Case Notes: Government Papers

A professional archivist based at a higher education institution has charge of the personal papers of a prominent statistician, who served on a government committee that investigated working-class living standards during the First World War. I was asked to investigate a file that had been identified at The National Archives to see if it included any official working records—committee minutes, personal notes, original evidences, etc.—that would complement the statistician’s personal papers.

It transpired that the file at TNA did not contain any such working papers. Rather, there were two draft copies of the Committee’s final report: the first, virtually a fair copy with a few minor corrections; the second, a much earlier draft, heavily corrected and annotated in places in different hands. Always a disappointment not to find something for a client, but the key thing is that the file was thoroughly checked and the situation clarified.