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British Library of Political and Economic Science

Emigrants' Letters from the USA, Canada and Australia


Reference code(s): GB 0097 EMIGRANTS LETTERS

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: Emigrants' Letters from the USA, Canada and Australia

Date(s): 1745-1986

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 11 boxes

Name of creator(s): Various


Administrative/Biographical history:

Most of the letters in the collection were collected by Charlotte Erickson and the staff of the Survey of Sources for American Studies during their work in the 1950s, whilst others were donated or purchased.


Scope and content/abstract:

Letters written by emigrants to the USA, Canada and Australia to their friends and families in the British Isles, 1745-1911, with related papers. The collection includes a few original letters, but mainly comprises xeroxes, transcripts or microfilms of originals. Also includes: Database of emigrant individuals giving details of their place of departure, occupation, who they wrote to, where the settled and other pieces of information.


Language/scripts of material: English, with note in Welsh in file 1/54.

System of arrangement:

Divided into sections as follows: 1. Miscellaneous; 2. Cowan Letters; 3. Dallas Jones III; 4. Fridge Letters; 5. Additional.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Most items can be photocopied, subject to handling and copyright restrictions. No material may be published without the prior permission of both the copyright holder and the Library. All applications for publication must be made to the Archivist in the first instance, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue available from Archives staff. Access to the database is currently available via the Archives Reading Room.



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The collection is made up of several different accessions made between 1957 and 1986, of which the main one is M627. Very little documentation has been kept on these additional accessions; some appear to have been given to the Archives Division by unknown donors, others seem to have been purchased. The earlier accessions were all listed together in Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4. Section 5 is made up of later deposits.


Related material:

Publication note:

Some of the letters have been reproduced in print in Charlotte Erickson's 'Invisible immigrants: the adaptation of English and Scottish immigrants in nineteenth century America', London, LSE, 1972.


Archivist's note: Sources: Copied from LSE Archives CALM database

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Feb 2008

Immigration | Migration
Letter writing | Writing | Communication skills | Communication process

Personal names
Cowan | James Innes | 1863-1940
Cowan | Walter B | fl 1882-1890
Crick | Bernard Rowland | b 1929 | Professor of Politics
Erickson | Charlotte Joanne | fl 1923 | economic historian
Jones | Dallas | fl 1969

Corporate names
Survey of Sources for American Studies

Australia | Oceania
Canada | North America
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
USA | North America