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Archive of Harold Macmillan


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The papers held at the Bodleian contain Macmillan's private files, minutes and correspondence, official papers being held in The National Archives. There are thirteen main series. The memoirs and literary papers series contains material which Macmillan used to compile his memoirs between 1964 and 1973 and some of the most important and significant papers are to be found here.


  • Creation: 1889-1987


144.54 Linear metres (1339 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

Readers must complete and sign a form requesting access to the archive, and agreeing to the terms and conditions of use laid down by the family Trustees. Permission to use the papers in any other way should be obtained by writing to the Trustees using the permission request form provided. These forms are available from the Library

Conditions Governing Use

To refer specifically to individual constituents in the Constituency files (MSS. Macmillan dep. c. 46/1-140) in print or any other form of publication requires written permission from the Bodleian Library.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, where available, e.g. MS. Macmillan dep. d. 1/1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Macmillan dep. a. 1; b. 1-16; c. 1-1125; d. 1-110; e. 1-18

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 9547


The personal papers of Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton (1894-1986).

Biographical / Historical

Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton (1894-1986), was born on 10 February 1894 at 52 Cadogan Place, London. His father was Maurice Crawford Macmillan, (1853-1936), son of Daniel Macmillan (1813-1857) from the Scottish Arran Islands who, along with his brother Alexander, established the publishers Macmillan and Co. in 1843. Harold Macmillan's mother was Helen Artie ['Nellie'] Belles (1856-1937), of Spencer, Indiana. He had two brothers, Daniel (1886-1965), and Arthur (1889-1968) who became a publisher and lawyer respectively. Harold Macmillan attended Summer Fields School, Oxfordshire in 1903; Eton College, from 1906, and Balliol College, Oxford, 1912-1914, where he read Classics. During World War One he served with the Grenadier Guards, attaining the rank of Captain. He was wounded many times during the battle of the Somme. In 1919 he became Aide-de-Camp to the 9th Duke of Devonshire, the Governor General of Canada. There he met the Duke's daughter, Lady Dorothy Evelyn Cavendish (1901-1966) whom he married in 1920. They had one son and three daughters. The son, Maurice Victor Macmillan, Viscount Macmillan of Ovenden (1921-1984) was also a Member of Parliament and his papers are deposited in the Bodleian Library (the collection is presently closed). The three daughters were Carol Faber (b. 1923), Catherine Amery (1926-1991) and Sarah (1930-1970). Macmillan returned to London to marry and joined the Macmillan publishing business in which he would be involved throughout his life, being Chairman 1963-1974 and President in 1974.

His political career began in 1923 when he unsuccessfully contested the constituency of Stockton-on-Tees. He stood again in the General Election of 1924, won, and held the seat until 1929. Following his defeat he was invited to stand for Hitchin but he returned to Stockton-on-Tees in 1931, serving the constituency until 1945. Macmillan remained a backbencher until 1942, sometimes rebelling against the party line - in 1936 he resigned the Whip over sanctions on Abyssinia - returning to the party fold in 1937. During this time Macmillan started writing letters to The Times and articles on economic and industrial policy, which reflect his concern with the social problems of unemployment and poverty of his constituents in Stockton-on-Tees. The archive contains papers relating to his publications at this time: Industry and the State (jointly with Robert Boothby, John de Vere Loder and Oliver Stanley), 1927; Reconstruction: A Plea for a National Policy, 1933; Planning for Employment, 1935; The Next Five Years, 1935; The Middle Way, 1938 (re-issued 1966), and Economic Aspects of Defence, 1939. This is the period where he appears to have begun to take great care of his own papers, keeping copies of his articles in bound volumes and carefully boxing his constituency and personal papers. He took great care to preserve speeches, correspondence, financial and political papers and most of his diaries have been typed and bound.

In 1940 Macmillan received his first appointment, as Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Supply under Lord Beaverbrook, and in 1942 became Parliamentary Under-secretary of State in the Colonial Office. In 1942 Churchill appointed him Minister Resident at the Allied Headquarters in North West Africa, where he became a successful diplomat, negotiating with Eisenhower, de Gaulle and General Giraud. The diaries he kept for this period have been published, War Diaries, Politics and War in the Mediterranean, January 1943-May 1945 (Macmillan, 1984).

From 1945 to 1964 Macmillan was MP for Bromley. In 1945 he was Minster for Air for a short period until the Conservative Party's defeat at the General Election. When they returned to power in 1951 Macmillan became Minister of Housing with the target of building 300,000 houses a year, which he achieved in 1953. In October 1954 he became Minister of Defence; between April and December 1955 he served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under Eden. At the end of the year he replaced R.A. Butler as Chancellor of the Exchequer, where he delivered one budget. In the wake of the Suez crisis Macmillan became Prime Minister following Eden's resignation on the grounds of ill health.

After his retirement from office in 1963 Macmillan concentrated on writing his memoirs and other books and became involved again with Macmillan publishers. He was Chancellor of Oxford University from 1960 to 1986 a role in which he took great interest and pride. He received the Order of Merit in 1976, and became Earl of Stockton in 1984, taking a seat in the House of Lords.


The arrangement of the papers preserves the order in which they were created. Most of the series are arranged chronologically, but some constituency and general correspondence is arranged alphabetically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited in the Bodleian Library by the Harold Macmillan Book Trust in October 1994.

Related Materials

See also Letters from Harold Macmillan to Ava Anderson, Lady Waverley (MSS. Eng. c. 4778-4780; Photogr. c. 19, fols. 28-34).


An article by the cataloguer, Nia Mai Williams, 'Harold Macmillan's Private Papers in the Bodleian Library, Oxford' appeared in Contemporary British History, Vol. 11, No. 4 (Winter 1997), pp. 112-118.
Catalogue of the archive of Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, 1889-1987
Finding aid prepared by Nia Mai Williams, EAD version by Lawrence Mielniczuk
EAD version 2013
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom