Gladwyn Jebb was born 25 April 1900, the son of the late Sydney Jebb, of Firbeck Hall, Yorkshire. He was educated at Eton, then Magdalen College, Oxford, taking a 1st in History, 1922. In 1929 he married Cynthia (died 1990), daughter of Sir Saxton Noble; one son and two daughters.
Entering the Diplomatic Service, in 1924, Jebb's career included: served in Tehran [Iran], Rome [Italy], and the Foreign Office; Private Secretary to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, 1929-31; Private Secretary to Permanent Under-Secretary of State, 1937-40; appointed to Ministry of Economic Warfare with temporary rank of Assistant Under-Secretary, August 1940; Acting Counsellor in Foreign Office, 1941; Head of Reconstruction Department, 1942; Counsellor, 1943, in that capacity attended the Conferences of Quebec [Canada], Cairo [Egypt], Tehran, Dumbarton Oaks [United States], Yalta [Soviet Union], San Francisco and Potsdam [Germany]; Executive Secretary of Preparatory Commission of the United Nations (August 1945) with temp. rank of Minister; Acting Secretary-General of UN, February 1946; Deputy to Foreign Secretary on Conference of Foreign Ministers, March 1946; Assistant Under-Secretary of State and United Nations Adviser, 1946-47; UK representative on Brussels Treaty Permanent Commission with personal rank of Ambassador, April 1948; Deputy Under-Secretary, 1949-50; Permanent Representative of the UK to the United Nations, 1950-54; British Ambassador to France, 1954-60, retired; Deputy Leader of Liberal Party in House of Lords, and Liberal Spokesman on foreign affairs and defence, 1965-88; Member, European Parliament, 1973-76 (Vice President, Political Committee); contested (L) Suffolk, European Parliament, 1979.
His honours include: GCMG 1954 (KCMG 1949; CMG 1942); GCVO 1957; CB 1947; Grand Croix de la Légion d'Honneur, 1957.
Publications include: Is Tension Necessary?, 1959; Peaceful Co-existence, 1962; The European Idea, 1966; Half-way to 1984, 1967; De Gaulle's Europe, or, Why the General says No, 1969; Europe after de Gaulle, 1970; The Memoirs of Lord Gladwyn, 1972.
The material at Churchill Archives Centre begins with Lord Gladwyn's school and college notebooks, and runs to his final articles, but with the exception of his personal and family correspondence, was chiefly created after Lord Gladwyn's retirement from the Diplomatic Service. A large proportion of the papers consists of notes, reports, articles, speeches and correspondence amassed from Lord Gladwyn's work as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords and Liberal spokesman on foreign affairs and defence (1965 - 1988), his place on Parliamentary Delegations to the Council of Europe and WEU Assemblies (1966 - 1973), and particularly his work as a Member of the European Parliament and Vice-President of the European Parliament Political Committee (1973 - 1976). The collection also includes photographs, press cuttings and other material from his time as British Ambassador to France.
There is also a large amount of literary material, including research notes, interviews, and drafts of Lord Gladwyn's works, chiefly on European affairs and defence and also a series of diaries and notebooks from 1929 - 1995.
The papers also include the memoirs of Irene Hunter, Lord Gladwyn's secretary, under Gladwyn Associated. Although these memoirs cover Mrs Hunter's whole career, they do include reminiscences of her work for Lord Gladwyn while he was British Representative to the United Nations and British Ambassador in Paris, and also after his retirement from 1968 onwards.
The papers of 1st Lord Gladwyn were mainly deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by his son, 2nd Lord Gladwyn, between 1998 and 2000, with a large later accession of personal papers in 2012. The memoirs of Irene Hunter were given to the Archives Centre by Lady Thomas, Lord Gladwyn's daughter, in August 2000. An additional deposit of photographs and press cuttings (GLAD 5-6) was made by Lady Thomas in 2007.
The original order of the papers has been broadly retained, with files being arranged within subject areas, by date. Speeches, articles and diaries are arranged separately, by year. Sections 5-6 were added later, some years after the arrangement of the rest of the collection. When a large amount of additional personal papers were received in 2012, these mainly became sections 7-9, though some files were also added to existing series.