Written Records

Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York

Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York

The Borthwick Institute for Archives houses several collections of Rowntree archives in which there is considerable overlap (reflecting the close integration of the Rowntree & Co /Rowntree Macintosh company, the Joseph Rowntree Trusts, and the Rowntree family over the 19th and 20th centuries).

The main collections are:

  1. The Rowntree Papers: the research papers of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree. Owned by the University of York. No online catalogue presently available, but there is a hard copy catalogue available at the Borthwick.
  2. The Rowntree Mackintosh Company Archive. Owned by Nestlé plc. For an online listing (edited by J. Burg) see http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/results.aspx?tab=2&Page=1&ContainAllWords=rowntree

The company archive also includes what survives of the Rowntree Company Technical Library, containing pamphlets, cuttings and books about management, business and the confectionery industry etc. A brief box listing is available at the Borthwick; no online catalogue presently available.

  1. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation Archive. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (formerly called the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust, and the Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust) is one of the three Trusts set up by Joseph Rowntree in 1904. The holdings at the Borthwick include archives created by the Foundation itself, including papers on housing, and New Earswick model village, as well as other Rowntree material which was formerly housed at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Library. This other material includes (1) Papers and correspondence of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree (2) Rowntree Company papers  [which complement the holdings in the Rowntree Mackintosh Company Archive itself]  (3) Family correspondence and papers, including letters between Joseph Rowntree and his family.

Owned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. There are hard copy catalogues at the Borthwick; no online catalogue is presently available. The catalogues are currently being restructured and updated, so that the resources will in future become more searchable for external users.

  1. Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust; a small amount of material (mixed into the Joseph Rowntree Foundation archive).
  2. Rowntree Family Letters. This is a separate collection of letters, including letters by Joseph Rowntree and his family, in particular to and from his first wife Julia: this complements the holdings of letters within the Joseph Rowntree Foundation archive.

Note: some material is still held currently by the Joseph Rowntree Trusts, but more archive material from the Trusts may be deposited at the Borthwick in the future.

Brotherton Library, Special Collections, The University Library, University of Leeds

The Quaker Archive at the University of Leeds holds the Clifford Street (York) collection of Quaker meeting minute books and business records (such as lists of members and marriage certificates), covering mainly York and Thirsk, but also Yorkshire as a whole. There are maps showing the extent of the relevant Yorkshire monthly meetings before 1853, 1854-1923 and since 1924. The Rowntrees played a major part in the Clifford Street Meeting and their involvement in its daily business and spiritual development is reflected in these papers.



British Newspapers Archive

An online collection of up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library’s collection; contains very many entries on Rowntree.


Bruno Lasker papers

Bruno Lasker’s (1880-1965) papers are held by the Columbia University Libraries Archival Collections.


City of York Archives & Libraries

York City Council’s holdings relate mostly to the civic aspects of the city’s history and the Rowntrees’ part in that history, including pamphlets and historic newspapers, and the ‘Cocoa Letters’ (a collection of letters sent back from the front to thank the Lord Mayor and sheriff for their generosity in sending consignments of chocolate out to the serving troops).


Charles Booth online archive

The original record, held at the London School of Economics, of Booth’s investigation into life and labour in London, between 1886 and 1903.


Friends House Library, London

One of the largest libraries in the world for Quaker collections, including many Quaker journals. Some Rowntree family material, especially in relation to their Quaker work nationally, is housed here.


Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust archive

The papers of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust are held by the trust.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation archive

The papers of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation are mostly held by the Borthwick Institute for Archives (see above).

Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust archive

The papers of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust are held by the trust.

Quaker archives in Yorkshire

A research bibliography ‘Researching Quaker Yorkshire History’ was compiled by Helen E. Roberts in 2003 (updated in 2007);

see http://www.hull.ac.uk/oldlib/archives/quaker/quakerguide.pdf

Quaker Schools in the UK

For an overview of the archives of some of the Quaker schools in the UK see