Ralph Norman Angell Lane (December 26, 1872-October 7, 1967) was one of six children of Thomas Angell Lane and Mary Brittain Lane. Raised in a Victorian household in Holbeach in Lincolnshire, England, he attended elementary schools in England, the Lycée de St. Omer in France, a business school in London, and a year of courses at the University of Geneva. At the age of seventeen he decided to emigrate to America. He headed directly to the West Coast, where he worked for seven years a as vine planter, an irrigation-ditch digger, a cowpuncher, a California homesteader (after filing for American citizenship), a mail-carrier for his neighborhood, a prospector, and a reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and later the San Francisco Chronicle.
After returning to England in 1898 to tend to some family affairs, Angell went to Paris where he worked as sub-editor of the English language Daily Messenger, then as staff contributor to Éclair. During this time he also acted as a correspondent for some American newspapers to which he sent dispatches on the progress of the Dreyfus case. In 1903, he published his first book Patriotism under Three Flags: A Plea for Rationalism in Politics. In 1905, Angell became the editor of the Paris edition of Lord Northcliffe's Daily Mail.
Sir Norman Angell
In 1909 he published a small book, entitled Europe's Optical Illusion, using for the first time the name Norman Angell which he later legalized. In 1910 he expanded this work and re-titled it The Great Illusion. This book has been translated into 25 languages, sold over two million copies, and gave rise to a theory popularly called "Norman Angellism." This theory, as stated in the book's Preface, holds that "military and political power give a nation no commercial advantage, that it is an economic impossibility for one nation to seize or destroy the wealth of another, or for one nation to enrich itself by subjugating another." In 1912 he resigned from his position at the Daily Mail, in order to pursue writing and lecturing full time. By 1951, Angell had published 41 more books, including The Fruits of Victory, The Money Game, The Unseen Assassins, Peace with Dictators?, and After All.
During this period he also wrote regularly for newspapers and journals and from 1928-1931 edited Foreign Affairs. From 1929-31 he served as a Labor member of Parliament and member of the Consultative Committee of the Parliamentary Labor Party. He was knighted for public service in 1931, was a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, an executive of the Comité mondial contre laguerre et le fascisme [World Committee against War and Fascism], an active member of the Executive Committee of the League of Nations Union, and president of the Abyssinia Association. In 1933 he was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize. Sir Norman Angell spent most of his later years at his Northey Island Farm, and died at the age of 94 in Croydon, Surrey.
Sources: Nobelprize.org; Sir Norman Angell Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.
Scope and Content
This collection consists of the papers of Sir Norman Angell and span his entire career as a political writer. The collection is broken into several series, including: Correspondence, Chronological Files, Manuscripts, Writings, Research Files, and Personal Files. The Correspondence series is the largest of the collection, consisting of 28 cubic feet of material, and is arranged alphabetically. The Writings series is broken into four sub-series: Speeches and Addresses, Articles, Monographs, and Reviews. The Manuscript file consists of an assortment of notes and other unidentified materials. Research Files are also split into the sub-series of Articles, Clippings, Booklets, Leaflets, and Pamphlets, and also includes a poster and a sketch. Also in the collection, but as yet unprocessed, are Clipping Books, Photographs, Artifacts, Calendars, and Address books. Additionally, the book collection consists of more than 4,000 volumes including many rare editions and copies carefully annotated by Angell. All titles are listed in University Libraries' CardCat.