Next month, the Institute of Historical Research has its 90th birthday. Celebrations began earlier this year with a series of birthday tie-in events featuring notable personalities and events of 1921 (including Asa Briggs, Marie Stopes and the first birth control clinic, the first PhDs in history). Still to come in December is a conference on Princes Consort in History (marking the 90th birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh and the 150th anniversary of the death of Prince Albert).
The IHR is also looking to the future. The Institute is undergoing an extensive refurbishment which requires a temporary relocation in 2011-2013 while the space occupied since 1948 receives a facelift. The result will be new meeting and teaching rooms, a modernized library, and more space for academic and research staff – an IHR fit for the 21st century.
Since 1989, the American Friends of the IHR have played a valuable role in supporting the IHR library and postgraduate training. The AFIHR board wants to continue this work and also to help lay the foundations of financial sustainability by increasing the institute’s endowment. Professor Miles Taylor, the IHR’s director, has written that “the American Friends already do so much for the Institute. Now we are asking you to do a little more: by making our birthday year an opportunity to introduce a new American Friend. For every new Friend introduced by 31st December 2011, we will offer you a discount… on your subscription to British History Online.” Many of us have friends, colleagues, and students who would enjoy the benefits of membership, and we can now save money on our subscriptions by bringing new members into the fold. [The offer to members of AFIHR have expanded since this was written.]
I also take pleasure in announcing know that I have organized a panel on research libraries that hold sources for British Studies at the upcoming NACBS meeting in Denver (Nov 18-20), with the help of Jason Kelly. We will hear brief remarks by representatives from the following institutions – IHR (Miles Taylor), Huntington (Steve Hindle), Folger (Kathleen Lynch), Walpole (Maggie Powell), Beinecke (Kathryn James), Clark (Rebecca Fenning), and the Ransom Center (Rich Oram) – followed by questions from the audience. The goal is to enable graduate students and younger faculty members who are planning research trips to meet and talk to our speakers. Those of us who are not young and have already worked in some of these collections might also benefit from updating our knowledge of their collections and procedures. The session will take place on the Friday afternoon (Nov 18). The IHR is planning a reception which will follow it and allow the conversations to continue. If you are planning to be in Denver, please join us (and maybe bring your new AFIHR members along as well).
I also want to take this opportunity to remind you that AFIHR members can obtain a discounted access to the BHO’s “premium content” feature BHO which now provides keyword access to over 800 volumes of valuable materials (including the Commons and Lords Journals, Victoria County History, Statutes of the Realm, Treasury Books and Papers 1557-1754, Calendars and Close Rolls and the Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, and many others). This is a substantial discount on the rate charged to individual subscribers to BHO. The most recent addition to the BHO material is the first half (A-K) of Foster’s Alumni Oxoniensis, and we expect that the rest will be added soon….