The Royal Historical Society’s Library and Archive provide an important service to the historical community, and make available a wide range of primary and secondary resources for research.
The Society’s Library holds more than a thousand works of historical scholarship published from the sixteenth century to the present day. The RHS Archive contains important collections of papers relating to historians and the development of the historical profession, as well as to the work, and membership, of the Society itself.
The RHS Library
The RHS Library has two reading rooms and is located within the main library of University College London, next to the RHS Office and Council Chamber. RHS Fellows and Members are welcome to visit the Society’s Library, and also to use the main UCL History collection as a benefit of membership.
The Library holds more than 1000 secondary works of historical scholarship on open shelves. The collection comprises antiquarian titles, publications of UK record and local history societies, and reference works.
Also available are monographs published by the RHS (including the ‘Studies in History’ and ‘New Historical Perspectives’ series); and complete sets of the Society’s journal, Transactions (1872-2021) and the Camden Series of primary sources (1838-2021).
The Library also maintains an online listing of UK and Irish historical and record societies providing contacts for research.
The RHS Archive
The Society’s Archive includes a range of named collections, principally of historians and the development of the historical profession in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Re-cataloguing of the collections is currently taking place (2022) and will result in the publication of new online catalogues for researchers.
The Society’s largest collection is that of the historian, editor and government adviser, George W. Prothero (1848-1922), who was Professor of History at Edinburgh, from 1894, and President of the Royal Historical Society between 1901 and 1905.
A new catalogue of the Prothero Papers was published in January 2022, along with a selection of images from the 1000+ items relating to Prothero’s life and career held by the Society.
Other important collections in the archive include the papers of the Camden Society (1838-1897); of the Tudor historian Sir Geoffrey Elton, relating to his publications and literary estate; of the Royal Historical Society (from 1868), relating to its activities; and of the Fellowship of the RHS from 1878.
Access to the Library and Archive
Both the Library and Archives are housed at the Society’s offices in the main library of University College London, Gower Street.
RHS Fellows and Members are welcome to use the History collections, including those of wider UCL, as a benefit of membership.
If you wish to visit the RHS Library please make an appointment via firstname.lastname@example.org.