Tower Armouries - Letter Books

Object Title

Tower Armouries - Letter Books

Tower Armouries - Letter Books

Date

1939-47

Reference

RA LET C1

Level

File

Scope and Content

Out-letters by James Mann in his capacity as Master of the Armouries as well as some as Keeper at the Wallace Collection. The letters are overwhelmingly in draft format, often corrected, signed or unsigned. Many are carbon copies of finalised letters.

Letters cover full range of Mann's activities, including purchases, gifts, donations and loans. Many of them are concerned with the general management of the Tower collections. Issues surrounding staffing and the organisation of the Tower Armouries are also addressed.

Significant correspondence includes letters to Sir Robert Will, Chariman of the National Art Collection Fund concerning purchases from the Hearst Collection most notably the Earl of Pembroke's armour in 1939 (1939-1942, p. 6); letters to Sir William Burrell about refitting the Bloody Tower; letters concerning arrangements for the preservation and protection of arms and armour still kept in the Tower and for pieces at Beaconsfield (1939-1942, p. 60); the gift of an executioner's sword once in the Meyrick collection (1939-1942, p. 327); descriptions of acquisitions from the Farleigh Hungerford and Norton Hall Collections (1939-1942, pp. 132, 520); the destruction of objects at RAF Andover as a result of enemy bombing (1939-1942, p. 534).

Very significant letter about the Tower Armouries' ability to acquire objects to A. Miller of the Ministry of Works and Planning. Mann notes that the last purchase was made in 1898. Despite the unique place of the Tower Armouries as the 'only national museum in this country exclusively devoted to arms and armour prior to 1914' it has no grant or endowment to made purchases (1943-1946, pp. 888-9. See also p. 1037), 4 volumes only: 1939-1942, 1943-1946, Index for 1939-1946, 1947 (with integral index).

Extent

1 box file; 4 volumes

Archivist's Note

Box file is currently located in Plans Chest in TOL Library pending completion of this catalogue entry.