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Sir Francis Beaufort Papers: Finding Aid
mssFB 1-1920  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Administrative Information
  • Access
  • Scope and Content
  • Material Cataloged Separately
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Sir Francis Beaufort Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1710-1953
    Bulk dates: 1780-1890
    Collection Number: mssFB 1-1920
    Creator: Beaufort, Francis, Sir, 1774-1857.
    Extent: 2,143 pieces in 38 boxes.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection is comprised of three sets of distinct papers concerning members of the Beaufort, Edgeworth, and Larpent families. The bulk of the collection consists of the papers of Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), hydrographer of the British Navy and member of the Royal Society, as well as papers of other members of the Beaufort family. Subject matter includes naval operations of the British Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars; geography and hydrography; Irish affairs; the Royal Society and scientific affairs in England; and family affairs. In addition there are also papers of Beaufort's daughter Lady Strangford, Emily Ann Smythe (1826-1887), a travel writer and illustrator, and papers of English diplomat John James Larpent (1783-1860) and his family.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Sir Francis Beaufort Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Purchased from Francis N. Beaufort-Palmer, 1968-1973.

    Processing/Project Information

    This collection was initially processed by Huntington Library staff, and cards for individual items were created and filed in the chronological and alphabetical sections of the Manuscripts Catalog. In 2000, the finding aid was encoded and revised by Xiuzhi Zhou. In 2016, Dorothy Auyong and Diann Benti updated and expanded the finding aid.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Scope and Content

    This collection is comprised of three sets of distinct papers concerning members of the Beaufort, Edgeworth, and Larpent families that were purchased from a shared descendant. The bulk of the collection consists of the papers of British hydrologist and admiral Sir Francis Beaufort and his family; in addition there are also papers of Beaufort's daughter Lady Strangford, Emily Ann Smythe (1826-1887), a travel writer and illustrator, and papers of English diplomat John James Larpent (1783-1860) and his family. Some organic material [dried plant specimens] is contained in the collection.

    Sir Francis Beaufort Papers (1,967 pieces in 35 boxes)

    The papers of Sir Francis Beaufort, dating from 1710-1953 (bulk 1780-1890), consist of diaries, journals, account books and correspondence of Beaufort and members of the Beaufort and Edgeworth families including his father Daniel Augustus Beaufort, first wife Alicia Magdalena Wilson Beaufort (died 1834). The collection includes information related to British naval history (especially during the Napoleonic Wars), Irish affairs, hydrography, scientific research in England in the early 19th century, and the Near East, including research for Sir Francis's work Karamania (1817).

    Emily Smythe, Viscountess Strangford Papers (78 pieces in 1 box)

    The papers of Emily Smythe, Viscountess Strangford, dating from 1836-1888, contain correspondence of Lady Strangford and her husband, Percy Ellen Frederick William Smythe, as well as Lady Strangford's travel journals (1876-1877) from Bulgaria, and various legal papers.

    John James Larpent, Baron de Hochepied, Papers (98 pieces in 3 boxes)

    The papers of John James Larpent, Baron de Hochepied papers, dating from 1814-1859 and consisting of diplomatic correspondence accumulated by Larpent during his term as British consul in Belgium. These items notably document diplomatic relationship between England and Belgium, particularly at the time of the French Revolution of 1830. In addition, there are letters from Larpent's sister-in-law Catherine Elizabeth Reeves, the diary (1853-1859) of his daughter Clarissa de Hochepied Larpent James, and the journal (1860-1876) of his wife, Georgiana Frances Reeves Larpent.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    The information file for this collection also includes the following relevant items:
    • David, Andrew C. F. A Description of the Surveys of Sir Francis Beaufort Held in the Archives of the Hydrographic Department, Ministry of Defence, Taunton Somerset, England. 1977 (19 pages)
    • Ellison, C. C. "Remembering Dr. Beaufort." Published in the Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society. Jan.-Mar. 1975 (36 pages)
    • Waller, M. W. B. Craig. The History of Some of Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort's Possessions, A Note by Commander M. W. B. Craig Waller, D.S.C., R.N. 1976. (6 pages)
    • Waller, M. W. B. Craig. Some Notes on De Hochpied and Larpent. Also notes from a letter re the spelling of Emily Anne (Beaufort) Smythe, Viscountess Strangford. 1976 (3 pages)
    • Friendly, Alfred. Solution to Sir Francis Beaufort's cipher. 1974 (1 page)


    Organized in the following series:
    • 1. Sir Francis Beaufort Papers (Boxes 1-34, 38)
    • 2. Emily Smythe, Viscountess Strangford papers (Box 35)
    • 3. John James Larpent, Baron de Hochepied papers (Boxes 36-37)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Aleksandŭr I, Prince of Bulgaria, 1857-1893 -- Correspondence.
    Beaufort, Daniel Augustus, 1739-1821 -- Archives.
    Beaufort, Francis, Sir, 1774-1857 -- Archives.
    Beaufort, Alicia Magdalena Wilson, -1834 -- Archives.
    Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, 1744-1817 -- Archives.
    Edgeworth, Maria, 1768-1849 -- Archives.
    Eliot, George, 1819-1880 -- Correspondence.
    Hillyar, James, 1769-1843 -- Correspondence.
    Larpent, John James de Hochepied, Baron, active 1825-1837 -- Correspondence.
    Lear, Edward, 1812-1888 -- Correspondence.
    Strangford, Emily Anne Beaufort Smythe, Viscountess, -1887 -- Archives.
    Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901 -- Correspondence.
    Great Britain. Royal Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Great Britain. Hydrographic Department -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Royal Society (Great Britain) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Consuls -- Great Britain -- Correspondence.
    Diplomats -- Great Britain -- Correspondence.
    Geographers -- Great Britain -- Archives.
    Hydrography -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815 -- Naval operations -- Sources.
    Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878 -- Civilian relief -- Personal narratives.
    Travelers' writings, English.
    Women philanthropists -- Great Britain -- Archives.
    Women -- Great Britain -- Diaries.
    Belgium -- History -- Insurrection, 1830 -- Sources.
    Belgium -- History -- Revolution, 1830-1839 -- Sources.
    Belgium -- Foreign relations -- 19th century.
    Belgium -- Foreign relations -- Great Britain.
    Bulgaria -- History -- Uprising, 1876 -- Civilian relief -- Personal narratives.
    Egypt -- Description and travel.
    Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- 1800-1837 -- Sources.
    Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- Belgium.
    Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- Netherlands.
    Great Britain -- History, Naval -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Great Britain -- History -- 18th century -- Sources.
    Great Britain -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Ireland -- History -- 1760-1820 -- Sources.
    Netherlands -- Foreign relations -- 1815-
    Netherlands -- Foreign relations -- Great Britain.
    Turkey -- Description and travel.
    Mediterranean Coast (Egypt) -- Nautical charts.
    Mediterranean Coast (Turkey) -- Nautical charts.


    Account books -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain.
    Diaries -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
    Family papers -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
    Manuscripts -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
    Personal papers -- Great Britain.
    Professional papers -- Great Britain.
    Travel literature -- Great Britain -- 19th century.

    Additional contributors

    Aleksandŭr I, Prince of Bulgaria, 1857-1893.
    Beaufort, Daniel Augustus, 1739-1821.
    Beaufort, Alicia Magdalena Wilson, -1834.
    Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, 1744-1817.
    Edgeworth, Maria, 1768-1849.
    Eliot, George, 1819-1880.
    James, Clarissa Larpent de Hochepied.
    Larpent, Georgiana Frances Reeves de Hochepied.
    Reeves, Catherine Elizabeth.
    Lear, Edward, 1812-1888.