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Correspondence of Lord and Lady Pethick-Lawrence, N-W

The first part of this class continues the sequence of the preceding one (PETH 2). The contents relate to the following:

Walter Nash (1–11)
The National Campaign for the Abolition of Capital Punishment (12–19)
The National Library of Scotland (20–38)
E. H. Neville (39–40)
Evelyn Sharp Nevinson and H. W. Nevinson (41–53)
The New York Herald Tribune (54–60)
Lord Olivier (61–5)
Lord Pethick-Lawrence (66)
A. C. Pigou (67)
The Political Honours Scrutiny Committee (68–102)
The Parliamentary Labour Party, House of Lords (103–4)
Eardley Price (105–9)
The Privy Council (110–17)
Mrs B. H. Qon (118–19)
James Rae (120–3)
Sir Benegal and Lady Rama Rau (124–6)
Gwen Raverat (127–9)
The Marquess of Reading (130–1)
Elizabeth Robins (132–64)
The Royal India, Pakistan, and Ceylon Society (165–72)
Maude Royden (173–81)
Walter Runciman (182)
Sir George and Lady Sansom (183–93)
Sir George Schuster (194–222)
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (223)
Emmanuel Shinwell (224)
Lord and Lady Simon of Wythenshawe (225–45)
Sir Frank Soskice (246–7)
The Tagore Centenary Celebration Committee (248–64)
Lord Thomson (265–9)
The United Service Club (270–1)
Votes for Women
(272)
The Beatrice Webb Memorial Fund (273–7)
Octavia Wilberforce (278–302)
Sir Kingsley Wood (303–27)
Baroness Wootton (328–33)

The last four items (334–7) are ‘get-well’ cards sent to Lord Pethick-Lawrence during his final illness. These were probably added to the alphabetical sequence as an after-thought.

Publications by others

Items in this section are typescripts of works sent to Sraffa, either for comment or as a courtesy, mostly by academics but in the last case by a publisher. This section is not intended to include straightforward offprints which will be found in the Sraffa printed book catalogue

Publications

Sraffa published comparatively little. Surviving material for the early publications is reasonably straightforward, but in the case of the edition of Ricardo's works and Production of commodities... a substantial number of distinct bundles survive. For the letter on Gramsci published in the Manchester Guardian see F1 below

Letters by Lady Pethick-Lawrence, and papers relating to her

The contents of this class fall into the following main groups:

A memorial pamphlet to Francis Noel Pethick, 1904 (1).

Biographical notices of Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, 1912-35 (2-15).
Articles, notes for speeches, and other writings by (Lady) Emmeline Pethick-(Lawrence), 1901-47 (16-41).

Letters from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence, 1900-1 (41a-146).

Circular letters by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, written during a visit to Egypt, 1904-5 (147-56).

Letters by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence, written during a visit to Egypt, 1904 (157-64).

Letters from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence, and other papers, 1909-13 (165-71).

The letters in the fifth and sixth groups (147-64) were written by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence during a visit to Egypt in the winter of 1904-5 in the company of her sister Marie and her cousin Hetty Lawes, who had worked with Flinders and Hilda Petrie in 1896 during their excavations near Cairo. The letters form a connected account of the party’s travels in Egypt and of their journeys there and back. A brief description of the journey will also be found in the ninth chapter of My Part in a Changing World.—The following is a brief itinerary of the journey: The three women set off from London on Thursday, 4 November, crossed the Channel, and arrived at Marseilles by seven o’clock the following morning. There they boarded the P. & O. ship Victoria, which arrived at Port Said at 2 p.m. on Tuesday the 8th. They made a brief tour of the town, and then took at train to Cairo, where they spent the night at Shepheard’s Hotel. The following morning they visited the bazaars of Cairo and removed to the Mena House Hotel, in the shadow of the pyramids of Giza. There they met with some of Hetty’s Arab friends, including a bedouin named Abdul Enani Khattab, who accompanied them for the rest of their time in Egypt. They also met Hetty’s sister Josephine Plunkett and her family. After visits to the pyramids and the Sphinx, the women became enchanted with the country, and they devised a plan to travel down the Nile in a dahabeeyah, or houseboat, and return in a caravan. After a few days making preparations, they left the Mena House Hotel on Thursday the 17th, and boarded the dahabeeyah Bolbol; but they were prevented by a lack of wind from leaving Cairo till the 22nd. Thence they progressed down the Nile as far as Luxor, Fred Pethick-Lawrence joining the party at Sohag on the 15th. At Luxor on the 23rd they left the boat and pitched camp by the Temple of Karnak; and on Christmas Day they went by train to Aswan, where they stayed at the Cataract Hotel. They visited the Temple at Philae and the Barrage, then returned to Luxor on the 28th, where they met Fred’s sister Carrie and her friend. The party travelled from Luxor to Ouasta overnight on 30-31 December, and then began their journey across the desert by caravan. This journey took them by way of the Medum Pyramid and the Fayoum, back to Giza, where they arrived about 20 January. The dates of the events in this latter part of the journey are unclear.

The last group (165-71) comprises two letters written by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence while imprisoned at Holloway in 1909; a letter from the same place in 1912, and another written shortly after her release, while her husband was still in prison; and two documents relating to the civil action brought against them in 1913 by firms whose windows had been damaged by suffragettes.

Science-Related Interests

H.1 -H.40 Aims and methods of science

H.41 -H.78 Science and society

H.79 -H.91 Science and education

H.92 -H.98 Science and war

H.99 -H.111 Science and religion

H.112-H.125 Chance and predictability

H.126-H.159 Euthanasia

H.160, H.161 Shorter talks.

The material in this Section includes notes, lectures, broadcasts and publications, and a little related correspondence.

There is inevitably some overlap with material assigned to other Sections, e.g., F.150 - F.209 on the effects of nuclear and thermonuclear power. The main criterion is that Section H contains the reflections of a non-professional on fields of activity affected by developments in his own profession.

Thomson was always interested in the wider aspects of science. Some of the talks on the purposes and methods of science, and of its relation with religion, appear to date from the late 1920s or early 1930s; his lectures in America and Canada, 1929-30, are known to have included a talk on the philosophical implications of the recent discoveries in physics.

The surviving material represents two main strands in Thomson's thinking. One of these is concerned with the practical aspects of science, its impact on society, its funding and guidance, its relations with government institutions, its influence on individual lives in peace and war. His book `The foreseeable future' (1955, widely translated) is the best known summation of these ideas, but the entries below indicate the number and also the time-span of his writings and lectures on similar topics.

The second aspect relates to abstract and philosophical concepts. From general discussion of scientific and religious criteria of truth and choice, Thomson was led to examine determinism in human affairs, and randomness and predictability in the human brain. Much of his later work is concerned with these matters.

The two threads may be said to come together in Thomson's work for the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. Here he seems to have felt that for both sociological and philosophical reasons an individual may, and should, exercise the power of choice over his life. Thomson gave much attention to this in his later years, and planned an extended work on the subject (H.126 - H.138), left unpublished at his death.

Early notebooks and research

This Section documents aspects of Thomson's education at the Perse School and Trinity College, Cambridge, and his early research conducted at the Cavendish Laboratory under the direction of his father immediately before and after the First World War.

The material is presented as follows:
B.1 - B.10 School notebooks 1905-10
The earliest of these dates from Thomson's first year at the Perse School, Cambridge, and the subjects covered include English literature and the classics as well as science and mathematics. During his last year at school he attended A. Wood's lectures at Cambridge University, and his notes on these appear at B.5 - B.7.

B.11 - B.31 Cambridge University. Undergraduate notebooks and early research 1910-14
The majority of these contain notes on lectures attended by Thomson during this period, including some by his father (B.26, B.27, B.30).
Item B.31 documents Thomson's first research at the Cavendish Laboratory, where he began work on positive rays under his father's direction in the summer of 1913, to be interrupted a year later by the outbreak of war.

B.32 - B.39 Research in Cambridge 1919-22
After the First World War Thomson returned to the Cavendish to resume the work on positive rays, turning later to anode rays with which he discovered, simultaneously with F.W. Aston, that lithium comprises two isotopes of masses 6 and 7.
The notebooks continue to May 1922, after which Thomson accepted an appointment as Professor of Natural Philosophy at Aberdeen University.

Many of Thomson's notebooks were re-used at different periods of his life; sometimes the old pages were torn out, sometimes he restarted from the back of the book. Occasionally a single notebook contains very diverse material, such as B.2 (school exercises at one end and personal accounts for 1924-26 at the other) and E.60 (school exercises followed by notes on thermonuclear research).

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