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This collection contains the official, semi-official, and personal papers of six generations of the Egerton family of Great Britain. Also known as the "Ellesmere Collection," the papers span from 1150-1803 and include approximately 13,000 pieces with particular strengths related to domestic management, religion, politics, literature, law, and diplomacy from the late 16th through 18th centuries. The geographic scope of the collection includes all of the British Isles, the British Atlantic, and early colonial America, and foreign relations with Western Europe.
Descendants of Sir Thomas Egerton, Baron Ellesmere and Viscount Brackley (1540?-1617), a noted jurist, statesman, and patron of the arts and literature, the Egertons were known as a politically and socially influential family. John Egerton, son of Sir Thomas Egerton, obtained earldom, and John Scrope Egerton was made the 1st Duke of Bridgewater. With the death of Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, the dukedom became extinct. The childless duke left the Bridgewater House in London, together with its famous library to his nephew George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland. His son Francis Egerton Ellesmere (1800-1857) who assumed the name of Egerton, was created Viscount Brackley and 1st Earl of Ellesmere. He was known as a poet, collector and patron of scholarship, the first President of the Camden society. He retained the services of John Payne Collier, the literary critic and notorious forger. Collier published a catalog of selected items from the Bridgewater Library. He also acquired the collection of plays of John Larpent, Examiner of Plays, which he sold to the Earl in 1853.
approximately 13,000 pieces
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