President’s Letter to Membership, September 2014

On October 1, Dr Lawrence Goldman, the editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, begins his term of service as IHR director, and we are looking forward to meeting and hearing from him at the NACBS conference in Minneapolis in November. Much was accomplished during Miles Taylor’s six years of splendid work, and the IHR redesign/refurbishment has been finished after two years of temporary accommodation in the Senate House.

The move back to the “new” IHR in the north block of the Senate House is now complete. For a succinct description of the reconfigured library, see Katie Wilcox’s September 12 post on the IHR Blog at

Since we have all experienced the daunting task of moving all our things to a new house or office and remember it with horror, it is astonishing to me to see how the IHR staff has accomplished this while keeping all of the many programs and initiatives thriving and moving ahead. The list of seminars at the IHR shows no diminution, and the program of conferences is ambitious and impressive. An exciting and useful feature of the IHR’s website is its ever expanding list of conferences not only in London and Britain but around Europe as well. Go to whenever you are planning to “cross the pond” to see whether there is an event you need to attend.

Previous grants of funds from the AFIHR have supported library acquisitions, digitization projects to make primary sources available online, and travel by North American graduate students to participate in the History Lab conference held each summer at the IHR.

I write as always to urge you to continue your membership in and support of the IHR. As many will recall, in 2013 we managed (with vital assistance from Miles Taylor and the IHR development team of Michelle Waterman and Mira Chotaliya) to make it much easier to make payments for IHR membership and discounted subscriptions to British History Online and the Bibliography of British and Irish History. For full information about our new system, please visit our website ( which you can also get to via the IHR website (

Please join (or rejoin) the AFIHR and enjoy the benefits of being a part of this community of scholars. And thank you.

Sincerely yours,

Sears McGee, President, AFIHR


The Institute of Historical Research gets royal reopening

Princess Anne reopens the IHR

Princess Anne reopens the IHR

The Institute of Historical Research was officially reopened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, on Tuesday 14 October. The Princess Royal, who is Chancellor of the University of London, was given a tour of the Institute’s new facilities including the library, seminar rooms and the conference suite.

More than 80 people assembled in the remodelled IHR Common Room for the rededication, where the Chancellor met students and junior research fellows as well as members of staff and representatives of the Friends of the IHR. After unveiling a plaque, she gave a short speech about the Institute’s ongoing work.

The refurbishment, made possible by a University of London investment of more than £10 million, took place over a three-year period, during which time the Institute was temporarily housed in Senate House. Charitable foundations, individual benefactors and the many historians who use the IHR’s library and attend its research seminars, made further contributions.

The Institute has been the focus of a rich historical culture in London since its foundation in 1921 and now the many improvements to its premises, equipment and facilities can only enhance its national and international roles as a centre for historical studies.‘The Institute of Historical Research has always had a special place in the affections of academic historians in Britain and around the world. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else’, explained Professor Lawrence Goldman, IHR Director.

‘Historians have come here for decades to work in our library with its unique resources, attend the many seminars which convene in the Institute, and meet and chat in the IHR’s common room. We can now accommodate them in purpose-built facilities for research and exchange. We look forward to an exciting new phase in the IHR’s history.’