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Papers of Sir Francis Oppenheimer (1870-1961)

Biographical information

Born in London 17 December 1870; son of Sir Charles Oppenheimer, Knight, Consul-General of Frankfurt.

Educated : Lycée, Frankfurt; Balliol 1890-4 (tutor: Sir Thomas Raleigh); 2nd in Jurisprudence, and B.A., 1893; M.A. 1898.

Married 1931 Jane, Lady Horlick, daughter of Colonel Cuncliffe Martin.

Career Called to the Bar in January 1895, but in 1897 abandoned the law to study painting in Paris, which he did until the death of his father in 1900 called him away to other things.

Consul-General for Frankfurt, Hesse, and Hesse-Nassau, 1900-12.

Attended White Slave Traffic Congress 1902; British Delegate to International Life-Saving Congress 1908, Frankfurt.

Knight Bachelor 1907.

Appointed Commercial Attaché to Embassy at Berlin, and to the Northern Legations, with the personal rank of Acting Councillor of Embassy in the Diplomatic Service, 1912. In the Hague, 1914, he negotiated the neutral trade agreements resulting in the Netherlands Overseas Trust (the first of the private bodies constituted in neutral countries in connection with the blockade); and the Societé Suisse de Surveillance Economique 1915 (a similar mission).

K.C.M.G. 1919.

Special mission to Vienna as British Financial Commissioner 1919.

Retired from Diplomatic Service 1920.

1923 and 1925: paid prolonged visits to India, spending three months each time at the Viceregal lodge as the guest of the Viceroy (Lord Reading - Rufus Isaacs, Marquis of Reading, 1860-1935; see the D.N.B.) and his wife, who were old friends of Oppenheimer's. The papers held by Balliol relate to these visits to India.

Died 25 June 1961.

Publications include : Frankish themes and problems (1952).

The Legend of the Ste. Ampoule (1953).

Stranger Within (his autobiography, covering the period up to his retirement. Published 1960).

Provenance : The papers were offered to Balliol by Sir Francis Oppenheimer in 1961, whose offer was motivated in part by an awareness of Balliol's past links with the Indian Empire; and they actually entered the Library via his wife in 1962, after her husband's death.

For further information :

See Balliol College Registers 1832-1914, 1833-1933, 1900-50, 1916-67.

Who Was Who 1961-70 .


- the list is in the hand of EV Quinn, College Librarian, but appears to be a copy of Oppenheimer's own labels.

A. Letters from Lord & Lady Reading in India

B. Letters connected with my [FO's] visit to India

C. India 1525

D. Some Indian Tours 1523

E. Envelope & Seal used by one of the native princes

F. Box album & snapshots, etc.

2 framed photographs

-EV Quinn, ca 1962, and Rachel Kemsley, 1995

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Updated 11.viii.14
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