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Papers of Dr Thomas Arnold (1795-1842)

Biographical note

Born in 1795, from the first Thomas Arnold showed exceptional ability, winning scholarships to Winchester and Oxford, and election to a fellowship to Oriel College at the age of 19; although religious scruples denied him an academic career, scholarship remained a great love - one of the reasons that he was so reluctant to leave his own school at Laleham was the freedom it gave him to write on scholarly and topical matters. It was during this time that he began work on Roman history which was to culminate in his massive "History of Rome" published during the Rugby years.

Arnold was curiously modern in his appreciation of the value of classical study not purely as a end in itself, but as a means of better understanding the present by understanding the past, and he reflected this in his own teaching and in his curriculum as a whole. However, his great contribution to education lay not so much in specific innovations as in his overall emphasis on religious and moral training, on the school as a Christian community; to this end he persuaded the Trustees to appoint him School Chaplain as well as Headmaster and he relished the opportunity afforded by his weekly sermons of addressing the boys directly on Christian issues.

A devoted family man, Thomas also sought to inculcate these values in his own children, and the same interests- education, Christian teaching and independent religious thought, and scholarship - distinguish the lives of subsequent generations of Arnolds.


Crum, M., Thomas Arnold Headmaster: A Reassessment (Oxford, 1989).

Trevor, M., The Arnolds: Thomas Arnold and His Family (London, 1973).

Extent: 1 archive box.


I. Original writings

1. Black notebook with MS entries; includes account of A's last illness and copies of letters.

2. Black notebook with AMS sermons, 16 September 1832 - 31 March 1833.

3. Buff notebooks with AMS notes on Roman History, Vols. I - II.

4. Brown leather notebook with AMS diary entries (5 - 6 January 1828) and account of Continental Tour, June 1828.

5. AMS "History of Rome". 3 bundles.

II. Correspondence

1. ALS from A to Susan Arnold, 8 October 1828. 1 l.

III. Biographica

1. MS pamphlet for Arnold Memorial Appeal.

2. MS poems. 2 ls.

- end of Dr Thomas Arnold papers list -

See also letters of Thomas Arnold in the Jenkyns papers, listed here.

- Katherine Hudson and John Jones

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