As the longest-serving editor of the New Statesman, Kingsley Martin's papers are both an essential complement to the magazine's own archive (SxMs 60) and important in their own right as a record of the life and mind of a senior commentator. Reflecting Martin's interests as journalist, traveller, author, broadcaster and lecturer, they contain material relating to British domestic politics during the 1930s, to international affairs during and after the Second World War, and to the development of India after 1947. They are supplemented with interviews with Martin's contemporaries recorded by his biographer, C. H. Rolph (SxMs 55).
The form of the material includes personal papers (with a few papers from his parents, the Revd D. B. Martin and Olga Martin) and travel notebooks. Some documentation (notes, drafts, press cuttings) relates to Martin's journalist days, including his grounding at the Manchester Guardian and editorship of the New Statesman. One file details the early days of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND); Martin presided over CND's first meeting.
Martin's papers contain correspondence with many significant figures, though most represented by a few letters; the larger groups include H. N. Brailsford (23 letters), J. M. Keynes (130) and J. B. Priestley (25). Five files hold George Bernard Shaw-related material ranging from 1914 to 1946, principally Shaw's letters to the New Statesman and to others including Sidney and Beatrice Webb and Harold Laski. One further file pertains to H. G. Wells and includes Wells's letters to the New Statesman and essays written by Martin about Wells. Material on the Cold War includes cordial letters from Martin to Khrushchev.