Scope and Contents
This collection contains both the economic and personal papers of J.M. Keynes, spanning his childhood and student days, his work for the India Office and Treasury, drafts and other materials associated with the great economic treatises that bear his name, and assorted papers pertaining to his involvement in various academic and financial enterprises. The series within this collection have been arranged under the following categories: General subjects (IA-HP), Visits (RV-AV), Articles, speeches and broadcasts (SS-L), Editorial responsibilities and society memberships (EJ-BAA), Business interests (NM-BE), Business personal (BP-SY), Educational interests (OC-UA), Personal papers (PP) and Miscellaneous papers (MM).
Conditions Governing Use
For permission to quote in print from the unpublished papers, apply to the Librarian, King's College, Cambridge CB2 1ST. For permission to quote in print from those writings of Keynes which were part of the 'Collected writings' series, contact the Archivist for further details.
Biographical / Historical
John Maynard Keynes was born in Cambridge on 5 June 1883, the son of Florence and Dr. John Neville Keynes, Fellow of Pembroke College and later University Registrar. He was educated at Eton, and came up to King's College, Cambridge as a scholar in 1902. After he was awarded his undergraduate degree, he entered the Home Civil Service and served for two years at the India Office. He left the civil service in 1908, however, and in 1909 was elected a Fellow of King's College and remained so until his death. He was lecturer in Economics from 1911 to 1937 and in 1919 he also accepted the post of Second Bursar of the college. In 1924 he began his memorable tenure as first bursar, changing completely the philosophy by which the college managed its assets, and in 1925, he married Lydia Lopokova.
Despite his retirement from the India Office, Keynes was to be found in London almost as often as in Cambridge, placing his services at the disposal of his government, particularly when called upon by the Treasury. He served on a number of government committees in the 1920s and 30s, but - as with everyone else - it was during the two world wars that most was demanded of him. During World War I he became a civil servant in the Treasury and by 1917 had gained a position of some responsibility. He was the Treasury's representative at the peace conference that ended the war. At the invitation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Keynes placed his services at the disposal of his country again in 1940, after war had broken out a second time. As an advisor to the treasury, he was much involved in both the problems of war finance and plans for the later transition from war to peace. Among other things, Keynes acted as one of the negotiators of Lend-Lease, and played a leading part at the Bretton Woods conference. He was rewarded for his services during the first war with a C.B., and for those during the second by elevation to the peerage, becoming Baron Keynes of Tilton.
It was not as a servant of college or country, however, that Keynes has made his name, but as a brilliant and original economist. Keynes was a prolific writer who shunned his colleagues' attempts to create an economic 'grand theory' in favor of short works that addressed the fiscal problems of the day as quickly and competently as possible. In the process he did, nevertheless, create something lasting - what we now call Keynesian economics - the cornerstone of which were his theories on saving and investment, and their relation to rising and falling prices. These were elaborated in his 'Treatise on money' (1930) and his later 'General theory of employment, interest and money' (1936). Through his leadership in a number of societies and his editorship of the 'Economic Journal' he had great influence on the next generation of economists, and through his editorship of the 'Nation and Athenaeum' and 'New Statesman and Nation' he influenced his contemporaries more widely.
He died on Easter Sunday, 21 April 1946, after several years of ill-health.