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Rules for visitors to the Reading Room of the British Museum.

In October the Hoover collecting operation moved from Paris to London, with a few days off in Folkestone while they waited for a railway strike to be resolved. The party consisted of Binkley and Prof. and Mrs. Adams. Binkley continued to study shorthand under Mrs. Adams’ tutelage, without much progress.

On arrival in London Binkley found a room in Bloomsbury near the British Museum, where he expected to work up an address list of societies similar to the one he had compiled in Paris. The British Museum proved a difficult environment, presumably because of the rule of the Reading Room which excluded those pursuing non-research objectives such as “consulting current directories” (rule 7). He succeeded in putting a list together from sources there and elsewhere (sometimes under the subterfuge that he was checking an existing list, not compiling a new one). He and Mrs. Adams visited the societies by working systematically through the postal districts of London.

Their greatest successes were in certain offices of the British government. Adams presents as a bit of a coup the acquisition of two collections of wartime propaganda. His description of Binkley’s work at the Foreign Office:

Briefly, here was a bulky “remainder” of the workshop materials of British war propaganda, which was occupying much space and which the custodian wished to get rid of. A hasty examination of some few shelves showed that we had already secured some of this material, but that there was much of value for our collection, and an offer was at once made to solve the custodian’s problem by taking the whole lot. This offer was accepted on condition that it be removed within a week. Mr. Binkley was sent the next morning armed with rolls of packing paper and twine to tie up in small bundles everything on the assigned shelves, and at the end of the week, having hired a fleet of taxis, we were the center of some interest in Downing Street, as we carried out and conveyed to Stevens and Brown, in Trafalgar Square, the War Information Library.

The Downing Street entrance to the Foreign Office is directly opposite No. 10.

The larger of the two collections was the War Information Library, housed in the Foreign Office, comprised of enemy and foreign neutral propaganda and evaluations of the response to it in different countries. It occupies 57 manuscript boxes (22.8 linear feet) in the Hoover Institute Archives. The second was the Wellington House Collection of British publications thought useful for influencing foreign opinion, assembled by the War Propaganda Bureau: 13 manuscript boxes, 5 card file boxes, 1 cubic foot box (6.2 linear feet). These propaganda collections no doubt encouraged Binkley’s interest in the historical study of public opinion, which became the basis for his dissertation a few years later.

Binkley’s entertainment in London in October: two movies, two plays, and a day trip to Windsor.

Diary: October, 1919

  • Get laundry at 9:00 A.M. Tip everyone, and meet Adam's at station. Decide to go only as far as Folkestone. Terrible crush on pier at Boulogne, where papers must be verified again. (System easily beaten, I think) Stay above all the way across channel. Put up at Hotel Metropole. Dinner & to bed.

  • Go downtown for breakfast. Am impressed by cleanliness of the place. Return along sea wall. Then go down to Customs house & get our trunks thru without difficulty. Stickers are loafing around everywhere.

    In afternoon have shorthand lesson and then go out for walk. Have tea, and buy apples, get books. I study shorthand in evening, but don't go to supper and am accordingly scolded by Mrs. Adams.

    Play bride [sic] until a late hour, which is to say [shorthand words: “late hour”].

    Dr. Adams wins. I write several letters.

  • Decide not to go to Canterbury, but all go out to Hythe. dine at Sandgate. Look over Sandgate Castle and Hythe crypt. Study shorthand. Bridge in evening.

  • Take car to Canterbury go thru cathedral with guide. Shorthand lesson. Bridge in evening.

  • Go to sandgate for breakfast -- read Medecin Malgre Lui on beach. Go to Church -- rotten sermon. Lunch in Folkestone. Study shorthand. Dinner with Adams's.

  • Return books to Library. Go to train, & on to London. Gentleman tea planter discusses international politics with Dr. Adams. French glory-hunting. I try to study shorthand in train. Arriving in London go to Hotel Cooks had reserved for us. Find it impossible. Palmer Fuller at Grosvenor Gardens treates us nicely and tells of his Poland trip, where he rode in Archduke Ferdinand's private car. Found Imperial Hotel. I get bath and study map of London.

    Dinner with Adams

    Settle accounts with Adams.


    The railway strike which had kept the party in Folkestone was settled the day before, and service resumed this day.

  • Find room in Melbourne House and move in first thing. Then go off to see town. Go to Tower, and go thru it. Late for 2:00 date with Adams. Get baggage up and unpack. Am ready for business.

    Maid seems to be a half wit, but I'm not sure. She fixed my room up very nicely anyway, so I've nothing against her, & I gave her half a crown.

    Learn that I may go home second class.

  • Adams does not decide about office. I eat lunch in extra cheap place. Go to British Museum in afternoon, and get dope on addresses Letters from Anne Purdy. Take suit to cleaners to have it pressed, and put on uniform. Buy collars have £5 left.

  • Wear uniform. Start work in office. Am not permitted to copy addresses at B. Museum. Adams dictates letter.

  • Carry letter to British Museum, but don't get permission. Go to Guildhall, & worm permission to use directories out of complacant sec'y on plea that I am not making a list but correcting one already made.

  • Cash money order for $100 at American Express Co. Spend it for suit, overcoat & socks under Mrs Adams Direction. Afternoon off go to Westminster Abbey. Then run out to Dalston to see what kind of a house 22 Malvern Road is. Its all right but very far out.

  • Go out to Regent’s Park and see all the Animals stay there till four then come in. Stop in at students ass'n and stay to hear Mrs. Naidu recite some of her Indian poetry. Brown, an Oxford man, talks to me.

    Then go down to dinner with the Adam's, and play bridge. Write letter to Alliods.

    Find scientific explanation for "The monkey house is nearly full... and next Monday I will come - - -" Admission is lower on Monday.


    Mrs. Naidu: Presumably the poet and politician Sarojini Naidu (Wikipedia), who was the Home Rule League's ambassador to England in 1919. Monkey house: apparently a reference to a popular song:

    That's the way to the zoo.
    That's the way to the zoo.
    The monkey house is nearly full
    But there's room enough for you.
    Take a bus to Regent's Park,
    Make haste before it shuts.
    I'll visit you on Monday,
    And I'll bring you lots of nuts.

  • Get more addresses from Guildhall. See statues of Gog & Magog. Adams selects the addresses we will use.

  • Start around among societies. Get permit from British Museum. Will begin to keep record of people I have met. Read "Quite a young girl" by a 9 year old child. Very funny.


    Daisy Ashford, The Young Visiters or, Mr. Salteena's Plan, published in 1919 with an introduction by J.M. Barrie (Project Gutenberg). The first chapter is entitled "Quite a Young Girl". Ashford wrote the book at the age of nine. Wikipedia.

  • Finish Victoria St Societies. Make mistake by coming back too early at noon. Mrs. Adams goes out too.

  • See Mary Pickford in Daddy Long Legs in evening with Mrs. Adams.

    Get material from Chamber of Commerce, Farmers Union, and Duty & Discipline movement.

    Lose 2/6 to Proportional Representation Society. Thought he had large amount of materials, but he didn't.

    Porder from Grosvenor Gardens comes up with mail. Two letters from home.

  • Work the W.C. District. Royal Agricultural Society. Royal Institute of Public Health and Land Union. Afternoon get County Councils materials.

  • Adam's go off to Stratford in morning. I work West Center Societies, with fairly good luck. Write long letter home in afternoon -- Go out to see Mrs Hinkins on Malvern Road. Am invited to tea.


    It’s not clear what Binkley’s connection to the Hinkins family was.

  • St. Paul’s Services in morning. Find new boarding house on other side of Russel Square. Go with Watts to Kensington Zoological Museum. Then out to Dalston to tea with Hinkins. Go to bed early.

    Pack one of my trunks.

    A good peasoup fog throughout the day. The best in years.

  • Work again. Finish Strand District.

    Move office to other side of Hall. Do not have much luck with Labor Research Dep't on Eccleston Square.

    Go to rotten movie in the most gorgeous theatre I ever saw Do not do very well in my shorthand lesson, so must study, though I surely don't feel like it.

    Adams gave me £25.

    Little messenger girl demands reply late at night. Poor little kiddie!!

  • Mark societies around City. Move into new boarding house. Go to bed without doing shorthand and get a little dose in morning. Must stop that practice. Have poor lesson.

    Finish up S.W. section of town, Fabian Society & Cobden Club, & Empire Parliamentary Assn.

  • Finish up practically all societies.

    German at Council of loyal British Subjects refers to Lusitania accident. "Rights of British Citizens."

    A French actor at boarding house talks about his electrical appliances.

  • Finish cataloguing & take everything down to Johnson Steven’s & Brown. Dinner at Salvation Army at Aldwych. Come home to find fairly pretty girl engaged in conversation with assembled family.

  • Get material from Institute of Bankers and also promise of Riverplate Bank. Do not do well in shorthand. Examination for tomorrow.

    Get letter from Alliods.

    Study till midnight.

    Get rich promise from Liberal Federation.


    Jeannette and Marthe Alliod wrote to Binkley on Oct. 12. Jeannette commented (in English) that Binkley seemed sad in his last letter; Marthe expressed the thought more fully in French:

    Vous voici déja hors de France: une mer vous en sépare et je soupçonne que la petite bête noire dont la présence attristait vos journées de fin septembre était née en votre esprit lorsqu’il fallait songer au départ de notre capitale. … Un poète français a dit:

    “Partir, c’est mourir un peu,
    C’est mourir à ce qu’on laisse.”

    Cela peut être juste pour les choses inanimées mais, pour des êtres raisonnables, non; car “ceux qu’on laisse” conservent l’espérance du revoir – et n’oublient pas leurs amis.

    “Non, Werther, dans leur souvenir
    Votre image reste vivante
    Et quand vous reviendrez! ….”

    Oh! mon cher Bob, quand vous reviendrez, vous retrouverez toujours la maison hospitalière et ses habitants qui, avec joie, vous accueilleront. Je souhaite que vos projets, dans ce sens, puissent s’accompli.

  • Go to British Museum. Work in morning & see the place in afternoon.

    Dinner & show with the Adams at night.

    Three Wise Fools is very clever.

    "Roll among the buttercups"

    Write to Armand, & to Alliods.


    Austin Strong, “Three Wise Fools: A Comedy in Three Acts” (New York, London: Samuel French, 1919) (Internet Archive), p.14:

    DR. GAUNT. (Sipping his coffee) Exactly – we need to be galvanized into life – throw off our chains, climb out of our ruts and roll among the buttercups! (Drinks to the last drop.)

    FINDLEY. (Puts down coffee-pot on serving table – kindly) "Roll among the buttercups!" Don't you think it's time you went to bed, Dick?

  • Go out to Windsor. Look over the Castle, and also Eaton College. Am stopped by an ardent ass who wants to save my soul, but whose talk reminds me of a mediaeval prayer.

  • Work all day in British Museum. Am nearly finished. Meet Watts on coming out, and go with him to a Hindu Revolution -- or rather Protest meeting. Lloyd-George is hissed, and Winston Churchill is bood. "We have no confidence in the Indian Government. If you make us lose confidence in \the/ English government -- then the deluge." Reform & Home Rule or Revolution is burden of their song.

  • Get into uniform again and go down to work over duplicates[?] in the old Museu War Library at the Foreign Office.

    In evening go to see Bird of Paradise.


    “The Bird of Paradise” was a romantic drama by Richard Walton Tully, playing at the Lyric Theatre in the West End.

  • Work at duplicates all day. Still lots more work there.

    Girl in office types slips for me.

    I am picked up by wandering old man who strikes me for 3d. Same thing happened yesterday. Am I an easy mark?

    I decide to try to cut down expenses, and shall take my lunch hereafter.

  • Do not go back to office at noon, but work all day at Downing Street. Finish tying up propaganda etc., and begin on Wellington collection.

    Go home and make my own lunch over the gas jet.

    Go to sleep with my clothes on. Don't get up till 4:30 or 5. Have very poor shorthand lesson. Think Mrs Adams is disgusted.

  • Work on Wellington Collection, only to find out that labor is lost. Finish tying up everything. Girls bring me tea at 6:00 P.M. Check over books, and then borrow typewriter & catalogue them. Girls are very nice. One of them gives me her name.

    I work till 8:00 P.M. and finish. Get laundry at Browns.