Papers of E. H. Carr

Scope and Content

The papers document many aspects of Carr's long and varied life and include material relating to his schooling and employment as a civil servant and also to his multi-faceted career as a biographer, journalist, critic, essayist and historian. The papers relating to his education, for example, include some of his essays and the Latin oration which he gave as head monitor of Merchant Taylors School in London; letters relating to the award of scholarships at Trinity College, Cambridge; and printed copies of the Latin poem and epigram and Greek verse translation for which he won prizes while at Trinity. Although there is little material relating to the nature of his work as a civil servant, the official documents relating to his appointment as a temporary clerk in the Foreign Office in 1916 and his subsequent preferments, rising to the position of First Secretary in the Diplomatic Service in 1933, have survived.

The papers also include what appears to be a comprehensive collection of very many contributions of book reviews and short articles of comment published principally in the Spectator , Fortnightly , Christian Science Monitor , Slavonic Review and Times Literary Supplement , but also in The Times and The Sunday Times . They were written over a span of five decades from 1929 to 1978 and for the period 1929-51 are accompanied by chronological listings compiled by Carr. In 1939 alone, for example, Carr published in excess of 70 such reviews and notes. From 1945, Carr appears largely to have restricted his contributions to the Times Literary Supplement , and these included a series of front page articles published between 1950 and 1963. The subject matter of these reflect Carr's wide-ranging interests in and breadth of knowledge of Russian culture, European and Soviet history, and the politics and international relations of the twentieth century. These are largely preserved in the form of cuttings from 1936; prior to that they are a mixture of manuscripts and typescripts as well as cuttings.

Carr's papers also include scripts of some papers, lectures and radio broadcasts which he gave from the late 1930s to the 1950s. These include scripts of papers delivered at meetings of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House to which Carr was invited as Professor of International Relations at University College, Aberystwyth: Impressions of a visit to Russia and Germany (1937), What are we fighting for? (1940) and The post-war world: some pointers towards reconstruction (1940). The broadcast scripts include a series of weekly political/news talks (some manuscript, some typescript), given between April and September 1940, and cuttings of various broadcast talks and discussions, as published in The Listener , including a series of six on The New Society (1951) and others on British foreign policy in 1946.

The most extensive material in the collection, however, relates to Carr's research and publications, but it should be emphasised that by no means all of his books and articles are represented. The raw research material includes typescript and manuscript notes and jottings, copies and transcripts of documents, copies of relevant published articles, drafts and reworkings of texts and correspondence with other scholars. There is a quantity of material relating, for example, to parts of his monumental 14-volume A History of Soviet Russia , on which he was engaged for more than a quarter of a century; and to The Twilight of Comintern 1930-35 , published in 1982. The papers relating to the latter include notes and correspondence of Tamara Deutscher, who worked as a researcher for Carr for many years and who posthumously published Carr's last manuscript, The Comintern and the Spanish Civil War , in 1984. The material relating to The Romantic Exiles (first published in 1933) includes Carr's transcripts of more than 100 letters, written between 1848 and 1851, by Alexander Herzen (1812-70, Russian radical journalist) to George Herwegh (1817-75, German revolutionary and political poet) and Emma, his wife (the originals of which were made available to Carr by Max Herwegh, eldest son of the poet, and which are now deposited in the British Library). The collection also includes detailed notes made by Carr for a planned new edition of What is History? (first published in 1961); and a small amount of correspondence relating to his research for the biography of Michael Bakunin, which was published in 1937. There are also proofs and annotated published texts for some of his publications. These include bound corrected second proofs of The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-23 , volumes 1-3 (1950-53); page proofs with corrections of Foundations of a Planned Economy , 1926-29, volume 2 (1971); annotated copies of Socialism in One Country , 1924-26, volume 3, parts 1 and 2 (1964), for a possible revision; and corrected proofs of From Napoleon to Stalin (1980). Also of interest is a typescript draft of chapters of another incomplete volume about the Comintern in the period 1935-38, which were not included in The Comintern and the Spanish Civil War .

An additional deposit made in 1999 comprises a copy of Carr's memoirs, 1982, and copies of correspondence relating to his appointment as Wilson Professor of International Politics, University of Aberystwyth, 1943.

A further deposit of Carr's appointment diaries, 1925-1960 was received in 2002.

Reference: Phil Bassett, The University of Birmingham Research Libraries Bulletin ( Number 6, Autumn 1998 ).

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Hallett Carr (1892-1982), renowned historian of Soviet Russia , biographer of The Romantic Exiles , founder of the "realist" approach to the study of International Relations and author of the classic Trevelyan lecture series, What is History? . Seconded from Cambridge to the Foreign Office during the First World War, initially to ensure trade with Tzarist Russia and subsequently to administer the Allied blockade of the new Soviet Republic. He attended the post-war Paris peace talks on behalf of Britain, where he witnessed at first hand the unfolding drama of the revolution which was to become the centrepiece of his life's work. Marooned at the British Embassy in Riga during the late 1920s, Carr threw himself into the study of Russian language and literature, producing his sparkling account of nineteenth-century revolutionaries, The Romantic Exiles , in 1933. At the Foreign Office and as The Times leader writer during the Second World War, Carr was an influential opinion-maker, using the platform of Printing House Square to mount a forceful intervention for a more egalitarian policy in the rebuilding of the post-War world.

Reference: Jonathan Haslam, The Vices of Integrity E. H. Carr 1892-1982 ( Verso, London, New York, 1999 ).


The collection is arranged in the following series: Research materials, drafts, proofs etc for books; published articles and reviews; lectures, broadcasts and talks; correspondence; personal and biographical materials; miscellaneous materials.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

These papers were presented to the University of Birmingham in the 1980s and were acquired from several different sources.

Other Finding Aids

Please see online catalogue for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Location of Originals

Originals to transcripts of letters between Natalie and Alexander Herzen and Emma and George Herwegh within the Research materials section are located in the British Museum, London. Originals of correspondence relating to Carr's appointment as Wilson Professor of International Politics, University of Aberystwyth are held at the University of Aberystwyth.


Some research use has already been made of the papers, most notably by R. W. Davies (with whom Carr collaborated in the writing of Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926-29, volume 1 (1969)), for the second edition of What is History? which was published in 1986 and, more recently, by Charles Jones in the research for his book, E.H. Carr and international relations : a duty to lie . (Cambridge University Press 1998).