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For Intellectual Liberty: Correspondence and papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9369

Scope and Contents

Comprises: minutes of meetings of the F.I.L. committee, 1935-1940; scrpabook of press cuttings, chiefly letters written by F.I.L. members to the press on a range of subjects in the lead-up to the Second World War; printed publications and statements; papers of the British Section of the International Association of Writers for the Defence of Culture, 1938-40, including letters of Hugh Walpole, Compton Mackenzie and Sylvia Townsend Warner; papers relating to refugees; publications; index of members compiled by the Honorary Secretary, Margaret Gardiner, and other papers and correspondence generated by Gardiner in her secretarial duties.


  • Creation: 1936-1940


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

The association `For Intellectual Liberty' was formed in February 1936 following a conference in Paris called by the `Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes'. According to its first bulletin, F.I.L. claimed to be "a rallying point for those intellectual workers who felt that the condition of the world called for the active defence of peace, liberty, and culture" (Bulletin no.1). Members held meetings, wrote to the press, and lobbied their MPs on such subjects as anti-Semitism, the League of Nations, and the Spanish Civil War. In the late 1930s they were also involved in schemes of practical assistance for refugees. The Association seems to have lapsed in the late summer of 1940.


3 archive box(es) (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The majority of the papers (section A) were presented to the Library in May 1996 by the former Honorary Secretary of FIL, Margaret Gardiner. Her card-index of members (A11) had been given to the Library in 1993. At her request, a further three files were extracted from the papers of J.D. Bernal (Add. 8287) and added to the collection as section B.

Related Materials

For a study of FIL, see David Bradshaw: `British Writers and Anti-Fascism in the 1930s', in Woolf Studies Annual, vol 3, 1997 and vol 4 1998 (copies in box 1).

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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