Robert Latham (editor)

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Robert Clifford Latham, (b Audley, Staffordshire, England, (11 March 1912 - 4 January 1995), aged 82, Cambridge) CBE (1973), MA, FBA[1] (1982) was Fellow and Pepys Librarian of Magdalene College, Cambridge and joint author of The Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1970-83.

Personal life[edit]

He married Eileen Ramsay in 1939 (died 1969) with whom he had a son and daughter. In 1973 he married Rosalind (‘Linnet’) Birley, who died in 1990 (suicide). His son is Rt Hon Sir David Latham QC, who was Chairman of the Parole Board.[2]

He was educated at Wolstanton Grammar School, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire (now Wolstanton High School) and Queens' College, Cambridge where he received a double First Class Honours Degree in history.

Academic career[edit]

In 1935 he was appointed an Assistant Lecturer at King's College London, and a Lecturer in 1939. He was Reader in History (1947-1972) and Dean of Men[3] (1965-1968)[4] at Royal Holloway College, University of London, during the introduction of male undergraduates. From 1968-69 he was Professor of History at the University of Toronto.

From 1970-72 he was Research Fellow, 1972-84 Fellow and 1984-94 Hon Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, where, as Pepys Librarian 1972-82, he had charge of the remarkable collection of books, prints and manuscripts which Pepys left to his old College. He devoted the greater part of his life to the study of the Diary. Linnet, his second wife, worked with him during the compilation of the Index and Companion volumes of the definitive edition of The Diary of Samuel Pepys.

His work, in collaboration with Professor Willam Matthews of UCLA, The Diary of Samuel Pepys - A New and Complete Transcription, published by 1970–83, was begun in 1950.[5] Robert Latham stated: This was the first edition in which the entire text was printed and a comprehensive commentary published.[6] This included the erotic passages omitted in the edition of 1893-9 by H B Wheatley which: could hardly have been published in Victorian England without causing offence.

The Diary[5] was described in a Times review by Bernard Levin as:[7]

"[...] the absolutely complete and unimprovably definitive edition [...] so exceptional that it can be said to have set new standards of scholarship".

The index to the Diary series completed with his wife, Linnet, is a full volume itself, made up of about 900 pages.


  1. ^ "British Academy listing". Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  2. ^ Higher - Magazine of Royal Holloway College - Issue 13, autumn 2010
  3. ^ Bingham, Caroline (1987). The history of the Royal Holloway College 1886-1986. London: Constable. ISBN 0-09-468200-3. 
  4. ^ Miss H A C Green MA (December 1966). College Letter. Englefield Green, Surrey: Royal Holloway College. p. 5. 
  5. ^ a b Pepys, Samuel; Latham, Robert; Matthews, William. The diary of Samuel Pepys. Berkeley, University of California Press 1970-1983. ISBN 0-7135-1551-1. 
  6. ^ Latham, Robert (1978). The Illustrated Pepys. London: Bell & Hyman. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0-7135-1750-6. 
  7. ^ "The Indexer - reference to The Times of 1 June 1976" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-01-12. 

External links[edit]