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
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from
or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The
responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining
necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department.
For more information, contact Reader Services.