Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of PATRICK MAYNARD STUART BLACKETT, OM FRS BARON BLACKETT OF CHELSEA (1897-1974)
|Title:||Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of PATRICK MAYNARD STUART BLACKETT, OM FRS BARON BLACKETT OF CHELSEA (1897-1974)|
A. BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL
CSAC 63.1.79/A.1 - A.106
CSAC 63.1.79/A.1 - A.10 Obituaries and tributes
Biographical and bibliographical notes
CSAC 63.1.79/A.11 - A.39 Career and appointments
CSAC 63.1.79/A.40 - A.84 Honours and awards
Correspondence and letters of congratulation
CSAC 63.1.79/A.85 -A.104 Scrolls, Certificates and Diplomas
CSAC 63.1.79/A.105 -A.106 Photographs and press-cuttings
B. PARTICLE DISINTEGRATION, COSMIC RAYS, ASTROPHYSICS
CSAC 63.1.79/B.1 - B.21 Laboratory notebooks on particle disintegration, 1920-32, with an introductory note
CSAC 63.1.79/B.22 - B.61 Working notes and papers on particle disintegration and cosmic rays, 1923-56, with an introductory note
CSAC 63.1.79/B.62 - B.67 Photographs of particle disintegration and cosmic rays
CSAC 63.1.79/B.68 - B.74 Working notes on theories of the origin of cosmic rays, 1949-55
CSAC 63.1.79/B.75 - B.83 Working notes on astrophysics, 1953-59
CSAC 63.1.79/B.84 - B.131 Lectures, broadcasts, publications, 1932-60, with an introductory note
CSAC 63.1.79/B.132 - B.147 Correspondence, 1923-74, with an introductory note
Magnetic Spin and Rotating Bodies CSAC 63.1.79/C.1 - C.71
CSAC 63.1.79/C.1 - C.29 Working papers, lectures and publications, 1946-54
CSAC 63.1.79/C.30 - C.40 Notebooks, 1947-54, with an introductory note
CSAC 63.1.79/C.41 - C.71 Correspondence, 1946-73
Rock Magnetism, Continental Drift, Magnetic Field Reversal CSAC 63.1.79/C.72 - C.268
CSAC 63.1.79/C.72 - C.124 Working notes, data, correspondence, 1953-61
CSAC 63.1.79/C.125 - C.188 Working notes, data, correspondence on field reversal, 1963-73, with an introductory note
CSAC 63.1.79/C.189 - C.220 Lectures and papers on rock magnetism, 1953-72
CSAC 63.1.79/C.221 - C.268 Correspondence, 1952-74, with an introductory note
High Temperature Plasmas, Controlled Fusion Reaction and Pinched Discharges CSAC 63.1.79/C.269 - C.285
Notes and working papers, 1958-59, with an introductory note
Miscellaneous Research Notes CSAC 63.1.79/C.286 - C.289
D. SECOND WORLD WAR AND GOVERNMENT COMMITTEES
CSAC 63.1.79/D.1 - D.10 Correspondence and papers, 1936-40
Projects in preparation for war
CSAC 63.1.79/D.11 - D.37 Photo-electric and promixity fuzes Working papers, reports, committee papers, correspondence, 1937-42
CSAC 63.1.79/D.38 - D.58 The Mark XIV Bombsight
Papers and reports, 1940-45, 1973
CSAC 63.1.79/D.59 - D.78 Bombing policy
Working papers, reports, correspondence, 1941-46, 1962
CSAC 63.1.79/D.79 - D.81 Convoys and anti U-boat campaign Reports, correspondence, 1942-43, 1959
CSAC 63.1.79/D.82 Miscellaneous wartime papers
CSAC 63.1.79/D.83 - D.125 Operational Research
Working papers, reports, lectures, correspondence, 1940-74
CSAC 63.1.79/D.126 - D.147 Correspondence, 1942 (only)
CSAC 63.1.79/D.148 - D.160 Chiefs of Staff Subcommittee on Future Weapons, June 1945
CSAC 63.1.79/D.161 - D.183 Joint Technical Warfare Committee (Successor to the above), Oct.1945-Apr.1947, 1959, 1964, 1972
CSAC 63.1.79/D.184 - D.205 Advisory Committee on Atomic Energy (ACAE), Aug.1945-Apr.1949
CSAC 63.1.79/D.206 - D.208 Harwell Power Committee, May-Oct. 1946
CSAC 63.1.79/D.209 - D.216 R.A.F. Aircraft Research Committee, 1946-52
CSAC 63.1.79/D.217 - D.218 Guided Weapons Advisory Committee, 1947-52
E. POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
CSAC 63.1.79/E.1 - E.23 Association of Scientific Workers, 1939-48, 1963-67
CSAC 63.1.79/E.24 - E.34 'The Gaitskell Group', 1956-63
CSAC 63.1.79/E.35 - E.47 Miscellaneous Socialist and Labour Party activities, 1956-64
CSAC 63.1.79/E.48 - E.65 The Ministry of Technology (Mintech), 1963-72
CSAC 63.1.79/E.66 - E.74 Miscellaneous Labour Party and official committees, 1954-69
CSAC 63.1.79/E.75 - E.76 Printed material
F. SCIENCE-RELATED INTERESTS
Lectures, broadcasts, working papers, correspondence, on:
CSAC 63.1.79/F.1 - F.8 History of science and technology, 1936-59
CSAC 63.1.79/F.9 - F.51 Science, education and government, 1944-70
CSAC 63.1.79/F.52 - F.85 Nuclear weapons and disarmament, 1948-64
G. OVERSEAS ACTIVITIES
India, 1947-73 CSAC 63.1.79/G.1 - G.55
CSAC 63.1.79/G.1 - G.31 Reports, lectures, papers, 1947-72
CSAC 63.1.79/G.32 - G.44 Correspondence, mainly on science and defence, 1949-73
CSAC 63.1.79/G.45 - G.51 Correspondence, mainly on development, 1970-73
CSAC 63.1.79/G.52 - G.55 Visits
Developing Countries, Visits and Conferences CSAC 63.1.79/G.56 - G.126
CSAC 63.1.79/G.56 - G.76 Lectures and addresses, 1953-70
CSAC 63.1.79/G.77 - G.81 Organisations and committees, 1959-73
CSAC 63.1.79/G.82 - G.84 Correspondence, 1951, 1964-71
CSAC 63.1.79/G.85 - G.126 Visits and conferences, 1944-71, with an introductory note
H. LECTURES, ADDRESSES, PUBLICATIONS, BROADCASTS, 1934-73
J. CORRESPONDENCE CSAC 63.1.79/J.1 - J.158
K. Conspectus of Publications
The collection is extensive, relating to almost every aspect of Blackett's long and varied career in science and in public life. Blackett himself frequently used the material for lectures and writings on matters of particular personal or historical interest such as his period of research at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, under Rutherford, operational research and other controversies in the second world war, aspects of India's development, and the like. Furthermore, it is apparent that, towards the end of his life, he was assembling material for one or perhaps two books: a collection of writings and an autobiography. The clearest statement of his intentions is in a letter to M.M. Gowing dated 22 May 1972, in which he says: '... I am considering the possibility of publishing a volume of my collective papers, essays, lectures, etc.' (see CSAC 63.1.79/D.183); in November 1973 he writes in similar vein to the Director, National Maritime Museum: 'I am writing up a good deal about my activities during the war ...' (see CSAC 63.1.79/D.58); the note in H.123 would also seem to be part of a draft introduction to such a work. With this in view, Blackett obtained published or typed copies of the writings chosen for inclusion, revised and emended them, and sometimes added new linking material. Documents of this kind can be found in
CSAC 63.1.79/D.58, D.110, D.183 (quoted in part above)
CSAC 63.1.79/G.23-G.31, G.72, G.84
CSAC 63.1.79/H.1, H.64, H.77, H.96, H.109, H.110, H.119, H.124.
It will be seen that none of these refers to any of Blackett's 'scientific' work in the narrow sense.
As a result of these activities, and of the multiple provenance, the collection when received was in doubtful order. Although most of the folders bore Blackett's own note of the contents, this was not always a reliable guide, as he often 'cannibalised' previous work when preparing a lecture or paper, removing earlier work to a new folder or adding later material to the originals. While every attempt has been made to retain Blackett's preferred order in so far as it can be discerned, his headings and descriptions being preserved and indicated by inverted commas in the catalogue entries, some re-organisation was undertaken to bring the material under the broad headings of the List of Contents.
The introductory notes to the Sections and sub-sections of the catalogue indicate the main areas of interest in the collection.
Various episodes in Blackett's career can be clarified, or more accurately dated, from the manuscripts, and are briefly noted here in chronological order. Fuller accounts appear in the catalogue entries.
CSAC 63.1.79/J.35, correspondence with A.V. Hill on the date of Blackett's appointment as Scientific Adviser to General Sir Frederick Pile, A.A. Command;
CSAC 63.1.79/D.84, Blackett's paper, 'Scientists at the operational level', leading to his appointments as Chief Adviser Operational Research, later Director, Naval Operational Research;
CSAC 63.1.79/D.174, J.3, correspondence with C.R. Attlee and others on Blackett's paper on the international control of atomic energy;
CSAC 63.1.79/B.48, correspondence with C.D. Anderson on the discovery and naming of V-particles;
CSAC 63.1.79/E.24, E.33, papers and correspondence on the 'Gaitskell Group' of Labour Party advisers.
There are also the text of, or material relating to a substantial number of publications by Blackett omitted from the Bibliography accompanying the Memoir by A.C.B. Lovell (Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society, 21, 1975, 1-115, also available as a separate publication). They are listed here in catalogue sequence.
CSAC 63.1.79/B.115, B.116, B.120
CSAC 63.1.79/D.104, D.108
CSAC 63.1.79/F.19-F.21, F.30, F.58, F.63, F.72-F.74
CSAC 63.1.79/G.4 (Blackett's report on the organisation of the armed forces of India), G.66, G.71, G.110
CSAC 63.1.79/H.8, H.45, H.74, H.77, H.105, H.122, H.132, H.136, H.137, H.139
CSAC 63.1.79/J.6, J.116
There are in addition many unpublished writings throughout the collection.
For all the wealth of material in certain areas, there are lacunae elsewhere. No documents survive, for example, relative to Blackett's long service with the National Research and Development Corporation 1949-64, or the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research 1955-60; and, of his correspondence in the war years, only that for 1942 survives (CSAC 63.1.79/D.126 - D.147).
Blackett always had a fondness for acronyms and abbreviations, and this grew stronger with age; same of his later notes and drafts bristle with clusters of initials which, in conjunction with his increasingly cramped hand and his habit of paginating by beginning with Roman I (on a page often later removed) and continuing in Arabic numbers 2...n, make them difficult to follow or attribute with confidence. Conversely, one can only admire his determination to maintain a presence in the world of scientific research despite great pressures of public life, and, later, of failing powers; the documents and correspondence on his last research (CSAC 63.1.79/C.182 - C.185) convey this especially clearly.
The material in Sections A - H is presented chronologically within the sub-sections designated in the list of contents. Section J. Correspondence, is in alphabetical order. Many of the Sections and sub-sections include a brief introductory note summarising their contents and drawing attention to material of particular interest.
Scientific research notes and data
Blackett's scientific fame rests in part on the versatility of mind which enabled him to make significant contributions to knowledge in several areas of research (particle disintegration, magnetic spin, rock magnetism) as well as to develop the technique of operational research. Nevertheless, these contributions emerged from a gradual evolution in Blackett's thinking, and there is no sharp switch from one to another even when there is a discontinuity in time (such as the long period of war service) or place (such as the various moves from Cambridge to Birkbeck, Manchester and Imperial College). The distinction between Sections B and C is therefore to some extent an artificial one, and cases of overlapping material are noted in the entries.
Almost all the material was received in Blackett's own folders, usually with his note of the contents in some abbreviated form, E.g., 'C.R.' (= Cosmic Rays), 'R.M.' (= Rock Magnetism). The contents of the folders may be any or all of the following: laboratory experiments, datasheets, graphs and calculations; notes, drafts and comments for talks or publications; Blackett's or others' offprints, sometimes annotated; correspondence. Bulky folders have been split into more manageable units, but kept together with a note of their original grouping. Blackett's titles and descriptions of the folders are given in inverted commas.
Blackett kept various sequences of his notes clipped or pinned together. These sequences have been retained in his order, although the pagination, size of paper, etc. are often heterogeneous.
Many of Blackett's own notes were made on the backs of previous notes, drafts, proofs, etc. No attempt has been made to give an account of such material.
Lectures and publications
Manuscript notes, typed drafts or offprints of Blackett's extensive output of lectures and writings are to be found throughout the collection. Those on specific research topics were kept by him with the data in Sections B and C and have been left there; similarly with material on operational research in Section D and on India in Section G. Section F groups together talks on three topics arising from Blackett's involvement in public life, and Section H contains the sequence of all other surviving documents of this type, including his Anniversary Addresses as President of the Royal Society and his speeches in the House of Lords.
Correspondence dealing with a specific research topic, lecture or publication was usually kept by Blackett in the same folder as his notes and drafts on the subject. Such material has been left in place whenever possible, or, if it has been re-allocated, a note has been made to that effect. The correspondence on magnetic spin (CSAC 63.1.79/C.41 - C.71) and on rock magnetism (CSAC 63.1.79/C.221 - C.268) is in chronological order and enables Blackett's thinking, his methods, and the graph of his activity to be clearly seen. The surviving correspondence on cosmic rays (CSAC 63.1.79/B.132 - B.147) is, though interesting, regrettably much less complete. There is very little material remaining from the war years.
Correspondence on overseas activities (CSAC 63.1.79/G.32 - G.51, G.82 - G.84) and general correspondence in Section J are in alphabetical order, with dates and an indication of any material of personal or scientific interest; a note is also made of cases when only Blackett's carbon copy survives.
Material in every Section is linked as far as possible to A.C.B. Lovell, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 21, 1975, 1-115
References to the text are in the form Lovell, Memoir, p ...
References to the Bibliography are in the form RS ...
When this catalogue was in proof, Lady Blackett contributed some additional material, including plans and extracts from her husband's autobiography. These documents appear as CSAC 63.1.79/A.10A.
A biographical 'Memoir' of Sir Patrick Maynard Stuart FRS was written by Lovell and published in the 'Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society' Volume 21 1975 by the Royal Society.
The following is a conspectus of Blackett's publications as listed in the Bibliography of the 'Memoir', and the principal items in the catalogue to which they refer. Only the more extended references (to research, publication or reception of work and ensuing correspondence) are given, minor allusions in letters, requests for reprints etc being omitted.
This is followed by a copy of the Bibliography taken from the 'Memoir'. It is reproduced here by permission in order to enable users of the Conspectus to identify the full titles of works elsewhere referred to in the form RS....
|Date:||1911 - 1975|
|Held by:||Royal Society, not available at The National Archives|
The material was assembled from various sources:
from Blackett's flat in London and his house in Wales, via Lady Blackett;
from his room at Imperial College, London, via the Royal Society and Professor H. Elliot.
Lady Blackett currently retains Blackett's diaries of his service in the Navy 1914-16 (see CSAC 63.1.79/A.11), four bound volumes of press-cuttings, photographs and other family documents.
Compiled by Jeannine Alton, Harriot Weiskittel and Julia Latham-Jacskon ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We are very pleased to acknowledge the invaluable work of Professor H. Elliot and Dr. J.P. Astbury in identifying for the Conspectus of Publications the manuscripts and correspondence in Section B.
We are grateful for the advice given by Dr. W.S.C. Williams on cosmic rays, and by Professor E.A. Vincent on rock magnetism.
Our thanks are also due to Mrs. M.M. Edwards for careful and accurate typing, and her patience with successive drafts and revisions of the catalogue."