Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keynes, concerned with employment in local industries - an anecdote

I'm practically finished with my paper on Keynes's Newton activities (some lesser known activities... a lot of people know about his purchase of much of Newton's library in 1936 and the posthumous presentation of "Newton, the Man" in 1946, but he was fairly active in 1942 and 1943 on a few things too - I'm writing about that).

The last bit of the paper is about the gift of another portion of Newton's library from a historic preservation society, which he advised. The books were in bad shape and he suggested having them repaired at a particular local company. I found what he chose to highlight in his discussion of them interesting:

"J.P. Gray & Son of Green Street are the right experts for that, and they are not sorry in these times to have repair work, which uses up less scarce material than the new bindings, whilst enabling them to keep together a nucleus staff, almost the only one now remaining, of our oldest local industries." (July 14th, 1943)

First it's just great that he takes the time to highlight these things about his recommended bookbinder - the maintenance of the workforce and the local tradition. But it was also nice to read because this doesn't seem like the sort of thing you'd mention about a local shop unless you wandered in and talked to them about how things were going.

Alas - local consumption will not make it into my paper. But I thought at least Evan would be interested in this (as a former archive employee).


  1. Was "local consumption" that you speak of excluded on the basis of it being extraneous material, Daniel Kuehn?


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