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Malcolm MacDonald papers

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 41

Scope and Contents

The largest part of the collection consists of photocopies made from the Malcolm MacDonald Papers prior to their transfer to the University of Durham in 1986, comprising correspondence, interviews and other biographical material. These papers are supplemented by some original material, including MacDonald's autobiography.


  • Creation: 1972 - 1986

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Malcolm John MacDonald (1901-1981), politician, diplomat and writer, was born on 17 August 1901 in Lossiemouth, Scotland, the son of the future prime minister James Ramsey MacDonald. MacDonald was educated at Bedales School, Hampshire, and Queens' College, Cambridge (B.A., 1923; M.A., 1924). He served on London County Council, 1927-1930, and became a Labour M.P. in 1929. He was made Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Dominions Office in 1931, and was a Cabinet minister from 1935 to 1940, when he held the offices of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and Secretary of State for the Colonies. MacDonald became Britain's High Commissioner to Canada in 1941, Governor-General of the Malayan Union of Singapore in 1946, and the United Kingdom Commissioner-General for South-East Asia in 1948. He was High Commissioner in India, 1955-1960, and Kenya's Governor and Commander-in-Chief, 1963-1964, and High Commissioner, 1964-1965. From 1967 to 1969 he was the Special Representative of the British Government in Africa. MacDonald retired in 1969, but continued to hold various offices, including the Presidency of the Royal Commonwealth Society, 1971-1981. He died on 11 January 1981 at his home in Raspit Hill, near Sevenoaks, Kent.


.02 cubic metre(s) (2 archive boxes) : paper

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference

Case A72

Other Finding Aids

MSS Addenda, vol. I.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

RCMS 41/1 was deposited by Malcolm MacDonald's sister, Sheila Lochhead, in 1986. RCMS 41/2-6 were photocopied in the R.C.S. Library, 1986, with the exception of RCMS 41/2/5-6, 41/4/4 and 41/6/2, which were found among the working notes of D.H. Simpson, R.C.S. Librarian, 1995.

Existence and Location of Originals

The original papers of Malcolm MacDonald were held by the R.C.S. from 1981 until 1986, when they were transferred to the University of Durham.

Related Materials

The R.C.S. Manuscripts Collection includes two university theses concerning MacDonald, RCMS 42 and RCMS 43.


This collection level description was created by RAS using information from the original typescript catalogue. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Malcolm MacDonald in Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls, eds, 'Dictionary of national biography', 1981-1985 (Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 254-256.


MacDonald, Malcolm John, 1901-1981, politician

Includes index.
2003-09-03 14:52:34+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom