RUSSELL, Alys, 1867-1951, and RUSSELL, Bertrand Arthur William, 1872-1970, 3rd Earl Russell, philosopher

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Diary of a winter spent in Berlin in 1895 which formed the basis of their joint publication German Social Democracy (Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1896), a study of the German Social Democratic Party.

Administrative / Biographical History

Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, was the third son of Lord John Russell (1792-1878), who twice served as Prime Minister (1846-1852 and 1865-1866). His parents died when he was very young and he was brought up by his grandmother. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge and obtained a first-class honours degree in mathematics and philosophy. He became a Fellow of the college in 1895. A visit to Berlin after university led to his first book 'German Social Democracy' (1896). In 1907 a group of male supporters of votes for women formed the Men's League for Women's Suffrage. Bertrand Russell joined and stood unsuccessfully as a Suffragist candidate at a parliamentary by-election at Wimbledon. Russell was also a member of the Fabian Society. After the outbreak of the First World War Russell helped form the No-Conscription Fellowship (NCF), an organisation that planned to campaign against the introduction of conscription. Russell's activities in the the NCF resulted in him being sacked from his post as a lecturer at Cambridge University. Russell was also the editor of the NCF journal "Tribunal". Russell wrote an article in January 1918 criticising the American Army for strike-breaking. Russell was arrested and charged with making statements 'likely to prejudice His Majesty's relations with the United States of America'. He was found guilty and sentenced to six months in Brixton Prison. In 1931 Bertrand succeeded his elder brother as 3rd Earl of Russell. He used the forum of the House of Lords to promote his views on pacifism. Russell ceased to be a pacifist in the late 1930s with the rise of Hitler in Germany. Russell was rewarded with the restoration of his fellowship at Cambridge University. In 1950 Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Russell became increasing concerned about the major powers producing nuclear weapons and in 1958 helped form The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. His publications include: 'The Principles of Mathematics' (1903); 'Principia Mathematica' (1910); 'Theory and Practice of Bolshevism' (1919); 'An Enquiry into Meaning and Truth' (1940); 'History of Western Philosophy' (1945); 'Human Knowledge: Its scope and limits' (1948); 'Why I am not a Christian' (1957).

Alys Pearsall Smith, 1867-1951, was an American Quaker who worked for the temperance cause. She was the first of Bertrand Russell's four wives. Pearsall Smith married Russell in 1894, despite opposition from both their families. They separated in 1911 and divorced in 1921. She then lived in Chelsea, London, with her brother the writer Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946).

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Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 8, 2002

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