Papers of the Italian Refugees' Relief Committee

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists largely of correspondence addressed to the Committee. Subjects include acceptance or rejection of membership, donations, appeals, Committee meetings and finance. Much of the day to day organisation of the Committee was carried out by Ivy Marion Enthoven (later Rawson), who is the author or recipient of many of the letters. Other correspondents include the committee members Alys Russell, F.R. Muir, W.S. Kennedy, Lady Margaret Slesser, Luigi Sturzo and Helena M. Swanwick. There is also correspondence from the French committee, particularly from Giovanna Berneri (wife of the anarchist anti-Fascist Luigi Camillo Berneri), reporting on visits to refugee families, other activities of the organisation, and finance. The rest of the collection contains copies of appeals and letters sent to the press, pamphlets, reports, accounts and balance sheets, and other miscellaneous items.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Italian Refugees' Relief Committee was set up in 1927 as a non-political humanitarian organisation to raise funds to support those who had had to flee Mussolini's Fascist regime. British immigration regulations of the time did not permit the entry of refugees into Britain. However, a large exile community was being established in Paris, where the Comit de Secours aux Rfugis Politiques Italiens was formed. The British Committee was able to send funds and material aid to their French counterparts. The first Chairman was Alys Russell (formerly the wife of Bertrand Russell), who was later replaced by Lady Margaret Slesser. W.S. Kennedy acted as Honorary Secretary and F.R. Muir as Honorary Treasurer.

Arrangement

Correspondence is divided into that relating to the English committee and that relating to the French, and then arranged chronologically within each section. Reports, financial documents and miscellaneous items make up the other classes.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check www.reading.ac.uk/special-collections/using/sc-using.asp for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Presented on permanent deposit September 15th 1970 by Mrs Marion Rawson (ne Enthoven), through Dr Stuart Woolf of the Graduate School of Contemporary European Studies.

Note

Description prepared by Bridget Andrews. The collection was listed by Mrs Grace Holmes under the direction of Dr Stuart Woolf for the Centre for the Advanced Study of Italian Society .

Other Finding Aids

List available in the reading room, also published as: Stuart J. Woolf, 'Una raccolta di documenti sull'antifascismo in Inghilterra' in Rassegna degli archivi di stato anno XXX n.1 gennaio-aprile 1970, pp181-195

Related Material

RUL MS 1244 contains personal papers of Marion Rawson ne Enthoven relating to Italian affairs and her anti-fascist work.

Bibliography

The collection is described and listed in: Stuart J. Woolf, 'Una raccolta di documenti sull'antifascismo in Inghilterra' in Rassegna degli archivi di stato anno XXX n. 1 gennaio-aprile 1970, pp181-195