The papers of and relating to Samuel Alexander constitute a major source for studies of philosophy and cognate subjects in the fifty years preceding his death in 1938. Alexander was in the forefront of philosophical discourse for much of this period, and corresponded with most of the leading philosophers in Europe and North America.
The papers consist of various accessions to the John Rylands Library. The largest subgroup (ALEX/A) comprises Alexander’s own papers, including a substantial and significant body of correspondence, various drafts and published writings, published material relating to his life and work, photographs and miscellaneous items in his possession. Correspondents represented in the archive include well-known figures from various spheres of public life - politics, literature, philosophy and academia - such as: Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead, Ernest Rutherford, Chaim Weizmann, C.P. Scott, C.E. Montague, A.N. Monkhouse, Marie Stopes, Beatrice Webb, Sybil Thorndike, A.C. Bradley, Robert Bridges, and A.J. Balfour.
The second subgroup (ALEX/B) comprises papers in the possession of Alexander’s literary executor, and fellow philosopher and academic, John Laird. Amongst these papers are letters from Alexander himself as well as an important grouping of reminiscences about his life written by friends and acquaintances of Alexander, containing much anecdotal information. The remainder of the material comes from various sources. It includes papers originally belonging to the office of the Vice-Chancellor of Manchester University, cuttings collected after Laird’s death, reminiscences of Alexander’s friend Florence MacCunn and original and copy letters sent to Naomi Mitchison by Alexander.