Esther Simpson correspondence and papers

Scope and Content

The main collection (items 1-1437) comprises Esther Simpson's personal papers, certificates, photographs, press-cuttings, miscellaneous documents, and correspondence to and from Esther Simpson, as received from her. Another large collection (15 boxes) of similar material from among her possessions, received after her death, remains unsorted and unlisted. Small collections received subsequently from other sources have been numbered - 1438-82, 1483-1501, 1502-33 - and are itemized in the handlist. The items date between 1918 and 1997.

Administrative / Biographical History

Esther Simpson was born in Leeds, as Esther Sinovitch, in 1903. She was gifted musically and already had medals and certificates in violin playing from Leeds College of Music before she entered the University of Leeds in 1921. She graduated from Leeds with first class honours in French with German in 1924 and took a diploma in education in the following year. Soon after taking her diploma she turned from teaching to secretarial work in Europe. She was living in Geneva in 1933 when she received and accepted an offer of employment in England as secretary to the newly-formed Academic Assistance Council (later, the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning) whose purpose was to help resettle scholars who had fled from totalitarian regimes, initially Nazi Germany. In the same year she changed her name to Simpson. Her employment with the AAC developed into a vocation. She was awarded an OBE in 1956 and after her retirement in 1966 she received honorary doctorates from London (1984) and Leeds (1989). She died on 19 November 1996.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is unrestricted

Acquisition Information

Gift of Dr Esther Simpson, 1990-1992


Mainly in English

Other Finding Aids

Contents listed in Handlists 94 and 94a and in the Letters database

Related Material

See also MSS 415, 446