David Cannadine

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Sir David Cannadine
Sir David Cannadine.jpg
Born (1950-09-07) 7 September 1950 (age 65)
Birmingham, UK
Residence London and Connecticut
Nationality British
Fields History
Alma mater
Notable awards Knight Bachelor;

Sir David Cannadine FBA FRSL FSA FRHistS (born 7 September 1950) is a British author and historian, who specialises in modern history and the history of business and philanthropy. He is currently Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University,[1][2] a Visiting Professor of History at Oxford University, and the editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Cannadine is married to fellow historian Linda Colley.[3]

Education and early career[edit]

David Cannadine was born in Birmingham in 1950 and attended King Edward VI Five Ways School. He was educated at Clare College, Cambridge, where he took a double first in history, at St John's College, Oxford, where he completed his DPhil, and at Princeton University[4] where he was Jane Eliza Procter Visiting Fellow.  After completing his graduate work, he returned to Cambridge, where he was a research fellow at St John's College, and was then elected a Fellow of Christ's College and appointed to a university lectureship in history.

Subsequent career[edit]

Cannadine was appointed to the professorial chair of history at Columbia University in 1988, returning to Britain ten years later as director of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London and, subsequently, as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Professor of British History. In 2008 he joined the History Department of Princeton University and in 2014 he was appointed Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and also to a visiting professorship at the University of Oxford.

Cannadine has held many other visitorial appointments: at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (twice), at Birkbeck College, London, at the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale, at ANU Canberra, at the NHC North Carolina, at the Huntington Library and at New York University Stern School of Business.

Publications etc.[edit]

Cannadine's many books include The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy (1999); G.M. Trevelyan: A Life in History (1992); Class in Britain (1998); Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire (2001); Mellon: An American Life (2006); The Thirty Year Rule (jointly, 2009); The Right Kind of History (jointly, 2011); and The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond our Differences (2013). His most recent publications are George V: The Unexpected King (2014) and Heroic Chancellor: Winston Churchill and the University of Bristol (2015).

Cannadine is also widely known as a commentator on current events, in newspapers, on the radio and on television; he has been a long-standing contributor to A Point of View, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, as the successor to Alastair Cooke's Letter from America; and he has also written and presented a series of programmes on Churchill's Other Lives. He is the General Editor of the Penguin History of Britain and the Penguin History of Europe. He is currently completing the volume on the nineteenth century for the Penguin History of Britain and editing a book on the history of Westminster Abbey.

Cannadine has delivered many public lectures including the Raleigh Lecture at the British Academy (1997), the Carnochan Lecture at Stanford University (2001), the Linbury Lecture at the National Gallery (2002), the T.S.Eliot Lecture at Washington University, St Louis (2003), the George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures at the University of Cambridge (2007), the Inaugural Lecture for the Centre for British Studies at Humboldt University, Berlin (2010), the Crosby Kemper Lecture at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, the Jon Sigurosson Lecture at the University of Iceland (2012), the Haaga Lecture at the Huntington Library (2012), the Creighton Lecture at the University of Toronto (2013), the Robb Lectures at the University of Auckland, New Zealand (2015), and the Wolfson Anniversary Lecture at the University of Glasgow (2015).

Public work[edit]

Cannadine has served as a Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society (1998-2002) and as a member of the Advisory Council, Public Record Office, subsequently National Archives (1999-2004); as a Trustee and Vice-Chairman of the Kennedy Memorial Trust (1999-2010); as a Trustee, Vice-Chair and Chair of the National Portrait Gallery[5] (2000-12); as a Commissioner of English Heritage (2001-09) and as Chairman of its Blue Plaques Panel (2006-13); as a member of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (2004-14); and as Chair of Churchill 2015 (2013-15).

Cannadine is currently a member of the Bank of England Banknote Character Advisory Committee; he is a Trustee of the Rothschild Archive, the Gordon Brown Archive and Gladstone's Library; and of the Library of Birmingham Development Trust, the Royal Academy Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Wolfson Foundation.  he is also a Vice-President of the Victorian Society, Vice-Chairman of the Westminster Abbey Fabric Commission, and of the editorial board of Past and Present and President of the Friends of the Imperial War Museum. 

Honours and distinctions[edit]

Insignia of a Knight Bachelor

Cannadine has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (1981), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (1998), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (1999), a Fellow of the British Academy (1999), and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (2005).  he has been awarded the Lionel Trilling Prize (1991) and the Dean's Distinguished Award in the Humanities (1996) by Columbia University, the Dickinson Medal by the Newcomen Society (2003), the Minerva Medal of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, and the Norton Medlicott Medal of the Historical Association.

Cannadine holds honorary degrees from the University of the South Bank (2001), the University of East Anglia (2001), the University of Birmingham (2002), and the University of Worcester (2011). He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Historical Research (2005), the Historical Association (2011), Christ's College, Cambridge (2005), and Clare College, Cambridge (2012), and an Honorary Churchill Fellow of Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri (2012).

He was knighted for "services to scholarship" in 2009.[6]


  • Lords and Landlords: The Aristocracy and the Towns, 1774–1967 (1980)
  • Patricians, Power and Politics in Nineteenth-century Towns (1982) (editor)
  • The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy (1990)
  • The Pleasures of the Past (1989)
  • G.M. Trevelyan: A Life in History (1992)
  • Aspects of Aristocracy: Grandeur and Decline in Modern Britain (1994)
  • The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain (1998)
  • History in Our Time (1998)
  • Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire (2001)
  • In Churchill's Shadow: Confronting the Past in Modern Britain (2002)
  • What Is History Now? (2002) (editor)
  • Admiral Lord Nelson: Context and Legacy (2005) (editor)
  • Mellon: An American Life (2006)
  • Empire, the Sea and Global History: Britain's Maritime World 1763–1833 (2007) (editor)
  • The Undivided Past: History Beyond Our Differences (2013)
  • George V (Penguin Monarchs series) (2014)
  • Gunpowder Plots: A Celebration of 400 Years of Bonfire Night
  • National Portrait Gallery: A Brief History (2007)
  • Making History Now and Then: Discoveries, Controversies and Explorations (2008)
  • The Thirty Year Rule (jointly, 2009)
  • The Right Kind of History (jointly, 2011)
  • Heroic Chancellor: Winston Churchill and Bristol University (2015)


  1. ^ www.princeton.edu
  2. ^ "Professor Sir David Nicholas Cannadine" (PDF). Princeton University. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Even history holds no solace
  4. ^ Kelly Boyd, Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing (1999), p. 926.
  5. ^ www.number10.gov.uk
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58929. p. 1. 31 December 2008.

External links[edit]