George Edward Moore: Correspondence and Papers

Scope and Content

MS.Add.8330 contains Moore's personal and family papers, and his correspondence (sections 1-9), as well as books from his library (section 17). MS.Add.8875 is comprised of Moore's philosophical papers, and now forms sections 10-16. It includes contemporary notes of Wittgenstein's lectures, the autographs of his 1899 London lectures, and papers for the Moral Sciences Club.

Sections 1-7: Personal and family papers (boxes 1-3)

1. Chronologies and diaries

1/1 Chronologies, 1873-1913; 1/2 Summary of activities, 1903; 1/3 Diaries, 1908, 1909-1916, and 1924; 1/4 Supplementary diaries/notebooks, 1909-1928; 1/5 Extracts from diaries, 1929-1939.

2. Letters from G.E. Moore

2/1 Letters to his parents Daniel and Henrietta, 1882-1904; 2/2 Letters to his sister Sarah (later Mrs Ainsworth), 1905-1907; 2/3 Letters to his sister Helen, 1910-1914; 2/4 Letters to his son Timothy, 1936-1937; 2/5 Letters to Desmond MacCarthy, 1896-1951; 2/6 Letters to Robert C. Trevelyan, 1896-1947; 2/7 Letters to Reymond Abbott, 1930-1947.

3. Family history

3/1 Moore family letters and documents; 3/2 Sturge family letters and documents; 3/3 Letters from Moore's mother, Henrietta Moore, to Helen Appia.

4. Letter to Moore from his family

4/1 Daniel, father, 1890-1904; 4/2 Henrietta, mother, 1898-1903; 4/3 Annie, half-sister, 1904-1951; 4/4 Tom, brother, and his wife Marie, 1892-1943; 4/5 Daniel Henry ('Harry'), brother, and his wife Betty, 1925-1943; 4/6 Henrietta ('Hettie'), sister, 1893-1959; 4/7 Helen ('Nellie'), sister, 1899-1916; 4/8 Joseph Henry ('Bertie'), brother, 1894-1951; 4/9 Sarah (Ainsworth), sister, 1895-1925; 4/10 Alfred Ainsworth, brother-in-law, 1924-1945; 4/11 Henriette ('Riette') Sturge Moore, niece, c.1950-1951; 4/12 Dorothy Ely, Moore's future wife, 1916; 4/13 George Herbert Ely, father-in-law, and his wife Margaret, 1919-1951; 4/14 Nicholas, son, and wife Priscilla, 1940-1951; 4/15 Timothy, son, 1940-1948.

5. Dulwich College

5/1 School reports; 5/2 Latin compositions; 5/3 Divinity essays; 5/4 'The Boomerang' magazine; 5/5 Cambridge Old Alleynian Club; 5/6 Miscellaneous.

6. Miscellaneous personal and family items

6/1 Job applications, teaching assignments; 6/2 Published articles and reviews; 6/3 Trinity College events; 6.4 Seatoller logbook; 6/5 Dorothy Ely's philosophy notes; 6/6 Miscellaneous.

7. Photographs and sketches

7/1 Portraits of G.E. Moore; 7/2-5 Photograph albums, Moore family and friends; 7/6 Moore family sketchbook.

Sections 8-9: Correspondence (boxes 4-6)

8. Letters to Moore, A-Z

9. Subject files and additional deposits

9/1 Philosophical Fellowship Fund, 1938-1956; 9/2 Business letters; 9/3 Unidentified letters; 9/4 Material presented by Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz; 9/5 Material presented by Roberta Blanshard; 9/6 Paul Levy's indexes and computer printouts.

Sections 10-16: Philosophical Papers

10. Notes of lectures attended (13 boxes)

10/1 G. Stout; 10/2 Henry Sidgwick; 10/3 John E. McTaggart; 10/4 Bertrand Russell; 10/5 W.E. Johnson; 10/6 G.H. Hardy; 10/7 Ludwig Wittgenstein.

11. Undergraduate essays

11/1 Trinity College essays, 1893; 11/2 Philosophy essays, c. 1894-1896.

12. Papers for Cambridge Societies

12/1 'Apostles' papers; 12/2 Trinity Sunday Essay Society; 12/3 Moral Sciences Club; 12/4 Natural Sciences Club.

13. Cambridge lecture courses

13/1 Class lists, 1911-1939; 13/2-15 Psychology lectures, 1911-1925; 13/16 Undated Psychology lectures; 13/17-38 Metaphysics lectures, 1917-1939; 13/39 Undated Metaphysics lectures; 13/40 Elements of Philosophy lectures, 1933-1934; 13/41 Trinity College Tarner lectures, 1929.

14. Lectures outside Cambridge

14/1 London School of Ethics, 1898; 14/2 London School of Ethics, 1899; 14/3 Bedford College, London, 1926; 14/4 University College, London, 1926; 14/5 Smith College, Northampton, U.S.A., 1940-1941; 14/6 Princeton University, U.S.A., 1941; 14/7 Mills College, California, U.S.A., 1941; 14/8-10 Columbia University, New York, U.S.A., 1942-1944; 14/11 Howison Lecture, California, U.S.A. 1941.

15. Miscellaneous lectures, articles and reviews

16. Commonplace books

16/1 Commonplace books, 1919-1953; 16/2 Undated commonplace books.

17. Library books and pamphlets

17/1 Books in author order; 17/2 Pamphets in author order; 17/3 Periodicals.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Edward Moore (1873-1958), philosopher, was born on 4 November 1873 in Upper Norwood, London, one of the seven children of Dr Daniel Moore and his second wife Henrietta Sturge. He was educated at Dulwich College, 1882-1892, and Trinity College, Cambridge (Classical Tripos, part I, 1894; Moral Sciences Tripos, part II, 1896). He then worked for a Trinity College Prize Fellowship, which he obtained in 1898 with a dissertation on Kant's Ethics. The six years of the fellowship enabled him to write articles and reviews, lecture on Kant at the London School of Philosophy and Social Ethics, and publish Principia ethica (1903). He also gave papers to Cambridge University societies, such as the Moral Sciences Club, and was an active member of the Cambridge Conversazione Society (the 'Apostles') from 1894.

Moore had a small private income, and when his Fellowship ended in 1904 he was able to continue studying philosophy, living first with a friend, A.J. Ainsworth, in Edinburgh, and from 1908 with his sister Hettie in Richmond. He continued to write articles, published Ethics (1912), read papers to the Aristotelian Society, and lectured at Morley College. In 1911 he returned to Cambridge as University Lecturer in Moral Science, and in 1925 was appointed Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic. He retired in 1939, and spent the years 1940-1944 in the U.S.A. as visiting Professor at several Universities. He published Philosophical studies (1922), Some main problems of philosophy (1953), and collaborated with P.A. Schilpp in the production of The philosophy of G.E. Moore (1942). Philosophical papers (1959), prepared by Moore, was published after his death. He was editor of the journal Mind from 1921 to 1947. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1951, and died in Cambridge on 24 October 1958. He married Dorothy Ely on 27 December 1916 and had two sons, Nicholas and Timothy.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Most of the papers in MS.Add.8330 were purchased in 1980, with a few items presented in 1988 by Roberta Blanshard, the widow of the philosopher Brand Blanshard, and in 1988-1989 by the philosopher Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz, a former student of Moore's. MS.Add.8875 was presented by Timothy Moore, 1991.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Custodial History

MS.Add.8330: Moore's personal papers remained at his home in Cambridge after his death, and were used extensively by Paul Levy for his book Moore: G.E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles (1979). Levy and his assistant did a substantial amount of sorting and indexing of the papers. Their card-index and computer printouts remain with the collection. After Dorothy Moore's death in 1977 the papers were sold at Sotheby's, and were purchased by the Library in 1980.

MS.Add.8875: After Moore's death the papers remained in the care of the philosopher Dr Casimir Lewy of Trinity College, Cambridge, who edited and published some material from them in Lectures on philosophy by G.E. Moore (1966). After Dr Lewy's death in 1991 they were given to the Library.

Related Material

Moore's 1898 Fellowship dissertation, and his typescript of Wittgenstein's 'Bemerkungen' ('Typescript 230iii') are now in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge.