About the Royal Historical Society
The Royal Historical Society began life as the Historical Society for Great Britain; in 1868, after a campaign championed by Henry Austin Bruce, Lord Aberdare, it received its 'Royal' Charter from Queen Victoria.
Since then the Society has evolved from being a club for scholarly gentlemen to its current status as the foremost body for those engaged professionally in the study of the past. The membership of overy 3000 Fellows and Members draws together individuals from across the world, engaged professionally in researching and presenting public history, whether in archives, libraries, museums or the heritage industry. The Society aims to maintain professional standards within the discipline, and to represent the views of its membership to government bodies and to the public at large.
Under the supervision of a Council elected by the Fellows, the Society sponsors a wide range of events. Throughout the year, formal meetings take place at which scholarly papers are read and discussed. Where once the focal point for this was London, meetings now take place in locations across the country under the Society's banner. The annual collection of papers read to the Society, gathered together in its famous Transactions, is a volume of the highest scholarship.
The Society is also alive to the wider needs of the academic community, particularly of those members in the early stages of their careers. The Society offers a considerable range of small grants to postgraduate scholars and two generous awards to enable those engaged in PhD research to complete doctorates of high scholarly distinction. There are also funds available to help those organizing scholarly conferences.
The Society has also become an important historical publisher in its own right. Among its publications are the highly esteemed monograph series, Studies in History, aimed at young scholars; the Camden Series of editions and translations of texts; and of course, the Society's annual volume of Transactions, distinctive in its smart navy binding. The annually updated Bibliography of British and Irish History, meanwhile, represents one of the most important online resources for historians of all periods.
The Society speaks for the interests of history and historian. It consults with and makes representations to government and the funding councils on their behalf; it engages with the professional keepers of the nation's material heritage such as the National Archives, the British Library to develop the raw materials and resources available for historical scholarship; and its works closely with other historical bodies - such as the Historical Association, and the monthly magazine History Today, to further the serious public discussiuon of history.
We trust that the founding fathers of the Royal Historical Society would be delighted by the work carried out by the modern Society. based in the centre of London, but with activities stretching out across the whole of the United Kingdom, and a Fellowship drawn from across the globe, the Royal Historical Society can claim to be the proudest, and certainly the oldest, guardian of historical scholarship in the country.