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National Library of Wales
Senior, Nassau William, manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSSENIOR

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Nassau William Senior Manuscripts

Short Title: Senior, Nassau William, manuscripts

Creation date(s): 1790-1912

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 12 volumes

Name of creator(s): Nassau William Senior


Administrative/Biographical history: Nassau William Senior, lawyer, author and political economist, was born at Compton Beauchamp (some sources state Uffington), Berkshire. He enrolled at Eton College in 1803 before entering Magdalen College, Oxford in 1806, graduating with a first in Classics in 1811. By the time he left Magdalen, Senior had already begun his career in Lincoln's Inn and it was around this time that he began writing reviews and articles of a legal or literary nature for the Quarterly Review. In 1823 he joined the recently formed Political Economy Club, where he remained an active member for the next forty years, during which time he established himself as a successful lawyer and economist. Since the 1820s Senior had been involved in several social concerns, including the rights of factory workers and the socio-economic problems of the poor. In 1837 he published his Letters on the Factory Act as it Affects the Cotton Manufacture and, in 1841, the parliamentary Report on the Condition of the Handloom Weavers. He held the then unorthodox view that government intervention in the form of capital investment should be carried out in an attempt to relieve the problems of the poor in both Britain and Ireland. Senior's lifelong friendship with the political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville began when the two men met in London in 1833. Senior's daughter-in-law, the philanthropist Jane Elizabeth Senior, was the first woman to be appointed an inspector of workhouses and pauper schools.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers, 1790-1912, of, or relating to, Nassau William Senior and his family. They include family correspondence, including transcripts, 1800-1912; correspondence of Nassau William Senior with Lord Lansdowne, [?1831]-[c. 1860], and John Murray Forbes, 1855-1863; letters to Senior from Alexis de Tocqueville, Edward Everett and George Sumner, 1842-1863, mainly relating to contemporary political events in France and the United States; papers, 1834-1837, concerning Poor Law legislation, social and religious issues in Ireland and factory regulation in the cotton industry; letters, 1855-1876, to Jane Elizabeth Senior; a journal of Senior's tour in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, [?1819]; and miscellaneous papers, including letters from statesmen and ecclesiastical dignitaries, 1790-1887, collected by Walter Nassau Senior.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 23310-23316, 23857E, 23859-23861, 23965C.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: The contents of NLW MSS 23310-16 are indexed in greater detail in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, vol. 9 (Aberystwyth, 2003).


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased from Jeffrey Stern, antiquarian bookseller, Heslington, York, 1994 (NLW MSS 23310-11); purchased at auction (lots 60, 61, 84) at Christie's, London, 12 October 1994 (NLW MSS 23312-6); purchased at auction (lots 36, 27, 40, 55, 56) at Sotheby's, London, 19 December 2000 (NLW MSS 23857E, 23859-61); purchased from Quaritch Ltd, London, July 2007 (NLW MS 23965C).


Related material: For other papers and correspondence of Nassau William Senior see NLW MS 23858 (currently uncatalogued) and NLW, Nassau Senior Papers.

Publication note: See Gwyn Jenkins, 'The Nassau Senior Papers' in NLWJ, 21 (1979-80), 76-84.


Note: Title based on contents

Archivist's note: Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS, and revised by Rhys Morgan Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IX (Aberystwyth, 2003); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online (viewed 1-2 April 2009).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2 and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: April 2009 and January 2014

Senior, Nassau William, 1790-1864 | Correspondence
Senior, Nassau William, | 1790-1864 | Archives

Personal names
Senior , Nassau William , 1790-1864

Corporate names


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