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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Edmonds
EDMONDS, Brig Gen Sir James Edward (1861-1956)
Created 1827-1838, 1852, 1879-1881, 1890-1957
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
13 boxes or 0.13 cubic metres


Administrative / Biographical history

Born in 1861; educated at King's College School, London and Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; entered Royal Engineers, 1881; Capt, 1890; Major, 1899; Instructor, Royal Military Academy, 1890-1896; Staff College, 1896-1897; Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, Intelligence Division, War Office, 1899-1901; publication of Handbook of the German Army (HMSO, London, 1900); served in South Africa, 1901-1902; Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General, Intelligence Division, War Office,1904-1908; publication of A history of the Civil War in the United States, 1861-1865 (with Henry Spencer Wilkinson) (Methuen and Co, London, 1905); Lt Col, 1906; Secretary to British Delegation to Geneva Conference, 1906; British Delegate to Red Cross Conference, 1907; Col, 1909; General Staff Officer Grade 1, War Office, 1909-1910; General Staff Officer Grade 1, 4 Div, 1911-1914; publication of Land warfare: an exposition of the laws and usages of war on land for the guidance of officers of His Majesty's Army (with Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim (War Office publication, 1912); served at General HQ, BEF, 1914-1918; Deputy Engineer-in-Chief, BEF, 1918; Officer in charge of Military Branch, Historical Section, Committee of Imperial Defence, 1919-1949; publication of Military operations: France and Belgium (13 volumes) (HMSO, London, 1922-1948) and Military operations: Italy (with Henry Rudolph Davies) (HMSO, London, 1949), parts of the official history of World War One; publication of A short history of World War One (Oxford University Press, London, 1951); died in 1956.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented to the Centre by the family in 1968 and 1993.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Papers created or collected by Edmonds during the course of his life and career, dated 1827-1838, 1852, 1879-1881, 1890-1957, principally comprising typescript memoirs covering his life and career, 1861-1951, and notably concerning his work at the Royal Military Academy, 1890-1896, and in the Intelligence Division of the War Office, 1899-1901, 1904-1908, his service in South Africa, 1901-1902, and in World War One, 1914-1918, at the Geneva Conference, 1906, as General Staff Officer, 4 Div, 1911-1914, and in the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence, 1919-1949, written in [1951]; correspondence with Rt Hon Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill, 1922-1954, relating to Churchill's book The World Crisis, 1911-1918 (Thornton Butterworth, London,1923-1929, abridged and revised, 1931); letters from FM Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig and his wife, 1903-1939, mainly relating to Edmonds' work on the official history of World War One; correspondence with Maj Gen Sir Ernest (Dunlop) Swinton, 1919-1950; texts of lectures,[1908-1947], notably relating to the American Civil War, 1861-1865, laws of war and the organisation of intelligence and information in warfare; typescript and printed articles, 1893-1957, mainly relating to World War One; official army handbooks and reports by Edmonds and others, 1899-1918, 1945; papers related to World War One collected by Edmonds, dated 1900, 1907, 1914-[1945]; presscuttings, [1906-1943], mainly concerning political and military developments and international relations; photographs, 1895-1918, mainly of Edmonds with Army colleagues.

System of arrangement

Arranged in the following sections: early papers and papers relating to Staff College; correspondence; memoirs(first draft); lectures; writings by Edmonds; papers relating to World War One; miscellaneous writings by Edmonds and others;newspaper cuttings; second accession (later draft of memoirs and photographs).

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 forresearch use only. Requests to publish original material should besubmitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for MilitaryArchives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material
Mostly English, but some German
Finding aids

Draft catalogue available online and in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals
King's College London College Archives
Related units of description

An additional accession of three books from Edmonds' library was presented to the Centre byProfessor Peter James Marshall in 1992. These now form part of the Centre's library, which is available for consultation in the readingroom. The papers of Gen Sir Edward Louis Spears at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University, include correspondence with Edmonds, 1924-1956 (Ref: SPRS). Cabinet Office papers held at the Public Record Office include Edmonds'correspondence files as official historian of World War One (Ref: CAB 45).

Publication note
The papers of Gen Sir Edward Louis Spears at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University, include correspondence with Edmonds, 1924-1956 (Ref: SPRS). Cabinet Office papers held at the Public Record Office include Edmonds' correspondence files as official historian of World War One (Ref: CAB 45).


Compiled Jan 1997

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

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

Updated 2016

Box List(s)

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  • American Civil War (1861-1865)
  • Armed forces
  • Civil war
  • Civil wars (events)
  • Colonial conflicts
  • Colonial countries
  • Diaries
  • Documents
  • Higher science education
  • History
  • Information sources
  • International conflicts
  • International relations
  • Literary forms and genres
  • Literature
  • Military education
  • Military engineering
  • Military history
  • Military intelligence
  • Military organizations
  • Military theory
  • Nonfiction
  • Officers
  • Organizations
  • People
  • People by occupation
  • Personnel
  • Photographs
  • Political movements
  • Political systems
  • Primary documents
  • Prose
  • Second Boer War, 1899-1902
  • State security
  • Visual materials
  • War
  • Warfare
  • Wars (events)
  • Wars (events)
  • World War One (1914-1918)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Churchill, Sir, Winston Leonard Spencer, 1874-1965, Knight, statesman
  • Haig, Douglas, 1861-1928, 1st Earl Haig, Field Marshal
  • Swinton, Sir, Ernest Dunlop, 1868-1951, Knight, Major General, military historian

Corporate names

  • British Army


  • Americas
  • Caribbean
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • London, England
  • South Africa, Southern Africa
  • USA, North America

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