Leopold Stennett Amery was born on 22 November 1873 in India. He was the eldest son of late Charles F. Amery (of Middle Coombe, Lustleigh, South Devon, and of the Indian Forest Department) and Elizabeth Amery (earlier Elizabeth Leitner).
Amery was educated at Harrow School, then at Balliol College, Oxford and was awarded a first class honours degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics) in 1896. In 1910, Amery married Florence Greenwood (of Whitby, Ontario) with whom he had two sons.
Amery had a long and varied career and held many positions including: Private Secretary to L. H. Courtney, MP (1896-1897); a position on the editorial staff of the Times (1899-1909) which involved organising the newspaper's war correspondence and coverage of the Boer War. He became a Barrister, Inner Temple in 1902 and contested Wolverhampton (East) as Unionist and Tariff Reformer (1906, 1908, and January 1910) then Bow and Bromley (1910). From 1911-45, he was Unionist MP for the Sparkbrook (formerly South) Division of Birmingham.
During the First World War, Amery saw active service in Flanders and the Near East (1914-1916) then held the position of Assistant Secretary War Cabinet and Imperial War Cabinet (1917); he was on the staff of the War Council for the negotiations at Versailles, and served on the personal staff of Lord Milner, the Secretary of State for War, (1917-1918).
Subsequently Amery became Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Colonies (1919-21); Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (1921-22); First Lord of the Admiralty (October 1922-February 1924); Secretary of State for the Colonies (November 1924-June 1929); Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (July 1925-June 1929); then after a period in the wilderness, Secretary of State for India and for Burma under Churchill (1940-45). He was elected Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford (1897) and made an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford (1946). He died on 16 September 1955.
Amery's publications include the "Times History of the South African War" (7 volumes completed 1909); "The Problem of the Army" (1903); "Fundamental Fallacies of Free Trade" (1906); "The Great Question" (1909); "Union and Strength" (1912); "The Empire in the New Era" (1928); "Empire and Prosperity" (1930); "A Plan of Action" (1932); "The Stranger of the Ulysses" (1934); "The Forward View" (1935); "The German Colonial Claim" (1939); "Days of Fresh Air" (1939); "India and Freedom" (1942); "The Framework of the Future" (1943); "The Washington Loan Agreements" (1946); "In the Rain and the Sun" (1946); "Thoughts on the Constitution" (1947); "The Awakening" (1948); "The Elizabethan Spirit" (1948); "My Political Life: Volume I (1953): England Before the Storm; Volume II (1953); War and Peace; Volume III (1955); The Unforgiving Years"; and "A Balanced Economy" (1954).
The collection held at Churchill Archives Centre consists of a broad range of material and includes: public and political correspondence with a range of individuals on a variety of subjects; political papers; speeches and broadcasts; literary material (articles by Amery and correspondence and papers relating to his publications); press cuttings; photographs; material relating to Amery's extensive travels and tour of the British empire; and diaries and personal papers (including family correspondence, financial records, and material relating to Amery's interest in mountaineering). The papers also include papers of other family members (Florence, Harold and Geoffrey Amery).
The papers were deposited at Churchill Archives Centre in 1997 by Amery's grandson, Mr Leo Amery.
The Papers of Leo Amery have been accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government and allocated to Churchill Archives Centre, 2002.