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George Aust papers

Call Number: OSB MSS 270

Scope and Contents

The George Aust Papers consists of professional papers, legal and financial records, professional and personal correspondence, and other documents pertaining to the life and work of British civil servant George Aust. Aust’s papers document his career of over fifty years in government service, including his position as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1790 to 1796. Correspondents include his wife Sarah Murray Aust; William Eden, first Baron Auckland; Sir James Bland Burges; Thomas Bowdler; Lord William Wyndam Grenville; William Augustus Miles; Lady Barbara Montagu; John Osborn; Bishop Thomas Percy; Sarah Scott; and Philip Yorke, second Earl of Hardwicke. The collection spans the years 1746-1837, with the bulk of the material dating from 1762-1827.


  • 1746-1837
  • Majority of material found within 1762-1827


Language of Materials

In English and French.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The George Aust Papers is 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 Arthur Freeman on the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund, 2002.


Organized into four series: I. Professional Papers, 1763-1827. II. Personal Papers, 1746-1837. III. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1762-1815. IV. Collection Inventories, undated.

Associated Materials

George Aust papers concerning the Secret Service, 1794-1800 (OSB MSS 148). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.


7.5 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

George Aust (1741-1829)

George Aust was an English civil servant in the office of the Secretary of State in Great Britain during the reign of King George III. He was born in 1741 near Bath, England. After moving to London, he began his government career in 1763 as a clerk for the Northern Department of the Secretary of State, which would be reorganized as the Foreign Office in 1782. Aust was promoted to senior clerk in 1780 and appointed deputy writer of the official government journal London Gazette by 1781. In 1790, he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a position shared with Sir James Bland Burges, where Aust’s responsibilities included the fiscal administration of the Secret Service under Lord William Wyndham Grenville, then Foreign Secretary. Upon retirement in 1796, Aust was appointed Commissary General of Musters and Secretary to the Trustees of Royal Hospital Chelsea, and later served as Secretary to the Westminster Hospital until 1826.

Aust was married three times and remained childless. Little is known about his first wife, who died in 1803. In November 1803, Aust married Sarah Murray (1744-1811), a topographical writer who published two travel books about Scotland. Sarah was previously married to William Murray, son of the third Earl of Dunmore, from 1783 until his death in 1786. Aust subsequently married Catherine Feaver in 1813. He lived in the West End and Chelsea districts of London, where he died in 1829.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the George Aust Papers
by Nora Soto
August 2021
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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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.