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Airlie-Stanley-Ogilvy papers

Identifier: COU:4349

Scope and Content

The Airlie=Stanley-Ogilvy Papers is comprised of correspondence, photographs, notebooks, legal papers, miscellaneous materials and one microfilm.


  • Creation: 1820 - 1965

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


The Ogilvys trace their ancestry to Gilbert, a descentant of the Earls of Angus, who was granted the barony of Ogilvy by William the Lion about 1163. The Airlie peerage was created in 1491. Notable relatives of Jack Ogilvy include J.M. Barrie, first cousin once removed, and Clementine Ogilvy Spencer Churchill, first cousin of Jack and wife of Winston Churchill.

A forward to the Ogilvy letters by Jack Ogilvy:

Some years ago I had occasion to sort through some five boxes of family letters collected by my grandmother (Henrietta) Blanche Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie, ranging in date from 1853 to 1921. It occurred to me that it would be interesting to make a sort of diary of the books the writers were reading and the ideas they were discussing.

Many of the letters in the collection were written by Lady Airlie's mother, Lady Henrietta Maria Stanley of Alderly. Lord Stanley had been active in politics and had for a time been Postmaster General - a title by which the family seems frequently (and ironically?) to have referred to him. The most interesting anecdote about him in the letters tells of how, when he was asked whether he would accept the ambassadorship to Washington he replied that if he could not have "at least Constantinople" he wasn't interested.

Lady Stanley continued the "blue-stocking" tradition of the 18th and early 19th centuries. She knew not only politicians and men of letters from Carlyle to Matthew Arnold, but also scientists and other interesting persons. I do not think she was a tuft-hunter: she liked interesting people and because she was interesting herself, they liked her.

In her later years, she conducted a salon at No. 40 Dover Street. The salon was in a room on what the English call the first floor, and across the landing from it was another room in which Lady Stanley's daughters and other visitors could leave their children in charge of a nurse or governess while they attended the salon.

Lady Stanley's grandchildren could, if they were interested, look out onto the landing and see the guests as they arrived. In this way, my father once saw Robert Browning, whom he described as "a big, upstanding fellow who moved well." Pressed for further details, father replied that he had not paid a great deal of attention, for, after all, Browning was only a literary bloke. If B. had been a noted horseman, I might have got a better description.

Lady Stanley was a believer in education for women and sometimes served [as] a supervisor of examinations for women studying at the University of London. (Men, apparently, were unacceptable for this work.) She also gave Girton College, Oxford, its first laboratory.

Lady Airlie would have preferred to follow in the political-intellectual tradition of her mother, but her husband was more interested in managing his estates, breeding Angus cattle, and business than in life in London. He was interested in investment in America, and made several journeys to this country - one of them during the Civil War. On some of these journeys he was accompanied by his younger son Lyulph and on one of them also by his daughter Maude. On the last of these journeys, he died in Denver (September 25, 1881). Lyulph Ogilvy settled in Colorado in 1883, though he made rather frequent visits to Britain.

The collection of letters also includes a number from Lady Airlie's younger sister, Maude Stanley. For a time, it was thought that a romance might develop between Maude and Rawlinson, the great archaeologist; but nothing came of it, and she never married. She became a pioneer in social work and was the author of a book, Clubs for Working Girls . One of her chief concerns was to develop a substitute for the pub as a social center for the poor, and she established coffee houses for this purpose. Many of her letters deal with these concerns.

It is not, perhaps, generally realized today how much the latter 19th century was concerned with temperance and even prohibition - both subjects that appear from time to time in the letters. One of them mentions a debate in the House of Lords in which a speaker pointed out that beer was a much safer drink than the water in most English villages.


4.5 linear feet (9 Boxes)


Papers of the Airlie, Stanley, and Ogilvy families, including correspondence and photographs.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to Special Collections by Professor Jack Ogilvy in circa 1963 and 1987.

Related Materials

The Ogilvy exhibition box (MS 49 Box 11) contains information on the Airlie and Ogilvy family trees and copies of their entries in Debrett's and Burke's.

Separated Materials

The J.D.A. Ogilvy Papers (MS297) includes writings by Ogilvy, materials on his father, Lyulph Ogilvy, and his wife, Dorthy Stanley Ogilvy.

Guide to the Airlie-Stanley-Ogilvy Papers (MS 49), 1820-1965
Edited Full Draft
Emily Semenoff
© 2008
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Finding aid is in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States