Item 35 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his sister Mary "Minnie" Benson

Identity area

Reference code

Add. MS c/100/35


Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his sister Mary "Minnie" Benson


  • [autumn/winter 1872] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 doc

Context area

Name of creator

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Explains that he would have answered her letter before, but that he has been very busy. Claims that he finds it difficult to realise how long she has been at Wiesbaden. States that he remembers the place distinctly, 'especially the Russian Church'. Wishes that she could give a better account of herself. States that he once thought of writing ' "Advice to Invalids" ', drawn from his own experience, but was prevented mainly by the consideration that 'there are so many varieties of invalids', and that his advice would be useless to all except a very few. Discusses his selfishness, and his efforts to combat it, which included reading the Times. Came to the conclusion that the best method was to attempt to try and think how others were feeling, 'and sometimes to prophesy what they would say'; thinks 'most of [his] little knowledge of [his] fellow-creatures' comes from that period.§

States that 'Female Education is in a state of movement' at present, as is all other education. Announces that he is considering a scheme for educating the whole country [the beginning of what became the University Extension Lectures]. Claims that he does not go in for modern literature at present, and when he has any spare time he reads Middlemarch over again. Observes that 'things seem to be moving towards Biography now', and states that his own taste is changing in the same direction. Claims that novels weary him 'because they are not true' to human nature. Complains that while biographies are true, 'they are stuffed with facts that one wants to forget.' Remarks that he hears 'the [Augustus] Hare book (Memorials of a Quiet Life) is very good, and refers also to the second volume of John Forster's Life of Charles Dickens*. Sends his love to all.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Publication note

Part transcription in Sidgwick, Arthur, and Sidgwick, E. M, 'Henry Sidgwick'. London: Macmillan, 1906, p 270-272

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area