Helen Frances Grant was born in Bristol, the daughter of Dr Herbert Newsome. Educated at a private school in Bristol until the age of 16, she then attended a finishing school in Switzerland from 1919-20, where she was taught entirely in French. She worked as a secretary successively in Belgium and Sierra Leone from 1921-26. She then acted as secretary to Walter de la Mare before going on to read French and Spanish at Somerville College, Oxford, from 1927-1930. In 1930 she married Alexander Grant, a civil servant.
From 1934 to 1939 Helen Grant taught Spanish at both Birmingham and Oxford. During the Spanish Civil War she undertook relief work in the Republican zone in the spring of 1937 with Francesca Wilson, a Quaker relief worker. She had a lifelong interest in the politics of Spain: at the age of 72 she spent a month in Spain studying the political situation there at the time of the death of Franco and the beginning of the reign of Juan Carlos.
During the Second World War Helen Grant worked for the Foreign Research and Press Service based in Oxford. At the end of the war she was appointed to a University Lectureship in the Spanish Department at Cambridge. She became a Fellow of Girton College in 1954.
Her publications include articles on modern writers, particularly Antonio Machado, and on the theme of the world upside, a little-explored area of Spanish culture. She received the Lazo de Dama de la Orden de Isabel la Catolica on the occasion of the visit of the King and Queen of Spain to Cambridge in 1988. A member of Newnham Ward Labour Party in Cambridge, her interest in UK politics continued to the end of her life. Helen Grant died on May 5th 1992.
The papers listed here are an interesting cross-section of Helen Grant's personal life, academic work and political interests. They include biographical material; photographs; personal, academic and political correspondence; and some of her written work and research notes. The papers were arranged in files with titles and the arrangement is thought to be Helen Grant's own: they have been listed as found.
Received from Mary Morton 10 October 1995.