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Archive of Edmund Dell


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Correspondence and papers of Edmund Dell (1921-99), Labour politician, businessman, and author. Comprises papers from Dell's pre-Parliamentary career; his career as a Labour politician; his post-Parliamentary career; his literary works; and personal papers relating to Dell's family. The collection also includes approximately 3,500 electronic files, mostly comprising Dell's outgoing correspondence, and draft literary material.


  • Creation: 1921-99


30.91 Linear metres (281 physical shelfmarks; 94 digital shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • French
  • Portuguese

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is closed.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to copy material must be obtained from the rights holder (Susanne Dell).

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 7569, fols. 1-10].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. b. 2149-2150; c. 7569-7794; d. 3909-3948; MSS. Dell Digital 1-94

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 6364, 6365, 6517


Correspondence and papers of Edmund Dell (1921-99), Labour MP, political and economic historian.

Biographical / Historical

Edmund Dell (1921-99) was a prominent Labour politician, active during the 1960s and 70s. After serving during the Second World War he began a career in industry, working for ICI. In 1953 he became a city councillor for Manchester, and in 1964 was elected MP for Birkenhead. He remained an MP until his resignation from parliament in 1979; during that time he held the positions of Paymaster General (1974-6) and Secretary of State for Trade (1976-8), among others. Dell resigned from Parliament in order to take the position of Chairman and Chief Executive of the Guinness Peat Group, a position he held for four years. During the 1980s Dell co-founded the TV company Channel 4, of which he was also the founding chairman. During this time and throughout the 1990s Dell was also the Chairman of the Prison Reform Trust and the Public Finance Foundation. He was also heavily involved in many other charitable concerns, especially the Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge Appeal. Dell began writing steadily from the late 1980s, writing and publishing four histories of politics and economics until his death in 1999; a fifth book was published shortly after his death.


The original order of the collection has been maintained as far as possible. The electronic items in the collection have been integrated with the paper items. The first acquistion of papers, MSS. Eng. c. 4828-32, d. 2572, has been incorporated into the collection.

Custodial History

Papers created and owned by Edmund Dell. The collection also includes papers created by Sidney Dell, Edmund Dell's brother, which were probably taken from Sidney Dell's UN office after his death and given to his brother. For additional information see fols. 29-33 of MS. Eng. c. 7659.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Audio tapes of Dell's diary and an accompanying transcript were given to the Bodleian Library by Dell in 1993 (shelfmarks MSS. Eng. c. 4828-32, d. 2572). The remainder of the collection was donated by Dell's widow, Susanne Dell, in 2001, with a subsequent donation in 2010.

Related Materials

Papers created and belonging to Sidney Dell can also be found in the Bodleian Library, shelfmarks MSS. Eng. c. 5798-889.

Audio tapes of Dell's diary and an accompanying transcript can also be found in the Bodleian Library, shelfmarks MSS. Eng. c. 4828-32, d. 2572

Catalogue of the archive of Edmund Dell
Elinor Robinson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom