Jack Keiser Papers

Scope and Content

The collection contains Keiser's personal papers, which include correspondence, diaries, journals, travel notes, texts of sermons and talks and a copy of his typescript autobiography, "High Living: a sort of autobiography" (1993). There are also copies of Keiser's own publications together with printed material of the Student Christian Movement, the Industrial Mission Association, the William Temple College and Foundation, the World Council of Churches, British Council of Churches and the Fabian Society. The collection includes runs of the periodicals, Student World , Ecumenical Review , and Frontier . The collection will be of interest to students of the social history of organised religion in twentieth century Britain, the lay ministry, industrial missions and the Christian socialist movement.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jack Keiser was born at Richmond Hill, Surrey in 1915. His father was Swiss-born and worked for a bedfeather merchant, and his mother was of Polish origin. Keiser was educated at St Paul's School and at Imperial College, London, graduating in 1937 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Although his parents were agnostic, Keiser had become an active Christian during his school and student days. In 1937, he took up his first post with the engineering firm, C A Parsons and Co. Ltd. of Newcastle upon Tyne, where he worked as an industrial designer. He continued to be an active Christian, belonging to such groups as the Student Christian Movement, Christian Auxiliary Movement and was a founder member of the Tyneside Association of Christian Groups. During the war he served as a lay reader, and in 1951 was formally licensed to perform this role.

In 1946, Keiser was appointed as an Industrial Secretary with the Student Christian Movement, and he worked to give students an opportunity to experience industrial life through vacation work. In 1949, he joined the firm of Samuel Fox and Co. Ltd, part of United Steel Ltd., which produced specialist steel goods at Stocksbridge, near Sheffield. He worked as an education officer, charged with improving the training and education facilities for employees and apprentices. Apart from his Christian activities, Keiser had become involved with William Temple College, which was interested in the relationship between Christians and modern industrial society, as well as a member of the Labour Party. In 1954 he moved to the aircraft engineering firm, Folland Aircraft Ltd. in Southampton, where he stayed until 1957, when he joined Siemens Edison, Swan Ltd, a branch of Associated Electrical Industries, as its head of training.

In 1968, he enrolled as a student in theology at William Temple College, Rugby, but staff shortages soon saw him appointed to the staff. In 1971 the College moved to Manchester, and was renamed the William Temple Foundation and housed in Manchester Business School. Keiser became Fellow and Director of Studies, and ran courses on "Social Responsibility and Industry" for Manchester Business School, together with courses for the University's Department of Social and Pastoral Theology. He formally retired from the William Temple Foundation in 1980. During the 1970s Keiser had been actively involved in the development of the ecumenical church, St Peter's House, near Manchester University, which brought together the congregations of St Ambrose and the Oxford Hall Methodists. Keiser served as chairman of the St Peter's Church council in its early years.

Keiser has had a lifelong interest in work from a Christian perspective, and he summed up his views in a book published in 1978, Men at Work: a Christian approach to business and industrial ethics . He also published a number of pamphlets and articles in a similar vein, and wrote the official history of the William Temple Foundation, College to Foundation: an outline history of William Temple College 1947-1976 , (1986).


This uncatalogued collection has not been arranged into series.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection may contain personal or sensitive personal data about living individuals. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The John Rylands University Library (JRUL) has the right to process such personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the JRUL to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, the JRUL has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately, according to the Data Protection Principles.

Individuals have the right to make a request to see data relating to them held by the JRUL which falls under the provisions of the DPA. Access requests must be made formally in accordance with the provisions set out in the DPA and all enquiries should be directed to the University's Data Protection Officer.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited at JRUL on indefinite loan by Jack Keiser.

Other Finding Aids

accession list.

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 Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Related Material

The Library also holds the archives of the Industrial Mission Association ( GB 133 IMA ), with which Keiser was associated, as well as those of the William Temple Foundation ( GB 133 WTF ) .