29R. H. B. W. Joseph to Harrod, 1 August 1922 [a]

Joseph congratulates on Harrod's First, [1] which he thought even more impressive as Harrod had been through deep waters. [2] Joseph is convinced that Harrod will do well his work as a teacher at Christ Church.

  1. 1. After his first class honors in "Greats" in 1921, Harrod took history. A letter of congratulations by E. L. Woodward, dated 1 August 1922, is filed in HPBL Add 71616/1.

    2. During his undergraduate years at Oxford, Harrod suffered the consequences of one of the worse phases of the depression with which his mother Frances Harrod was affected, and had a nervous breakdown (see note 1 to letter 8 R), which was followed by a second one in 1928 (see note 1 to letter 156 ). He later described these years as follows:

    • 19-22 undergraduate. Time of greatest conscious strain. 1. Work. Got double first, in "Greats" and Modern History. Take latter in one year instead of normal two. One of best first in year. Work highly concentrated, never worked long hours. 2. To make money, took 4 tutorships in vacation, 3 of which disagreeable. 3. Knew that I should keep self and mother at end. Anxiety. 4. My mother was so fearfully melancholy at this time that I have conceived the notion that it was my duty to put her out of pain, i.e. to kill her, and to take the consequences. This obsessed my mind. (She was always talking of suicide) I thought of it in all my leisure moments as well as less heroic course of suicide. Brooding over these things I was often unable to look at my books. In addition I led a most active club life at Oxford, reading papers to literary and philosophical societies. I was treasurer of Liberal Club when it was refounded after war. Life alternate exhilaration and depression. When not tutoring spent whole vacations with mother in London boarding house. Had to work for Greats in bedroom 6¥6ft. Generally fretted! (Harrod, untitled statement, end of Summer 1928, seven pages, in pencil, HPBL Add. 72775/11-17; another account of Harrod's relationship with his mother is given by C. M. Bowra, Memories 1898-1939, 1966, p. 115, where it is stressed that Harrod's philosophical disputes with Joseph --on which see note 2 to letter 8 R-- strained his force).

    [On Harrod's activity with the Oxford University Liberal Club see note 1 to letter 7 R. It should be added that Harrod also took part in the activities of the Eighty Club: invitations to meetings are preserved in HPBL Add. 72734, including some from Sir Charles Hobhouse to attend meetings in his rooms in Picadilly to have "frank discussions in form of short speeches on the Progress of Liberalism". The Eighty Club was the successor to the Grey Committee which played a prominent role in securing the election of the Liberal Party to power in 1880. It was not a university, but a national society, formed in 1881 to act as a forum for debate and for establishing close ties with university Liberal clubs; it provided speakers and lecturers to university associations, especially in general election campaigns.

    Evidence survives regarding Harrod's society life. He was a member of the Russell and Palmerston Club (see note 1 to letter 34 R), of the Oxford University Dramatic Society (he was elected a member at the committee meeting held on 18 June 1919; the society existed --and still exists-- to put on theatrical performances; Harrod does not seem to have taken an active part in its running: minute book, in OUDS, Dep. d.500), of The Pagans (a society whose meetings were principally dedicated to literary discussions), of the Jowett Society (see note 1 to letter 19 R), of the New College Essay Society, 1919-22 (Harrod preserved menus and lists of toasts, now in HPBL Add. 72768/106-15) and of the New College XX Club, 1919-21 (menus and toasts are preserved in HPBL Add. 72768/116-20)].

    1. a. From Examination Schools, Oxford # , two pages ALS, in HPBL Add 72730/37.


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