James Wycliffe Headlam-Morley

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Sir James Wycliffe Headlam CBE (1863-1929) was a British academic historian and classicist, who became a civil servant and government advisor. He changed his surname to Headlam-Morley, in 1918. He was knighted in 1929 for his public service.

An influential figure, he worked on propaganda in World War I, and, when the war was over, he was involved in the drafting of the Versailles Treaty. He effectively sponsored Arnold J. Toynbee for appointment in 1924 to Chatham House. He also gathered materials on the diplomatic history of the origins of World War I, as an official production of the British government, and contributed to it, though the main editor was Harold Temperley. Historian Anna Cienciala attributes to Headlam and Sidney Edward Mezes, an academic and advisor to Woodrow Wilson and Executive Director of the Inquiry group, the 1919 proposal to make Danzig a free city.[1]

He wrote numerous historical articles for the Encyclopædia Britannica editions of 1902 in 1911, signing them "J.W.He." Many of his articles have been copied verbatim into Wikipedia, such as Lajos Kossuth.


He was the second son of a Northumbrian clergyman[2] and the younger brother of Arthur Cayley Headlam (1862-1947), the bishop and author.[3]

In 1893 he married Elisabeth Charlotta Henrietta Ernestina Sonntag (1866-1950), a German musician and composer, usually known as Else Headlam-Morley.[4] The historian Agnes Headlam-Morley (1902-1986) was their daughter.

Education and Career[edit]

He was educated at Eton, King's College, Cambridge, and in Germany where he studied with Treitschke and Hans Delbrück. From 1894-1900 he was Professor of Greek and Ancient History at Queen's College, London.[5]


  • On Election by Lot at Athens (1891)
  • Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire (1899) (available online)
  • A Short History of Germany and Her Colonies (1914) with Walter Alison Phillips, Arthur William Holland
  • The history of twelve days, July 24 to August 4, 1914 (1915)
  • The Dead Lands of Europe (1917)
  • The German Chancellor and the Outbreak of War (1917)
  • The Issue (1917)
  • The Peace Terms of the Allies (1917)
  • The Starvation of Germany (1917)
  • British Documents on the Origins of the War 1898-1914 Volume XI The Outbreak of War Foreign Documents June 28 - August 4, 1914 (1926) editor
  • Studies in Diplomatic History (1930)
  • A Memoir of the Paris Peace Conference 1919 (1972) edited by Agnes Headlam-Morley, Russell Bryant and Anna Cienciala


External links[edit]