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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: Secretary's out-letter books
Level of description
Series of King's College London Archives
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
55 volumes


Name of creator(s)

King's College London, College Secretary's Department

Administrative / Biographical history

Between 1831 and 1988 the College Secretary rose from Secretary to the Principal and Council to senior administrative officer of the College. Throughout the period the College Secretary had responsibility for servicing the Council, its main standing and special subcommittees, and the Academic Board. In the 1960s, the post of Academic Registrar was reorganised to reflect the coordinated responsibility for student admission and examinations with the Department. Between 1828-1919 King's College enjoyed the services of just four College Secretaries, two of whom served for remarkably long periods, H W Smith, 1829-1848 and J W Cunningham, 1848-1894. The out-letter books form one complete run of copies of letters sent by or on behalf of the Principal and College Secretary for the period 1834-1917. Initially in the form of manuscript copies, by the late nineteenth century experiments (not always entirely successful in terms of legibility) were made with a variety of wet letter processes.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

College Secretary's Department.

Content & structure

Scope and content

The out-letter books contain chronologically arranged copies of a number of significant letters written by or on behalf of the Principal and College Secretary, 1834-1917, in relation to a wide variety of College business. The series does not however, include responses to all letters in the parallel series of in-letters (KA/IC).

System of arrangement

The out-letter books are arranged chronologically.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be provided for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services, King's College London.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

Draft catalogue available online and in hard copy in the reading room of the College Archives.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Related units of description

King's College London Archives holds College Secretary's in-correspondence (KA/IC), College Secretary's files relating to policy, 1828-1992 (KAS/GC) and academic departments and academic initiatives, 1896-1900 (KAS/AC); Library files relating to administration, 1925-1994 (KAL/AD).

Description control

Archivist's Note

Sources: King's College London catalogues. Compiler: Julie Tancell.

Rules or conventions

National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997; ISAD(G), Second edition, 2000.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

May 2000, updated 2016

Box List(s)

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  • Curriculum
  • Economics of education
  • Educational administration
  • Educational buildings
  • Educational finance
  • Educational levels
  • Educational management
  • Educational personnel
  • Educational planning
  • Higher education
  • Higher education institutions
  • People
  • People by occupation
  • Personnel
  • Students
  • Universities
  • University students

Corporate names

  • King's College London College Archives
  • King's College London, College Secretary's Department

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