The Edith Russell Papers

Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 12 (1):61-78 (1992)
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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:'Bibliographies/LArchivallnventories/Indexes THE EDITH RUSSELL PAPERS SHEILA TUReON Russell Archives I McMaster University Library Hamilton, Ont., Canada L8s 4M6 INTRODUCTION E dith, Countess Russell, was born Edith Finch, the daughter of Edward Bronson Finch, a physician, and his wife, Delia, on 5 November 1900 in New York City. She was educated at Bryn Mawr College (AB, 1922) and St. Hilda's College, Oxford (HON BA, 1925; MA, 1926). Returning to Bryn Mawr, she was employed from time to time as an instructor of English literature, but she never became a permanent member of the faculty. A frequent traveller to Europe during these years of teaching and writing, Edith published biographies of Wilfred Scawen Blunt in 1938 and Carey Thomas, a President of Bryn Mawr, in 1947. She sometimes lectured at various schools and clubs off campus on biography in general and Blunt in particular. Edith and Lucy Martin Donnelly, a friend of both Russell and his first wife AIys, became close; together they built a home, New Place, in nearby Rosemont, Pennsylvania, where they lived after Lucy's retirement in 1936 as head of the English Department. Following Lucy's death in 1948 Edith worked as a freelance editor in New York City and in 1950 applied, unsuccessfully, for a position as an Intelli~ gence Research Specialist/Foreign Affairs Officer in the us Foreign Serv:ice. At the same time, she moved to England: she and Russell were married two years, to the month, later. They had been introduced by Lucy Donnelly and met on occasion during the 1930S and 1940S when Russell was visiting Lucy. When Russell was in New York to deliver the Matchette Foundation lectures in 1950 they met again, and their relationship developed quickly. It russell: the Journal of the Bertrand Russell Archives McMaster University Libraty l'ress n.s. 12 (summer 1992): 61-78 ISSN 0036-01631 62 SHEILA TURCON The Edith Russell Papers 63 Foundation who were in possession of the papers for several years and who packed them for shipment here. Within many of the categories, however, the papers were in disorder upon arrival. This is especially true of the domestic correspondence and records. They have been arranged in order to facilitate access by researchers. Six-digit archival numbers have been assigned to all documents. The papers measure 3.3 m. (II lin. ft.) and comprise 28 boxes.. All correspondence listed in this Recent Acquisition (no. 967) was entered in BRACERS, where it is accessible and searchable. Only the correspondents' names were extracted for this article. The BRACERS records, numbering 1,039, contain complete information on the letters; the topics of important letters are also extracted or summarized and included in the records. A selection of entries from the Topic_Text field are interspersed throughout the inventory. "Document(s)" is abbreviated "doc(s).", and "photocopy(ies)" is abbreviated "P(s)." was to bring great happiness to both. Russell's Autobiography is dedicated to her. She became a British subject in 1960 and, after Russell's death in 1970, remained in Wales where they had settled in the mid1950S. Eight years later, Edith died on I January 1978. An agreement by McMaster Universiry Library to purchase her papers from the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation was made on 24 June 1985. The papers themselves did not arrive at the Russell Archives until nearly a year later, on II June 1986. Upon arrival, it was noted that many photographs that were listed with the agreement were missing, as well as some printed materials and books belonging to Lucy Donnelly, a typescript by Logan Pearsall Smith and sdme general correspondence. The Foundation has not been able to locate these missing items. More importantly, Russell's original letters to Edith (copies of which were included in Archives II) were not even listed as part of the agreement, and their location remains unknown as well. The majority of the papers concern Edith's life after Russell's death. There is very little from her life before her marriage. This is surprising because of the amount of material she preserved and organized during her life with Russell which is now held in Archives I and II. In a letter of...



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