This collection is made up of the following separate elements: estate and family papers some of the literary manuscripts of Bulwer Lytton, official papers and correspondence derived from his long career in Parliament and more especially from his year (1858-59) as colonial secretary, and correspondence, personal and literary, from his early manhood to his death in 1873; literary manuscripts of his son Robert ("Owen Meredith"), official papers and correspondence from the latter's diplomatic activities and from his four years as Governor-General and Viceroy of India (1876-80) and a personal and literary correspondence almost as extensive as his father's. The collection of letters takes its present shape from the fact that two schemes of arrangement appear in the past to have been imposed upon it: first, those parts of Bulwer Lytton's correspondence not already bound were collected for publication in Life, Letters and Literary Remains and thereafter divided incompletely into two sections, 'letters received' and 'letters sent;' Robert Lytton's correspondence was left partly in the order in which a selection was published by Lady Betty Balfour in Personal and Literary Letters of the Earl of Lytton, and partially in a similar divided state as his father's.
In the body of this inventory the names of the principal members of the family have been abbreviated, following the practice adopted before this collection was deposited.
Abbreviations are as follows:
EBBL Elizabeth Barbara Bulwer Lytton
EBL Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer Lytton
RBL Rosina Bulwer Lytton
RL Edward Robert Lytton
EL Edith Lytton
HBL Henry Bulwer Lytton