WEBSTER, Sir Charles Kingsley, 1886-1961, Knight, historian and diplomat

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers of Sir Charles Kingsley Webster, 1901-1962, including diaries, 1918-1949, including details of work at the Paris Peace Conference, the League of Nations, the United Nations, the Foreign Office and the British Academy; correspondence, 1906-1961, with family, friends, students and colleagues, notably relating to his historical research and writings, academic employment and engagements, European politics, work for the Foreign Office during World War Two, and his work for the British Academy, and the United Nations; material concerning his early career, 1901-1914, including examination papers and conference programmes; papers relating to his work at Liverpool University, 1914-1928, including teaching materials; papers concerning Webster's service during World War One, mainly comprising material relating to the Paris Peace Conference and the League of Nations Union; papers concerning the League of Nations, 1920-1931, comprising reports and memoranda presented to various sessions of the Assembly; papers relating to Webster's work at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1924-1932, notably administrative and teaching material, newspaper cuttings and other papers concerning Webster's trips to Germany, Canada and the USA, and copies of articles on reparations and the League of Nations; material concerning his work at the London School of Economics, 1932-1953, including teaching materials such as reading lists, examination papers, lists of students and correspondence relating to funding, and minutes and papers of LSE committees, notably the Editorial Board of Politica ; material relating to committees, meetings and visits, 1933-1940, including the International Committee of Historical Sciences, the League of Nations Union, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Bloomsbury Society and the British Council; material concerning Webster's work at the Foreign Research and Press Service, Royal Institute of International Affairs (later the Foreign Office Research Department), 1939-1944, on subjects related to international organisation and post-war settlement, including correspondence, memoranda, and minutes of the Minister of State's Committee on Future World Organisation; papers relating to work at the British Library of Information, New York, 1941-1942; papers on the Dumbarton Oaks Discussions on the organisational structure and form of the United Nations, 1944, mainly comprising memoranda and printed material, with personal notes and official conference papers; papers on the United Nations Conference on International Organisation, San Francisco, 1945, including UK Delegation papers, records of meetings, and conference documents; background papers to the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations, 1945-1946, comprising conference documents and committee papers; papers on the United Nations General Assembly First Session and the League of Nations Final Assembly, 1946, including memoranda, minutes, committee papers and records of meetings; material concerning other committees and societies, 1946-1958, including UNESCO; lectures and speeches, [1906]-1960, mainly concerning nineteenth century history and European alliance; papers concerning published works, 1911-1962, including research material, manuscripts, typescripts, proofs and correspondence; newspaper cuttings relating to Webster's career and general political interest, 1909-1961; photographs, 1919-1961, including official pictures relating to Webster's work regarding the United Nations.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1886; educated Merchant Taylors' School in Crosby and King's College, Cambridge; Professor of Modern History, Liverpool University, 1914-1922; served World War One as a Subaltern in the Royal Army Service Corps, 1915-1917 and on the General Staff of the War Office, 1917-1918; Secretary, Military Section, British Delegation to the Conference of Paris, 1918-1919; Wilson Professor of International Politics, University of Wales, 1922-1932; Ausserordentlich Professor, University of Vienna, 1926; Nobel Lecturer, Oslo, 1926; Reader, University of Calcutta, India, 1927; Professor of History, Harvard University, USA, 1928-1932; Stevenson Professor of International History, London School of Economics and Political Science, 1932-1953; Foreign Research and Press Service, 1939-1941; Director, British School of Information, New York, 1941-1942; Foreign Office, 1943-1946; Member of British Delegation, Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco Conferences, 1944-1945; Member, Preparatory Commission and General Assembly, United Nations, 1945-1946; Ford Lecturer, Oxford University, 1948; President, 1950-1954, and Foreign Secretary, 1955-1958, British Academy; retired 1953; died 1961. Publications: The European alliance, 1815-1825 (University of Calcutta, 1929); The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815 (Foreign Office Historical Section, London, 1919); editor of Britain and the independence of Latin America, 1812-1830 (Ibero-American Institute of Great Britain, London, 1938); The art and practice of diplomacy (LSE, London, 1952); British Diplomacy, 1813-1815 (G Bell and Sons, London, 1921); British Foreign Policy since the Second World War ; The Congress of Vienna, 1814-15, and the Conference of Paris, 1919 (London, 1923); The foreign policy of Castlereagh, 1815-1822 (G Bell and Sons, London, 1925); The foreign policy of Palmerston, 1830-1841 (G Bell and Sons, London, 1951); The founder of the national home (Weizmann Science Press of Israel, 1955); The League of Nations in theory and practice (Allen and Unwin, London, 1933); The pacification of Europe, 1813-1815 (1922); Palmerston, Metternich and the European system, 1830-1841 (Humphrey Milford, London, 1934); Sanctions: the use of force in an international organisation (London, 1956); Some problems of international organisation (University of Leeds, 1943); What the world owes to President Wilson (League of Nations Union, London, 1930); The strategic air offensive against Germany, 1939-1945 (London, 1961); editor of Br itish diplomatic representatives, 1789-1852 (London, 1934); editor of Some letters of the Duke of Wellington to his brother, William Wellesley-Pole (London, 1948).

Arrangement

The collection is arranged as shown in the Scope and Content.

Conditions Governing Access

Open, though some confidential files remain closed.

Other Finding Aids

Printed handlist and on-line catalogue available. Draft list available for the diaries.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Separated Material

The Imperial War Museum holds Chatham House correspondence, 1939-1941 (Ref: Webster papers); King's College Archives Centre, Cambridge University, has letters to Oscar Browning, 1904-1911 (Ref: OB); the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London, contains correspondence with Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, 1956-1960 (Ref: LH/1/734).

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is held by the British Academy.

Custodial History

Sir Charles Kingsley Webster bequeathed his papers on the Paris Peace Conference, the Dumbarton Oaks and san Francisco Conferences, and the Executive and Preparatory Commission of the United Nations to the British Library of Political and Economic Science. These were transferred to the Library in April and August 1970 and 1973. Webster's diaries up to 1949, which he had bequeathed to Professor Philip Alan Reynolds, were deposited by Reynolds in 1977.

Related Material

The British Library of Political and Economic Science holds material relating to Sir Charles Kingsley Webster in the papers of the LSE (Ref: London School of Economics Archives/Unregistered School Files/25/7/1/16), and Lady Juliet Rhys-Williams (Ref: Rhys-William J/22/7/1).

Bibliography

(ed) Philip Alan Reynolds and Emmet John Hughes The historian as diplomat: the diaries of Sir Charles Webster, 1939-1946 (Martin Robertson, London, 1976).