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The Papers of Richard Keynes

Reference Code: GBR/0014/KEYN

Scope and Contents

The papers include: correspondence from the 1960s to the 2000s, with some papers relating to the Anti-Submarine Experimental Establishment (1942) and naval radar research (1944-45); volumes of notes on experiments from 1947 to 1979; research papers and data files from the late 1970s to 1990s.


  • Creation: 1942 - 2010


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is mainly open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge, apart from the most recent correspondence.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Richard Keynes was born on 14 August 1919, the eldest son of Sir Geoffrey Keynes, MD, FRCP, FRCS, FRCOG, and Margaret Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Darwin, KCB. He was educated at Oundle School (as a Scholar) and then Trinity College, Cambridge (again as a Scholar). In 1945 he married Anne Pinsent Adrian, eldest daughter of 1st Baron Adrian, OM, FRS, and Dame Hester Agnes Adrian, DBE, only daughter of Hume C. and Dame Ellen Pinsent, DBE; they had three sons (and one son deceased).

During the war, Keynes served as a temporary experimental officer at the Anti-Submarine Establishment and Admiralty Signals Establishment (1940-45), returning to Cambridge after the war to complete his degree (1st Class, Natural Science Tripos Part II, 1946). Keynes remained at Trinity College as a Research Fellow between 1948 and 1952, winning the Gedge Prize in 1948 and the Rolleston Memorial Prize in 1950. His career at Cambridge included: demonstrator in Physiology (1949-53); Lecturer (1953-60); Fellow of Peterhouse College (1952-60, and an Honorary Fellow, 1989); Head of the Physiology Department, and first Deputy Director (1960-64), then Director (1965-73); Director of the ARC Institute of Animal Physiology (1965-72); Professor of Physiology (1973-87); Fellow of Churchill College, since 1961.

Outside Cambridge, Keynes's positions included: Secretary-General of the International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (1972-78), then Vice-President (1978-81) and President (1981-84); chairman of the International Cell Research Organisation (1981-83) and the ICSU/Unesco International Biosciences Networks (1982-93); President of the European Federation of Physiological Societies (1991); a Vice-President of the Royal Society (1965-68); Croonian Lecturer (1983); Fellow of Eton College (1963-78); foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy (1971), American Philosophical Society (1977), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1978) and the American Physiological Society (1994).

Keynes's publications include: The Beagle Record (1979); (with D. J. Aidley) Nerve and Muscle (1981, 2nd edition 1991); he edited the Beagle Diary of his great-grandfather, Charles Darwin (1988); edited jointly Lydia and Maynard: the letters of Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes (1989); papers in the Journal of Physiology, Proceedings of the Royal Society etc.

Keynes's honours and awards include: CBE (1984); MA, PhD, ScD Cantab; FRS (1959). He died on 12 June 2010.


161 archive box(es)

Language of Materials



The papers are uncatalogued, but the correspondence from the two main deposits is arranged in two separate alphabetical sequences, as it was originally kept by Professor Keynes. Accession 1994 has been left in its original arrangement.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this catalogue is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Professor Keynes in several separate deposits between 1967 and 1996. Accession 1994 was given by Professor Simon Keynes in 2018.


This fonds level description was created by Katharine Thomson of Churchill Archives Centre in May 2003 from existing box-lists to the collection, and taking biographical information from Professor Keynes's entry in Who's Who.


Keynes, Richard Darwin, 1919-2010, Professor of Physiology

2003-05-16 10:08:57+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087