|Description||The majority of the letters are addressed to William Sands Cox. A number are impersonally addressed, but it has been assumed, unless evidence to the contrary, that these were also sent to Sands Cox. There are occasional letters which are addressed to other people. These include a letter to Dr John Kaye Booth from Henry Somerville dated 26 April 1828; and a letter to Alfred Fuller from Charles F. Favell dated 18 May 1828.|
Most letters relate to the foundation and development of the Birmingham School of Medicine and Surgery, re-named Queen's College in 1843, and of Queen's Hospital. Common subjects discussed within the correspondence include patrons and subscribers; the formation and development of the museum and library in the 1830s; petitions sent to both King William IV and Queen Victoria; obtaining patronage from King William IV, Queen Adelaide, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Prince Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales; attendance at committee meetings; testimonials and correspondence with similar institutions, especially King's College, London, during the 1820s-1840s; acknowledgement of receipt of books, publications and annual reports; the issue of collegiate discipline in 1843; attendance at an annual ball in both 1843 and 1844; and issues surrounding the financial support given to Queen's College by Samuel Warneford during the 1850s.
Some letters relate to the management and teaching within the College and include letters concerning the award of royal patronage for the School of Medicine in 1835, and once more upon the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. Other letters of note include a letter from William Legge, 4th Earl of Dartmouth accepting Presidency of the Natural History Department in 1838; and a letter, dated 1868, from the Earl of Warwick referring to a dispute in the Council of the College. There are other items from the later 1860s relating to the separation of Queen's College and Queen's Hospital which include a letter from Robert Peel dated 1868. There are very few personal letters although there is a letter to Isabella Lichfield from Sands Cox dated December 1830; and an undated affectionate letter assumed to be written from Sands Cox to Isabella (see MS220/A/1/8/2).
The correspondence is incomplete as evidenced by envelopes that cannot be matched up with letters; some letters have been cut up and parts lost. Not all letters can be dated with any degree of certainty. When possible, the year has been assumed and inserted into the chronological sequence. When this has not been possible, the undated letters have been arranged in a separate file. Fragments of letters and signatures have also been arranged in a separate unless they can be dated in which case they have been inserted in the appropriate file sequence.