Israel Zangwill (1864-1923) was born in Bristol. He was educated at Jews' Free School, where he later became a teacher, taking a BA at London University. Following a disagreement with the governors of the school Zangwill resigned to devote himself to literature. He had edited the journal PURIM in 1880. Shortly after leaving Jews' Free School, in 1888, he published THE PREMIER AND THE PAINTER under the pseudonym of `J. Freeman Bell', in collaboration with Lewis Cowen. Zangwill worked as editor of ARIEL during this period as well as contributing to the JEWISH STANDARD. These works drew him to the attention of the Jewish Publication Society of America which commissioned a novel on modern Jewish life. The result was THE CHILDREN OF THE GHETTO (Philadelphia and London, 1892). This was followed by THE KING OF SCHNORRERS (London, 1894) and THE DREAMERS OF THE GHETTO (1898). Zangwill achieved considerable success and produced numerous novels, poems and verse, and works for the stage. He also contributed a series of critical causeries to the PALL MALL GAZETTE, which were republished under the title WITHOUT PREJUDICE (London, 1896). He was a successful lecturer, whose lecture tours encompassed the United States of America, Ireland, Holland and Jerusalem, as well as Great Britain.
Zangwill was an active supporter of Zionism. On the refusal of the Seventh Zionist Congress to consider British government offers for an autonomous settlement in British East Africa, however, Zangwill formed the Jewish Territorial Organization, with the aim of securing from the British government a land for Jewish refugees.
MS 295 forms a part of the collections of the Harry S. Ward Library relating to Israel Zangwill, 1895-1980s. Collected over Mr Ward's lifetime, the materials also include his correspondence and research papers.