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The Blenheim Papers



THE papers of John, 1st Duke of Marlborough, his wife, Sarah, and his son-in-law, Charles 3rd Earl of Sunderland, as well as of other members of the Spencer, Churchill, and related families, formerly kept at Blenheim Palace, were acquired by the British Library in 1978. They were originally offered to the Treasury in part payment of duty on the estate of the 10th Duke of Marlborough (d. 11 March 1972) late in 1973. The present writer spent two long week-ends inspecting the collection in the Muniment Room at Blenheim in January and March 1974, and made a list and valuations based on the original manuscript list, in three volumes, made at the end of the nineteenth century by J. Stuart Reid, which was itself based on the arrangement made by Archdeacon William Coxe at the beginning of the century. Staff of the Department of Manuscripts collected the papers from Blenheim in mid-November 1976, and the papers were stored in the Department pending their allocation to an institution. The Department of Education and Science advertised the collection in mid-March 1977, and the decision to allocate the papers to the British Library was announced in Parliament on 25 January 1978.


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