Royal Historical Society
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The Royal Historical Society (RHS), founded in 1868, is a United Kingdom society existing to promote and defend the scholarly study of the past. The Society is based at University College London. One strand of the Society's roots can be traced back to the 1838 foundation of the Camden Society, which merged with the Royal Historical Society in 1896.
Purpose and activities
The Society has a varied programme of lectures and one-day and two-day conferences covering a wide range of historical issues. Some of its meetings are held in London; others at university venues throughout Great Britain. They provide excellent opportunities for formal and informal discussion among historians.
Its current membership comprises proposed and elected Honorary Vice-Presidents, Fellows (titled FRHistS or formerly F.R.Hist.Soc.), Corresponding Fellows, Members and Associates. The Society has, appropriately, changed with the times. It began, and for many years continued, as a kind of gentlemen's club. It now exists to promote historical research nationally, and to represent the profession broadly conceived as including those engaged professionally in researching and presenting public history, whether in archives, libraries, museums, or the heritage industry.
The Society is as committed to international as to British history, and it draws strength from, and speaks for, the new universities just as much as the old. The Society's recent rapid growth has resulted directly from this sense of an expanded remit.
The promotion of research proceeds through all the Society's lectures and conferences, and also very directly through small grants to postgraduate researchers and through the Society's various publications, whether in book form, as with the Monographic series Studies in History, the Society's own annual Transactions, and the Camden Series of editions and translations of texts, or digitally, as in the Society-sponsored Bibliography of British and Irish History.
The Society's representative role, performed in consultation with the Historical Association and with the History at Universities Defence Group, is distinctive in focusing on historical research, and on the research aspects of the work of those professionally engaged in History. Public recognition of this role has become increasingly apparent in recent years with an ever-growing flow of requests to respond to proposed initiatives from Government and from national institutions such as the British Library and the National Archives. There is a close correspondence, therefore, between what the Society exists to do and what it does. Recent reorganisation of the Society's committees is intended to permit a larger proactive element in its representative role, with more capacity to generate and propose policy initiatives in addition to, as hitherto, reacting to proposals from elsewhere.
- 2012–present Peter Mandler
- 2009–2012 Colin D. H. Jones
- 2005-2008 Martin Daunton
- 2001-2005 Dame Janet Nelson
- 1997-2001 Peter Marshall
- 1993-1997 Sir Rees Davies
- 1989-1993 Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson
- 1985-1989 Gerald Edward Aylmer
- 1981-1985 Sir James Clarke Holt
- 1977-1981 Sir John Habakkuk
- 1973-1977 Sir Geoffrey Elton
- 1969-1973 Sir Richard William Southern
- 1965-1969 Robin A. Humphreys
- 1961-1965 Sir Goronwy Edwards
- 1957-1961 The Reverend David Knowles
- 1953-1957 Hugh Hale Bellot
- 1949-1953 Theodore Frank Thomas Plucknett
- 1946-1949 Robert William Seton-Watson
- 1937-1945 Frank Merry Stenton
- 1933-1937 Frederick Maurice Powicke
- 1929-1933 Sir Richard Lodge
- 1925-1929 Thomas Frederick Tout
- 1921-1925 The Honourable Dr. John William Fortescue
- 1917-1921 Sir Charles Oman
- 1913-1917 Dr Charles Harding Firth
- 1909-1913 The Reverend Dr. William Cunningham
- 1905-1909 The Reverend Dr. William Hunt
- 1901-1905 Dr George Walter Prothero
- 1899-1901 Sir Adolphus William Ward
- 1891-1899 Sir Mountstuart E.Grant Duff
- 1878-1891 Henry Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare
- 1873-1878 John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, K.G.
- 1871 Dr. George Grote
- Taylor Milne, Alexander (1968). A Centenary Guide to the Publications of the Royal Historical Society 1868–1968, and of the former Camden Society 1838–1897. Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 9. London: Royal Historical Society.