This collection of Keynes/Harrod letters and memoranda contains an archive of material relating to the period 1941 to 1943--during Keynes's immensely influential work for government. During World War II, Keynes was the chief architect of British economic policy through his participation at the Bretton Woods Conference and the founding of the International Monetary Fund.
Roy Harrod (1900-1978) was one of the leading economists of his generation. Amongst his many achievements are the definition of an "increment of aggregate demand curve" 1928; the publication of International Economics 1933 and The Trade Cycle 1936 which was to mark a break-through between static and dynamic theory; then in 1939 his great paper An Essay in Dynamic Theory which was one of the most important developments in economic theory of this century. These ideas were later developed in his book Towards a Dynamic Economics published in 1948. He published several works on philosophy including The Foundations of Inductive Logic 1956. In 1951 was published his biography of Keynes.
After being elected a Lectureship in Modern History and Economics at Christ Church Oxford in 1922, Harrod was introduced to Keynes by Walter Runciman. He spent a term at Cambridge where he attended Keynes's lectures on Money. Harrod took weekly essays to Keynes himself. Between December 1922 and April 1923 Harrod attended Berlin University and the lectures of Moritz Bonn and Melchior Palyi at the Handelshochschule, and later in the summer received formal instruction from Von Schulze-Gaevernitz, a pupil of Weber, at Freiburg im Breisgau. On his return to Oxford, Harrod placed himself in the hands of Edgeworth, Drummond Professor of Political Economy. He attended Edgeworth's lectures and took essays to him on cost curves and international trade.
From the early 1920's, Roy Harrod kept fairly regular contact with Keynes and in the 1930's was part of Keynes's close circle of economists during the writing of the General Theory. Roy Harrod received a copy of the proofs and was closely involved in the arguments and discussions with Keynes. One of Harrod's many suggestions included the insertion of the only diagram in the book, to which Keynes agreed.
During the War, whilst Keynes was at the Treasury, Harrod worked in S Branch in the Cabinet Office from 1940-1942. Harrod represented the department on many interdepartmental committees. Harrod was absorbed in plans for post-war reconstruction, especially of international economic relations and on proposals for a Clearing Union and subjecting Keynes 'to a bombardment of memoranda in favour of cooperation with the Americans, of a world bank, etc' including buffer stocks of commodities (Harrod, Life of Keynes p.531). The correspondence with Keynes at the Treasury between November 1941 and January 1943 is present in this archive together with many of the original memoranda and supporting correspondence with Harrod's colleagues. Keynes's influential advice to the British government whilst he was at the Treasury during the War is considered one of his major achievements as an economist. The development of his thinking during this period can also be studied in this archive.
In addition to the correspondence with Keynes from 1922 until 1943, this archive contains a remarkable manuscript by Keynes's closest friend at Eton, Bernard Swithinbank. It contains recollections of Keynes both at Eton and later at Cambridge; written for Harrod whilst he was preparing his biography of Keynes. There are also some fine letters from economists and philosophers, mainly corresponding with Harrod during the 1920's and 30's
Keynes is described as one of the three or four most influential economists who ever lived. Roy Harrod was his pupil, collaborator and biographer. This large archive of material will provide new insights into Keynes's life and achievements and Roy Harrod's contribution in the development of a post-war economic policy.
See Harrod: Life of Keynes pp.487-586 for an account of Keynes and his work during the Second World War.