“A Lovelorn Orphan in a Cold World”: Bertrand Russell’s 1931 North American Lecture Tour

  • Michael D. Stevenson Lakehead University
  • Sarah-Jane Brown Lakehead University


Bertrand Russell undertook an extended North American lecture tour in 1931 to raise funds for the Beacon Hill experimental school he operated with Dora Russell. To rectify the existing lack of scholarly analysis of the 1931 tour, this paper provides annotated transcriptions of twenty-eight letters Russell sent during the tour to Dora and to Patricia Spence, Russell’s mistress. These letters provide intriguing insights into the state of Russell’s financial and professional affairs and illuminate personal relationships he cultivated in the United States and Canada. Most importantly, they document his complex marital situation at this tumultuous juncture in his life before he decided to end his relationship with Dora early in 1932 in favour of Spence.