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British Historical Manuscripts

A navigational guide to the core British history collections.

Stowe Collection: ca. 350,000 pieces, ca. 1175-1919

Map of Wotton Underwood, St Map 69, Stowe papers.The Stowe collection, named for Stowe House in Buckinghamshire, spans nine centuries. Mostly augmented by family marriages of the 18th century, the papers join the personal and official papers of the Temple, Grenville, Nugent and Brydges families. The papers of Charles O’Connor (1764-1828), Librarian and Chaplain at Stowe, are included with the collection.

The expansiveness of the Stowe papers includes accounts, deeds, rental records, legal documents, manorial court records, household books, inventories, correspondence and financial records. The collection spans local and national politics, as well as the Atlantic slave trade and British West Indies.

Image credit: Map of Wotton Underwood, ST Map 69, Stowe papers. Purchased from Lady Mary Morgan-Grenville, Baroness Kinloss, through Frank Marcham and Museum Bookstore (London), 1925.

Organization & Access

Research Tools:

  • “Guide to British Historical Manuscripts in The Huntington Library” (pages 145-274) provides information about each series within the collection. The Guide is available online through the HathiTrust Digital Library.
  • Access the finding aid for this collection via Summon Discovery. This finding aid is a digitized hand-list, available as a downloadable PDF file. It contains item-level listings of most, but not all, of the series within this collection.
  • The correspondence for each family series in this collection is cataloged at the item-level, but is currently only discoverable in the on-site card catalog. The ST Volumes series also contains some copy letterbooks.
  • A card index of places for the Stowe deeds, sorted by family, is available on-site. Current readers may retrieve the card index through Aeon. Remote researchers should contact the library.

How-to Request:

  • All Stowe manuscript materials must be paged manually through Aeon. Learn how to request materials without library catalog records.
  • The collection’s call number prefix is ST. Given the size of the collection, it is essential to note the family series prefix for the materials you wish to consult. The series prefixes are:
    • ST: Stowe General
    • STT: Stowe-Temple
    • STG: Stowe-Grenville
    • STB: Stowe-Brydges
    • STN: Stowe-Nugent
    • STO: Stowe-O’Conner
  • Refer to the finding aid for the call number for each subseries (e.g., STGM is the Stowe-Grenville Manorial series). 
  • Learn how to find manuscripts in the library catalog.

Other Resources:

  • Over the decades, The Huntington has acquired other single items related to the Stowe collection. These items are not described as part of the Stowe collection and are discoverable as individual items in Summon Discovery and the manuscript card catalog.
  • Learn about related digital resources on our Additional Resources page.