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Papers of Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883)

Biographical information

Born in London 23 August 1852, second son of Joseph Toynbee (see D.N.B.).

Educated :

King's College London.

Oxford:Toynbee originally went to Pembroke College Oxford (1873-4), but wanted to change to Balliol; Benjamin Jowett, seeing his potential, assisted him in this. They later became close friends.

Balliol Hilary 1875-1878; read for a pass degree (owing to ill-health); B.A. 1878, M.A. 1880. His brother P.J. Toynbee was also at Balliol (Hilary 1874), as was his nephew Arnold Joseph Toynbee (Balliol 1907; Fellow of Balliol; historian).

Married Charlotte Atwood in 1879. No children.

Career as social and educational reformer (influenced by T.H. Green), and Economic Historian:

Lecturer (in political economy) at Balliol 1878-83. Senior Bursar 1881-3. Tutor in charge of Indian Civil Service probationers 1878.

Gave public lectures on social questions, for example, in 1883, on Henry George's controversial book Progress and Poverty (New York 1880, London 1881); this series of debates was cut short by his death. Gave popular lectures on the industrial problems of the day in various industrial towns.

Active in charity organisation, co-operation, and church reform. Worked amongst the poor of East London.

Died March 1883. Buried in Wimbledon. Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel (the first university settlement, designed to encourage closer relations between the working classes and those educated at the universities) was founded in his memory.

Publications : The Industrial Revolution, published posthumously in 1884, with memoir by Jowett. (The book was based on lectures given at Balliol, and on other public addresses: much of the book was based upon notes of Toynbee's lectures taken by W.J. Ashley (Balliol 1878) and Bolton King (Balliol 1879). These two were responsible for preparing the book for publication, by comparing their notes with those of others who had attended the lectures, and with Toynbee's own notes, such as they were.)

Toynbee's two lectures about Henry George's book were printed in 1883; there is a copy in Balliol Pamphlets, in the Library.

Provenance of the papers :

Toynbee's lecture notes (found amongst some of his papers) were given to Balliol by Arnold Joseph Toynbee , Arnold Toynbee's nephew, in c. 1967.

In 1982 Miss Margaret Toynbee gave a collection of letters written by her uncle, Arnold Toynbee, to members of his family. Many of the letters were printed in Reminiscences and letters of Joseph and Arnold Toynbee, edited by Gertrude Toynbee (Margaret Toynbee's aunt).


Bibliography, and for further information :

On Toynbee: Balliol College Register 1833-1933.

The Dictionary of National Biography.

Alon Kadish, Apostle Arnold: The Life and Death of Arnold Toynbee 1852-1883 (1986).

Alfred Milner (Balliol 1873), Arnold Toynbee: A Reminiscence (1895).

Professor F.C. Montague (Balliol 1876), Arnold Toynbee (1889).

Reminiscences and Letters of Joseph and Arnold Toynbee (ed. by Gertrude Toynbee (Toynbee's sister); n.d.).

There is also some material on Toynbee in the Balliolenses files in Balliol Library.

On Toynbee Hall, see:A. Briggs and A. Macartney, Toynbee Hall - The First Hundred Years (1984).

For material on Toynbee from Balliol's other manuscripts collections, see:

Mynors MS 395.

The Jowett papers.

Balliol has a marble relief portraying Toynbee; see John Jones, The Portraits of Balliol College: A Catalogue (1990). There is also a framed photograph of him, kept in the Library.

There is a rough listing of the letters of Toynbee held by Balliol (by E.V. Quinn, Librarian of Balliol), stored with them.

- Rachel Kemsley, Modern MSS Asst, March 1995


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