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Townshend Papers

Call Number: OSB MSS 161


The papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, personal papers and legal documents, many dating from the period of George Townshend, 1st Marquis of Townshend's Lord-Lieutenancy in Ireland. The collection also contains documents relating to Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend.


  • 1648-1857
  • Majority of material found within 1750-1800


Language of Materials

In English.

Information about Access

This collection is open for research.

Ownership & Copyright

The Townshend Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Winifred Myers, Ltd., 1969-1980.


Organized into five series: I. 1969 Acquisition, 1648-1805; II. 1973 Acquisition, 1722-1814; III. 1975 Acquisition, 1709-1857; IV. 1979 Acquisition, 1692-1748; V.1980 Acquisition, 1710-1838.

Associated Materials

Correspondence and other documents by and concerning members of the Townshend family may be found by searching the finding aid for Osborn Manuscript Files. These include letters and political memoranda by Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend (1674-1738) and Charles, 3rd Viscount Townshend (1700-1764).


7.30 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Townshend Family

The Townshends of Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England are descended from Sir Roger Townshend (d. 1493), who was a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas and served as legal advisor to the Paston family.

George Townshend, 4th Viscount and 1st Marquess Townshend (1724-1807), was educated at Cambridge and fought at Culloden (1746), retiring because of a difference with the Duke of Cumberland. During the French and Indian War, he served under Wolfe in Quebec and assumed command after the latter's death. He was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland from 1767 to 1772, when he was recalled. He was created Marquess Townshend in 1787.

Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend (1674-1738) was a British Whig stateman who was one of the negotitators of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) and served as Secretary of State for the northern department under George I.

Processing Notes

The collection is comprised of material formerly classed as: Osborn Shelves Townshend. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below, according to month and year of acquisition.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from folder titles and compiled from individual catalog cards. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the dealer. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during basic processing.

Guide to the Townshend Papers
by Diane J. Ducharme and Thanh Tran
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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(203) 432-2977


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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.