Introduction to the Emerson Tennent Papers

Date published: 21 November 2007

Part of: Significant privately deposited archives , E - Introductions to significant privately deposited archives

This is a document summarising some of the most interesting and significant content within the Emerson Tennent archive (D2922) held in PRONI.

Details

The Emerson Tennent Papers number around 5500 documents and around 75 volumes, 1773 to 1916, and mainly comprise the personal, political, estate and business papers of Sir James Emerson Tennent, 1st Bt (1804 to 1869), of Belfast and of Tempo Manor, Co. Fermanagh, politician, civil servant and man of letters.

The papers were deposited in/purchased by PRONI in a series of instalments and transactions.  Major deposits were made in 1973 and 1979 and were amalgamated and listed by the end of the latter year.  A copy of that list will be found at D2922/A/6.  

A small purchase was made in 1980 and then, in the course of the 1980s, there were two major withdrawals of parts of the deposited material.  Finally, in 1995, the withdrawn parts of the archive were returned and all the previously deposited material, together with a major addition amounting to approximately one-third of the whole, were purchased. 

This meant that a major job of rearrangement and re-listing was necessary.  But, because the material covered by the 1979 list had been indexed as well as listed, it was important to avoid altering the existing numbering system.  As a consequence, the additions, where they constituted new sub-sections as opposed to additions to existing sub-sections, had to be inserted by means of suffixes (A, B and so on).  

The end result is an arrangement which is not quite as logical as it would have been if everything had been available for listing at the one time, and a list which, because of the suffixes, looks untidy and needs to be studied carefully to avoid errors in ordering documents.

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