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Discrete CollectionsPolitics, economics and social science collections
TitleMorel; Edmund Dene (1873-1924); politician, author and journalist
Extent101 boxes and 6 bankers boxes
Admin Biographical HistoryEdmund Dene Morel (originally Georges Eduard Pierre Achille Morel de Ville), 1873-1924, was educated in Eastbourne but moved to Liverpool in 1891. Forced to leave school at the age of 15 due to his mother's financial difficulties, Morel worked as a clerk for the shipping firm Elder Dempster, and supplemented his income with part-time journalism. Many of the articles that Morel wrote related to stories from visitors to the shipping office, including material on British trade in Africa. Morel became concerned about the consequences of such trade for African culture. In 1900, he published a series of articles concerning the Congo, and was forced to resign from Elder Dempster due to the company's involvement in the rubber trade in the Congo.
In 1904, Morel founded the Congo Reform Association and took a leading part in the movement against Congo misrule. He published many pamphlets on the subject and travelled to the United States to create a similar movement there. Morel was Honorary Secretary of the Congo Reform Association from 1904 to 1912. In 1909, he took part in the formation of the International League for the Defence of the Natives of the Conventional Basin of the Congo. He was also a member of the West African Lands Committee (Colonial Office), 1912-1914, and vice-president of the Anti-Slavery Society. His interest in African affairs extended to his journalism. He published "Le Congo Leopoldien" with the French explorer Pierre Mille, and was assistant editor of "West Africa" for two years, before bringing out his own paper "The West African Mail" in 1903. After this paper's bankruptcy in 1907, he launched the more modest "African Mail" which lasted until 1917.
Morel was also active in the political world. He was the Liberal candidate for Birkenhead, 1912-1914, resigning when the First World War broke out. He then formed the Union of Democratic Control, a political party that opposed the war. From 1917 to 1918 he was imprisoned for violation of the Defence of the Realm Act. After the war he joined the Labour Party and was the Labour candidate for Dundee, 1921-1922. He was Labour MP for Dundee, 1922-1924.

If any researcher into the Congo reform movement would like to contact Dean Pavlakis, who has worked extensively with the Morel papers, you are welcome to do so either by emailing him at or by sending him a message through
Custodial HistoryMost of these papers were deposited in the LSE Library by E D Morel's son, Roger in 1951. There have been a number of other deposits since then.
DescriptionBiographical material, including diaries and photographs; papers and correspondence concerning Morel's parliamentary candidature and activities as an MP, his publications, the Congo Reform Association and its publications, trials and atrocities in the Congo (under Leopold II and Belgium), West Africa, the Union of Democratic Control, and research into the origins of World War I and armaments after the war; general correspondence; books of outgoing letters concerned mainly with the Congo Reform Association and the publication of the 'African Mail'; material relating to the newspapers with which Morel was involved, including the 'West African Mail', the 'African Mail', and 'West Africa'; books, pamphlets and articles by Morel and others on Africa, the Congo, and World War I; British and Belgian parliamentary reports and discussions concerning the Congo; and family correspondence. Main correspondents include William Adlington Cadbury, Sir Roger Casement, Randall Thomas Davidson (Archbishop of Canterbury), Sir Charles Dilke, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alfred Emmott, Henry Richard Fox Bourne, Alice Stopford Green, Reverend John Hobbis Harris, John Holt, Sir Harry Johnston, Sir Alfred Jones, Mary Kingsley, W H Lever, James Ramsay Macdonald, Emile Vandervelde and Sir George White. There are also letters from other well-known people, including Hilaire Belloc, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) and Edward Grey.
Related MaterialOli Jacobsen's article 'Daniel J. Danielsen (1871-1916): The Faroese who Changed History in the Congo', published in the Brethren Historical Review is available via
Copyright TypeCopyright is held by the Library
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