UK Historians’ Manuscripts Survey

We are pleased to be able to announce a new resource available on our History Online service: a listing of UK historians and the location of their working papers, where known.

Thomas Carlyle by Whistler

Tomas Carlyle, by James McNeill Whistler

This listing is a work in progress. At present we have just over 300 historians and we have been able to find the location of their papers for over 200; we have concentrated for the moment on historians who have recently died and also on those who we believe to have been fellows of the Royal Historical Society. We will continue adding historians and updating the list in the future. There is a webform for users to suggest locations of working papers and we would welcome any new information.

The historians’ names are based on the full form given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, but have been integrated into the site-wide search on History Online. So clicking on the name Taylor, Alan John Percivale searches for the more familiar form: AJP Taylor; this brings results from across the site, showing theses Taylor supervised as well as books he wrote or edited.

We’d like to give special thanks to Paul McMenemy, a CDA student from the University of Leicester, for the considerable amount of painstaking work he did gathering the data for this project.

History & Biography in France

by Antoine Capet (Université de Rouen)

The relationship or relationships between History and Biography in France are extremely complex. Each has its own ‘history’ as a discipline, gradually emerging from Belles Lettres and slowly and painfully finding its independence from them. And whereas History has established its autonomy and legitimacy as an intellectual pursuit, Biography continues to live in an unspecified ‘No Man’s Land’ at the confines of literary fiction, gossip, journalism and academic History.

It is not easy to identify the first work of Biography published in France. Many people would agree that the first to have been preoccupied with historical truth was Histoire de Charles XII (of Sweden) by Voltaire (1731). Le Siècle de Louis XIV (1752), though not a Biography proper, has so many biographical vignettes, with of course long disquisitions on the Sun King, that it may be included in the early manifestations of the genre without extending the definition too much. Interestingly, Voltaire himself benefited from a Biography written by another famous Enlightenment philosopher, the marquis de Condorcet, in 1789.

The great post-1815 successor was Jules Michelet (1798-1874). The French title of his great work of 1835, which went into many subsequent editions and translations, does not seem to indicate that it is a biography of Luther – only the subtitle suggests a text of a biographical nature: Mémoires de Luther écrits par lui-même. Traduits et mis en ordre par J. Michelet. Précédés d’un essai sur l’histoire de la religion et suivis des biographies de Wicleff, Jean Huss, Érasme, Mélanchton, Hutten et autres prédécesseurs et contemporains de Luther. The main point of interest for us, however, is that the English translation has no hesitation upon the nature of the book: The Life of Luther. Written by himself; collected and arranged by M. Michelet, translated by William Hazlitt (1846).

Setting the trend for a series of innumerable biographies – ‘serious’ or ‘popular’ – of her, Michelet offered a Jeanne d’Arc (1412-1432) in the recent ‘library’ launched by the great publisher Louis Hachette for railway travellers, the Bibliothèque des chemins de fer. This was published in 1853, and curiously, considering the popularity of the Maid of Orleans in Britain, no English translation appeared until 1957 – and this by the University of Michigan Press.

In the 19th century, the other great name in the field is undoubtedly Hippolyte Taine (1828-1893), best known in France for his Les origines de la France contemporaine (5 vol. 1875-1893) and in Britain for his History of English Literature (1864) and his Notes sur l’Angleterre (1870) / Notes on England (1872). He wrote however four major works of a biographical nature: La Fontaine et ses fables (first published 1853 as Essai sur les fables de la Fontaine), Essai sur Tite Live (1856),  Le positivisme anglais : Étude sur Stuart Mill (1864) / English Positivism : A Study on John Stuart Mill (1870) and L’ idéalisme anglais : Étude sur Carlyle (1864), apparently never translated. It seems ironical that his study of the man who did a lot to propagate the notion of individual heroes in history was not translated, and therefore not published, in Carlyle’s own country.

Taine’s close contemporary was Ernest Renan (1823-1892), an advocate of ‘scientific atheism’ (as he called it) whose Vie de Jésus (1863)[1] / The Life of Jesus (1863) could not go unnoticed at a time when L’histoire sainte, as the phrase went, was felt to be out of bounds for lay historians. Renan had just contributed the ‘Calvin’ entry in J.R. Beard’s The Progress of Religious Thought (1861). In his youth he had written on a little-known Arab philosopher of the 12th century: Averroès et l’Averroïsme : Essai historique (1852) and it is only posthumously, far later, in 1926, that his essays, Sur Corneille, Racine et Bossuet, were published. By then, of course, the biographies of ‘great men’, ‘great thinkers’ or ‘great authors’ were being accepted in the canon of serious writing.

In fact, it seems that all these early ‘serious’ biographies had a militant dimension – the ‘agenda’ behind them, as we would now say, being that by describing the lives of these great men you disseminated their important thought, which was long forgotten or had been distorted by their opponents. ‘Setting the record straight’, to use another modern phrase, was of course intended to do justice to the people themselves – but perhaps above all to their ideas.

‘Militant’ Biography took a new turn with Ernest Lavisse (1842-1922), one of the great late 19th-c. French historians who believed that they should orientate their teaching towards preparing their disciples for ‘la revanche’. He also produced biographies of high historical quality, but curiously on the imperial elites of new ‘hereditary enemy’: Trois empereurs d’Allemagne : Guillaume Ier, Fréderic III, Guillaume II (1888) and their ancestor, Frederick II (Frederick the Great), King of Prussia (1740-1786): La Jeunesse du Grand Frédéric (1891) and Le Grand Frédéric avant l’avènement (1893). He also published a monumental multi-volume Histoire de France depuis les origines jusqu’à la Révolution (1900-1911), and interestingly, with the current revival of interest in the serious discussion of great historical figures, the well-known old-established French publishing house, Librairie Jules Tallandier, which specialises in history books for the educated public outside the academic profession, felt in 1978 that there would be a market for Louis XIV, extracted from Lavisse’s copious tomes, as part of its Monumenta historiae series.

A curiosity in the field of 19th-c. Biography is the Histoire de Jules César (2 vol., 1865-1866) whose title-page bears ‘par Napoléon III’ – but it seems that it was largely ghost-written by a specialist of ancient history, a great figure of the academic world of the time, Victor Duruy (1811-1894), who had himself written a semi-biographical monograph on Tiberius, De Tiberio imperatore : État du monde romain, vers le temps de la fondation de l’empire (1853). Now, Duruy, together with Taine and Renan, encouraged another prominent historian, Gabriel Monod (1844-1912), who was a close friend of Lavisse’s, to found the Revue historique in 1876. As its current Editors, Claude Gauvard and Jean-François Sirinelli, put it in their editorial commemorating the centenary of his death,

Today’s historians approach Gabriel Monod and his influence with the weapons which he recommended: a search for the sources, a proving of evidence, conclusions impregnated with a truth which the scholar knows to be relative and accepts it to be so. This quest leads to a reconstruction of reality which is not as dry in the bone as is commonly heard and written, and does not either encourage a deconstruction of History paralysing its presentation as a narrative[2].

This reference to the ‘narrative’ (or ‘récit’ in the French original) is of the highest importance, not only for History, but also for Biography. In Italian, there is only one word, storia, for ‘story’ (narrative) and ‘history’ (the succession of events and the discipline). Gauvard and Sirinelli suggest that the scholar must not write only ‘a good story’, with little respect for the facts. But at the same time History texts must be a good read, ‘a good story’. Of course Biography must also reconcile the two exigencies.

Arguably, in France, Biography as a form of History suffered a long eclipse after the great learned precursors of the 19th c. The next generation, with great names like Charles Seignobos (1854-1942) or Charles-Victor Langlois (1863-1929) were increasingly to distance themselves from the genre. With the foundation in 1929 of the journal, Annales d’histoire économique et sociale, and the ‘school’ that soon gravitated around it, by Lucien Febvre (1878-1956) et Marc Bloch (1886-1944), the distance became a veritable rejection. It was clear that if History was governed by longue durée phenomena, no transient human life could durably make a mark upon it. Paradoxically, Febvre’s doctoral thesis of 1911 was entitled ‘Philippe II et la Franche-Comté’[3] – but then the subtitle left no doubt that is was not one more study of the great King of Spain: ‘La crise de 1567, ses origines et ses conséquences : Étude d’histoire politique, religieuse et sociale’. The last word said it all: it was acceptable to speak of individual ‘heroes’ à la Carlyle – but only within a framework which made room for ‘histoire sociale’. Speaking derogatively of the ‘école positiviste’ or ‘école méthodique’ to describe the approach advocated by Gabriel Monod, his Revue historique and its followers, Febvre wanted to give precedence to explanation over description.

But then the temptation to ‘best’ his ancestor Michelet – who is often considered as having introduced methodical history-writing based on primary sources in France – must have been too strong, and he offered another biography of Luther (naturally somewhat of a bugbear for the French Roman Catholic Right which dominated most official institutions in the inter-war years): Un destin : Martin Luther (1928)[4]. ‘Militant’ Biography had not disappeared among academic historians with ‘scientific’ ambitions…

In a remarkable article on the evolution of the genre since then[5], Guillaume Piketty of Sciences Po makes the point that it suffered an eclipse between 1930 and the mid-1970s. He quotes the damning judgement of Pierre Goubert (1915-2012), one of the staunchest keepers of the Annales flame, in the opening remarks of his celebrated Louis XIV et vingt millions de Français[6] – which of course he did not want to be mistaken for another biography of the Sun King – referring to Biography as a ‘trade’, linked to ‘anecdotal history’, which made the prosperity of ‘some publishers and television companies’[7]. In this indictment, the coup de grâce is not so much of course the assimilation of Biography to the quest for the ‘quick buck’ as the allusion to the general moronisation of society which great French intellectuals like him saw lurking behind the popularity of television among the amorphous masses of uneducated people.

Yet, evidently, Biographies of great men were published at the time – and not all of them written by despicable people. Pierre Goubert might have been thinking of Jean Tulard (b. 1933), the specialist of Napoleon, who was a ‘historical advisor’ for French television at the time. Tulard has impeccable academic credentials, with a Chair at the Sorbonne – but one may fairly accuse him of running a Bonaparte industry, starting in 1964 with L’Anti-Napoléon : La légende noire de l’Empereur,  with a sideline on Talleyrand and Fouché.

Another remarkable case is that of the belle-lettrist Max Gallo (b. 1932), a former Lecturer in History at the University of Nice, a former Junior Minister under Mitterrand and a popular ‘television personality’. His output is also considerable, often with several books, including novels, or rather ‘factional’ sagas, published every year – but on widely different topics, although most have to do with 20th c. History. The list of his Biography work is impressive. To quote only a selection in recent years: Napoleon in 4 volumes (1997); de Gaulle, also in 4 volumes (1998); Rosa Luxemburg (2000); Victor Hugo in 2 volumes (2001); Roman Emperors in 6 volumes (2003-2006); Louis XIV in 2 volumes (2007) and Voltaire (2008). All his most recent biographies are published by Librairie Arthème Fayard, another long-established publishing house specialising in heavy tomes of History, including Biography. Now, Fayard was the publisher of Goubert’s Louis XIV et vingt millions de Français at one extreme[8] and Gallo’s ‘popular’ biographies at the other – so it is very difficult to draw conclusions from the publishing house as to the market aimed at, ‘popular’, or ‘academic’. Ideally, of course, biographers – and historians – aim at both. For the ‘Gallo phenomenon’, the analogy in Britain would be Sir Martin Gilbert and his prodigious output on Churchill in various forms. There might of course be an element of jealousy among less commercially-successful colleagues.

What academic historians like Pierre Goubert particularly resent, however, is the intrusion of ‘outsiders’ – not necessarily low-class pulp writers who specialise in what the French call ‘la petite histoire’, or ‘les dessous de l’histoire[9]’, often with spurious ‘State secrets’ and ‘secret love affairs’: in other words with objectives of titillation rather than edification of the reading public. The unwelcome competition in Biography can also come from academics who are not historians: people who do not have the right credentials[10] and therefore are prima facie suspect of not knowing, let alone respecting, ‘la méthode historique’.

Here, the most remarkable case is that of de Gaulle. There is a minor cottage industry in books of reminiscences on the leader of the Free French and later President of the Republic by those who served under him, many of an anecdotal nature, as Goubert would have put it, and many others with a hagiographic aspect by the Gaullist keepers of the Resistance and Fifth Republic flame, the general theme being ‘de Gaulle as I knew him’. Among these hundreds of ‘biographies’, it can be argued that only three emerge from the mass, two from distinguished political journalists, and the third from the ubiquitous Max Gallo, as we saw.

Chronologically, the first of the three to appear was Jean Lacouture’s De Gaulle. His first offering came in a single volume in 1969 for Éditions du Seuil[11], a middlebrow publisher. But there appeared a greatly expanded edition in three volumes fifteen years later: (1) Le rebelle : 1890-1944; (2) Le politique : 1944-1959; (3) Le souverain : 1959-1970[12]. This impeccably archive-based magnum opus was widely acclaimed, even by historians who could have started a ‘demarcation dispute’ – and Lacouture (b. 1921) is regularly invited to speak in academic conferences: in fact he appears as the father figure of de Gaulle studies outside Gaullist / Resistance circles, and perhaps the undisputed authority on the subject. Lacouture is also a prolific author, and besides his de Gaulle trilogy and other non-fiction books, he also wrote biographies of Nasser (1971), André Malraux (1973), Léon Blum (1977), François Mauriac (1980), Pierre Mendès-France (1981), John F. Kennedy (2000), with a title à la Goubert in between: François Mitterrand : Une histoire de français (2 vol., 1998).

Considering the high standards achieved by Lacouture, it is not quite clear why another respected journalist and commentator, Paul-Marie de la Gorce (1928-2004) felt that another biography of over 1,500 pages was needed[13]. The obvious answer could be that Lacouture was associated with the centre Left and de la Gorce was associated with the Gaullist ‘progressives’ of the Left, ‘les gaullistes de gauche’. But then both biographies strive to be fair – they do not try to demonstrate that de Gaulle was always right and his opponents always wrong, or vice-versa. Indeed, the de la Gorce version seems to have had good sales since it recently benefited from a posthumous paperback reissue.

And this in spite of the competition from the best-selling Max Gallo, whose four volumes were also soon reissued as cheap paperbacks, in 2000, and are still available: (1) L’appel du destin; (2) La solitude du combattant; (3) Le premier des Français and (4) La statue du commandeur[14]. Gallo sales are easily explained: he catches academic historians like Sirinelli at their own words, in that he mixes impeccable research (‘history’) with an attractive style of writing which makes for a good ‘story’.

In fact, the colleagues in the Annales tradition finally decided to abandon their own prohibitions and they entered the fray, the most unexpected example being that of Marc Ferro (b. 1924), whom Fernand Braudel designated as his successor at the head of the Annales in 1970. Ferro created a stir in the world of academic historians when he published his Pétain in 1987. Not that he was deemed incompetent, as he was a prominent French historian of the troubled 20th century – but because this lapse into a minor genre seemed to be in flagrant breach of the Annales philosophy. Once again, popular success followed, however, and Fayard (again) published a long series of paperback reissues, the latest appearing in 2012. The same held good for his Nicolas II of 1990[15]: it is still available in paperback, with a reissue ‘with new material’ in 2011. The claims made in it about the tsar’s descendants smack very much of the ‘petite histoire’ or ‘dessous de l’histoire’ denounced by Goubert – but no matter[16].

Ferro was not the first of the Annales historians to compromise with ‘the world of trade’, however: he was preceded by the medievalist Georges Duby (1919-1996) and his biography of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke (c.1145-1219), Guillaume le Maréchal, ou, le meilleur chevalier du monde, published by Fayard (again) in 1984, appropriately in its series entitled ‘Les inconnus de l’histoire’[17]. After Ferro and Duby, the gates were open for the rediscovery of Biography as a legitimate tool of the historian. After all, in the Preface to his Luther, Febvre had justified his excursion into the genre by the two-way approach between the individual and society which it made possible, ‘this problem of the relations between the individual and the community, of personal initiative and social necessity which is, perhaps, the capital problem of History’[18]. Jacques Legoff (b. 1924) followed suit with Saint Louis in 1996 and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (b. 1929) in 1997 with Saint-Simon, ou, Le système de la cour. Outside of the Annales team, but still a friend of Febvre and Braudel, Pierre Chaunu (1923-2009) had written Christophe Colomb ou La logique de l’imprévisible in 1993. Even the next generation finally yielded to temptation. One can think of Michel Winock (b. 1937), the founder in 1978 of the respected magazine L’Histoire, a specialist of 20th c. French History, who wrote a Clemenceau, which indeed was in his field of predilection, in 2007, but also a Madame de Staël in 2010, which was not.

It became therefore increasingly difficult for the guardians of the academic temple to refute the value of Biography, and to deny ‘lay’ people using the same sources and methods the right to share the lucrative cake. Two ‘amateurs’ of Russian origin – both later elected to the French Academy – offered good-quality and highly readable biographies of their former compatriots. Hélène Carrère d’Encausse (b. 1929), well known in France for her books which predicted the ‘explosion of the Soviet Empire’, as she put it, from the late 1970s, thus wrote Staline : L’ordre par la terreur (1979), Nicolas II : La transition interrompue (1996), Lénine (1998), Catherine II : Un âge d’or pour la Russie (2002) and Alexandre II : Le printemps de la Russie (2005).

The other was Henri Troyat (1911-2007). His list of publications is absolutely prodigious, and even his list of biographies is much too long to allow reproduction here. Suffice it to say that he alternated between lives of famous French people, notably writers (e.g. Flaubert (1988); Maupassant (1989); Zola (1992); Verlaine (1993); Baudelaire (1994); Balzac (1995)) and Russian royalty (e.g. Catherine la Grande (1977); Pierre le Grand (1979) ; Alexandre Ier(1981); Ivan le Terrible (1982); Alexandre II (1990); Nicolas II (1991)[19];  Alexandre III (2004); Boris Godounov (2008)). His biographies were extremely popular and sold very well, but he was the object of suspicion on the part of his competitors, who could not understand how he could research his books so fast. Still, a nasty affair of plagiarism over his biography of Victor Hugo’s mistress in 1997, which resulted in a law suit, did not impair his popularity or his output.

Finally, as in Britain, there is a tendency for politicians to take advantage of their (provisional) fame to publish lives of the predecessors whom they admire for their ideas or their political struggle. The first instance that springs to mind is that of Condorcet (1743-1794) : Un intellectuel en politique, written by Élisabeth Badinter (b. 1944) and Robert Badinter (b. 1928), two typical representatives of the ‘liberal Left’ in the American sense – he was the Minister of Justice who abolished capital punishment in Mitterand’s first mandate. One could also mention the former Prime Minister (1993-1995), Édouard Balladur (b. 1929), who published Jeanne d’Arc et la France : Le mythe du sauveur in 2003, or the former Europhobe Gaullist minister Philippe Séguin (1943-2010) and his Louis Napoléon le Grand (1990). In all these cases, there is however a suspicion that the authors have an axe to grind, settling contemporary accounts through their chosen dead heroes. Still, there is obviously a public for these biographies, probably bought more for the name of the author than that of the subject. Apart perhaps from the Badinters’ Condorcet, possibly because of their impeccable ‘liberal Left’ credentials, academic historians would not touch these ‘amateurish’ biographies with a barge pole – and they ignore them in their own books (at least in their lists of ‘Recommended Reading’ or ‘For Further Reading’ at the end).

In parallel with the biographies of great figures of the past, there also developed a tendency to publish ‘instant history’, even before the protagonist was dead. The movement was particularly visible over Mitterrand, who died in 1996. It would be too long here to list all the books of a biographical nature which appeared on him before 1996, but perhaps one can quote the title of the third volume of the trilogy written by a fashionable journalist who used to claim support for the Left, Franz-Olivier Giesbert, François Mitterrand, ou la tentation de l’histoire. That ‘final’ volume, published in 1993 (two years before the end of Mitterrand’s second Presidency and three years before his death) was called La fin d’une époque. He also wrote a controversial portrait of Chirac, full of  ‘revelations’, in 2006, again before the end of his Presidency in 2007: La tragédie du président.

The murky world of ‘revelations’ has long been associated with Biography – hence the diffidence of those who insist that they are only interested in writing History. The suggestions of voyeurism, prurience and titillation are never far behind this notion of ‘revelations’ – and yet when one writes a ‘new’ Life of someone, the presumption is that it will contain material not present in earlier biographies. An extreme case of titillation is provided by the ‘blurb’ of a fairly recent (2006) biography published by a reputable house, formerly known as Librairie académique Perrin, Le goût du roi : Louis XV et Marie-Louise O’Murphy, by Camille Pascal:

‘Of Marie-Louise O’Murphy, history remembers neither her name nor her face – only her arse. An arse to which Casanova, Boucher [the painter] and Louis XV, three fine connoisseurs, each paid tribute in turn in his own way, marvelling at it’ – It is with these deliberately provocative words that Camille Pascal, breaking with the usual tone of historical biography, presents his heroine[20].

The borderline between ‘new material’ and ‘revelations’ is all too often tenuous, which justifies the attitude of those who continue to abstain from writing Biography. But the lines seem to be increasingly blurred: the rigid attitude of those who wanted to found a French historical school firmly based on the best ‘scientific’ principles was not only occasionally ignored by the early ‘founding fathers’, as we saw – it is increasingly in danger of being thrown overboard for good by the self-appointed guardians of the flame. The ivory tower of those French historians who refuse to have any truck with Biography is not only under threat from without – the enemy is now within.


[1] Part of his 7-volume undertaking (1863-1882), Histoire des Origines du Christianisme, which in fact also ended with a biographical dimension: Marc-Aurèle et la fin du monde antique (1882).

[2] Les historiens d’aujourd’hui traitent de Gabriel Monod et de son influence avec les armes dont il a recommandé l’usage : recherche des sources, administration de la preuve, conclusions empreintes d’une vérité que le chercheur sait et veut relative. Cette quête restitue la réalité d’un positivisme qui est loin d’être desséché comme il est si courant de le dire et de l’écrire, mais qui n’encourage pas non plus à une déconstruction de l’Histoire paralysant sa mise en récit. (‘Retour sur Gabriel Monod’. Revue historique 664:4 (2012), p. 787)

[3] Originally published by Honoré Champion (lvi-783 p., Paris, 1911), it has benefited from several reprints since 1970. Recently reissued with a Preface by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (Paris: Éditions Perrin, 2009).

[4] With an almost immediate English edition: Martin Luther: A Destiny (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1929 / London:  J.M. Dent & Sons, 1930).

[5] ‘La biographie comme genre historique ? Étude de cas’. Vingtième Siècle 63 (1999), pp. 119-126.

[6] Continuously in print since its first edition in 1965.

[7] ‘La biographie comme genre historique’, p. 119

[8] In its academically prestigious series, ‘L’histoire sans frontières’, edited by François Furet and Denis Richet.

[9] With a deliberate ambiguity: both the ‘hidden strata beneath visible History’ and ‘History’s undies’.

[10] The hallowed ‘agrégation d’histoire’ being the sine qua non. Ironically, Tulard passed with flying colours – first of his cohort when he took that annual competitive examination.

[11] English edition: De Gaulle. Translated by Francis K. Price. Revised and enlarged edition, with additional material translated by John Skeffington. London : Hutchinson, 1970.

[12] Paris: Le Seuil, 1984-1986. English edition in two volumes: (1) De Gaulle: The Rebel, 1890-1944. (2) De Gaulle: The Ruler, 1945-1970. London: Collins Harvill, 1990-1991.

[13] Charles de Gaulle. (1) 1890-1945. (2) 1945-1970. Paris : Perrin, 2000. (Paperback reissue, 2008.)

[14] Paris: Presses-Pocket, 2000.

[15] English edition. Nicholas II : Last of the Tsars. Translated by Brian Pearce. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

[16] Ferro also wrote a book with the ‘commercial’ title Les tabous de l’histoire (Paris : Nil, 2002).

[17] English edition. William Marshal : The Flower of Chivalry. Translated from the French by Richard Howard. London: Faber, 1986.

[18] ‘Ce problème des rapports de l’individu et de la collectivité, de l’initiative personnelle et de la nécessité sociale qui est, peut-être, le problème capital de l’Histoire’. See ‘La biographie comme genre historique’, p. 120.

[19] Thus there were at least three biographies of Nicholas II on the French market after 1990.

[20] ‘De Marie-Louise O’Murphy, l’histoire n’a retenu ni le nom ni le visage, mais le cul. Un cul auquel Casanova, Boucher et Louis XV, trois fins connaisseurs, ont rendu tour à tour et chacun dans leur genre un hommage émerveillé’. C’est par ce propos délibérément provocant que Camille Pascal, rompant avec le ton habituel de la biographie historique, présente son héroïne.

Historians’ diaries as a biographical source

Lytton Strachey, by Dora Carrington

An edition of Hugh Trevor-Roper’s wartime diaries, edited by Richard Davenport-Hines, was published in 2011. As few reviewers could resist mentioning, Trevor-Roper will always be more famous for (wrongly) authenticating Hitler’s diaries, than for his own.

In terms of interest in their diaries, literary figures generally do rather better. Virginia Woolf’s diary was published, in five magnificent volumes, in the early seventies, edited by Anne Olivier Bell, in what Lyndall Gordon says “may come to be seen as the editing feat of the century” (ODNB). Woolf knew so many people that her diaries are a rich source for many public figures of her time. For example, she describes a walk she took in 1918 with Lytton Strachey, in advance of the publication of a book of his, which she had refused to review because they were friends:

“I suspect that he is now inclined to question whether Eminent Historians, 4 in number, & requiring 4 years for their production, are quite enough to show for his age & pretensions. At anyrate he was evidently & rather painfully anxious about our opinion of their merits & came back so often though so tactfully to the question of my review that I hesitate.”

Eminent Victorians, of course, became a huge success without a puff from Virginia Woolf.

We can look for references to historians’ diaries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: an advanced search for ‘historian’ in the statement of occupation and ‘diary’ or ‘diaries’ in full text gives 86 entries. But we find that, as with Trevor-Roper, many of the references are to the diaries of others which the historian edited or used as source material. Examples here include Colin Matthew’s lauded work on Gladstone’s diaries or John Hale’s use of diaries to investigate the history of popular ideas in the Renaissance.

But there are genuine examples of the historian’s diary illuminating the development of their thought:

“Tawney kept an occasional diary, published posthumously as his Commonplace Book, which illuminates the development of his social thought in this formative period. Alongside details of his students’ wages, piece-rates, and household budgets, Tawney focused on two issues: the nature of social equality and the means by which to achieve a socialist transformation.” [ODNB, by Lawrence Goldman]

Less instructive, but more amusing, is to discover the importance that AL Rowse attached to his own diary:

“Rowse insisted that his many publications represented only ‘the tip of the iceberg’ of his writing. He was alluding primarily to the diary that he kept for most of his adult life. At breakfast in All Souls he would often tell colleagues, especially any who had displeased him, that they had been included in the entry written the night before: ‘You’re in it and you’re in it’ (personal knowledge). He made clear that his diaries contained views even more trenchant than those in his published works. He incorporated material from the diaries into his various volumes of autobiography but much remained unused. He believed that when his diaries were published he would be ranked alongside Pepys; in any event, he contended, the project would make the Yale editions of Johnson and Boswell look like a minor cottage industry. The diaries remained unpublished at his death, and those colleagues who read them agreed that full publication would require both courage and good legal advice.” [ODNB, by John Clarke]

Jonathan Blaney

Video interviews with historians

In the mid 1980s Pat Thane, Alastair Reid and F.M.L. Thompson, the then director of the IHR, began a project to conduct interviews with leading British historians. In her article about the project, ‘Interviews with Historians’, The Historian, 36 (1992), pp. 18–20, Thane notes that ‘We decided upon videotaped rather than audio-taped or printed interviews … because aspects of personality are evident in expression and gesture as they are not in the written or spoken word’. In today’s multi-media world, this seems remarkably prescient, and the resulting interviews are an opportunity to see as well as hear the men and women who have shaped the discipline in the 20th century, many sadly now dead.

Not all, however, were naturals in front of the camera, something which was compounded by the limitations of funding and technology at the time (for example, only static cameras were used). Roger Adelson and Russell Smith reviewed the series for Albion in 1999, and concluded that ‘About half of the interviewees appear uncomfortable in front of the camera, which is understandable because historians are known more for what they write rather than for the personality they project’. However, ‘The very best interviews reveal the humanity of historical study by demonstrating how the lives of historians have affected their perspective on the past’ (R. Adelson and R. Smith, ‘Videotaped interviews with British historians, 1985–8’, Albion: a Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies , 31 (1999), 257–68).

Joan Thirsk

This reflection on formative influences is central to the interviews, during which subjects were encouraged to talk about their lives and careers, the interaction of the personal and the professional, and their thoughts about both their own research and the development of the discipline more generally (a very similar approach to the one taken by the IHR’s Making History project in the early 21st century).

A total of 28 interviews were recorded before funding for the project came to an end (it was supported over the years by the Nuffield Foundation, the Twenty-Seven Foundation and the Royal Historical Society). The list of historians included shows a balance of periods, and geographical and theoretical focus. And unlike many such groupings, women are relatively well represented. Thane remarked that ‘I have an especial interest in selecting female historians, to try to assess what differences there may have been between male and female experiences in the profession’.

Asa Briggs with Jose Harris
Alec Cairncross with Kathleen Burk
Hugh Clegg with Gordon Phillips
Donald Coleman with Negley Harte
Maurice Cowling with Michael Bentley
Phyllis Deane with Nick Crafts
Geoffrey Dickens with Bob Scribner
Geoffrey Elton with Bob Scribner
Moses Finley with Keith Hopkins
Margaret Gowing with Charles Webster
Christopher Hill with Penelope Corfield
Rodney Hilton with John Hatcher
Eric Hobsbawm with Pat Thane
Michael Howard with Brian Bond
Peter Laslett with Keith Wrightson
Oliver Macdonagh with Roy Foster
Rosalind Mitchison with Christopher Smout
Joseph Needham with Gregory Blue
Henry Pelling with Ross McKibbin
Harold Perkin with Pat Thane
Steven Runciman with Jonathan Riley-Smith
Christopher Smout with Christopher Whatley
Lawrence Stone with Keith Wrightson
Joan Thirsk with Ann Kussmaul
Dorothy Thompson with James Epstein
E.P. Thompson with Penelope Corfield
Michael Thompson with Avner Offer
Hugh Trevor-Roper with Blair Worden

All of the interviews are available on DVD from the University of London online store.

On preserving historians’ electronic ‘papers’

[Dr Peter Webster is engagement and liaison lead for the web archiving team at the British Library. He writes here in his personal capacity, as an historian of contemporary Britain.]

I should say straight away that I am neither an archivist, nor a specialist in digital preservation (in its strict sense.) But I am an historian, and professionally interested in the impact of the digital on our working practices; and during the working day I am on the staff of one of the UK’s main memory institutions. And I’m pleased to have been asked to write this piece by my former colleagues at the IHR, as while there is much going on at present relating to the management of research data, there is much less (that I know of) about the private papers of scholars. What is the infrastructure for preserving these materials, of historians, for historians? Is there even an infrastructure worth the name?

Straight away, there is a problem of definition – of distinguishing between what we might call research data and private papers. In the physical sciences, it is easier to spot the data; lots of numbers in tables, on computers, as opposed to the reams of transcribed or part-transcribed primary sources that I still have from my own Ph.D. And in the physical sciences there has been a much stronger culture of the re-use of data by other scholars. In order to test and refine a hypothesis, it helps to be able to repeat experiments, and for that you need the data. And so that data tends to be ‘cleaner’ – well-defined and structured, with appropriate documentation – and thus easier to share. And so there are services such as Dryad, a discipline-specific data repository designed for specifically this purpose.

Historians have been much less accustomed to this way of working. This is partly because our ‘data’ tends to be angular, asymmetric texts that resist being squashed into anything so restrictive as a table. And there is an attachment among many to the thick description of each source and all its meaning, particular to a time, a place and an individual, and a resistance to abstraction. (To paraphrase J. H. Hexter, the splitters tend to dominate the lumpers.) There are exceptions, but the cliometric urge is not as strong as once it was.

This attachment to the particular is something to be cherished, but I would argue that there is yet more scope for historians to think of their working materials as data, and thus as something that may be shared and re-used. The Old Bailey Proceedings Online is a fine example of a corpus of freely composed texts that has within it a dataset. Not all sources have the degree of regularity of structure that a set of court records has; but there is still much material that languishes on desktop machines that might be set free. But it would require us to think about reuse at the beginning of a project, rather than at the end.
And as well as primary sources that might be shared and reused, there is the question of an historian’s intermediate working materials, that mark the stages by which primary sources are digested and turned into writing. The London Review of Books recently published Keith Thomas’ account of his own working method, thousands of bulging white envelopes full of notes; Christopher Hill was famous for his system of index cards. As evidence of the working practices of a discipline, these paper systems are an artefact to be preserved. As scholars increasingly move to digital systems of managing notes and bibliography, some using proprietary software and some the cloud, we also need to think about how these are best preserved as evidence of how the discipline worked at a particular point in time.

And finally, there is writing. Historians of a certain age will remember a device commonly known as a ‘typewriter’ which impressed characters on a sheet of paper, by a mechanism operated by the pressing of keys. (You can see examples in museums sometimes.) And the use of the typewriter meant that, for every iteration of a piece of writing, there was a physical record. (The typewriter was, as it were, sub-optimally featured for corrections.) The ease of emendation of a word-processed document probably means that these intermediate versions no longer exist. But where they do (and I myself tend to keep numbered versions of articles to reflect each revision), they are a valuable record of the evolution of a piece of writing and the thinking that supports it, and part of intellectual biography.

But who should be preserving these materials? In the past, for the most prominent, an existing connection with an institution tended to lead to their papers being held there: the papers of Noel Annan now reside at King’s College, Cambridge, of which he was Fellow and later Provost; those of E. H. Gombrich at the Warburg Institute at which he spent most of his career. The British Library also receives a certain number of digital archives, but mostly from prominent literary figures, such as the recent deposit from the poet Wendy Cope. But there is a need for a more scaleable solution. Part of this is certainly the recent ventures in services that enable personal digital archiving. But these tend to require a certain level of skill in the issues involved (and for one to be not yet dead) and so there is a place in this new ecology of preservation for organisations, such as the IHR, with an established presence as a repository and clearing-house for a discipline. And as collections of discipline-specific materials grow over time, those collections would become in themselves more than the sum of their parts – part of the stuff of a laboratory for the history of history.

Female biographers and biographies of female historians

Here are a couple more interesting lists from Doug Munro – this time of female biographers of male historians and, below, biographies of female historians.

Female biographers of male historians

ANDERSON, Fay. An Historian’s Life: Max Crawford and the politics of academic freedom. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2005.

BAKER, Susan Stout, Radical Beginnings: Richard Hofstadter and the 1930s. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1985.

COLE, Margaret, The Life of G.D.H. Cole. London/New York: Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, 1971.

COLLEY, Linda, Namier. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989.

FINK, Carole, Marc Bloch: a life in history. Cambridge: Canton edition, 1991 [Cambridge University Press, [1989].

FORSEY, Helen, Eugene Forsey: Canada’s maverick sage. Toronto: Dundurn, 2012.

GOGGIN, Jacqueline, Carter G. Woodson: a life in Black history. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1993.

HALL, Catherine, Macaulay and Son: architects of Imperial Britain. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2012.

HERNÁNDEZ, Maria Jesus Gonzales, Raymond Carr: la curiosidad del zorro – una biogfia. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg, 2011; & Barcelona: Circulo de Lectores, 2011.

MOYAL, Ann, Alan Moorehead: a rediscovery. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2005.

NAMIER, Julia, Lewis Namier: a biography. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.

OWSLEY, Harriett Chappell, Frank Lawrence Owsley: historian of the Old South. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1990.

SCHOFIELD, Victoria, Witness to History: the life of John Wheeler-Bennett. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2012.

SMITH, Charlotte Watkins, Carl Becker: on history and the climate of opinion. Carbondale/Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1956.

SOFFER, Reba N., History, Historians, and Conservatism in Britain and America: from the Great War to Thatcher and Reagan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. [F.J.C. Hearnshaw, Keith Feiling, Arthur Bryant, Herbert Butterfield, Peter Viereck & Russell Kirk]

STAPLETON, Julia, Sir Arthur Bryant and National History in Twentieth-Century Britain. London: Lexington Books, 2005.

STREET, Pamela, Arthur Bryant: portrait of an historian. London: Collins, 1979.

WOODBURN, Susan, Where Our Hearts Still Lie: a life of Harry and Honor Maude in the Pacific Islands. Adelaide: Crawford House, 2003.

 

Biographies of female historians (includes histories of the historical profession)

BERG, Maxine, A Woman in History: Eileen Power, 1886-1940. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

BOUTILIER, Beverly, and Alison PRENTICE (eds), Creating Historical Memory: English-Canadian women and the work of history. Vancouver: UBCPress, 1997.

COVERT, James, A Victorian Marriage: Mandel and Louise Creighton. London/New York: Hambledon & London, 2000.

CROWLEY, Terry. Marriage of Minds: Isabel and Oscar Skelton reinventing Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.

DES JARDINS, Julie, Women and the Historical Enterprise in America: gender, race, and the politics of memory, 1880-1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

LOUGHLIN, Patricia, Hidden Treasures of the American West: Muriel H. Wright, Angie Debo, and Alice Marriott. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

LECKIE , Shirley A., Angie Debo: pioneering historian. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000.

REID, John G., Viola Florence Barnes, 1885-1979: a historian’s biography. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.

RIDLEY, Ronald T., Jessie Webb: a memoir. Melbourne: History Department, University of Melbourne, 1994.

VERNON, Betty D., Margaret Cole, 1893-1980: a political biography. London: Croom Helm, 1986

WEAVER, Stewart A., The Hammonds: a marriage in history. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.

WHITE, Deborah Gray (ed.), Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

Professor Patrick Collinson and his historical legacy

This Friday a symposium on the late Professor Patrick Collinson and his historical legacy will be held at Trinity College in Cambridge.

Patrick Collinson was Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and by the time of his death he had become one of Britain’s foremost early modern historians. His first major monograph, published as The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (1967), transformed the way historians conceived the nature and role of Puritanism. His final publication, Richard Bancroft and Elizabethan Anti-Puritanism (Cambridge University Press, 2013) will be launched after Friday’s symposium.

Later this month Patrick Collinson’s final book for Manchester University Press, This England: Essays on the English nation and Commonwealth in the sixteenth century, will be published for the first time in paperback.

There’s also an extended review of Collinson’s autobiography, The History of a History Man available here.

Historians’ Auto/Biographies: What’s Happening Down Under

Monograph-length biographies of Australian historians, including historians of other nationalities with significant Australian connections, are not exactly numerous. They amount to 18 separate volumes, and even to reach this number involves a generous definition of who constitutes an historian and what constitutes a biography. One might even say that 18 such books is a paltry total, but another way of looking at it would be to say that this is a proportionally high figure – almost one biography per million of national population. Furthermore two of the more recent biographies are of a very high standard – namely Jim Davidson’s A Three-Cornered Life: the historian WK Hancock (Sydney, 2010) and Mark McKenna’s biography of Manning Clark (An Eye for Eternity: the biography of Manning Clark (Melbourne, 2011). By way of comparison, I have only been able to locate 11 biographies of Canadian historians, or a ratio of one biography for every three million of population. In Australia, by contrast, the total (and the proportion) starts to look appreciable when the seven edited collections dealing with one or more Australian historian are included.

There is nothing out of the ordinary about this corpus of biographies of Australian historians. In line with world-wide trends they have become more numerous in recent years; they are becoming larger and more deeply researched; they are becoming increasingly concerned with private as well as professional lives; and the thematic coverage is patchy. The parallels continue: whether or not a given historian becomes the subject of a biography boils down to the chance event of someone being prepared to be their biographer. Another sign of serendipity and individual initiative is that a journal will occasionally devote a special issue to a history, most recently the coverage of Russel Ward in 2008 in the Australian Journal of Colonial History. An interesting sideline to that project was the reluctance of potential contributors who disliked Ward to be involved.

Autobiographies of Australian historians are in another league, notable for their sheer quantity. If a generous definition is again applied, some 50 have appeared since the publication of G. V. Portus’s Happy Highways in 1953 followed by W. K. Hancock’s Country and Calling the following year (as against a dozen autobiographies by Canadian historians in the same period). The frequency of Australia historians’ autobiographies has been directly addressed by Jeremy Popkin [‘Ego-histoire Down Under: Australian historian-autobiographers’, Australian Historical Studies, 38, 129 (2007), 106–23] and he suggests a convergence of reasons. These autobiographies have often made an important contribution to national debates, not least on the recurring question of national identity. They are often of high literary quality and are recognised by literary scholars as having made ‘an important contribution to their society’s overall tradition of first-person writing’. The autobiographers are often prominent historians who are well integrated into the country’s intellectual and national life, and so have cultural authority. The cumulative effect is to impart historians’ autobiographies a respectability and legitimacy that encourages imitators. As Popkin says, one can now ‘speak of a genuine corpus of historians’ autobiographies, as opposed to a few isolated individual initiatives’. The genre is propelling itself forward under its own momentum. The downside is that Australian historians’ autobiographies are not an exportable commodity – they are little read outside Australia. Such are the trade-offs for living in an isolated country.

Such constraints are felt even more keenly in New Zealand. There are only two biographies of an historian – a large biography of J. C. Beaglehole and a much smaller one of the same historian. Unlike Australia, there are no multi-authored histories of history departments and there is no quasi-history of the New Zealand historical profession along the lines of Rob Pascoe’s The Manufacture of Australian History (1979). Neither are there edited volumes that deal with different historians or else a particular historian. Market forces largely explain why so little has been published on New Zealand historians. Such biographical work would have a small readership at home and an even smaller one abroad. Instead of gaining momentum and traction, there is a sense of being bogged down under the weight of its own inertia.

On the autobiographical front the picture is rosier. Four New Zealand academic historians have published their memoirs (W. P. Morrell, Keith Sinclair, W. H. Oliver and Nicholas Tarling). Sinclair and Oliver’s memoirs are well-enough known in New Zealand, because both authors achieved public prominence. Sinclair was not only an historian but a published poet who once stood for parliament. More notable is that four historians outside the academy have published their memoirs (Michael King, Philip Temple, James McNeish and Edmund Bohan). This suggests that full-time writers without an academic position and the salary that goes with it are prone to autobiography, precisely because they have to make a living. The autobiographers outside the academy have doubled the number of New Zealand historians’ memoirs. Even so, the total is insufficient to form a critical mass that would lead one to acknowledge that these books constitute a recognisable genre.  Half of the autobiographies have been published since 2009, which leads one to hope that momentum will take over and that imitators will follow.

Doug Munro

University of Queensland

munro47@yahoo.com

Two reviews of ‘Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography’ by Adam Sisman

The first has just come out in the Dublin Review of Books, while the second is a re-release from the London Review of Books, and contains this classic description of Trevor-Roper’s reaction to Peterhouse and Maurice Cowling, spotted by my colleague Jonathan:

“He did not find it normal that fellows should wear mourning on the anniversary of General Franco’s death, attend parties in SS uniform or insult black and Jewish guests at high table.”

Worth reading for that alone…

Biographies of historians since 2005

Here’s another list showing how the genre has flourished in recent years, courtesy of the indefatigable Doug Munro – these have all been published since 2005. At the end are two more lists, of filial biographies and biographies of married couples.

2005.   ANDERSON, Fay. An Historian’s Life: Max Crawford and the politics of academic freedom. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2005.

2005.   MOYAL, Ann, Alan Moorehead: a rediscovery. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2005.

2005.   PAYTON, Philip, A.L. Rowse and Cornwall: a paradoxical patriot. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2005.

2005.   REID, John G., Viola Florence Barnes, 1885-1979: a historian’s biography. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.

2005.   STAPLETON, Julia, Sir Arthur Bryant and national history in twentieth-century Britain. London: Lexington Books, 2005.

2005.   van MINNEN, Cornelis A., Van Loon: popular historian, journalist, and FDR confidant. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

2005.   WATSON, John Alexander, Marginal Man: the dark vision of Harold Innis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.

2006.   BEAGLEHOLE, Tim, A Life of J.C. Beaglehole: New Zealand scholar. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2006.

2006.   BROWN, David S., Richard Hofstadter: an intellectual biography. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

2006.   THOMPSON, John, The Patrician and the Bloke: Geoffrey Serle and the making of Australian history. Canberra: Pandanus Books, 2006.

2007.   HALE, Sheila, The Man who Lost his Language [John Hale]: a case of aphasia, 2nd ed. London/Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007 [first publ. 2002 by Allen Lane The Penguin Press]

2007.   WATSON, Alexander John, Marginal Man: the dark vision of Harold Innis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

2007.   WRIGLEY, Chris, A.J.P. Taylor: radical historian of Europe. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007.

2008.   MATTHEWS, Brian, Manning Clark: a life. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2008.

2008.    McKILLOP, A.B., Pierre Berton: a biography. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2008).

2009.   INGLIS, Fred, History Man: the life of R.G. Collingwood. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.

2009.   NADEAU, Jean-François, Robert Rumilly, l’homme de Duplessis. Montréal: Lux, 2009.

2009.   NEWMAN, Michael, Harold Laski: a political biography. Pontypool: Merlin Press edn., 2009 [first publ. 1993 by Macmillan].

2009.   SULLIVAN, Robert E., Macaulay: the tragedy of power. Cambridge, MA/London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009.

2010.   DAVIDSON, Jim, A Three-Cornered Life: the historian WK Hancock. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2010.

2010.   MILLER, Eric, Hope in a Scattering Time: a life of Christopher Lasch. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2010.

2010.   MIRRA, Carl, The Admirable Radical: Staughton Lynd and Cold War dissent, 1945-1970. Kent: Kent State University Press, 2010.

2010.   SISMAN, Adam, Hugh Trevor-Roper: the biography. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010.

2011.   BENTLEY, Michael, The Life and Thought of Herbert Butterfield: history, science and god. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

2011.   GAULT, Hugh, The Quirky Dr Fay: a remarkable life. Cambridge: Gretton Books, 2011.

2011.   HAMILTON, Scott, The Crisis of Theory: EP Thompson, the new left and postwar British politics. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011.

2011.   McKENNA, Mark, An Eye for Eternity: the life of Manning Clark. Melbourne: Miegunyah Press, 2011.

2012    HALL, Catherine, Macaulay and Son: architects of Imperial Britain. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2012.

2012.   FORSEY, Henry, Eugene Forsey: Canada’s maverick sage. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2012.

2012.   MUNRO, Doug, J.C. Beaglehole: public intellectual, critical conscience (Wellington: Steele Roberts, 2012)

2012.   SCHOFIELD, Victoria, Witness to History: the life of Sir John Wheeler-Bennett. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2012.

2012    WRIGHT, Pattie, Ray Parkin’s Oddyssey. Melbourne: Pan Macmillan, 2012.

Filial biographies

BEAGLEHOLE, Tim, A Life of J.C. Beaglehole: New Zealand scholar. Welllington: Victoria University Press

COLE, Margaret, The Life of G.D.H. Cole. London/Basingstoke: Macmillan London, 1971.

FORSEY, Helen, Eugene Forsey: Canada’s maverick sage. Toronto: Dundurn, 2012.

HALE, Sheila, The Man Who Lost His Language [John Hale]: a case of aphasia, 2nd ed. London/Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishing, 2007. (First published by Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 2002)

MOREMAN, Mary, G.M. Trevelyan: a memoir. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1980.

NAMIER, Julia, Lewis Namier: a biography. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.

POSTGATE, John and Mary, A Stomach for Dissent: the life of Raymond Postgate. Keele: Keele University Press, 1994.

Biographies of couples

COVERT, James, A Victorian Marriage: Mandell and Louise Creighton. London/New York: Hambledon & London, 2000.

CROWLEY, Terry, Marriage of Minds: Isabel and Oscar Skelton reinventing Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.

WEAVER, Stewart A., The Hammonds: a marriage in history. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.