Main content

Veale family papers


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Veale family was British, but because of jobs in the military, spent much of their time abroad. Henry Richard Lobb Veale (1831-1908) served as an army physician and surgeon in the East Indies and as an assistant professor of military medicine at the Army Medical School. On July 17, 1862, Veale married Clarissa Catherine Noble and they had six children: Clara Mary, born in 1863 in Edinburgh, Scotland; Mary Christina, born in 1864 in Edinburgh, Scotland; Alice, born in 1867 in Mt. Abus, East Indies; Laura Henrietta, born in 1868 in Bombay; Bertha, born in 1871 in Bombay; and Sidney, born in 1873 in Kent, England.

In 1857, Veal was promoted from hospital staff to acting assistant surgeon; in 1865, he was serving as an assistant surgeon in the Royal Artillery; and in 1870, he was a surgeon in the army. The family returned to England, probably in 1872, from India and in 1879, Veale was working as assistant professor of military medicine at the Army Medical School. In the early 1880s, Veale served as the principal medical officer at Ismailia in Egypt, following the Urabi revolt. He had retired by 1891, with the rank of Surgeon Major.

His son, Sidney Veale Byland (1873-1899) was educated at St. Peter's College, Westminster from 1887 to 1889, at the University College School in Hampstead from 1889 to 1890, and at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He served as 2nd Lieutenant in the Welsh Regiment from 1893 to 1894 and joined the Indian Staff Corps on March 28, 1894. He served as Lieutenant in the 5th Madras Native Infantry and as Wing Officer from 1895 to 1896; was on duty in Russia in 1897; and was attached to the 20th Madras Native Infantry in February 1898. In June of 1898, he was Deputy Assistant Commissary General. He appears to have been proficient with languages, and was able to read and write Russian. At the time of his death, he was learning (or wished to learn) Chinese.

On November 18, 1897, Byland shipped out from London to Bombay on the Himalaya. During the last year of his life, Byland spent time in Cownpore, Mīrāmshāh, Raichur, Poona, Bombay, and Karachi. It is unclear whether he was stationed in all these locations or if he wrote from traveling points on his way to more permanent stations. He appears to have changed jobs within the India Staff Corps frequently, and his vision, which required corrective lenses, may have resulted in his assignments to office work. In particular, in Mīrāmshāh, he filled in for a sick colleague as quartermaster, working on accounts. He considered taking the position of deputy assistant commissary general to have been a mistake, stating, "if I were not short sighted, I should not stay in it any longer. And I shall not stay in it, if any other possibility presents itself," (letter, December 29, 1898). Throughout his time in India, his health appears to have suffered, and he complains of boils, indigestion, and fevers. He died in Poona on February 6, 1899.

This collection contains material documenting the lives and family relationships of the Veale family of England. The first item in this collection is a catalog of household items that were placed on sale before Dr. Henry Veale returned to England from India where he was serving as a doctor in the army. This document provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Veale family whose possessions included glass ware; porcelain ware; electro plated ware; furniture and decorations for a dining room, entrance, drawing room, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a dressing room, a dispense room, a cook room, a veranda, and a garden; and a stable containing a carriage, a buggy, four horses, harnesses, saddles, a grain mill, a cow and calf, and three goats and two kids.

From 1883 to 1884, Dr. Veale received a number of letters from William Aitken, who was apparently a patient, but who also appears to have been a friend and possibly a former colleague of Dr. Veale in the army or the field of medicine. The letters are extremely friendly and demonstrate Aitken's fondness and respect for Veale. For the most part, Aitken's letters describe his health and his symptoms for an unnamed illness that seemed to affect his vision and his digestion. It appears that Dr. Veale sent medicine as well as medical advice and news of his work, his home, and his family. According to Aitken's letters, Dr. Veale lectured frequently.

Included in the collection is a sketchbook of pencil drawings possibly created by Bertha Veale (born 1871), who according to a July 6, 1898 letter from her brother, Sidney, to her father, Dr. Veale, was a talented artist. The sketchbook contains a number of sketches of figures, both male and female, in varying degrees of completeness. A few of the sketches are dated from November of 1891; but the majority of the sketches are undated.

In December 1897, Lieutenant Sidney Veale Byland was stationed in India as part of his service in the Indian Staff Corps. With the exception of one letter to his mother and a Christmas card to his sister, the remainder of the letters were written to his father, Dr. Henry Veale, who had also served in India as an army physician. His letters are detailed and colorful, documenting the people he met; the conditions of his housing; his work; world politics; and his opinions of army life and the locations in which he was stationed (including Cownpore, Mīrāmshāh, Raichur, Poona, Bombay, and Karachi). He wrote regularly of his desire to learn Chinese, his boredom with office tasks, the possibilities of promotion or changing duties, and his worry about his health which appears to have suffered in India. His letters date from December 1, 1897, to December 29, 1898. He died in Poona on February 6, 1899--in his letter of December 22, 1898, he mentioned that he was "just recovering from another little bout of fever which knocked [him] endways for a bit."

The final document in the collection consists of the inventory of Sidney Veale Byland's estate following his death in India in early 1899. The document is not dated, but is presumed to have been created shortly after his death which occurred on February 6. The bulk of Byland's estate (consisting largely of clothing and household goods) was sold in India, but a small number of items were marked as sent home to his family in England. Among the items that were sold in India include his horse and riding implements (saddle, bridle, bits, spurs, etc.); weapons; luggage; games and sports equipment, cavalry sketching case; and books (6 of which were Russian).

Sold by Trafford Books, 2018.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2018 February 7
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
"Catalogue of the Handsome Household Furniture, Rich Cut Glass Ware, Best Electroplated and Porcelain Wares, Table Ornaments, Garden Plants, Carriages, Horses &c. &c. of Dr. H. Veale, proceeding to England, to be sold by public auction at his residence, No. 75 Malabar Hill, Opposite Messrs. D.S. Kemp & Co., Chemists, by Messrs. Crawford & Co., on Thursday the 14th of March 1872, On View from 12 March 1872," printed at the Oriental Steam Printing Press in Bombay, 1872.
Box 1 Folder 1
Letters to Henry Richard Lobb Veale from William Aitken (probably a patient), 1883-1884.
Box 1 Folder 2
Sketchbook, possibly belonging to Bertha Veale, 1891.
Box 1 Folder 3
Letters to Henry Richard Lobb Veale from his son, Sidney Veale Byland, who was serving in the Indian Staff Corps, 1897 December-1898 December.
Box 1 Folder 4
Christmas card to L.H. Veale (probably Laura Henrietta Veale) from Sidney Veale Byland, circa 1898.
Box 1 Folder 5
India Army Form: "Inventory of the property of every description belonging to the estate of the late Lieutenant Sidney Veale Byland, J.S.C.," Poona , circa 1899.
Box 1 Folder 6

Print, Suggest