University of Texas at Austin

Maurice Cranston:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Cranston, Maurice William, 1920-1993
Title: Maurice Cranston Papers
Dates: 1943-1997
Extent: 77 boxes (32.34 linear feet)
Abstract: This collection contains Cranston's typescript and handwritten drafts of monographs, including those for his three-volume biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke: A Biography, Philosphers and Pamphleteers: Political Theorists of the Enlilghtenment, and The Romantic Movement, as well as related correspondence, reviews, and research; offprints and drafts of shorter articles, including book reviews and essays; drafts and scripts for radio dialogues and programs; and clipping files. Other papers include literary and personal correspondence, career-related papers on colloquia and teaching, and Cranston's thesis.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-54123
Language: Most material in English, some material in French and Italian.
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days’ notice for access in the Ransom Center’s Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gift, 2003 (G12189)
Processed by: Hope Rider, 2005

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

The papers of Maurice Cranston span his professional career as an author, free-lance reviewer, and professor of political philosophy. Major works represented in the collection include Cranston's three-volume biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke: A Biography, and Philosophers and Pamphleteers: Political Theorists of the Enlightenment. The papers are arranged in three series: Series I. Works & Related Files; Series II. Correspondence; and Series III. Career-Related & Other Papers.
Series I. Works & Related Files makes up the bulk of the collection and is divided into Subseries A1. Rousseau Monographs, Subseries A2. Rousseau Research Files and Shorter Rousseau Works, Subseries B. Other Monographs, Subseries C. Shorter Works and Subject Files, and Subseries D. Clipping Files.
Subseries A1. contains typescript and handwritten drafts of monographs written by Cranston concerning Jean-Jacques Rousseau, including all three volumes of the Rousseau biography. Also present are some publication correspondence files and reviews.
Subseries A2. comprises Cranston's research files related to Rousseau, as well as offprints and drafts of shorter articles. Most of the research materials are offprints and photocopies of books and articles by other authors regarding Rousseau and related topics. These are primarily arranged alphabetically by subject.
The monographs in Subseries B. reflect Cranston's professional interests in political philosophy. John Locke: A Biography and The Romantic Movement are the two works most extensively represented. Both of these works have multiple files with research, typescripts and review clippings.
Subseries C. Shorter Works and Subject Files is the largest segment of the collection. These files are arranged alphabetically according to subject and contain articles and research materials. Throughout his career, Cranston wrote numerous book reviews and essays on a variety of subjects, many of which are gathered here in the form of typescripts and clippings. He also wrote a number of dialogues for broadcast on the BBC and other radio programs. A large number of these are present as drafts, full scripts and offprints. The research materials in the subseries are primarily in the form of photocopies and offprints, with some handwritten notes.
Subseries D. contains clipping files of articles by Cranston.
The correspondence in Series II. is arranged chronologically and then alphabetically. The dates given are the ones used by Cranston, but the contents may span a wider date than given. For several date ranges there are two groups of correspondence that have not been interfiled. Some specific correspondents may be found in either or both sets of files. Cranston was a friend of the artist and author Denton Welch, and the files contain correspondence with Welch's biographer Michael De-La-Noy. Other literary correspondents include W. H. Auden, Kay Dick, Bonamy Dobrée, Kathleen Farrell, Francis King, Olivia Manning, Harold and Nigel Nicolson, and Edith Sitwell. There are many letters from George Feaver, a one-time student of Cranston's and professor of Political Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. There are few strictly personal letters in the files, and none from his immediate family.
Series III. Career-Related & Other Papers includes papers for various colloquia, correspondence related to teaching, and paperwork. There are several files of early writings, including Cranston's B. Litt. thesis.

Index Terms


De-la-Noy, Michael, 1934-2002.
Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973.
Dick, Kay.
Dobrée, Bonamy, 1891-1974.
Farrell, Kathleen, 1951- .
King, Francis.
Manning, Olivia.
Nicolson, Harold George, Sir, 1886-1968.
Nicolson, Nigel.
Sitwell, Edith, Dame, 1887-1964.
Feaver, George.
Glenny, Michael.
Dallas, Sheila.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
European University Institute.
Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies.
Australian National University.
Liberty Fund.
PEN (Organization).
London School of Economics and Political Science.
Society of Authors (Great Britain).
Trent University.
University of California, San Diego.


Philosophy, politics and society.
Camus, Albert, 1913-1960.
Condorcet, Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de, 1743-1794.
Diderot, Denis, 1713-1784.
Hobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679.
Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry, baron d’, 1723-1789.
Locke, John, 1632-1704.
Machiavelli, Niccolo, 1469-1527.
Mill, John Stuart, 1806-1873.
Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat, baron de, 1689-1755.
Oakeshott, Michael Joseph, 1901-1990.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 1712-1778.
Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1905-1980.
Voltaire, 1694-1778.

Document Types

Radio Scripts.

Maurice Cranston Papers--Folder List