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MS 774

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MS 774


Hallam Tennyson family papers



Administrative / Biographical history

Tennyson, Hallam (1852-1928)

Hallam Tennyson, second Baron Tennyson, was born on 11th August 1852. He was the eldest son of poet Alfred Tennyson and Emily Sarah Tennyson. With his brother Lionel he was educated at home by his mother and various tutors. After attending a preparatory school in Dorest, Tennyson was sent to Eton. He attended Marlborough College and matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1872, qualifying as a lawyer soon afterwards.

Tennyson was closely involved in his father’s work, ‘acting as secretary, confidant, occasional amanuensis, and warden of the poet's privacy’ (ODNB). After his mother’s health deteriorated Tennyson returned to the family home to care for her.

In 1884 Tennyson married Audrey Georgina Florence Boyle (1853/4-1916), with daughter of diplomat Charles Boyle and his wife Zacyntha. Their first son, Lionel, was born in 1889, and was followed by Alfred Aubrey (1891) and Harold Courtenay (1896).

In 1892 Alfred Tennyson died, and Hallam succeeded the baronetcy. He himself had some experience of writing and editing, having published some poetry and an edition of Jack and the Beanstalk, and he soon began work on his father’s biography. Alfred Lord Tennyson: a Memoir by his Son was published in 1897. During the process of writing it, Hallam Tennyson destroyed three quarters of his father’s 40,000 letters at the bidding of his mother.

Tennyson continued to serve as a magistrate until his mother’s death in 1896. In 1899 he accepted the post of governor of south Australia, and the family relocated to Adelaide. In 1902 Tennyson was made acting governor-general of Australia, accepting the permanent post in 1903.

The family returned to England in 1904, where Tennyson opted to remain thereafter. He was made a privy councillor in 1905. In 1907 and 1908 he edited and published nine volumes of Alfred Tennyson’s poetry, and in 1911 published another memoir, Tennyson and his Friends.

In 1916 Harold Tennyson, Hallam and Audrey’s youngest son, was killed in action. Audrey herself died of pneumonia in the same year. Two years later Aubrey Tennyson also was killed in action. Lionel survived active duty, but was wounded on three occasions.

In July 1918 Hallam Tennyson married Mary Emily Hickens, a widow. He died at Farringford on the Isle of Wight on 2nd December 1928.

References: Suzanne L. G. Rickard, ‘Tennyson, Hallam, second Baron Tennyson (1852–1928)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2006 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/57219, accessed 29 May 2015]



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1 envelope

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A small collection of letters, documents and photographs belonging to Hallam Tennyson's immediate family.
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