Scope and Content
Title: Institute of Economic Affairs (Great Britain) Records,
Date (inclusive): 1955-1995
Collection number: 96026
Institute of Economic Affairs (Great Britain)
431 manuscript boxes, 46 cubic foot boxes, 7 oversize boxes
(240 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
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
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Boxes 268-269 and 3 folders in Box 270 closed. The remainder of the collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], Institute of Economic Affairs (Great Britain) Records, [Box no.], Hoover
Great Britain --Economic policy --1945-
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
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
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
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."