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James Russell Raven LittD FSA (born 1959) is a British historian.
Born in Colchester, James Raven attended The Gilberd School in the town. He read History at Clare College, Cambridge, where he also completed his doctorate on attitudes to wealth creation. He has been a visiting fellow at several American universities and institutions including Rutgers University, The American Antiquarian Society and The Newberry Library, Chicago. He was a Fellow, successively of Pembroke College and Magdalene College Cambridge, and from 1996 a Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford and Reader in Social and Cultural History at Oxford from 2000. In 2004 he was appointed Professor of Modern History at the University of Essex, returning to his home town. He is also Senior Research Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and Director of the Centre for Bibliographical History and a member of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex
In 1985 he became a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge and, in 1989, also Munby Fellow in Bibliography in the University. In 1990, he moved to Magdalene College, Cambridge to be a Fellow and Director of Studies in History. In 1996 he was appointed University Lecturer in the Modern History faculty at the University of Oxford and a Fellow and Tutor of Mansfield College, Oxford. In 2000, he was appointed Reader in Social and Cultural History at Oxford. In 2004, he returned to his home town of Colchester when appointed Professor of Modern History at the University of Essex. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2000 and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2007. He was also a British Academy Research Reader, 2005-7.
Raven has directed several major national and international research projects, including two projects sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust, 1991-2 in eighteenth-century European social history, and 1995-8, an international historical survey of publication and its reception in Great Britain 1770-1830. A further institutional award from the AHRB/British Academy 1996-2004, funded the centre at the University of Oxford researching aspects of the literary, commercial, and political topography of London circa 1690-1800 (‘Mapping the Print Culture of Eighteenth-Century London').
In 1976 Raven joined the English-Speaking Union and has been President of the Colchester Branch of the ESU since 1990 and serves as a national Governor (2000-6 and 2012-). He is a Trustee of Marks Hall, Essex, and the Friends of St Andrews' Fingringhoe. He is a member of the Pilgrims and the Mid-Atlantic Club.
He is the author of The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade 1450-1850 and Judging New Wealth: Popular Publishing and Responses to Commerce in England, 1750-1800. He is also Director of the Cambridge Project for the Book Trust (founded 1990) and a well-known writer and broadcaster on cultural and social history.
Selected Published works
- Judging New Wealth: Popular Publishing and Responses to Commerce in England, 1750-1800 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992)
- The Practice and Representation of Reading in England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), with Helen Small and Naomi Tadmor (eds.)
- (ed.) Free Print and Non-Commercial Publishing (London and Vermont: Ashgate Press, 2000)
- The English Novel 1770-1829 2 vols.(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), with Peter Garside and Rainer Schöwerling)
- London Booksellers and American Customers: Transatlantic Literary Community and the Charleston Library Society, 1748-1811 (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2002)
- (ed.)Lost Libraries: The Destruction of Book Collections Since Antiquity (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
- The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade 1450-1850 (London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007). –awarded the De Long prize for 2008
- "University of Essex Staff Profile: James Raven". Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
-  ESU News: Professor James Raven's Business of Books
- "Thomas Phillip Price Trust-Trustees". Archived from the original on 13 October 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- "Mid Atlantic Club". Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- "Cambridge Project for the Book Trust". Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- 11/07/2004 James Raven - The Lost Libraries
- "The Practice and Representation of Reading in England". Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- "Free Print and Non-Commercial Publishing". Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- "The English Novel 1770-1829". Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- "London Booksellers and American Customers: Transatlantic Literary Community and the Charleston Library Society, 1748-1811". Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- "Lost Libraries: The Destruction of Book Collections Since Antiquity". Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- "The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade 1450-1850". Retrieved 19 July 2010.