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LSE history

This page indicates the range of archival sources held by the Library which relate to the history of the School.

The detailed catalogues of many of these papers are not yet available on the archives catalogue so please contact the Library for further details. These documents are available to view in the Reading Room (see Reading Room Access|).

The following documents form the core institutional archive of LSE:

  • Administrative files on matters such as academic policy, finance, organisation, buildings, publications and external relations, 1895- (reference: LSE/CENTRAL FILING REGISTRY)
  • Articles of association, printed reports, calendars, photographs, students' union papers - including The Beaver and Clare Market review - and other papers, 1895- (LSE/UNREGISTERED). Issues of The Beaver, 1949-2008 are available via the Digital Library.
  • The minutes of School Committees, 1894 onwards (these are listed on the archives catalogue, LSE/MINUTES)

LSE History Project

A useful starting point for researching the School's history are the research papers collated for Ralf Dahrendorf's book, LSE : a history of the London School of Economics and Political Science, 1895-1995. Topics covered include the history of academic departments, LSE Directors, academic staff and significant events. They usually contain copies of material from the School's archives, articles and press cuttings. Occasionally they contain unique material too.

Smaller LSE deposits

There is also a collection of small deposits relating to the history of the School, mainly deposited by alumni or former members of staff. Documents include lecture notes, papers relating to student societies, ephemera (such as leaflets) and material relating to the Troubles.

Additional papers relating to LSE

Other papers relating to LSE can be found in other archive collections, particularly among the archives of former staff who have deposited their files in the Library. For example, the papers of William Beveridge (Director of the School, 1919-37) contain much about LSE and some of these items are available online:

  • Welcome addresses to new students, 1921-36 (BEVERIDGE/5/10)
  • "Origin of social biology in the School of Economics", memo by Beveridge regarding grants from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, 16 July 1935 (BEVERIDGE/5/3)
  • "Reflections on the School of Economics", memo by Beveridge, 30 October 1935 (BEVERIDGE/5/4)

As would be expected from two of the founders of the School, the papers of Sidney and Beatrice Webb (the Passfield collection) also contain much about LSE. Beatrice's diaries are available via the Digital Library|.

Additional papers include:

  • Early papers of the Library comprising appeals for books and funds, accounts and reports of the Library and the School, 1896-1908 (COLL MISC 0529)
  • LSE Students' Union Minute books, 1903-76 (COLL MISC 0649)
  • Reminiscences of former students, staff and governors collected as a result of a questionnaire circulated in 1943 (SR 1101)
  • LSE Students' Union papers, 1973-96 (LSE/STUDENTS UNION)


The Library holds an extensive collection of photographs relating to the history of the School. Many of these have been digitised and are available on the Library's Flickr site|.

Pre-1994 exam papers

We hold an incomplete set of exam papers up to 1994. Past exam papers from 1994 onwards are available on the Library website. 

LSE alumni and former staff

We can provide access to historic staff and student records. These are held off-site and must be ordered in advance. We can only issue the files of deceased individuals and official proof of death (eg copy of death certificate) is usually required. Please contact us for further information.

The published 'Register, 1895-1932' (London, 1934) contains basic biographical information about LSE students and staff for the early years of the School.