The Bertrand Russell Research Centre
Mills Memorial Library
Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies (now digitized)
Bertrand Russell: The Man
The reputation of Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), the third Earl Russell, as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century has only increased with time. In a massive and seminal series of publications in the early years of the last century Russell transformed logic and placed it at the centre of philosophic inquiry. The impact of these, and later works in which he confronted other fundamental problems of philosophy, has been profound, even on scholars who have disputed his conclusions. In a parallel intellectual life as social critic, political thinker and humanist, meanwhile, Russell addressed many issues of vital import to the history of the twentieth century: nationalism and imperialism, modern industrialism, Soviet Communism, and the nuclear peril, to name but a few.
When Russell’s papers came to McMaster in the late 1960s, it was inevitable that the university would become the main centre for research on Russell’s life and work. The collection was not only the largest available on Russell anywhere, it dwarfed all the other collections put together. Its contribution to international scholarship started immediately and has continued ever since. Scores of books and hundreds of articles have been published using material from the Russell Archives.
In addition to all this independent scholarly activity, many things have been done at McMaster to enhance and enlarge the collection, to make it more accessible, to publish material from it, and to foster Russell studies around the world. Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies (now in its 49th year of publication) and the McMaster Edition of The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell will be the best known to people who do not use the Archives on a regular basis. The Centre has also launched another major scholarly enterprise, an electronic edition of all Russell's correspondence.
The creation of the Bertrand Russell Research Centre in 2000 has given all three a permanent home within McMaster’s Faculty of Humanities. The McMaster University Library remains responsible for the running of the Archives and for the care and preservation of the papers, while the Centre takes responsibility for the publication of Russell material and for fostering Russell research. Russell is now published by the Centre, which has also taken over the work of the former Bertrand Russell Editorial Project. And the Centre has become the official home of the Collected Letters project.
The official opening of the Centre took place on 16 November 2000 with Ray Monk giving a public lecture, “The Continuing Importance of Bertrand Russell”, in McMaster University’s Convocation Hall. The opening coincided with a major exhibition of Russell material at the McMaster Museum of Art. Among other art works, the exhibition included the Epstein bust and the Augustus John drawing of Russell, as well as photographs, political cartoons, and many other Russell memorabilia. The Exhibition Handlist is available for purchase.
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Page maintained by Arlene Duncan. Last modified 30 September 2020.