The Webbs were a unique partnership. Their idea of 'the inevitability of gradualness' dominated the Fabian Society and Labour thinking for half a century, though their theory of political permeation also led them into close association with Liberal and Conservative politicians. They were scholars as well as propagandists, writing massive histories of trade unionism and local government, and the famous Minority Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law which paved the way for the welfare state. They were the founders of the London School of Economics and of the New Statesman. This crowded public life is reflected in the hundreds of letters they exchanged in their long lifetimes, as well as in their correspondence with many of the outstanding personalities of their day, including Herbert Asquith, Joseph Chamberlain, William Beveridge, E. M. Forster, R. B. Haldane, J. M. Keynes, Ramsay MacDonald, Alfred Marshall, Sydney Olivier, G. B. Shaw, Charlotte Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Herbert Samuel, Herbert Spencer, Graham Wallas, H. G. Wells and Leonard Woolf. Their letters also reveal the hidden but intense emotional character of their relationship.