SUMMER 2002 NEWS



Some Visitors

 Marcel Anderwert with Andy Bone

Marcel Anderwert of the University of Zürich visited the Russell Archives and the Russell Centre in mid-July. He is researching the ideas of Russell and Albert Einstein in relation to world government, mainly after World War II for his "Lisentiat" [M.A.]. While here he looked at the correspondence between Russell and Einstein in the Archives. At the Centre he was able to meet Andy Bone, David Blitz, and others. The Centre provides a forum for the interchange of ideas at coffee gatherings. He was also able to look at Bone's as yet unpublished Man's Peril, 1954–55, Vol. 28 of the Collected Papers.

 Stefan Andersson

Stefan Andersson of Sweden has been visiting the Russell Archives since 1976. Beginning in 1987 he has travelled to the Archives every year. After completing his doctoral thesis on Russell's search for certainty in religion in 1994, he has directed his research in two different areas: Russell and Wittgenstein on logic, ethics, and mysticism and the War Crimes Tribunals that took place in Sweden. On this visit he spent time in the Centre to meet other Russell scholars and discuss the latest news in Russell studies.

 William Bruneau with Nick Griffin

Bill Bruneau, one of the editors of the Collected Papers, spent two weeks at McMaster in late August. He was en route from Amsterdam to his home in British Columbia. He shared his experience there with us and agreed to write up some impressions which follow:

The International Institute for Social History is about 4 kilometres from Amsterdam's city centre, but leaves the feeling of being within sight of the sea. The Reading Room features a great wall of glass, and from it one looks northward across two broad canals. Beyond them is a new (and imaginative looking) housing-and-office development, and then ... open water. The Institute is the main occupant of a building finished just over a decade ago. Although there are two additional institutes, a learned societies office, and a museum, the IISH attracts most traffic.

For Russell scholars, the IISH has two great attractions. First, it contains the Dora Russell papers. A life-long feminist, educationist, socialist, and internationalist, Dora Russell's papers make a natural addition to the Institute's remarkable holdings. IISH already had publications and papers of European pioneers of family planning, of birth control, of "advanced" education for children and adults—not to mention Bakunin, Marx, and a host of progressive-minded "pioneers." One imagines Dora Russell would be happy in this company. Second, the Institute has built up a research "infrastructure" of books, computerized data bases, and expert opinion in most branches of social, intellectual, political, and cultural history, and in both hemispheres. It is possible to move across time and space, yet remain the whole time within the walls of the IISH. Files appear quickly and reliably, as do photocopies of documents. The cafeteria has the same view as the Reading Room. Like many a European archive, the IISH receives sustained government finance. Without it, the conveniences would be fewer, and the publishing programme far slighter. As it is, the Institute has attracted a remarkable permanent staff, themselves an important attraction to researchers.

In five working days at the Institute, I met a Norwegian writing the history of Latin American unions and their legal problems in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries; an American working on pacifist theory; a man from Rotterdam doing an edition of letters from and to a "cell" of Kropotkinites; a half-dozen Dutch people writing books on aspects of the social and cultural history of the Netherlands since ca. 1750; and numerous members of IISH staff who are working on books of their own.

I was at the IISH to read papers that Dora Russell produced as she and Russell created, maintained, and publicized their private school for younger children—Beacon Hill School, 1927–34. Although Russell did not take an active, direct part in running the school after the spring of 1934, his correspondence with Dora even after 1934 was considerable, and is well represented in the Dora Russell papers. During the crucial seven years of their educational partnership, Dora's own output of letters, prospecti, reports, and articles was remarkably extensive and intensive. By the mid-1930s she was the mother of several children, had increased her activism in many causes apart from Beacon Hill, and meanwhile conducted intense and emotionally complicated friendships and affairs (as did Russell). Dora's papers include many files on the problems of running a school in a time and a place where her outlook, not to mention Russell's, was unpopular among members of the establishment. Even the locals near Beacon Hill (in West Sussex) had grave doubts. All this comes clear in the papers. In the end, the IISH holdings for Dora Russell and for Beacon Hill allow one to see the Russells's practical educational work, and their educational theory, in new light.

In Amsterdam, I stayed in the Scholar's Residence run by Mieke Iszjermans, an easy fifteen-minute walk from IISH, and a ten- minute tram ride from the main train station. After a long day's labour in the Dora Russell papers, it was pure indulgence to walk to the Residence, eat at any one of dozens of Indonesian, Indian, Provençal, and ... Dutch restaurants, and then sit out on the balcony to watch the sun set over the facing municipal park, complete with its own quiet canals. Nothing much in Amsterdam is cheap, but this doesn't matter very much if one has burrowed deep in the files at the IISH.

Speeches:

In August Andy Bone of the Russell Centre spoke at the monthly meeting of the Greater Rochester Russell Set. The Rochester organization is a local chapter—easily the largest and most active—of the Bertrand Russell Society. Their gatherings usually feature a visiting speaker—who is guaranteed the most generous hospitality—or a group discussion of books by, about, or relating to Russell. Upcoming events include appearances by New York-based authors, Thom Weidlich, on the City College of New York case (12 September), Warren Allen Smith, author of Celebrities in Hell (10 October), and a presentation by GRRS member Gerry Wildenberg on "Russell and Pythagoras" (14 November).

Andy's talk was based on his recent article in Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies, "Bertrand Russell and the Communist-aligned Peace Movement in the 1950s". He discussed Russell's thinking about nuclear weapons and disarmament in the early phase of his anti-nuclear activism, and the perplexity of cooperating at the height of the Cold War with Communists and fellow-travellers in the wider peace movement. After his presentation Andy fielded a range of questions from the audience concerning Russell's longstanding record of opposition to the Soviet Union, his alleged advocacy of preventive war after 1945, and his dislike of "McCarthyism". According to the time-honoured tradition of the GRRS, the event concluded in a less formal manner at the pub across the road from the Daily Perks Coffee House which hosts their monthly meetings.

Research Discoveries:

Over the summer Sheila Turcon has been preparing the chronology for Collected Papers 16. She was able to locate several press reports of speeches made by Russell during his American lecture tour of 1924. These reports were not known to Blackwell and Ruja at the time their Bibliography was published and thus do not appear in the D section of the Bibliography. Copies have been placed with the bibliographical archival files in the Russell Archives along with other discoveries made since 1994.


* BRRC Main Page * Faculty of Humanities * Russell Archives

* McMaster University


The text for this page was prepared at McMaster University.
Page maintained by Arlene Duncan. Last updated 13 January, 2003.