9. Private papers

The private letters, diaries and other papers of diplomats, not forgetting those of others (among them politicians, civil servants and travellers) who had much to do with them, are always revealing. Many remain under family control and access is restricted. However, many are also held in public archives. In the UK, they are to be found in the National Archives in London, in university ‘special collections’,  and in the record offices of County Councils (see below). A few are even available online; for example, the letters of Gertrude Bell, courtesy of Newcastle University. Don’t think that you necessarily have to make personal visits to these archives either. If they have online catalogues and you can identify the documents you need, for a relatively small fee – certainly far less than the cost of flying from one continent to another – most will scan or photograph them for you and send them to you on a CD-Rom or as email attachments. I have found the Huntington Library in California particularly helpful in this regard.