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IVOR MONTAGU PAPERS

Ivor Montagu papers

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Ivor Montagu papers

CP/IND/MONT. An ebullient polymath of patrician background, Ivor Montagu was never one of the CPGB's inner circle of leaders and spent only a short spell on its executive committee during its experiment with a free congress vote for the body in the mid-1940s. Nevertheless, Montagu was a significant journalist and publicist of communist causes, whose less intensive involvement in party activities allowed him scope for an extraordinary range of interests. A naturalist by training, he was also variously a film critic, film director and (with Alfred Hitchcock) producer; a sportsman and pioneering proselytiser for table tennis; the Daily worker's correspondent in post-war Germany and at the Nuremberg trials; the author of books on Mongolia, Eisenstein and the Berufsverbote, as well as of the briefly controversial Traitor class published in 1940; and president of Southampton FC Supporters' Club, as well as a lifelong member of the Fabian Society. With the exception of Montagu's film-related materials, which were deposited in the British Film Institute, all of these interests are represented in Montagu's papers. Particularly noteworthy is an extensive correspondence ranging from Ilya Ehrenburg and the playwright Sean O'Casey - the latter regarding Hitchcock's version of Juno and the paycock - to Ellen Wilkinson and Solly Zuckerman. Sadly, two files contain only photocopies: one containing correspondence with Bernard Shaw, and the other concerning Trotsky's application to come to Britain in 1929. The irony of Montagu's involvement in this episode was noted, with a delicate regard for his anonymity, by Isaac Deutscher in his Trotsky biography.

Description drawn from Kevin Morgan's introduction.

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