Finmere Records at the Huntington Library

The Huntington Library, San Marino, California, holds an extensive set of letters, accounts and maps relating to the period when Finmere was part of the Stowe Estate: from the beginning of the seventeenth century to its sale in 1848–53.

How Finmere records went to California

In contrast to Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos, the Henry Edwards Huntington was a successful, self-made American entrepreneur. Born in New York in 1850, his success in developing railroads took him to Los Angeles. There he established the street railways, which were often known as Mr Huntington’s Lines. He made a considerable fortune and invested his wealth in an estate in San Marino, west of Los Angeles. With his second wife, Arabella, he built a remarkable collection of art, rare books and manuscripts. This remains intact today, set in beautiful botanical gardens and preserved by an educational trust created by the Huntingtons in 1919.

The Buckingham dynasty generated a huge number of family, political and estate papers. The major part of the collection was sold in 1921 by Lady Mary Morgan-Grenville, Baron Kinloss of Stowe and purchased by the Huntington Library through Frank Marcham and the Museum Bookshop in 1925.

The Stowe collection includes papers from the Grenville, Temple, Nugent, Brydges and other families. The earliest documents date from about 1175 and the latest from 1919. In all there are around 350,000 documents. It is the largest and most important collection of documents relating to the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos worldwide.

The records

Some of the Finmere records have been transcribed by Andy Boddington. These are linked below. Our thanks to all at the Huntington for their help in our work.