Royal Historical Society

Last updated

Royal Historical Society
AbbreviationRHistS, RHS
Formation1868;154 years ago (1868)
Merger of Camden Society (1897) with the RHS
Registration no.206888
Legal status Charity
PurposeHistorical studies
HeadquartersUniversity College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT
Membership (2021)
4,500+ members
Emma Griffin
Adam Hughes
Key people
Philip Carter, Academic Director
Main organ
Formerly called
The Historical Society

The Royal Historical Society, founded in 1868, is a learned society of the United Kingdom which advances scholarly studies of history.



The society was founded and received its royal charter in 1868. Until 1872 it was known as the Historical Society. [1] In 1897, it merged with (or absorbed) the Camden Society, founded in 1838. [2] In its origins, and for many years afterwards, the society was effectively a gentlemen's club. However, in the middle and later twentieth century the RHS took on a more active role in representing the discipline and profession of history.

Current activities

The society exists to promote historical research in the United Kingdom and worldwide, representing historians of all kinds. Its activities primarily concern advocacy and policy research, training, publishing, grants and research support, especially for early career historians, and awards and professional recognition. It provides a varied programme of lectures and one-day and two-day conferences and symposia covering diverse historical topics. It convenes in London and from time to time elsewhere throughout the United Kingdom. Since 1967 it has been based at University College London. [3]


The society is governed by a board of trustees called the council, which is chaired by the RHS President. The president and members of council are elected from the society's fellows. There are 22 councillors, each of whom serves a four-year term. Every year the fellowship elects three new members of council using a preferential voting system. Council members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and research interests. [4]

Fellows and members

The society's membership comprises honorary vice-presidents (management), elected fellows (entitled to use FRHistS as post-nominal letters), associate fellows, and members. [5]

Fellowships are awarded to those who have made an original contribution to historical scholarship, typically through the authorship of a book, a body of scholarly work similar in scale and impact to a book, the organisation of exhibitions and conferences, the editing of journals, and other works of diffusion and dissemination grounded in historical research. Election is conducted by review and applications must be supported by someone who is already a Fellow. A list of current fellows and members is maintained online by the RHS. [6]


The society's publications include its monographic series Studies in History (1975–2020) and New Historical Perspectives (2016–), [7] its annual Transactions [8] (first published as Transactions of the Historical Society, 1872), [9] and the Camden Series of editions and translations of texts; as well as digital publications, such as the Bibliography of British and Irish History.

The society runs an active open-access online blog, entitled Historical Transactions. [10] It was established in 2018 as part of the commemoration of the Royal Historical Society’s 150th Anniversary.


The regular prizes, awards and recognitions granted by the society include: [11]

List of presidents

The presidents of the society have been: [12] [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Horticultural Society</span> Registered charity in the UK

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardening charity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Yule</span>

Sir Henry Yule was a Scottish Orientalist and geographer. He published many travel books, including translations of the work of Marco Polo and Mirabilia by the 14th-century Dominican Friar Jordanus. He was also the compiler of a dictionary of Anglo-Indian terms, the Hobson-Jobson, with Arthur Coke Burnell.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adolphus Ward</span> English historian (1837–1924)

Sir Adolphus William Ward was an English historian and man of letters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Mansfield</span> English physicist known for magnetic resonance imaging

Sir Peter Mansfield was an English physicist who was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, shared with Paul Lauterbur, for discoveries concerning Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Mansfield was a professor at the University of Nottingham.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. It was founded in 1826. Since 1828, it has maintained the London Zoo, and since 1931 Whipsnade Park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Society</span> National academy of sciences for the UK

The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, education and public engagement and fostering international and global co-operation. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as The Royal Society and is the oldest continuously existing scientific academy in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Society of Edinburgh</span> Scottish academy of sciences

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity that operates on a wholly independent and non-partisan basis and provides public benefit throughout Scotland. It was established in 1783. As of 2021, there are around 1,800 Fellows.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Huggins</span> English astronomer

Sir William Huggins was an English astronomer best known for his pioneering work in astronomical spectroscopy together with his wife, Margaret.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">London Mathematical Society</span> United Kingdoms learned societies for mathematics

The London Mathematical Society (LMS) is one of the United Kingdom's learned societies for mathematics (the others being the Royal Statistical Society, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society and the Operational Research Society.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Institute of Mathematics and its Applications</span>

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) is the UK's chartered professional body for mathematicians and one of the UK's learned societies for mathematics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Meteorological Society</span> Learned society and open-access publisher

The Royal Meteorological Society is a long-established institution that promotes academic and public engagement in weather and climate science. Fellows of the Society must possess relevant qualifications, but Associate Fellows can be lay enthusiasts. Its Quarterly Journal is one of the world's leading sources of original research in the atmospheric sciences. The chief executive officer is Liz Bentley.

The Camden Society was a text publication society founded in London in 1838 to publish early historical and literary materials, both unpublished manuscripts and new editions of rare printed books. It was named after the 16th-century antiquary and historian William Camden. In 1897 it merged with the Royal Historical Society, which continues to publish texts in what are now known as the Camden Series.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Robert Robinson (chemist)</span> English chemist and Nobel laureate (1886–1975)

Sir Robert Robinson was a British organic chemist and Nobel laureate recognised in 1947 for his research on plant dyestuffs (anthocyanins) and alkaloids. In 1947, he also received the Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Entomological Society</span> British scientific society

The Royal Entomological Society is devoted to the study of insects. Its aims are to disseminate information about insects and improving communication between entomologists.

The Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH) is awarded to British horticulturists resident in the United Kingdom whom the Royal Horticultural Society Council considers deserving of special honour by the Society.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Turner (anatomist)</span> English anatomist

Sir William Turner was an English anatomist and was the Principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1903 to 1916.

<i>The Garden</i> (journal) Monthly magazine of the British Royal Horticultural Society

The Garden is the monthly magazine of the British Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), circulated to all the society's members as a benefit of membership; it is also sold to the public.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Gough Nichols</span>

John Gough Nichols (1806–1873) was an English painter and antiquary, the third generation in a family publishing business with strong connection to learned antiquarianism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Harris (barrister)</span>

George Harris (1809–1890) was an English barrister and judge, known as a biographer and legal writer.

Sujit Sivasundaram is a British Sri Lankan historian and academic. He is currently professor of world history at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge.


  1. Library of Congress authorities
  2. Milne, Alexander Taylor (1968). A Centenary Guide to the Publications of the Royal Historical Society 1868–1968, and of the former Camden Society 1838–1897. Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks. London: Royal Historical Society. p. 49n. ISBN   9780901050007.
  3. "History of the Society". RHS. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  4. "RHS Officers". Archived from the original on 11 September 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  5. "Membership". RHS. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  6. "RHS Fellows and Members". RHS. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  7. "New Historical Perspectives". RHS. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  8. "Transactions of the RHS". RHS. Archived from the original on 28 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  9. Vol. 1 ([1872])–v. 10 (1882); new ser., v. 1 (1883)–new ser., v. 20 (1906); 3rd ser., v. 1 (1907)–3rd ser., v. 11 (1917); 4th ser., v. 1 (1918)–4th ser., v. 32 (1950); 5th ser., v. 1 (1951)–5th ser., 40 (1990); 6th ser., 1 (1991)– (British Library catalogue)
  10. "Historical Transactions". RHS. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  11. "Prizes". RHS. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  12. "Presidents of the Royal Historical Society" (PDF). 4 March 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  13. "Past Presidents". Archived from the original on 12 September 2021. Retrieved 12 September 2021.