Dodd/Thompson Research Correspondence

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Correspondence between E.P. Thompson and E.E. Dodd regarding research topics to be followed up, work in progress, and other matters, 1965-1979; research notes, 1963.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Palmer Thompson's (1924-1993) first major work as an historian came with his biography of William Morris, published in 1955. However, it was with the publication of his book The Making of the English Working Class (1963) that Thompson found himself more widely known outside the narrow circles of the old and new intellectual Left. This, his most famous work, was followed in the 1970s by further important historical publications, that concentrated largely on the 18th century. These included Whigs and Hunters (1975), Albion's Fatal Tree (1975), and Poverty of Theory (1978). An enthusiastic peace campaigner throughout his life, Thompson was a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1957, and in the 1980s he drafted the European Nuclear Disarmament (END) Appeal, which helped to mobilize anti-nuclear support across the continent. Thompson's involvement in the END campaign also helped to break the identification between the Western peace movement and the Soviet Union, turning the issue into a genuine moral protest. This constant pressure on officials, and the support for human rights groups in East Central Europe certainly did much to spark off the eventual collapse of several Communist-led regimes in 1989. Thompson himself referred to it as 'the most serious political work I have ever done or will ever do in my life'.

Edward Ernest Dodd worked with Thompson on several occasions during the 1960s and 1970s, carrying out research for him at the Public Record Office, the British Museum, and other local record offices. Dodd was also an historian in his own right, having published a History of the Bingley Grammar School 1529-1929 (1930) and Bingley Parish and Township Records (1953).

Reference: E.J. Hobsbawm, obituary in The Independent(30 August 1993); Finding aid for MSS.369.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Archivist's Note

Authority files exist for Edward Palmer Thompson (GB 152 AAR0989) and Edward Ernest Dodd (GBR 0152 AAR0990).

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the Centre in 1996 by Mrs. Kate Dodd, wife of Edward Dodd's nephew.