The first of two boxes of an autograph collection begun by Cordelia Whewell, and continued after her death, possibly by Lady Affleck, and William Whewell's executors.
Most of the autographs date from the 18th and 19th century, but there is one 16th century letter from William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley to Sir Robert Petre (item 18) and four other 17th century letters and documents, including a letter from William Cecil, Viscount Cranborne to his father the Earl of Salisbury in 1607 (Add.MS.c.66/38). A group of eight letters from French statesmen dating from the 1660s and 1670s (items 2, 29, 33, 98, 104, 110 and Add.MS.c.66/39-40) are accompanied by an undated letter from Louis XIV (item 108).
There is some evidence of the different stages of the collection, with what may have formed the nucleus of the original collection, letters written to Cordelia's parents Mr and Mrs John Marshall, many of them replies to invitations. More concerted collecting efforts are evidenced in letters from E. M. James (Items 84-85) and R. V. Swaine (Add.MS.c.66/59) to Cordelia, which originally enclosed autographs for the collection; these are linked to the letters listed therein. The collection was added to after Cordelia's death: letters postdate her death in 1855, and there are a number of Ellis family letters and documents, which may have been added by Lady Affleck (née Ellis). These include a copy of the codicil to the will of Henry Ellis, dated 10 June 1774 (Item 44). A letter written eight years after William Whewell's death by his executor J. L. Hammond (Item 68) encloses autographs for the 'College Collection' but they are neither enclosed with the letter nor elsewhere in this collection.