Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer
The Earl of Oxford
|Born||2 June 1689|
|Died||16 June 1741(aged 52)|
|Title||2nd Earl of Oxford|
|Other titles||Earl Mortimer|
|Offices||MP for Radnor
MP for Cambridgeshire
|Predecessor||Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer|
|Successor||Edward Harley, 3rd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer|
|Spouse(s)||Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles|
|Parents||Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer
Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer (2 June 1689 – 16 June 1741), styled Lord Harley between 1711 and 1724, was a British politician, bibliophile, collector and patron of the arts.
Harley was the only son of Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, by his first wife Elizabeth Foley.
He was MP for Radnor (as his father and paternal grandfather had been before him) from 1711 to 1714, and for Cambridgeshire from 1722 until he succeeded his father in 1724 and entered the House of Lords. He was a bibliophile, collector and patron of the arts, and took little interest in public affairs. He extended his father's library and expanded the Harleian Collection, now in the British Library. The department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham holds a number of papers relating to the 2nd Earl and the management of his estates in the Portland (London) collection. Harley family papers (Pw2Hy) are part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection.
Through his wife, he inherited Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, and Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire. Wimpole became their main residence, but they had to sell it in 1740 to pay Edward's debts. He also acquired a considerable amount of land in the West End of London which was developed during his life. Many of the now famous streets took their names from Harley connections – primarily Harley Street and Oxford Street. Other streets, named after Harley properties, include Wigmore Street and Wimpole Street.
On 31 August 1713 he married Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles (1694–1755), only daughter and heir of the 1st Duke of Newcastle and his wife, the former Lady Margaret Cavendish, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. They had two children:
- Henry Cavendish Harley, Lord Harley (18 October 1725 – 22 October 1725)
- Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley (1715–1785), who married William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland in 1734.
Lord Oxford and Mortimer died in London in 1741 and was buried in the vault of the Duke of Newcastle in Westminster Abbey. He was succeeded in the earldom by his cousin Edward Harley, 3rd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer.
David Stoker, ‘Harley, Edward, second earl of Oxford and Mortimer (1689–1741)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2005 
- Biographies of the Dukes of Portland and associated families, with links to online catalogues, from Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham
- Edward Harley at thePeerage.com
|Parliament of Great Britain|
|Member of Parliament for Radnor
|Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire
with Sir John Hynde Cotton, Bt
Sir John Hynde Cotton, Bt,
|Peerage of Great Britain|
|Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer