Correspondence of Morgan Philips Price, 1941-1964

Scope and Content

This series includes correspondence between Morgan Philips Price and three editors for the Guardian - W.P. Crozier, A.P. Wadsworth, and Alastair Hetherington - between 1941 and 1964. The years 1959-1961 and 1963 are only excluded because no extant letters sent or received by Philips Price remain from those dates. Also included are exchanges with Price's aunt, Anna Maria Philips; his wife, Lisa; his son, Peter; the Foreign Office in London; and long-time members of the Guardian staff, like J.M.D. Pringle and Patrick Monkhouse.

Though a number of pieces relate to the social as well as professional relationships built between Philips Price and the editors of the Guardian over the course of decades, much of the series is comprised of letters that effectively serve as de facto reports from the field, once Philip Price resumes travels throughout Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union after World War II. His correspondence is bolstered by detailed memoranda of his journeys, as well as by clips of articles provided by Wadsworth and others, and pieces like an interview Philips Price conducted with Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito in the midst of postwar tensions between Yugoslavia and the United States. Philips Price similarly encountered other statesmen like Turkish president Ismet Inönü in his dual capacity of British parliamentarian and special foreign correspondent.

The exchanges between Philips Price, his family, and the Guardian staff also frequently refer to the internal operations of both the Guardian, as it evolves from the 1940s to the 1960s, and Parliament, through Philips Price's perspective as a long-time Labour MP for the Forest of Dean, who had frequent contact with the Foreign Office at the beginning of the Cold War.

Administrative / Biographical History

Journalist, politician, and author Morgan Philips Price was born in Taynton, Gloucestershire, in 1885, to a landed family of former cotton merchants with deep roots in Lancashire. Educated at Harrow, Philips Price went on to Trinity College, Cambridge, and graduated not long before inheriting his family's estate, The Grove, upon his father's death in 1906. In 1911, Philips Price began a life-long interest in and involvement with politics by standing as a Liberal Party candidate for Gloucester. Arguing that 'the State has to compromise between private and public interests,' and that in the case of conflict between the two, 'the public interests must prevail,' Philips Price lost the election but subsequently joined the pacifist Union of Democratic Control after the outbreak of World War I. Spearheaded by Philips Price's cousin, Secretary of the Board of Education Charles Trevelyan, and counting Bertrand Russell among its members, the UDC quickly became the most prominent anti-war organization in Britain.

Concurrent with his participation in the UDC, Philips Price was recruited by Manchester Guardianeditor C.P. Scott as a foreign correspondent on the Eastern Front. Fluent in Russian and sympathetic to Scott's view that an alliance with Tsarist Russia theoretically undermined the Allies' efforts against autocratic Prussia, Philips Price travelled to Petrograd in 1914 and stayed for four years longer than originally intended, often scooping stories due to his individualistic approach to reporting, as well as his familiarity with Russian language and culture, and willingness to travel far beyond major cities. As Geoffrey Moorehouse wrote of Philips Price fifty years after Tsar Nicholas's abdication, 'he was the only Western journalist who saw [the Russian Revolution] through from before the start to the finish.'

Philips Price's integration into the culture on which he was reporting, and his increasingly evident attachment to the revolutionary cause, did have consequences; MI6 kept a file on Philips Price from 1917 onward, believing him to be actively producing 'anti-English propaganda.' More significantly for Philips Price on both a professional and personal level, he was dismissed from the Guardian by the end of the war for allegedly exhibiting Bolshevik inclinations. (He was never found to have officially belonged to the Communist Party.) Though Philips Price ultimately gained a seat in the House of Commons in 1929 as a Labour MP, and remained in Parliament for most of the next three decades, retiring in 1959, he did not reestablish a relationship with the Guardian until 1941, the year in which this series begins. Balancing Parliamentary duties with extensive travels as a special correspondent for the Guardian in the immediate post-World War II and early Cold War eras, Philips Price continued to deliver observational articles on Soviet, African, and Middle Eastern politics and socio-economics well into the late 1950s, often returning to areas he had visited decades before during World War I and the Russian Revolution.


This series is arranged chronologically, according to the original order and numeration of individual pieces. Each item is a file that includes correspondence dated from a designated year.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

The catalogue descriptions may contain personal data about living individuals.

Acquisition Information

This series is part of a larger archive donated to the Library by the Guardian in 1971.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue for the Guardian archive as a whole, including this series, is available on the University of Manchester Special Collections website here. There is also a collection-level description of the Guardian archive available via ELGAR.

Separated Material

Later records of the Guardian, from the late 1960s through to the present day, are held at the Guardian News and Media Archive in London.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

This series is comprised of material generated by the daily operations of the Manchester Guardian.


Bowcott, Owen, 'Guardian Correspondent Kept under Surveillance,' The Guardian, November 14, 2001.

Moorhouse, Geoffrey, 'Reporter of the Revolution,' The Guardian, March 15, 1967, p. 7.

Price, Morgan Philips, A Diplomatic History of the War(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1914).

Price, Morgan Philips, Dispatches from the Revolution: Russia 1916-18(London: Pluto Press, 1997).

Price, Morgan Philips, Dispatches From the Weimar Republic: Versailles and German Fascism(London: Pluto Press, 1999).

Price, Morgan Philips, My Three Revolutions (London: Allen and Unwin, 1969).

Simkin, John, 'Morgan Philips Price,' August 2014. Accessed 20 January 2017.

Corporate Names