This collection consists of photocopies, transcripts, and microfilm of correspondence and other documents found in various British Archives and Depositories. The bulk of these materials were collected by the Illinois History Survey under the leadership of Clarence W. Alvord and Theodore C. Pease in the early twentieth century. The Survey collected the materials in the course of preparing two series of Illinois history, The Centennial History of Illinois and Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, from about 1906 through 1939. The selection of the material therefore reflects the research aims of those works. Pease himself reportedly acquired approximately 4,300 photocopies of material from the Public Record Office while he was on sabbatical in England in 1933. Additional materials were also acquired in the 1950s and 1960s as noted below.
The contents of this collection were described in detail in the Manuscripts Guide to Collections at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1976). The relevant pages are attached here in PDF format for download.
Brief list of contents:
Public Record Office. Papers, 1547-1790. 5014 items, 7 boxed or bound volumes. 38 reels of microfilm and 1 calendar. Photocopies, transcripts, microfilm. Note: The microfilm reels were purchased by the Illinois Historical Survey in 1955 and 1956, but appear to have been transferred out of the Survey to the Main Library in 1982. They are now found in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library under call numbers FILM 941.05 ST29E, FILM 941.05 ST29M, and FILM 941.055 EN34S.
British Museum. Papers, 1671-1858. 1446 items, transcripts, photocopies. [and 16 reels of microfilm not referenced in the guide]
Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth, Blakewell. Devonshire Collection. Papers, 1755-1763. 107 items, photocopies. Materials selected to be copied for the Library by Mary L. Shay in 1954.
Oxford University, Worcester College Library. William Clarke Papers. Papers, 1647-1664. 2 reels of microfilm. Purchased by the Library in 1969.
Royal Institution of Great Britain. Letter, 1783. 1 item, transcript.
Royal Society. Papers, 1671, 1682. 2 items, transcripts.
Staffordshire County Record Office. Dartmouth Papers. Papers, 1763-1777. 121 items, transcripts.