Developing the Royal Historical Society Archive: Phase 2 Begins

4 May 2022

The Society is very pleased to have recently received generous support, from the Marc Fitch Fund, for the second phase of its archive development programme.

This new funding award follows the completion in January 2022 of ‘phase one’ of the project which saw cataloguing and conservation of the Society’s collection of papers relating to the historian and government adviser, Sir George W. Prothero (1848-1922).

Over the next few months we will continue to research, catalogue and publicise three remaining areas of the Society’s collection:

  • papers relating to the running, membership and management of the Society ‘the RHS collection’, from its foundation in 1868 to 2019
  • papers of the Camden Society, founded in 1838, which merged with the Society in 1897
  • correspondence of the Tudor historian, Professor Sir Geoffrey Elton (1922-1994), concerning his publications and literary estate.



In each case, work will see the creation of a new online catalogue, re-ordering of collection items, conservation and correct storage, and scanning of selected papers. The next phase of work will be undertaken by the Zoë Karens, who also oversaw completion of the Prothero catalogue in 2020-21. Zoë is a former archivist at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

Phase two of the project begins shortly with a review of papers relating to the ‘RHS collection’: its management, activities, membership and management.

Items here include the Society’s minutes, agenda and attendance books dating from the early 1870s; early financial and administrative records; fellowship and membership records; accounts of projects undertaken by the Society; and event cards advertising annual lectures from 1905 to 2022. An initial selection of artefacts from this part of the collection is available here.

Details of the new catalogues will be publicised and explained in the coming months as work on each of the three sections — RHS collection, Camden Society, and Elton correspondence — is completed.

For more on the Society’s collections, please see the Library & Archive pages of the RHS website. Those wishing to consult the archive for research should contact: