Following the death of William Ewart Gladstone (1809–98)—four times the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland, and the greatest Liberal politician of the Victorian Age—his correspondence and papers were divided between two collections. Contrary to his own wishes, the political material was deposited at the British Library and the personal material at the Gladstone Library. While the well-preserved British Library archive has become an established and indispensable resource for biographers and researchers, the equally significant collection at Gladstone’s Library remains a largely unexplored and partially uncatalogued reservoir of insight, containing over 250,000 documents. In cooperation with both the British Library and Gladstone’s Library, the VLLC hopes to re-unite this archive digitally, which will transform the study of Victorian history and politics forever as it enables readers to compare and contrast the private Gladstone with the public “man of the people.”
The VLLC is proud to announce that we will soon be making a sample available online of the first 3,000 images of the Gladstone Papers held in the Hawarden collection thanks to our partners at Gladstone’s Library, Western Carolina University, and our colleagues at the University of South Carolina Department of Digital Collections.
Thanks also to our British Library partners, a previously unknown volume-index that describes Gladstone’s wishes for the organization of his papers will also be available online for viewing in early 2015