Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Robert Peel Collection, 1822-1870

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, January 2013

Summary Information
Title: Robert Peel collection
Creator: Clements, William L. (William Lawrence), 1861-1934
Inclusive dates: 1822-1870
Bulk dates: 1822-1842
Extent: 24 items
This collection is made up of 23 manuscripts by and related to Sir Robert Peel, 1st baronet; Sir Robert Peel, 2nd baronet; and Sir Robert Peel, 3rd baronet. The Peels' outgoing letters, which comprise the bulk of the collection, concern official appointments, social engagements, and the Royal Family.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated, William L. Clements, 1934. M-234.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Robert Peel collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items and an engraving placed at the end.


Robert Peel, 1st baronet was born in Oswaldtwistle, England, on April 25, 1750, the son of Robert Peel (1723-1795) and Elizabeth Howarth. The younger Robert Peel attended grammar school in Blackburn, England, and worked for his father's calico printing business before opening his own calico printing works in Bury, England, in 1772. He became a leading figure in the growing cotton industry and expanded his operations to several other towns. Peel married his first wife, Ellen Yates (1766-1803), on July 8, 1783. They had nine children, including Robert (1788-1850), William Yates (1789-1858), Jonathan (1799-1879), and Laurence (1801-1888). In 1790, the elder Robert Peel began representing Tamworth in Parliament, and in 1800, he was granted a baronetcy. He married his second wife, Susanna Clerke (d. 1824), on October 17, 1805. Robert Peel, 1st baronet, died on May 3, 1830.

Robert Peel, 2nd baronet was born in Bury, England, on February 5, 1788, the first son of Robert Peel and Ellen Yates. He was first educated by private tutors, and he later attended Harrow School (1801-1804) and Christ Church, Oxford (1805-1808). In 1809, he entered the House of Commons, and he became an undersecretary for Lord Liverpool in 1810. From 1812-1818, Peel was chief secretary for Ireland, where he became notorious for anti-Catholic policies and sentiment, and from 1822-1827 and 1828-1830 he was home secretary. On June 8, 1820, he married Julia Floyd (1795-1859), and they had seven children: Julia (b. 1821), Robert (1822-1895), Frederick (1823-1906), William (1824-1858), John Floyd (b. 1827), Arthur Wellesley (1829-1912), and Eliza (b. 1832). Peel served a brief term as prime minister from 1834-1835, was opposition leader from 1835-1841, and became prime minister again in 1841. During his second term as prime minister, he oversaw moderate financial reforms and controversially repealed the Corn Laws. After leaving office in 1846, Peel continued to represent Tamworth in Parliament, a seat he had inherited upon his father's death in 1830. Robert Peel, 2nd baronet, died on July 2, 1850.

Robert Peel, 3rd baronet was born in London, England, on May 4, 1822, the eldest son of Robert Peel and Julia Floyd. He attended Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford, and he held diplomatic posts in Madrid, Spain, and in Switzerland. He inherited his father's parliamentary seat for Tamworth in 1850. From 1854-1859, he was a captain in the Staffordshire yeomanry, and in 1855 he became a junior lord of the admiralty. From 1861-1865, Peel was chief secretary for Ireland under Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston. After surrendering his Tamworth seat in 1880, he represented Huntingdon, and subsequently Blackburn. He and his wife, Lady Emily Hay, married on January 13, 1856, and had four children. Robert Peel, 3rd baronet, died on May 9, 1895.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of 23 manuscripts and 1 engraving by and related to Sir Robert Peel, 1st baronet; Sir Robert Peel, 2nd baronet; and Sir Robert Peel, 3rd baronet. Of the manuscripts, 22 are letters written by, or on behalf of, one of three generations of the Peel family. The Peels' correspondence, primarily personal, occasionally concerns social engagements and official appointments. Other topics include bibles in the King's library (November 13, 1824); a royal review of troops at Hyde Park, London (July 24, 1830); the election of a speaker for the House of Commons (October 4, 1830); Prince Albert's patronage of the "Relgerran Schools" (November 1, 1840); and an unusual fish discovered in the River Thames (undated). The remaining items are four lines of poetry, signed, and an engraving of Robert Peel, 2nd baronet.

Subject Terms

    • Great Britain--Politics and government--1800-1837.
    • Great Britain--Politics and government--1837-1901.
    • Great Britain--Social life and customs--19th century.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Peel, Robert, 1788-1850.
    • Peel, Robert, 1750-1830.
    • Peel, Robert, 1788-1850.
    • Peel, Robert, 1822-1895.
    Genre Terms:
    • Engravings (prints)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Poems.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   51, Small Collections  
    Robert Peel collection [series]:
    Folder   37  
     February 1, 1822-October 4, 1830
    Folder   38  
     May 31, 1832-June 21, 1870
    Folder   39  
    Correspondence, poetry, and engraving,  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Manuscripts by the three Robert Peels may be found in other Manuscripts Division collections, such as the following:

    Other related materials include the following books and engraving, held in the Book Division and Graphics Division, respectively:


    Boase, G. C., and H. C. G. Matthew. "Peel, Sir Robert, third baronet (1822-1895)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online edition. Oxford University Press, 2007. DOI: 10.1093/ref:odnb/21765

    Chapman, S. D. "Peel, Sir Robert, first baronet (1750-1830)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online edition. Oxford University Press, 2004. DOI: 10.1093/ref:odnb/21763

    Prest, John. "Peel, Sir Robert, second baronet (1788-1850)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online edition. Oxford University Press, 2009. DOI: 10.1093/ref:odnb/21764