The original Russell Archives were acquired in 1968 and contained Russell's own correspondence, manuscripts of his published and unpublished books, essays and articles, photographs and other family memorabilia. In 1972 a second group of archives was acquired, containing correspondence (some of it is still under embargo) with Russell's second, third, and fourth wives, his children, grandchildren and legal and financial agencies. The collection, including published books, is the largest author collection in the Division, and is designated as McMaster's prime Research Collection.
The general policy of the Russell Archives is to collect everything of significance to scholars studying Bertrand Russell's life and work, especially those involved in McMaster's editorial project, The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, while avoiding undue duplication of other Library resources.
Although the original archive contained much of Russell's correspondence and manuscripts, there are still gaps in the collection. Every effort is made to fill the gaps by buying at auction and searching out individual owners. Collections of correspondence are sought as available. Individual letters are usually very expensive at auction and are avoided unless no copy of the letter(s) concerned is otherwise available. Attempts are rarely made to acquire outgoing letters dated 1952 or after, since a draft or a carbon usually exists in the collection. The Russell Archives are also interested in acquiring the papers of people who were close to Russell, especially former wives, mistresses and relatives, where it is expected that their papers will give significant information about Russell. Cognate papers include the archives of Anton Felton, Constance Malleson, Dora Russell, Edith Russell, and Rupert Crawshay-Williams.
Along with the archival material, tape recordings, photographs, some realia and surrogate copies of Russell archival material in other libraries are acquired.
Published Books and Articles
To add to the research value of the archival collection, a large collection of books by and about Russell has been acquired.
All books and pamphlets written by Russell, in every edition and every printing in English up to shortly after his death, as well as every available translation, are acquired. A copy of every edition of a work contributed to by Russell, including a dust-jacket blurb, is acquired.
The staff search for books including significant references to his life, writings and theories, as well as a copy of the exact edition of books he reviewed. Also added to the collection are standard biographies of people involved in Russell's life, significant books by his relatives, every biography of Russell himself and all books once owned by Russell, especially those with his marginalia.
Arts and Social Sciences