This archive comprises three generations of an Oxford academic family; Rohan Butler (1917-1996), his father Harold Butler (1883-1951), and grandfather Alfred J. Butler (1850-1936).
Rohan Butler was a historian and civil servant. He worked at both the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Information during World War II. From 1963 to 1982 he was Historical Advisor to the secretary of state for foreign affairs. He authored two books, The Roots of National Socialism (1941) and his magnus opus Choiseul: Father and Son, 1719-1754 (1980). He was elected a prize fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, in 1938 and continued to be involved with the college throughout out his life.
Rohan Butler’s papers include his personal papers, literary work, time at All Souls College and work as a civil servant. The subseries relating to Choiseul includes extensive notes on the French military officer and diplomat, and on European history of the time, used by Butler to complete the work. There are also several volumes of unpublished poetry, a draft play and papers relating to an unpublished book titled ‘Redeemers of Democracy’.
Harold Butler was a civil servant and author. He worked in various government departments, including the Ministry of Labour and the Home Office. At the outbreak of World War II, he was appointed southern regional commissioner for civil defence. In 1942 he was appointed head of the British Information Service at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, where he remained until his retirement in 1946. His papers relate mainly to his civil service work, including his time in Washington which brought him into correspondence with Churchill, Eden, Ismay and Roosevelt. There are three diaries, covering 1917-1919 and 1940-1941, in which he talks about the war progress and the home situation. Olive Butler was a frequent correspondent to her son, Rohan, and her correspondence gives an insight into a diplomat’s life in Washington during World War II.
Alfred J. Butler was a historian specialising in Coptology. He was the author of several works including; The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt, Vol 1 and 2 (1884), The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Last Thirty Years of the Roman Dominion (1902) and Sport in Classic Times (1930). His papers relate to his work on ancient Coptic Churches and includes a draft manuscript for an unpublished work titled ‘Greater or Lesser Britain’.
This collection will be available soon.