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Description found in Archives

Letters to Mr and Mrs Charles Lennox Cumming-Bruce [textual record] 

Sub-series consists of


19 June 1846-13 July 1863

Place of creation

Various places

15 cm of textual records (pages 1-2142).

Scope and content

This sub-series encompasses four bundles of letters written by Lord and Lady Elgin, and Lady Elma Bruce, to Charles Lennox Cumming-Bruce and his wife Mary Elizabeth Bruce, 1846-1863. The first three bundles of letters focus on the childhood of Lady Elma Bruce as perceived by herself or observed by her father and step-mother. The fourth bundle mixes reports on and plans for Elma's up-bringing with commentary on Lord Elgin's public career in Jamaica, the Province of Canada and India, and his concern with the viability of the Bruce family finances and estates at Broomhall, Dumfermline, Fifeshire. Taken together, the letters provide a rich and detailed picture of family life and participation in public events, parental concerns with education and health of their offspring, and a child's development from infancy to maturity. The authors make frequent use of pet names, notably "Baby" for Lady Elma until 1849, thereafter for the youngest child in the nursery at the time of writing. Elma referred to her brother Victor Alexander Bruce as "Brucie" once aware that as heir to the earldoms he was officially styled the Lord Bruce. The use of such pet names and the references individuals, such as Alice Lambton or Aunt Kate, without distinction as aunt or inclusion of surname, illustrates considerable variations between social conventions and family practices.

Textual records
90: Open
from 19 to 21
90: Open
Archival reference no.

Additional information

Custodial history
The contents of these four bundles remain essentially as received: only the chronological order of items has been amended within each. The page numbering follows one sequence through all four bundles. The inclusion of Theodore Walrond's transcriptions in the bundle with Elgin's letters to his father-in-law offers some explanation of how and when these letters came to Broomhall. Lady Elma inherited her grandmother's estate of Kinnaird House. Lady Elgin undoubtedly wished the letters be avaiable for the biography she commissioned.