Karl Britton Papers

Scope and Content

The papers are primarily concerned with Britton's philosophical work, but the early files also include some correspondence, etc. which he received as President of the Cambridge University Union Society, 1930/31. Britton's publications included Communication: a philosophical study of language (London, 1939), John Stuart Mill (London, 1953; 2nd ed. 1970), and Philosophy and the meaning of life(London, 1969), as well as numerous articles and reviews. The papers include correspondence, notebooks, files of his own published and unpublished works, reports (chiefly for Cambridge University Press) on other authors' manuscripts, andrecollections of Cambridge mentors and contemporaries including C.D. Broad, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Kim Philby.

Administrative / Biographical History

Karl Britton graduated from the University of Cambridge (Clare College), where he was President of the Union, 1930/31, and knew Ludwig Wittgenstein. He did postgraduate work at Harvard University, and then held lectureships at Aberystwyth andSwansea before being appointed in 1951 to the chair of philosophy at King's College, Newcastle upon Tyne (then part of the University of Durham, later the University of Newcastle upon Tyne). During his tenure there he held various offices, includingDean of Arts, Public Orator, and Chairman of the Library Committee. He retired in 1975. In 1976 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Durham.


Notebooks, followed by files of loose papers, grouped by category of material.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Professor Britton's daughter, Miss Margaret Britton, 1993.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.