David Saunders was an active and greatly respected member of the Liberal Party, whose influence in political and religious life extended far beyond his native Dundee [Scotland]. His poems and articles, many of which were published under the pseudonym "The Christian Democrat" also helped to establish his reputation as a moderate, a reputation which was greatly enhanced at the time of his appearance before the Royal Commission on the Liquor Licensing Laws (1897).
His eldest son George was born in Rattray, Perthshire, in 1859. He was educated first at Dundee High School, then the University of Glasgow, University of Bonn [Germany], University of Göttingen, and finally the University of Oxford (being a Snell exhibitioner of Balliol College). Saunders won the Buchanan prizes for Moral Philosophy and English Literature, the Rectorial prize for an essay on Constantine the Great, and the Monteath Bursary for German, etc, at Glasgow University. In 1893 he married Gertrude, daughter of Oscar Hainauer of Berlin; they had three sons and two daughters.
George Saunders inherited his father's interest in politics, and, after an unsuccessful attempt to enter the legal profession, embarked upon a career in journalism. His first foreign correspondence was contributed to the Scotsman; then he wrote a series of letters to the Pall Mall Gazette from Paris [France] and other French Departments during General Georges Boulanger's electoral campaign. He became the Berlin Correspondent for the Morning Post from 1888 to 1897, and undertook many special missions for the Post in Germany covering army manoeuvres, also reporting from France, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Russia. In 1897 Saunders moved to the Times, again as Berlin Correspondent, until 1908, when he became the Times Paris Correspondent up to 1914. Saunders's articles on military manoeuvres and the German Army won him particular praise, although his undisguised antipathy to German foreign and domestic policy was not without its critics. During the First World War he served in the Department of Political Information and other War Departments, from 1915 to 1918, and ended his career as a temporary Senior Clerk in the Foreign Office, March 1918-February 1920 and August and November 1920. Saunders died in 1922. His son, Commander Malcolm Saunders, was born in 1896, and following a naval career, became a naval historian. He died in 1967.
The Saunders Family Papers fall into three main groups: the correspondence of David Hogg Saunders; the letters and papers of his son, George, whose hostility towards German militarism is reflected in his private letters, providing a great deal of information about life and manners in contemporary Berlin; and a variety of letters and miscellaneous documents relating to members of the Saunders family. This third group comprises the correspondence between George's sister, Margaret, his son, Malcolm, and other members of the Saunders family. It is by no means confined to domestic affairs, since they all maintained a lively interest in politics and history.
The Saunders Family Papers were donated to Churchill Archives Centre by Mrs Mary Pain in 1975.
The papers were arranged by the Historical Manuscripts Commission in 1974, and were broadly listed by family member, with each member being assigned their own reference code. For ease of use, CAC has amended the catalogue, giving it one main reference code (SAUN), and splitting up the more detailed descriptions by box.
The papers are owned by Churchill College, Cambridge.
Churchill Archives Centre also holds the papers of Malcolm Saunders (MSAU).
A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, the National Register of Archives, London and on the Janus website, http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/. A detailed catalogue to the papers is also available at Churchill Archives Centre and the National Register of Archives.
This collection (fonds) level and class level description was prepared by Katharine Thomson of Churchill Archives Centre in May 2004, using an existing Historical Manuscripts Commission catalogue, and also additional information on George Saunders from his entry in Who Was Who (A and C Black, 1997).