Richard Howard Stafford Crossman (1907-1974) was the son and a judge, was born in Oxfordshire, and was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford. He worked initially as a philosophy tutor at Oxford University before becoming a lecturer at the Workers' Educational Association. He was the leader of the Labour Party group on Oxford City Council from 1939-1940, and was assistant editor of the New Statesman in 1938, a position he held until 1955. He worked as a civil servant during the Second World War, specialising in German propaganda in the Special Operations Executive 1940-1941. He had become Assistant Chief of the Psychological Warfare Department by 1945.
He was elected to the House of Commons in 1945 for East Coventry, and served as a Labour Cabinet Minister in the period 1964-1970 under Harold Wilson, holding the following positions: member of Labour Party National Executive Committee 1952-1967; Chairman of Labour Party National Executive Committee 1960-1961; Minister of Housing and Local Government 1964-1966, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 1966-1968, Secretary of State for Social Services 1968-1970. Following the 1970 General Election where the Conservative Party returned to power, Crossman became editor of the New Statesman for two years. He then worked on the editing of his diaries, which recorded behind-the-scenes accounts of government. His Diaries were published between 1975 and 1977, the first diaries of a government minister to do so, and despite the best efforts of the Callaghan government and the Labour Attorney-General.
His publications include: Plato Today, 1937; How Britain is governed, 1939; Government and the governed: a history of political ideas and political practice, 1945; Palestine Mission: a personal record, 1946; Keep Left, 1947; The charm of politics and other essays in political criticism, 1958; A nation reborn: the Israel of Weizmann, Bevin and Ben-Gurion, 1960; The god that failed (ed.), 1965; The Crossman diaries: selections from The diaries of a Cabinet Minister, 1964-1970 (ed.), 1979.
From the guide to the Crossman Papers, Late 20th century (copies of 1946-1848 originals), (University of Exeter)