Twenty years after first using the political papers of Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, seventh Marquess of Londonderry, Professor Neil Fleming has recently published his scholarly edition of Londonderry’s political papers — ‘Aristocracy, Democracy and Dictatorship’ — as the latest volume in the Society’s Camden Series. The seventh Marquess of Londonderry (1878–1949) corresponded with the leading political figures of his day, including Winston Churchill (his second cousin) and Neville Chamberlain. Londonderry’s controversial amateur diplomacy meant that his regular correspondents also included Hermann Göring and Joachim von Ribbentrop.
To coincide with publication of his new monograph – ‘The Poets Laureate of the Long Eighteenth Century, 1668-1813. Courting the Public’ – Dr Leo Shipp charts the rise and role of the laureateship from John Dryden to the appointment of Robert Southey. The laureateship was positioned at the interface of court and public, and evolved in line with changing concepts of court culture. Studying the laureateship reveals the court’s enduring prominence and adaptability as a site of cultural activity in late Stuart and Hanoverian Britain. Leo’s book is the 14th title in the Society’s ‘New Historical Perspectives’ series for early career historians.
Dr Louise Falcini and Dr Peter Collinge introduce their new essay collection ‘Providing for the Poor: The Old Poor Law, 1750-1834’, the research for which is supported by the AHRC-funded project ‘Small Bills and Petty Finance: co-creating the Old Poor Law’. Peter and Louise’s edited collection, published in late August 2022, is the 13th title in the Society’s New Historical Perspectives book series for early career historians.
In this latest post from the RHS ‘Writing Race’ series, Helen Mavin, Head of Photographs for the Imperial War Museums, discusses the challenges of creating national museum, gallery, and archive collections. In her role as Co-Investigator for the recent AHRC-funded ‘Provisional Semantics’ project, Helen analysed and reinterpreted captions for colonial Indian photographs from the Second World War. In doing so, the project sought to deconstruct racially divisive barriers created by these captions, while maintaining historical accuracy.
In this latest post for the ‘Writing Race’ series, Sarisha Kumar, Head of Talent at Poet in the City, describes recent projects that engage with the legacies Britain’s colonial past. Sarisha works with culture and heritage organisations across the UK to reveal the hidden stories of museum objects, as well as the lived experiences of British people, whose cultural identities have been shaped by colonialism.
The Society’s annual Prizes and Awards were announced on Friday 22 July. This post provides details of winners and runners-up for 2022, including the Society’s Gladstone and Whitfield Prizes for first monographs, as well as other awards for research, publishing and teaching. The awards also include the Society’s four Centenary and Marshall Fellows who’ll be completing their PhDs in 2022-23 at the Institute of Historical Research.
Dr Thomas Brodie considers afterlives, with reference to a post-war group of Jewish scholars – ‘Oneg Shabbat’ – and its archival work to memorialise the experiences of Holocaust victims. As Thomas argues, history serves a purpose beyond scholarship. For many it is a moral duty to document the lived experiences of the past and present: in order that its legacies are grounded in knowledge and truth.
10 July 2022 marks the centenary of the death of George W. Prothero, historian, editor and President of the Society between 1901 and 1905. A prominent member of the RHS in its formative years—and especially the early twentieth century move to professionalisation within the discipline—Prothero’s presence and influence endures, not least with the Society’s annual Prothero Lecture delivered each July.
In this third post of the ‘What is History for?’ series, Dr Lucie Ryzova explores how the Covid pandemic has shaped our understanding of crisis, how it relates to crises of the past, and how these events mark significant transitory moments in history. What does historical understanding reveal about the structure and development of crises such as revolution or pandemic? How original are our own ‘unprecedented times’?
What is History For? is a short series of articles in which historians explore the purpose and value of their research and craft. In this second post, Tionne Parris considers the example set by mid-20th-century Black radical women in their struggle for change. What might historical study of their approach to, and framing of, activism teach us about engaging with present-day challenges, of which the climate emergency looms largest? A version of Tionne’s article was first presented at the ‘What is History For?’ conference held at the University of Birmingham, in May 2022.
In their new article, now published in ‘Transactions of the Royal Historical Society’, Stuart McManus and Michael T. Tworek offer a new approach to early modern global history. What they dub ‘(dis)entangled history’ is a way to combine the conventional focus on the history of connections with a necessary appreciation of the elements of disconnection and disintegration. By tracing how discourses on cannibalism did and did not travel around the globe, they offer a theoretical statement and a concrete approach to writing about intermittent connectedness in the period 1500–1800.
Each year, the Society awards four Fellowships to students enabling them to complete a History PhD. The RHS Centenary and Marshall Fellows for 2022/23 will shortly be appointed. Here Dan Armstrong, one of current Centenary Fellows, reflects on his research in 2021/2. Dan’s study is of Anglo-Papal relations between the reigns of William the Conqueror and Henry I. In this post he considers how a single source — a letter sent to Archbishop Lanfranc from Pope Calixtus II — frames and informs his thesis.