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Register of the Institute of Economic Affairs (Great Britain) Records, 1955-1995
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content

  • Title: Institute of Economic Affairs (Great Britain) Records
    Date: 1940-2005
    Collection Number: 96026
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 444 manuscript boxes, 46 cubic foot boxes, 9 oversize boxes (240 linear feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, minutes, press releases, financial records, conference proceedings, drafts and printed copies of publications, other printed matter, and photographs, relating to laissez-faire economic theory and associated concepts of liberty, and to analysis of British and international economic policy. Includes personal papers of some members.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    General Physical Description note: 444 manuscript boxes, 46 cubic foot boxes, 9 oversize boxes
    Creator: Institute of Economic Affairs (Great Britain)


    Boxes 268-269 and 3 folders in Box 270 closed. The remainder of the collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Institute of Economic Affairs (Great Britain) Records, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Historical Note

    Established in 1955 by the late Sir Antony Fisher, the Institute of Economic Affairs is a research and educational trust, independent of any political party or group, and financed by sales of publications, conference fees, and donations.
    Its mission is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society, with particular reference to the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The Institute pursues its mission by organizing conferences, seminars, and lectures on a range of subjects; reaching out to school and college students; brokering media introductions and appearances; and, most of all, by maintaining a regular publishing program. In addition to its main series of publications, the Institute also publishes a quarterly journal, Economic Affairs, and has three specialist units, the Health and Welfare Unit, the Environment Unit, and the Education and Training Unit.
    In his book on the history of the Institute, Richard Cockett wrote: "the IEA thus sought, through its publications programme, to demonstrate the efficacy of economic liberalism and to apply the principles of the free market to all areas of economic activity." The impact of the Institute on British politics was best summarized by Milton Friedman, who remarked that "without the IEA, I doubt very much whether there would have been a Thatcherite revolution."
    Two of the Institute's most prominent advocates and contributors were Friedrich A. von Hayek (Antony Fisher's main inspiration) and fellow Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, both of whom deposited their papers in the Hoover Archives. Other economists of international renown who have done so include Gottfried Haberler, Fritz Machlup, Schmölders, Gordon Tullock, and F. A. Harper, who invited Fisher to the United States in 1952 and whose Foundation for Economic Education gave him the model for the future IEA. Other related collections are those of philosopher Karl Popper, publisher Henry Regnery, and journalist Lawrence Fertig. Many of these figures were also members of the Mont Pèlerin Society, an organization of laissez-faire economists whose records we house as well.

    Scope and Content

    The records of the IEA were accessioned in the Hoover Institution Archives as a deposit in 1996. Most of the materials date from the 1970s, with the notable exception of the press cuttings, which go back to 1940; the financial records, which have been kept since the Institute's founding; and the publications file, which starts in 1961 and will be regularly brought up to date.
    The latter is one of the largest series in the collection, and consists not only of printed copies (from books to pamphlets, occasional papers, and research monographs) but also of correspondence with authors, agents, and publishers, and of manuscripts (for many of those that were eventually published, related comments by reviewers, galleys, etc. are also included).
    Other records of note are those in the series dedicated to the Institute's journal Economic Affairs, which contains interesting correspondence with actual and potential authors.
    The personal files of several prominent IEA members are also represented in this collection. Particularly extensive are the papers of Lord Ralph Harris, the Institute's first director, and Arthur Seldon, its first editorial director. In the words of Cockett, "The duo of Harris and Seldon effectively ran the IEA from 1957 until the mid-1980s."

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Economic policy.
    Free enterprise.
    Great Britain--Economic policy--1945-
    Great Britain--Economic policy--1945-1964.
    Great Britain.
    Video tapes.