Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery Journal, 1873

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, July 2011

Summary Information
Title: Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery journal
Creator: Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose, Earl of, 1847-1929
Inclusive dates: 1873
Extent: 1 volume
The Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery journal chronicles the future British Prime Minister's travels in the United States in 1873. Rosebery visited New York City, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Ottawa, Montréal, and Boston.
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:

1984. M-2120.

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.

Alternate Format:

The journal has been published as Lord Rosebery's North American Journal-1873 . ed. A. R. C. Grant. London: Swindon & Jackson 1967. The published book has a substantial index.

Preferred Citation:

Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery Journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, was born in London on May 7, 1847. A graduate of Eton, he went to Oxford but was expelled in 1869, after he purchased a racehorse in violation of the school's behavioral code. He had already inherited the titles of Lord Dalmeny and Earl of Rosebery, along with land and money, when his father and grandfather died. Following his truncated collegiate career, Rosebery took his place in the House of Lords. A member of the Liberal Party, he spearheaded efforts to reconstitute Parliament so that it would be more equitable and balanced. In 1877 he became president of the East and North Scotland Liberal Association. He married Hannah de Rothschild (1851-1890) in 1878, and the couple had four children. In 1894, following the resignation of William Gladstone, Rosebery became Prime Minister of the Liberal government, but his policies were not supported in Parliament and he resigned in June 1895. Rosebery subsequently resigned as head of the Liberal Party, eventually disaffiliating himself from them, and declaring his opposition to Irish Home Rule. He died on May 21, 1929.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, journal chronicles Rosebery's travels through the United States in 1873. He began the journal on October 1, 1873, in New York City, with a detailed description of his journey to the United States from London, via Dublin, on the Russia , "supposed to be the fastest of the Cunard ships" (p. 3). He related his experiences in detail, including a particularly vivid description of the New York Stock Exchange during the Panic of 1873 (p. 12). On October 7, Rosebery prepared to depart New York for Salt Lake City, which he reached by train five days later. During the journey, he described places and scenery, including Chicago and the Platte River (pp. 31-42). On October 14, he met Brigham Young (p. 57), and he remained in Utah until the 16th of that month. Following another transcontinental train voyage, Rosebery stayed in Chicago for two days, then left for Niagara Falls and Ottawa, Canada (pp. 79-109). He remained in Canada until November 5 (pp. 109-118), when he departed for Boston and New York (pp. 118-125). Aside from a weeklong visit to Washington, D. C., from December 2-10 (pp. 183-206), he remained in New York for the rest of his American tour. He returned to Europe on the Russia in mid-December (pp. 224-254).

Rosebery peppered his journal with descriptions and occasional commentary, but focused primarily on specific experiences and conversations. The earl met many prominent Americans during his stay in North America, including senators, Supreme Court justices, and other political figures, and described a lecture given in Brooklyn by Henry Ward Beecher (pp. 143-147). Beecher did not impress the Englishman, who called him "a buffoon without the merits of a buffoon. He has neither force nor ornateness of diction," though "after…I was introduced to him…in conversation he impressed me more favourably" (pp. 146-147). During his time in Washington, D.C., Rosebery saw "the original draught of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson's handwriting" and a number of other important historical artifacts, and shared his opinion of a George Washington portrait (p. 202). Other notable experiences in New York included a visit to a trial, to the Tombs prison (pp. 28-30), and to "the Girls' Normal School" (p. 151).

Subject Terms

    • Beecher, Henry Ward, 1813-1887.
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Description and travel.
    • Niagara Falls (N.Y. and Ont.)
    • Ontario--Description and travel.
    • Québec (Québec)--Description and travel.
    • Salt Lake City (Utah)
    • United States--Social life and customs--1865-1918.
    • Voyages and travels.
    • Washington (D.C.)--Description and travel.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Archibald Philip 5th, Earl of Rosebery journal,  1873 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The journal has been published in its entirety.

    Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose, and A. R Grant. Lord Rosebery's North American Journal--1873. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1967.


    Davis, John. "Primrose, Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery and first earl of Midlothian (1847--1929)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online Edition. Oxford University Press, 2004. doi:10.1093