Harold Joseph Laski: Letters sent to Maurice Firuski

Scope and Content

Collection of letters sent by Laski to his friend Maurice Firuski of the Dunster House Bookshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The letters were sent in the early years after Laski's return to England to take up a position at the London School of Economics following a period working in the USA.

Correspondence consists of letters from Laski to Firuski (23 items), and includes some letters forwarded to Firuski by Laski but originally sent to Laski (6 items). Correspondence also includes letters requesting an introduction to Firuski by colleagues and friends of Laski (3 items). Laski comments on books, relates various pieces of family news and current affairs, and comments on key political, literary, intellectual and society figures of the period. These figures include Richard Haldane, David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Herbert and Margaret Asquith, Ramsay MacDonald, Bertrand Russell, H.G. Wells, Ezra Pound, Anatole France and Nancy Astor.

Note that the letters have been preserved in a blue cloth covered box with a black leather spine on which is lettered in gold 'Harold Laski Literary and Political Gossip Original Manuscript 1920-1925'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Manchester on 30 June 1893, Harold Joseph Laski was a British socialist political and economic theorist, author and lecturer. He met and married Frida nee Kerry in 1911 and they had a daughter Diana born in 1916. Laski attended Manchester Grammar School and went on to study at New College, Oxford graduating in 1914. After completing his degree he moved to America and was employed as a lecturer at McGill University (1914-1916). He then became a lecturer at Harvard University (1916-1920 and Yale University (1919-1920). He returned to England in 1920 and was employed as a lecturer at the London School of Economics where he rose to become a professor of political science. On returning to England he became involved with the Labour Party and served as chairman during 1945 and 1946. His intellectual approach was inspired by Marxist theory and his convictions led to conflicts with the Labour Party leaders and a decline in his influence after 1946. He died at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, on 24 March 1950.


Letters arranged chronologically with letters from writers other than Laski at the end of the catalogue

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

The item was purchased from Bernard Quaritch Ltd in September 2015.

Related Material

[U DLA] Papers of Harold Laski (and Frida Laski), 1910-1969

[U DES] Papers of Granville Eastwood relating to Harold Laski, 1922-1977

Also various miscellaneous items relating to Laski at the following references: U DCL/2/10; U DCL/100/12; U DNO/6/19; U DPM/4/49; U DSF/1/32; U DSF/2/4; U DSF/5/8; U DSH/1/7; U DX84/31; U DX241; U DX262; U DX268; U DX320; U DX327; U LIB/2/66; U DP173; U DPB/15/1/3; U DP216.