The 2nd Earl Russell, John Francis Stanley, described himself as a socialist and strong individualist, but primarily innately rebellious. To this we might add rationalist, atheist, orator and persistent social campaigner. Born into privilege, raised and educated to be ‘useful’ and autonomous, Frank Russell pursued a path that brought him into conflict with the established order, spurring him to prove that he was no vacuous aristocrat but a worthy successor to his illustrious grandfather, Lord John Russell, who had twice been Prime Minister. Giving voice to his deep-seated abhorrence of injustice, Frank Russell became an early advocate of controversial causes such as divorce reform and votes for women. He was the first peer to join the Fabians and speak as a ‘candid friend’ of the burgeoning Labour Party. This collection from his desk, compiled by his biographer, illustrates Frank Russell’s diversity, humanity, humour and candour as, with similar principles but different methods to his brother, polymath Bertrand Russell, he pioneered campaigns for many rights we take for granted today.