This blog is written by Special Collections staff at the University of Bradford, particularly Project Archivist Emma Burgham. We’ve created it in order to share discoveries we’ll be making during the course of our project to catalogue the papers of the Serbian philosopher Dimitrije Mitrinović and his circle. This project is generously supported by the Mitrinović Foundation, the direct successor of the New Atlantis Foundation established in 1953 to ensure the continuation of Mitrinović’s work and the spread of his ideas. The complex Archive created by Mitrinović and his circle was donated by the Foundation in 2003 and 2004. It includes published and unpublished writings of Dimitrije Mitrinović and documents and correspondence produced by members of Mitrinović’s circle, members of the New Europe Group and members of the Foundation.
About Me: Emma Burgham, Project Archivist
A graduate of the universities of St Andrews and then York in Medieval Studies, my passion for history has led me to a career in the archive world. I’m a qualified archivist with experience in business and higher education archives, as well as academic libraries. I’ve recently joined the Special Collections team at the University of Bradford as Project Archivist cataloguing the Mitrinović archive.
Born in Herzegovina in 1887, Dimitrije Mitrinović became involved in the Young Bosnia movement opposing the Austro-Hungarian empire. Already a man with wide ranging scholarly interests, he studied art history at Munich University, where he was linked with Kandinsky and the avant garde Blaue Reiter group. The outbreak of the First World War brought Mitrinović to London in order to avoid conscription or imprisonment for his political beliefs. He began to give classes in philosophy, amongst other subjects, and made connections amongst other Yugoslavian exiles. In 1920 he published a series of famous articles, ‘World Affairs’, under the pseudonym M.M. Cosmoi in the magazine The New Age, edited by A.R. Orage.
Mitrinović’s energy, intellect, radical ideas and charisma drew followers including H.C. Rutherford, Violet MacDermot, Valerie Cooper, Ellen Mayne, Philip Mairet, David Shillan, Nobel prize-winning scientist Frederick Soddy, and Alan Watts. He and his followers formed or were active in various groups including the Adler Society, Chandos Group, New Europe Group and the New Britain Movement. The New Atlantis Foundation was started as a charitable trust after the death of Mitrinović in 1953. Now known as the Mitrinović Foundation, it continues his work and spreads his ideas.
Why the Eleventh Hour?
The Eleventh Hour Group was one of Dimitrije Mitrinović’s many groups, established in 1931, with the aim of establishing a European federation as a step along the road to world federation and financial reform. The name reflects the urgency Mitrinović felt about the need for radical change to bring about a new, peaceful world order. Although the Eleventh Hour did not last as long as some of the other initiatives, we chose to use the name for this blog because the aims of the organisation and the sense of a pressing need for a completely new social, financial and political order were the constant focus of Dimitrije Mitrinović and his circle.
The Mitrinović Library and Archive
The archive and library created by Dimitrije Mitrinović and subsequently, the New Atlantis Foundation, are rich and varied resources. There is material relating to the history of ideas, philosophy, peace, alternative communities, European federalism, Pan-Slavism, art, psychology, socialism and communism in the 1920s – 1930s. Both the Mitrinović Archive and part of the Library were donated to the University of Bradford Special Collections (part of Mitrinović’s book collection was donated to the University of Belgrade). The library is fully catalogued, and until this project is finished, there is an interim handlist to allow our users to discover what’s in the archive. Please do get in touch if you’re interested in visiting Special Collections.