Cecil Arthur Spring-Rice was born 27 February 1859, son of Charles and Elizabeth Spring-Rice. He was educated at Eton College then Balliol College, Oxford. In 1904 he married Florence Lascelles (daughter of Sir Frank Lascelles), with whom he had one son and one daughter.
In 1882 he entered the Foreign Office and was Assistant Private Secretary to Lord Granville and précis writer for Lord Rosebery. He held a series of diplomatic posts including: Secretary of Legation in Brussels, Washington, Tokyo, Berlin and Constantinople [Istanbul]; Charge d'Affaires Tehran (1900); British Commissioner of the Public Debt in Cairo (1901); 1st Secretary St Petersburg (1903); Minister and Consul General Persia [Iran](1906); Minister in Sweden (1908-1913); and British Ambassador in Washington (1912-1917). Spring-Rice was also a poet and the author of "I vow to thee my country", the famous hymn. He died on 14 February 1918.
The collection held at Churchill Archives Centre consists chiefly of correspondence; it also includes papers relating to Spring-Rice's diplomatic postings; poetry and other writings; and diaries of travels in Japan.
The collection was deposited at Churchill Archives Centre between 1972 and 1990 by Spring-Rice's daughter, Lady Arthur. Section 9 had previously been deposited by Lady Arthur with the National Register of Archives, who prepared a detailed list to that section.
The Spring-Rice collection comprises various deposits which were given to the Archives Centre at various different stages. The initial catalogue was begun before the collection was complete and so the arrangement of the papers is not comprehensive. CASR section 10 includes additional papers which have not been integrated into the arrangement of the initial catalogue. Then in 1986 a second section of the catalogue (CASR II) was produced which includes further series of the same type of material that had been included in the initial catalogue (CASR). The division of the papers into sections reflecting the time of their deposit has created a complicated arrangement. For example family correspondence can be found in CASR 1, CASR 10/8 and CASR II 1.