Stanley Baldwin: Political Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection covers Baldwin's involvement in the political life of the 1920s and 1930s, but includes virtually nothing from the period before 1922, and contains almost no item relating to personal or family affairs. The bulk of the papers relate to Baldwin's first and second administrations: May 1923 to January 1924 and November 1924 to May 1929. There are substantial holdings relating to Baldwin's service under Ramsay MacDonald as lord president of the council in the National Governments, 1931-1935, but almost nothing dating from either the period in opposition in 1924 or Baldwin's third term as prime minister, 1935-1937. The papers are grouped into 7 main sections:

Home Affairs (D)

Defence, etc.; Finance, etc.; Labour, Trade, etc.; Political and Party Affairs; Local Affairs and Miscellaneous; Deputations.

Empire Affairs (E)

'Imperial', i.e. Miscellaneous Dominion and Colonial Affairs; Dominions and Colonies; Dominions and Colonies: Trade; Ireland; India.

Foreign Affairs (F)

Foreign Affairs Series A and B; Reparations; Disarmament; Naval Conferences; League of Nations; League of Nations Union; 'Peace Letter'.

Letters (L)

Letters of Congratulation, etc., Letters: General Files; 'The Royal Box'.

Personal (P)

Chequers; Freedoms and Honorary Degrees.

Speeches (S)

Briefs and Drafts for Speeches, etc.; Oddments and Fragments; Speeches; Canadian Tour; Press Cuttings (Miscellaneous and Main Series).

Papers Withdrawn (X)

Administrative / Biographical History

Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947) was born on 3 August 1867 in Lower Park, Bewdley, the son of industrialist Alfred Baldwin. He was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, before joining the family iron and steel business. He was elected a Conservative M.P. in 1906, and in December 1916 became parliamentary private secretary to the chancellor of the exchequer, Andrew Bonar Law. Thereafter Baldwin served in David Lloyd George's government as junior lord of the treasury, financial secretary to the treasury and president of the board of trade. He became chancellor of the exchequer in 1922, and prime minister in 1923. Baldwin lost the 1929 General Election, but served as president of the council in the new National Government, before replacing Ramsey MacDonald as prime minister in June 1935. He resigned in 1937, and was later made Earl Baldwin of Bewdley. He died on 14 December 1947.

Arrangement

The original system of filing was partly by subjects, partly chronological. Lines of demarcation between files were often hazy, and there was much overlapping. Cambridge University Library retained the essential original arrangement. However, sorting was necessary, and regrouping had to be carried out where two subjects had been confused. Many files and papers were found out of place and had to be fitted into what seemed appropriate positions, which sometimes involved the creation of additional files. Numbers were also allocated to some series that were unnumbered previously. To make the subject basis of the whole collection clearer, related series were brought together under a few broad groupings, which did not exit previously. An overall system of numbering was introduced to make reference easier, and each subject group or series was allotted a number.

During the process of sorting, documents marked as the property of H.M. Government were extracted and filed separately, in anticipation of their removal to the Cabinet Office. However, it was decided subsequently that most of the material should remain with the collection. These papers now form the section 'Papers Withdrawn'. Letters from members of the Royal Family, correspondence with royal Private Secretaries and documents relating to the Abdication crisis of 1936 were also extracted and filed separately.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room. A small part of the collection is subject to restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed by Stanley Baldwin, received in 1952.

Note

Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

A summary guide to the collection, A.E.B. Owen, Handlist of the political papers of Stanley Baldwin (Cambridge, 1973), and a card index to correspondents are available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Alternative Form Available

Parts of the collection, indicated in the catalogue, have been microfilmed.

Custodial History

On Baldwin's death his papers were held for a time by G.M. Young, who was writing his biography (Stanley Baldwin, 1952), before being transferred to the Library.

Related Material

Cambridge University Library also holds miscellaneous letters, newscuttings and photographs relating to Baldwin, MSS.Add.8770-8771, and letters from Baldwin to his son, MS.Add.8795.

Geographical Names