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Carr family collection of travel sketches, scrapbooks, and genealogical material

Call Number: MSS 8

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises travel sketches, scrapbooks, and genealogical material concerning the Carr family of Northumberland, England. The Reverend Thomas William Carr (1830-1912) appears to have played a key role in compiling the material, especially genealogical items.

The collection documents the burgeoning of interest in local and family history in the nineteenth century, as reflected by the thorough efforts of the Rev. Thomas William Carr to collect information and physical items relating to the history of the Carr family; the travels and artistic works of two Victorian women, Anna Margaret Carr (who traveled to Europe and India) and her sister Sarah Grace Carr (who focused on local English themes), whose numerous landscape sketches can be used to reconstruct their travel itineraries and provide insights to their interests as both travelers and artists; the often overlooked but pivotal role of Geneva and other Calvinist areas as stops on the Grand Tour (especially for English travelers); Victorian decorative arts, as seen in the greeting and note cards from the period preserved in the collection; and the religious attitudes, daily social life, and business interests of a nineteenth century Anglican clergyman, as reflected in the journals and correspondence of the Rev. Thomas William Carr.


  • 1699-1981
  • Majority of material found within 1811 - 1899


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is the physical property of the Yale Center for British Art. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired 2009, Paul Mellon Fund.


Arranged in four series: I. Sketchbooks, 1811-1863; II. Scrapbooks, 1699-1981; III. Family history and genealogy, 1823-1912; IV. Photographs, etc.


10 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The collection comprises travel sketches, scrapbooks, and genealogical material concerning the Carr family of Northumberland, England.

Biographical / Historical

The Carr family was originally based in Northumberland and became particularly prominent in Newcastle. It included several prominent branches. The Carr family of Woodhall and Hexam can be traced to John Carr, a yeoman who lived c. 1450-1515. From here the family spread to Kibblesworth and Newcastle and then to Dunston Hill in Durham. The notable businessman Ralph Carr, who made a fortune in the eighteenth century in the Newcastle area through merchant and trading activities, was a member of this branch of the family and acquired a sizeable fortune which he partially used to build an estate at Hedgeley in Northumberland for the family.

Another branch of the family settled in Hetton and traces their roots to William Carr who, in 1412, was a notable landowner in Northumberland. This branch of the family eventually acquired Castle Ford and lived there for several generations.

The final major branch of the family settled at Eshott Heugh and Frognal. It is this branch of the Carr family that concerns most of the material in the present collection.

The Carr family history is richly treated in: The History of the Family of Carr of Dunston Hill, County Durham, and the Collateral Lines in England by Colonel Ralph Edward Carr and Cuthbert Ellison Carr (London: Mitchell and Hughes, 1893-99)--an annotated copy of which is available in the present collection.

Thomas Carr (1733-1793) The patriarch of the line of Carrs based at Eshott Heugh lived from 1733-1793. He traveled to Georgia as a child and was a Sub-Officer of the Marines. In this capacity he participated in the siege of Havana. With four different wives, Carr produced four sons (Mark William Carr, a soldier, Thomas William, a lawyer, William Ogle, a sailor, and John Thomas, a merchant) and two daughters (Ann and Rebecca). Thomas Carr was very reckless with the family finances and nearly obliterated their wealth and landholdings. His son, Thomas William, however, managed to retain Eshott Heugh.

Thomas William Carr (1770-1829) Carr records that he was born on 19 March 1770 in Savannah, Georgia and that he and his family returned to England in 1772. He trained as a lawyer and married Frances Morton in 1794. He appears to have been very industrious and worked to rebuild the family fortune. He was called to the Bar in 1801 and made Solicitor of Excise in 1805. Carr was described as “thoroughly a family man,” who took great joy in spending time with his wife and children. He had eight children: Sarah Grace (1794-1837), Frances Rebecca (called Fanny) (1796-1880), Anna Margaret (1797-1872), Thomas William (1801-1840), Andrew Morton (1799-1852), William Ogle (1802-1856), Isabella (1804-1860) and Laura Carr (1807-1868). He died suddenly from a “rupture of the septum of the heart” at Frognal on 27 April 1829.

Sarah Grace Lushington (Carr) (1794-1837) Sarah was born in London on 6 December 1794. The family history records that in 1810 she was travelling in Italy and Switzerland and so it appears she also, like her sister Anna Margaret, took a Grand Tour of sorts. A letter from her father survives asking her to translate a Latin poem for him, and she appears to have been reasonably well-educated. On 8 August 1821 she married Dr. Stephen Lushington, the son of the Director of the East India Company. She became a close friend of Lady Byron (whom Stephen Lushington represented in her separation from Lord Byron). Sarah and Stephen had five sons and five daughters and she died on 20 September 1837. According to the DNB, her last illness was harrowing and it deeply moved her husband. After her death, her sister Frances kept house for her husband until her own death. Aunt Fanny Carr was regarded as somewhat severe and harsh but she displayed a great love for all her nieces and nephews and lived until 1880. Sarah’s husband Stephen had an important legal career as a judge, a Member of Parliament, and an anti-slavery activist. He also represented Queen Caroline in her trial by Parliament to have her crown and status as the wife of George IV stripped from her on grounds of her adultery. His defense of her was successful and she remained in contact with him until her death, naming him as the executor of her will. Of the couple’s children, Edward Harbord Lushington (1822–1904), became a senior Indian civil servant; Vernon Lushington (1832–1912), a county court judge; and Godfrey Lushington (1832–1907), Vernon’s twin, permanent under-secretary in the Home Office.

Anna Margaret Carr (1797-1872) Anna was born in London on 13 December 1797. Notes in the family’s Bible record that she was inoculated for smallpox in 1798. In 1833 her brother William was appointed to a diplomatic position in Ceylon and she travelled there with him. She returned to London when her brother married in 1836 and spent the rest of her life living with various family members until her death on 9 March 1872. According to biographical notes on her, “she was devoted to natural history, and was especially proficient in botany. Her quick and gifted pencil has left her relations quite a gallery of interesting sketches … her chief sketches were bits of scenery in places where she stayed, and with a few but very telling touches the effect produced was singularly graceful.”

Rev. Thomas William Carr (1801-1840) Son of Thomas William Carr. He passed his divinity school requirements in the 1820s and was licensed to serve as a cleric in the county of Rutland in 1825, thereafter becoming Curate of St. Michael’s in Bristol, and of Teddington. In 1829 he married Susan Hamilton (née Woodward) (d. 1834), to whom was born their children Thomas William Carr (later of Barming) (b. 1830), Lucy Emily (1832-1888), and Francis Culling Carr (b. 1834). After Susan’s death, Rev. Thomas William Carr married Joanna Maria Childers in 1837.

Laura Carr (1807-1868) Daughter of Thomas William Carr (b. 1770). In 1850 she married Sir Robert Monsey Rolfe (1790-1868), who was raised to the peerage as Baron Cranworth the same year, and served as Lord Chancellor from 1852-1858 and 1865-1866. The couple had no children. In the Rev. T.W. Carr Scrapbook (Oversize 7), there is a letter from Arthur Bigge in 1895 referring to correspondence between Her Majesty and the family of Lord and Lady Cranworth. Bigge writes that “The Queen was very fond of Lady Cranworth.”

Rev. Thomas William Carr (1830-1912) Thomas William Carr was the son of the Rev. Thomas William Carr (the brother of Sarah Grace and Anna Margaret Carr) and his wife Susan. He was the grandson of Thomas William Carr of Eshott Heugh, the family patriarch and son of Thomas Carr. He was born on 14 July 1830 and earned his BA from Wadham College, Oxford in 1853. He followed this with an MA in 1854 and was ordained a deacon in 1856 and a priest in 1857. In 1865 he became the rector of Barming in Kent and was also recognized as an English Chaplain of Bordighera, Italy. Carr and his wife Harriet had seven children: Mary Joanna Sophia (1859); Thomas William (1861); Robert Lancelot (1863); Alured John Deacon (1866); Laura (1868); Frank Collett (1870); Margaret Lucy (1871). Upon the death of his wife, he was remarried (in 1891) to Emily Maria Charlotte, herself a widow.

Harriet Carr (Deacon) (1829-1889) Harriet Carr was the wife of the editor, Rev. Thomas William Carr, and predeceased him on 21 February 1889. In her obituary, reprinted in the Carr family history, she is described as living “a life of usefulness” and as “loving and loved by all her husband’s relations, and winning golden opinions in the parish." She is also described as loving plain needlework and working industriously within the parish (undertaking such activities as teaching Sunday school each week). Prior to her death she had suffered six years of illness, mostly associated with her lungs and, despite her trips to Nice and Bordighera to recover her strength, she became increasingly sick.

Guide to the Carr Family Collection of Travel Sketches, Scrapbooks, and Genealogical Material
compiled by Courtney Thomas; edited by Francis Lapka
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts
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