We come across the occasional gem in the University Archives. One such find is this brief 1963 correspondence between members of the Adelaide University Agnostics Society and the great philosopher and activist Bertrand Russell.
The members of the Agnostics Society had apparently become aware of an article published in the student paper On Dit by an individual fraudulently claiming to be the president of the Society. Worse, that individual had forwarded his or her contribution to one of the most famous intellectuals in the world. The genuine members of the Society were naturally mortified and wrote an appropriately deferential letter to Russell explaining the situation:
By then in his 90s Earl Russell was gracious enough to reply, even offering a neat turn of phrase:
We have yet to discover the back story to the above. Should you be able to locate the offending article or any related correspondence in On Dit we’ll send you a copy of the University’s centenary history.
Digitised copies of On Dit from 1932 through to 2008 – a treasure trove for those interested in the evolution of campus culture and wider social mores – can be found here in the University’s Adelaide Research & Scholarship repository.