the Lake District, protection of wildlife, and general miscellaneous content.
Access is only available to current students and staff at University of Edinburgh.
Please note, trial access to a resource is an opportunity for our staff and students to try a resource out and give feedback on its quality and usefulness. However, if we trial a resource this is not an indication that we plan to or will be able to purchase or subscribe to the resource in the near future.
Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for History, Classics and Archaeology