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Finding Aid for the Jesse Collings Tour in the United States and Canada, 1899
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jesse Collings Tour in the United States and Canada
    Date (inclusive): 1899
    Collection number: 170/605
    Creator: Collings, Jesse, 1831-1920
    Extent: 188 leaves : paper, ill. ; 265 x 220 mm. bound to 285 x 233 mm.
    Abstract: The bulk of this manuscript is comprised of typewritten letters authored by Jesse Collings, Britain's Under-Secretary of the Home Office from 1896-1902, describing places visited during his 1899 trip to North America. The typescript is supplemented with illustrations, photographs, ephemera, and three short essays focused primarily on the Civil War and its aftermath.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Processing Note

    Cataloged by Jonathan Naito, with assistance from Jain Fletcher and Laurel McPhee, September 2004, in the Center For Primary Research and Training (CFPRT).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jesse Collings Tour in the United States and Canada (Collection 170/605). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4230403 


    Jesse Collings (1831-1920) was a native of Devonshire, though he lived most of his life in Birmingham. He started out with the mercantile firm of Booth & Co. before moving into politics, serving as mayor of Birmingham before representing Ipswich (1880-1886) and Bordesley (1886-1918) in Parliament. Collings is best known for authoring an important land reform bill, the Small Holdings and Allotments Bill, often referred to as the "three acres and a cow" policy. Collings served as Under-Secretary for the Home Office from 1896-1902. One of the reasons he undertook the journey to North America was an invitation to witness the America's Cup yacht race, but his letters show that his interest in the race was minimal. Instead, he used his time to explore Canada and the United States. Colllings wrote several books on land and education reform and other issues that he saw as central to Britain; his publications include "The land question from the labourer's point of view" (1885), "The colonization of rural Britain; a complete scheme for the regeneration of British rural life" (1914), and "The great war: its lessons and its warnings" (1915).

    Scope and Content

    This manuscript consists of typescript letters written by Jesse Collings for his family during his trip to Canada and the United States in 1899, supplemented with illustrations, photographs, American newspaper clippings featuring interviews with Collings, menus, a brochure for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and a Confederate ten-dollar bill. In addition, an "addenda" section includes notes, three short essays, and four published opinion pieces by Collings, most of which concern what he considered to be Britain's misguided support for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
    His major stops during his trip included Quebec, Niagara Falls, Victoria, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and Virginia. His letters address topics like the relationship between French and English in Canada, Chinese and Japanese immigrants, the Gold Standard controversy in Colorado, Mormonism in Utah, and American political corruption. The newspaper articles demonstrate that he was often expected to speak on behalf of the British government, especially on Canada's future prospects and the issue of the Boer War. While Collings was publicly optimistic about the war, he is more ambivalent in his personal letters.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Genres and Forms of Material


    Related Material

    Bound Manuscripts Collection (Collection 170)  . Available at the UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.