A.H. (Chelly) Halsey

On the eve of his memorial service on Saturday 16th May we have been looking back at Chelly Halsey’s incredibly varied life and career, picking out key moments and publications as they relate to his academic and personal experiences.

No Discouragement is far more than the story of A.H. ‘Chelly’ Halsey – sanitary inspector’s apprentice, wartime airman, sociology student, academic-at-large, Oxford professor and, above all, Christian socialist” is how Roy Hattersley introduces the reader to Chelly’s enthralling autobiography.  He goes on to explain that “It describes the life and times of a man who typifies an almost extinct species….working-class boys, reared in the ‘culture of respectability’, who go on to achieve great academic distinction…Halsey retains the values of his childhood and expresses them without embarrassment”.

Chelly history of sociology

The Library holds many of Chelly’s other key works, including the eleven volumes of his published papers and book reviews from 1952-2005 (Nuf.Halsey (q)), ‘Change in British society’ (HN 390.H), ‘A history of sociology in Britain : science, literature, and society’   (HM 22.G7.H), ‘Education, economy, and society : a reader in the sociology of education’ (HM 32.H) and ‘Twentieth-century British social trends’ (HN 389.H).

Change in Br Soc 3 Change in Br Soc 2 Change in Br Soc 1

Family was always central to Chelly’s life and work, something reflected keenly in his autobiography ‘No discouragement’ (HM 22.G7.H) and ‘Changing childhood : a history of the Halsey family to 2009’ (Nuf.Halsey).  As he wrote in his autobiography “I can’t pretend to be calmly objective about my family and I can’t remember ever feeling anything but fiercely defensive about them… my instinct from an early age was to protect and defend my kin”.

Changing childhood, Chelly

Possibly of more personal interest to Nuffield members and alumni are his two works ‘Policy and politics : essays in honour of Norman Chester’ (JN 301.B) edited by himself & David Butler and ‘Essays on the evolution of Oxford and Nuffield College’ (LF 659.55.H).  Chelly first came to Oxford in 1962 as Director of Barnett House (Department of Social and Administrative Studies) and Fellow of Nuffield College.  He maintains in his autobiography that “Nuffield was undoubtedly the college leader of sociology in Oxford but, equally, Barnett House, linked to social policy and social work, was the university centre for sociological teaching and research”.  A perfect blend for a man who, in his own words, “was almost religiously devoted to the idea of spreading sociology as a mode of understanding the modern world”!

Chelly & Butler Chelly essays Oxford Nuffield

On 4th May 2003, Chelly appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.  There is a link to the recording here, http://bit.ly/BBCDesertIslandDiscs, where you can listen to him talking to Sue Lawley about his fascinating life and times, hear his musical choices and find out what his chosen record, book and luxury were!

There are some lovely personal memories of Chelly from various Nuffielders in the Hilary 2015 Nuffield Newsletter.

The memorial service for Chelly will take place at St Mary the Virgin, University Church, (High Street, Oxford) on Saturday 16 May, 2:15 until 3:15 pm.

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Historical election material and propaganda

As May 7th draws ever closer, we thought we would take a look in the Nuffield College Libary archive collections to see what election material and propaganda consisted of in the days before social media, televised leaders’ debates, twenty-four hour new channels and online discussion forums.  The material also highlights the important issues of the day for past elections, which can be compared to today’s top concerns. While some of the collections have only a small amount of material, such as:

  • the 1945 General Election addresses of G.D.H. Cole (Cole, G.D.H., D2/7/6,7) and Herbert Morrison, Labour candidate, East Lewisham (H. Morrison, D3/12)
  • analysis of the 1964 election results (H. Morrison, B1/56, B1/57-59, B1/60) and H. Fairlie’s analysis of the 1955 election prospects in the Daily Mail (H. Morrison, B1/5)
  • press cuttings about individuals’ election campaigns, such as John Seely’s candidature for the Isle of Wight constituency in 2 general elections 1923 & 1924 (Mottistone, 40)

Others hold much more information and examples of election material such as leaflets, posters, speeches and other propaganda.

Willet Ball, 1873-1962 (part of the Small collections)

Willet Ball was born in Lincoln in 1873 and received his education at Lincoln Middle School.  In 1888 he began work as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway Company and in 1893 he joined the National Union of Railwaymen and Social Democratic Federation.  In 1900 Ball became sub-editor of the Railway Review, which he then went on to edit between 1917 and 1933.  He stood as the Labour candidate for the Luton division of Bedfordshire in December 1918 and December 1923.  This collection contains:

  • Letter to the electors from Willet Ball, the Labour candidate for Luton Division of Bedfordshire, 1918 (D/31)
  • Book of stamps for sale in aid of Luton Divisional Labour Party, fighting funds for Ball, 1918 (D/32)
  • General election leaflet promoting Willet Ball, 1918 (D/34)
  • South Beds parliamentary election letter to “our soldiers and sailors” from Willett Ball, 1918 (D/35)
  • Luton Division parliamentary election letter to the electors from Willet Ball, 1923 (D/36)
D/34 General election leaflet promoting Willet Ball, 1918

D/34 General election leaflet promoting Willet Ball, 1918

D/36 Luton Division parliamentary election letter to the electors from Willet Ball, 1923

D/36 Luton Division parliamentary election letter to the electors from Willet Ball, 1923

D/32 Book of stamps for sale in aid of Luton Divisional Labour Party,

D/32 Book of stamps for sale in aid of Luton Divisional Labour Party,

By far the biggest collection of election material, however, is in the Gainford collection.

Gainford, Lord (1860-1943)

This collection covers the papers of Lord Gainford (1860-1943), including 6 members of the Gainford family: Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease, 1st Bt. (1828-1903), his wife Mary (1835-1892), Joseph Albert Pease, 1st Baron Gainford (1860-1943), his wife Ethel (Elsie) (1867-1941), Miriam Blanche Pease (1887-1965) and Joseph Pease, 2nd Baron Gainford (1889-1971).  The collection contains correspondence, papers and publications about the family businesses, the economy, local and national politics and the two world wars, giving a valuable insight into social and political history from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries.

Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease’s papers contain election papers, canvassing documents, speeches and cartoons, 1833 – 1902.  His son, Joseph Albert Pease (JAP), had even more involvement in political life however as, between 1892 and 1916, he was Liberal M.P. Tyneside Division, Northumberland, Liberal M.P. Saffron Walden Division, Essex and Liberal M.P. Rotherham Division, W.R. Yorkshire.  His papers contain material such as political speeches, press cuttings of his first parliament (1893-1985), correspondence to the elecorate and other politicians (1891-1916), canvassing rules, Tyneside Liberal Association rules, notebook, election expenses & chequebook, results and figures (1892, 1895 & 1900). Much of the election material and propaganda is from the Saffron Walden elections, 1901, 1906 & 1910.  This includes a selection of posters, large and small, for the 1900 General Election, including ‘The Tories nation of peace and goodwill’ (114) and even some anti-Liberal propaganda!

Gainford 117/19  Election propaganda against JAP

Gainford 117/19 Election propaganda against JAP

Gainford 114 / Election poster, 1900

Gainford 114 / Election poster, 1900

Gainford 114 / Election poster, 1900

Gainford 114 / Election poster, 1900

Gainford 114 / Election poster 1900

Gainford 114 / Election poster 1900

Other items of interest include party songs, letters to the electorate, flyers and even party badges and a cloth election poster for JAP.

Gainford 117/11 JAP election badge

Gainford 117/11 JAP election badge

Gainford 117/8 Election flyer, 1910

Gainford 117/8 Election flyer, 1910

Gainford 115/22 Liberal Party flyer

Gainford 115/22 Liberal Party flyer

Gainford 111/98 Liberal Party election song

Gainford 111/98 Liberal Party election song

Gainford 112/15 Liberal Party songs

Gainford 112/15 Liberal Party songs

Gainford 113/3 Cloth election poster for JAP

Gainford 113/3 Cloth election poster for JAP

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General Election 2015: resources

As the race to the 2015 General Election begins in earnest, we have compiled a selection of online resources for keeping up to date with election news, analysis and predictions:

Conversation election 2015 – The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public.  They have a specific section on matters relating to the General Election, including a Fact Check where academic experts check claims made by the various political parties.

British Election Study – The British Election Study (BES) is one of the longest running election studies world-wide and the longest running social science survey in the UK. It has made a major contribution to the understanding of political attitudes and behaviour over nearly sixty years. Surveys have taken place immediately after every general election since 1964. The first study conducted by David Butler and Donald Stokes in 1964, transformed the study of electoral behaviour in the UK. Since then the BES has provided data to help researchers understand changing patterns of party support and election outcomes.

LSE general election 2015 – The LSE General Election blog promotes debate, discussion and analysis of UK general election trends, on the countdown to Election Day on 7 May 2015.

Polling Matters, an independent, non-partisan podcast from Rob Vance and Keiran Pedley, providing expert polling news and analysis, with guests, in the run up to the General Election.

election-forecast-sidebarElection Forecast UK, a forecasting model combining data provided by YouGov with all publicly released national and constituency polls, historical election results, and data from the UK Census, run by Chris Hanretty (University of East Anglia), Benjamin Lauderdale (LSE) and Nick Vivyan (Durham University).

May2015 run by the New Statesman.  Their Poll of Polls keeps track of every poll being published by the UK’s major pollsters and averages them over time, weighing them by everything from time to track record.  The data includes nearly 4,500 polls, going all the way back to August 1970.  Really interesting is “The Drilldown” which allows you to analyse publically available polls, understand who thinks what, and see how opinion has changed since the start of the coalition.

Election Analysis – from the Centre for Economic Performance, a series of background briefings considering some of the UK’s key policy battlegrounds, including immigration, austerity, living standards, business, Europe, health, education, crime, inequality, regional policy, climate change and energy, housing and planning, infrastructure, and gender.  Earlier analyses of other elections are available: including the 2010 and 2005 UK General Election, the 2012 US Presidential Election, European Elections and Scottish Referendum.

BBC 2015 election page, offering news, a poll tracker, features & analysis and live daily updates on new items/stories as they break.

banner_general election news_large

Elections etc – election forecasting from Steve Fisher (Trinity College, Oxford) and Jonathan Jones.

Manifesto check from The Conversation UK and Alliance for Social Scientists to get involved in checking on the different parties’ claims and manifestos.  Using experts from a range of academic disciplines, they scrutinise the claims and promises made by the main political parties.

Search on Twitter by using #GE2015, #Election2015, #GeneralElection, #GeneralElection2015

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From the archives – G.D.H. Cole and Nuffield College Library


G.D.H. Cole at work


G.D.H. Cole was born on 25 September 1889 and died on 14 January 1959. He married Margaret Postgate in August 1918. Cole came to prominence in the years shortly before the First World War. Along with S.G. Hobson and A.P. Orage, he was a leading theorist of that form of industrial democracy known as guild socialism and was subsequently prominent in the short-lived guild socialism movement. For the next half century, he was active as an influential academic, leading Fabian, and guiding light of several left-wing groups. Above all, he was a political thinker, whose work in the last decade of his life was described by Richard Crossman as “still the most creative … in the Labour movement”.

[From the preface to the Handlist of the Papers of G.D.H. Cole in Nuffield College Library]

At the meeting of Nuffield College’s Warden & Fellows on the 1st of May 1948, then Warden, Sir Henry Clay brought forward the proposal to purchase Cole’s personal library which consisted of 25,000-30,000 volumes.

Meeting of Warden & Fellows

Meeting of Warden & Fellows 1st of May 1948

The collection was valued at £6,270 by George Wheeler of George Harding’s Bookshop, he also had the following to say:

“…the retention of the library as a whole is a thing to be very strongly advocated. It is, as far as I know, the most complete library of it’s [sic] kind in private hands in the country; being especially rich in source material on the development of the republican, radical, Chartist, socialistic and kindred movements from 1790 to the present time”

George Wheeler's valuation of G.D.H. Cole's library, broken down by subject [click to enlarge]

George Wheeler’s valuation of G.D.H. Cole’s library [click on image to enlarge]

Clay wrote to Cole on the 28th of March to say:

“Your library, if we acquire it, will in my opinion do far more to establish a college devoted to Social Studies than several times the amount of building we are inaugurating on April 21st.”

Read the full letter below:

Sir Henry Clay to G.D.H. Cole [click on image to enlarge]

Sir Henry Clay to G.D.H. Cole [click on image to enlarge]

The letter mentions the conditions that Cole placed upon the sale. He formally laid these out in a letter of the 4th of April 1949:

Cole's conditions of sale [click to read the letter]

Cole’s conditions of sale [click to read the letter]

(Regarding point 1. d) Nuffield College Library did eventually receive much of Cole’s manuscript material and letters as well as those of his wife, Margaret)

The College was able to raise the sum of £2,980 (almost half the total cost) from donors to help purchase Cole’s books:

List of donors [click image to enlarge]

List of donors [click to enlarge]

The purchase of Cole’s library was a great coup for Nuffield College, on the 30th of June 1949 Clay wrote to Cole to say that the collection will form…

“…the foundation of the best library in its field in the country …I think this acquisition which you have made possible has given me more satisfaction than anything else since I became Warden.”

Clay to Cole 30th June 1949

Clay to Cole 30th June 1949 [click on image to enlarge]

All material from College papers, kept in the Librarian’s Office and available to see on request.

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Easter 2014 vacation opening hours

Easter eggs

Nuffield College Library will be closed over Easter as follows:

Thursday 2nd April – Tuesday 7th April*

*College members will have usual access during this time.

“Easter-Eggs-1” by Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa – sxc.hu. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Easter-Eggs-1.jpg#/media/File:Easter-Eggs-1.jpg
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National Libraries Day 2015: Richard Johnson’s thoughts on Nuffield College Library

Our final blog post for National Libraries Day is written by politics student Richard Johnson, in which he describes what he likes about Nuffield College Library and explains the reason for his book nomination:

I feel very lucky to have access to the Nuffield Library. It has a fabulous and unparalleled collection of politics books and journals. I can usually find what I need, and if the Library doesn’t have a book, they will order it for me. Amazing! The staff are always very helpful and will go at great lengths to find answers to my occasionally obscure questions. A researcher couldn’t ask for a better library.

Race, campaign politics & the realignment in the South book coverRace, Campaign Politics, and the Realignment in the South by James Glaser (shelf mark JK 2261.G)

Race, Campaign Politics, and the Realignment in the South is a brilliant example of in-depth qualitative political science research. James Glaser spends several years in the field studying congressional by-elections in the southern US. He conducts numerous interviews with election participants – from candidates and advisors to party officials and activists to trade union officials and clergy.

Glaser explains the unusual perseverance of congressional Democrats in the South, long after the national realignment of US party politics. He demonstrates that the party continued to win elections in the South due to a precarious coalition of newly enfranchised African Americans and a (diminishing) group of whites who were tribally loyal to the Democratic Party. Glaser’s detailed work captures that nuances of campaign rhetoric, showing that Democratic candidates could successfully deliver different messages to black and white communities.

Glaser admits that his subjects were ‘moving targets’ and much has changed since he conducted his research twenty years ago. The 2014 congressional elections saw the defeat of the last remaining white Democrats in the Deep South, but this does not detract from the enduring value of Glaser’s work as an historical study.

For political scientists, Glaser’s work highlights the limitations of relying merely on public opinion data and election returns. Local organisation, the experience and personality of political actors, campaign discourse, and symbolic imagery can all be important in influencing an election outcome. Glaser makes an admirable attempt to take these factors seriously.

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