New Catalogue: Papers of Professor Alexander Danchev

The papers of the late Professor Alex Danchev (1955-2016), Professor of International Relations, University of St Andrews from 2014 to his death in 2016, have been donated to the University of St Andrews Library Special Collections, and have now been catalogued thanks to a generous donation (ms39008).

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Professor Alex Danchev (ms39008/1/6/64). Photograph by Julien Dossier

Danchev graduated with a first-class degree in History and Economics at University College, Oxford in 1977. After completing a postgraduate teacher training certificate at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He was an officer in the Royal Education Corps for nearly a decade, serving in Cyprus and Scotland and teaching at Sandhurst. While still in the army he completed his PhD in War Studies at King’s College London. After academic posts at the universities of Keele (1992-2004) and Nottingham (2004-2014), Danchev joined the International Relations Department at St Andrews.

Danchev’s commitment to teaching was acknowledged in 2009 when he was awarded the Lord Dearing Award for Teaching and Learning at the University of Nottingham. Danchev had a very broad range of interests, including art, contemporary politics, Anglo-American relations, war on terror, art and war and jazz. His teaching reflected his depths of knowledge, and his views on the importance of looking beyond disciplinary lines. The interdisciplinary nature of his work is evident in the range of publications he produced, from biographies of military strategists to post-impressionist and surrealist artists.

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Some of Danchev’s publications showing the breadth of his interests

Danchev was a prolific writer, who in his own words, had ‘both literary and academic ambitions.’ The quality of writing was important to him and, as some of his correspondents such as Lady Liddell Hart attest, Danchev’s writing was erudite and full of literary and cultural references. He was fond of poetry and included many quotations in his work.


Extracts from the letters of Lady Kathleen Liddell Hart to Alex Danchev expressing that he has ‘a real gift as a biographer’ (ms39008/1/1/41) (click the image for more detail)

The archive collection now in St Andrews contains Danchev’s research papers for some of his main publications and articles, such as his biographies of military strategist Sir Basil Liddell Hart, artists Cezanne and Braque and collected essays on Art and War and Terror. These papers include his handwritten notes, annotated newspaper clippings and articles, and correspondence with various experts in the art and political worlds.

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Some of the notes found inside Danchev’s book collection. These are notes Danchev made when reviewing the book You Can’t Read this Book, shown alongside the draft and final published review. Many of Danchev’s books have been donated to the University Library. The notes and papers have been removed from the book collection and added to Danchev’s archive.

It is hoped that this collection will prove to be a valuable resource in the future for studying Danchev’s work and research methods. While parts of the collection will remain closed for the foreseeable future for data protection reasons, many of the files will become available in the coming weeks for use in our Reading Room.

Sarah Rodriguez
Principal Archives Assistant, formerly Danchev Project Archivist

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