Bernard Pares

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Sir Bernard Pares
Bernard Pares.jpg
Pares in Russia during World War 1.
Born(1867-03-01)1 March 1867
Died17 April 1949(1949-04-17) (aged 82)
New York City, US
OccupationHistorian, teacher, writer
Known forHis work on Russian history and literature

Sir Bernard Pares KBE (1 March 1867 – 17 April 1949) was an English historian and academic known for his work on Russia.

Early life and family[edit]

Pares was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge,[1] where he graduated in Classics taking a third. He worked over the next ten years as a school teacher spending his vacations touring the main battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars.

He married Margaret Ellis, daughter of Edward Austin Dixon, a dental surgeon in Colchester.[2] They had three sons. Peter (who became a diplomat), Andrew (who became a soldier) and Richard (a historian), and two daughters, Elizabeth, who was Head of the Foreign Research and Press Service, Baltic Section at Chatham House during WWII and Ursula (Susan), who married Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, the landscape architect, becoming an eminent plantswoman and photographer in her own right.[3]


Pares first visited Russia in 1898; at about the same time as he was appointed a university extension lecturer in Cambridge.[4] In 1906, he attended the first duma at the Taurida Palace in Saint Petersburg and took note on how little the British officers attending the duma could understand the political situation of Russia at the time.[5] Viewing the study of Russian as less of a scholarly pursuit than an urgent political necessity, he founded the first School of Russian Studies in Britain at the University of Liverpool in 1907.[5]

In 1908, Pares was promoted to Professor of Russian History, Language, and Literature at the University of Liverpool, which he held until 1917 when he became Professor of Russian at the university's School of Slavonic Studies.[5] In 1909, he organised the visit to Great Britain of a delegation of the Third Duma on which occasion he was presented with a silver punch bowl and salver with eighteen goblets.[6] Reputed to be the products of the Fabergé workshop, these are currently on display in the foyer of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies building at University College London.[6]

First World War[edit]

With the outbreak of the First World War, Pares was appointed official observer to the Russian army[4] and later seconded to the staff of the British Embassy in Petrograd.[citation needed] Pares set his hopes for Russia with the Provisional Government and, after the Bolshevik revolution, moved to Siberia to support Alexander Kolchak's army where he gave frequent lectures to the White troops. He was awarded a KBE for his services to British relations with Russia in 1919,[7] but until 1935 he was banned by the new communist government from re-entering Russia.

Later life[edit]

In 1919, Pares moved to the recently founded School of Slavonic and East European Studies, then a part of King's College London, University of London,[8] where he took up the post of Professor of Russian Language, Literature and History, editor of the Slavonic Review (later Slavonic and East European Review) and Director of the School. As Director, Pares successfully negotiated the School's re-establishment as an independent institute of the University and its move to the North Wing of the University's new Senate House in Bloomsbury. Pares continued to write and research on Russian history and literature, publishing most notably his History of Russia (1926 and subsequent editions). In 1939, Pares retired as Director, subsequently acting as an adviser to the wartime government on Russian affairs. He moved to New York in 1942 where, shortly after completing his autobiography, he died.


In 2008, the established chair of Russian history at the (now) UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies was renamed the Sir Bernard Pares Chair in Russian History. The established chair had, after Pares, been held by Hugh Seton-Watson and Geoffrey Hosking. The first holder of the reinaugurated and newly named chair is Professor Simon Dixon, formerly of the University of Leeds.


Published Works[edit]

  • Russia and Reform, Constable, London, 1907. from
  • Day by Day with the Russian Army, 1914–15, Constable London, 1915. from
  • The League of Nations and Other Questions of Peace, Hodder and Stoughton, 1919.
  • A History of Russia, Alfred Knopf, NY, 1926.
  • My Russian Memoirs, Jonathan Cape, 1931.
  • Moscow Admits a Critic, T. Nelson, London and NY, 1936.
  • The Fall of the Russian Monarchy, Jonathan Cape, London, Alfred Knopf, New York, 1939.
  • Russia and the Peace, Macmillan, NY, 1945. from
  • A Wandering Student, Syracuse University Press, 1948.


  1. ^ "Pares, Bernard (PRS885B)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Haslam, Jonathan (May 2005). "Pares, Sir Bernard (1867–1949)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 27 January 2013. (Subscription required (help)).
  3. ^ Moggridge, Hal (May 2005). "Ursula Jellicoe (1907–1986)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b Simkin, John (September 1997). "Bernard Pares". Spartacus Educational. Spartacus Educational Publishers. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Beasley, Rebecca; Bullock, Philip Ross (26 September 2013). Russia in Britain, 1880–1940: From Melodrama to Modernism. Oxford University Press. pp. 164, 166. ISBN 978-0-19-966086-5. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Unveiling of the Pares Silver". University College London. 11 May 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  7. ^ "No. 31114". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 January 1919. p. 448.
  8. ^ Karl Showler, "Galton, Dorothy Constance (1901–1992)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Online edition. Retrieved 19 January 2016. (subscription required)

Further reading[edit]

  • Pares, A Wandering Student, Syracuse, 1948
  • Seton-Watson R.W. Bernard Pares // The Slavonic and East European Review. 1949. Vol. 28, № 70. Р. 28–31.

External links[edit]