Crossman Papers

Scope and Content

One file of copy papers relating to Palestine and the Palestine report of the Anglo-American Committee, 1946-1948. Includes correspondence between Crossman and Lord Henderson, and Crossman and Dr Chaim Weizmann . Original reference no. DS.126.4. It is highly probable that these copies were made from the Crossman papers held at the University of Oxford.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Howard Stafford Crossman (1907-1974) was the son and a judge, was born in Oxfordshire, and was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford. He worked initially as a philosophy tutor at Oxford University before becoming a lecturer at the Workers' Educational Association. He was the leader of the Labour Party group on Oxford City Council from 1939-1940, and was assistant editor of the New Statesman in 1938, a position he held until 1955. He worked as a civil servant during the Second World War, specialising in German propaganda in the Special Operations Executive 1940-1941. He had become Assistant Chief of the Psychological Warfare Department by 1945.

He was elected to the House of Commons in 1945 for East Coventry, and served as a Labour Cabinet Minister in the period 1964-1970 under Harold Wilson, holding the following positions: member of Labour Party National Executive Committee 1952-1967; Chairman of Labour Party National Executive Committee 1960-1961; Minister of Housing and Local Government 1964-1966, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 1966-1968, Secretary of State for Social Services 1968-1970. Following the 1970 General Election where the Conservative Party returned to power, Crossman became editor of the New Statesman for two years. He then worked on the editing of his diaries, which recorded behind-the-scenes accounts of government. His Diaries were published between 1975 and 1977, the first diaries of a government minister to do so, and despite the best efforts of the Callaghan government and the Labour Attorney-General.

His publications include: Plato Today, 1937; How Britain is governed, 1939; Government and the governed: a history of political ideas and political practice, 1945; Palestine Mission: a personal record, 1946; Keep Left, 1947; The charm of politics and other essays in political criticism, 1958; A nation reborn: the Israel of Weizmann, Bevin and Ben-Gurion, 1960; The god that failed (ed.), 1965; The Crossman diaries: selections from The diaries of a Cabinet Minister, 1964-1970 (ed.), 1979.

Access Information

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Listed by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 21 April 2004 and encoded into EAD 1 June 2004.

Other Finding Aids

Currently unlisted.

Conditions Governing Use

Some copying restrictions may apply. Please check with the Archivist.

Custodial History

Transferred to Special Collections from the Arabic Subject Librarian in 2003. Originally donated to the University by a private individual.

Related Material

One box of Crossman papers is held at the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, Oxford (GB165-0068): records, cuttings, letters, drafts etc. on the problems of the Anglo-American Committee and UNSCOP 1946-1947, and the subsequent recognition of Israel; 13 private letters to Mrs Zita Crossman from Palestine, 1946-1947, including one on a visit to Dr. Chaim Weizmann.

Other Crossman papers are also held at Warwick University (Modern Records Centre) and King's College London (Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives).



Additional Information

Probably held at the Middle East Centre, St. Anthony's College, Oxford.