The IHR Wohl Library now offers access to the digitized archive of the private papers of Sir Winston Churchill, both within the library and remotely to holders of a membership card.
The archive, which contains some 800,000 items, is an extraordinarily rich resource, not just for those interested in the life and career of Churchill, but also in broad stretches of the twentieth century.
Today (30 January) is the anniversary of Churchill’s state funeral in 1965: the day when famously even the cranes along the Thames lowered their arms in a moment, it seems, orchestrated for the film news crews. Neither the American President nor the Vice-President attended (President Johndon informed reporters from his sick bed in the White House that his doctors had forbidden him from flying). Instead, the United States was represented by Earl Warren, the US Chief Justice. Many in Britain deemed this a snob to the ‘special relationship’, with some speculating that this was a small form of payback for Churchill missing President Roosevelt’s funeral in 1945 (the archive contains a telegram from Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, who attended the funeral, ‘Mrs Roosevelt said how sincerely touched she was that our country had sent a special representative [Eden]… The Governor General and I were the only representatives who made a special journey to attend the ceremony, except for the President of the Philippines, and I think this has touched people here… I find everybody here conscious of the heavy burdens which will be on you [Churchill] in the defence of both our peoples, indeed of Western civilisation now that F.D.R. cannot take part’ CHAR 20/214/124, telegram, 14 April 1945].
Churchill, of course, continues ‘to take part’ in world affairs, albeit symbolically. Few could have missed the various minor diplomatic disturbances and artificially-generated press scandals concerning the placement of the Churchill bust in the Oval Office of the White House, including that of the current occupant. The bust is by the sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), and the White House has access to two casts, one donated to President Johnson in 1965 by a group of Churchill’s wartime friends, and the other loaned from the British Government Art Collection at the British ambassador’s residence in 2001 (before the attacks of 9/11) and first displayed in the White House while their cast was repaired. At some point the Government Art Collection’s cast returned to the British embassy, while the cast acquired in 1965 continued to sit outside the Oval Office. After 20 January 2017, the Washington Post reports, it moved inside, and was then, it seems, replaced by the British embassy’s cast, since the President-elect’s team had asked for another loan.
But what of the artist? Epstein was born in the Hester Street, New York City, the son of Jewish refuges from Augustów, Poland. He studied in Paris and then, in 1905 settled in London before becoming a British citizen, and soon earned a reputation as a sculptor. Artistic fame (and perhaps notoriety) came in 1908, with his carvings on Charles Holden’s British Medical Association in the Strand in London, boldly depicting nudity and pregnancy and challenging chaste public taste of the day: the Evening Standard suggested ‘no careful father’ would let his daughter view them. (In 1935, the Rhodesian High Commission took over the building and mutilated the statues, as the National Archives notes, an ‘ugly reminder of an unfortunate episode of artistic censorship/indifference’.) In 1918, his name appears in the Archive, in a telegram from his wife, Margaret Epstein, to Lady Randolph Churchill, asking, unsuccesfully, if the prime minister could ‘do anything’ to obtain him a position in which, as the Archive catalogue notes, ‘Epstein could use his talents for propaganda purposes’.
His star rose in from the late 1920s, and in 1937 he was chosen as the spokesperson for the London Group, which urged artists to refuse to cooperate with a Nazi attempt to organise an exhibition of British art in Berlin that excluded Jewish artists. During the Second World War he received commissions from the War Artists’ Advisory Committee, including likenesses of Ernet Bevin and, in 1945, Winston Churchill (this was arranged by Sir Kenneth Clark, who wrote that ‘I think he will do something good, and at any rate you will not have to go far to get to the studio’ — Churchill and Epstein were neighbours in Hyde Park Gate, London). Several casts were to be made. After some discussion, Churchill agreed to the commission, and recommended a ‘third bust to go the United States of America.’ [CHUR 1/17A-B, 16 Oct 1945].
Churchill, as the archive makes clear, was rather busy at the time , and was initially unable to make space in his diary for the sitting (‘I am about to leave for an extended visit to the United States’). The Keeper of Pictures at the Imperial War Museum pressed the issue on a couple of fronts, noting ‘if it is not completed fairly soon we shall be unable to pay for it during the present financial year and later on we shall probably not have the money for it.’ More, flatteringly, ‘we hope to re-open some of the galleries of the Museum [which had been bombed] very shortly and we are very anxious, of course, to be able to include a bust of Mr. Churchill in the exhibition.’ [CHUR 1/17A-B]. Sittings resumed, with Epstein summoned to Chartwell. The bust was exhibited in 1947. You can view one of the casts on the Imperial War Museums site (the bust remains in copyright).
Epstein died of a heart attack in 1959. A memorandum in the Archive reads, ‘You have always has friendly relations with Sir Jacob Epstein, your neighbour. Do you wish to send his widow a telegram’ [CHUR 2/522A-B, f. 171, 22 Aug 1959]. On the top of the note is a Churchillian tick, and we can assume that something was sent: on 29 August, Kathleen, Lady Epstein, replied ‘Thankyou for the kind & sympathetic messsage your sent me when my husband died. He went like any artist would like to go. We drank a glass of wine together in good spirits, sang a few songs, then he took a last look around the studio & died.’
As one of the first anti-colonial movements of the twentieth century, the Indian struggle for independence has attracted a vast and rich historiography. Much of this has been focused within the boundaries of India. This article adds a transnational dimension by examining Indian anti-colonial activism in exile. The experience of political exile, both voluntary and involuntary, provides insight into the international dimensions of radical politics. This article tells the story of some of these exiled revolutionaries, looking at radical Indian nationalists in London (1905–10); the emergence of the Ghadar movement in the United States (from 1914); and the early career of anti-colonial revolutionary M. N. Roy (1917–19). It gauges the impact of global events including the First World War and the Bolshevik revolution on the thoughts, ideas, movements, collaborations and confrontations of these actors.
This article analyses the public debates about the two corporate forms used in the seventeenth century to develop England’s international commercial reach: the regulated and joint stock company. It examines pamphlets to assess the changing public postures of the two forms across the period, and challenges histories of seventeenth-century English overseas trade that argue the triumph of free trade over monopoly. The article instead suggests that the public debate about the two company forms contributed to the development of new corporate constitutions derived from both models and therefore recovers the neglected significance of the regulated company in this period.
This article examines the uses to which Cambridge University’s ten-year statute was put suggesting that its popularity from c.1815 reflects both increasing career insecurity among non-graduate clergy, and the closing of traditional non-graduate routes into the Anglican ministry. Using a quantitative study of university calendars and ordination records alongside a review of controversial pamphlet literature, the article documents the degree’s changing popularity and the appearance of a discourse which discredited both it and non-graduate clergy. This discourse also reflects the general anxieties of elite and middling families, threatened by meritocratic trends and eager to secure cultural, occupational and economic privilege.
This article aims to write the army transport mule, which has previously been neglected in the equine historiography of the conflict, into the story of the First World War. It does not aim to tell the entire story of the role of mules in the war, as this deserves fuller investigation. Instead, it focuses on how various British sources depicted the army transport mule and how the actual involvement and treatment of these animals on the Salonica Front accorded with these perceptions.
27Dame Lillian Penson & R.W. Greave’s Seminar in 1956-7: Dame Lillian is seated at the end of the table
London’s women historians: a celebration and a conversation
On Monday 13 March 2017 in collaboration with King’s College London, the IHR will be celebrating London’s women historians.
At the start of 2017, gender equality remains one of the most pressing issues in the historical profession. This is evident from research published by the Royal Historical Society in 2015, longstanding efforts by the Economic History Society to elevate women in their discipline, and an initiative at the University of Oxford to launch a ‘manifesto’ for Women in the Humanities. This event is an attempt to continue and deepen this conversation, thinking especially about how twentieth-century London institutions have both enabled and constrained female achievements in history. It will also be an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of women doing history in the past, inaugurating a pop-up exhibition of twentieth-century London women historians at the IHR, organised by King’s College London. We will ultimately aim to discuss how to ensure issues of gender equality and the contribution of women to the discipline remain at the fore of history in London via the IHR, as Britain’s ‘national’ centre for history.
Confirmed speakers: Caroline Barron, John Beckett, Laura Carter, Linda Clark, Amy Erickson, Margot Finn, Jo Fox, Laura Gowing, Alana Harris, Peter Mandler, Jinty Nelson, Lyndal Roper & Pat Thane.
This event is free and open to all, but advanced registration is required. All refreshments will be provided
First up this week we have Apostle of Union: A Political Biography of Edward Everett by Matthew Mason. Daniel Crofts and the author discuss a timely biography depicting a persistent moderate who deplored North-South sectional polarization (no. 2055, with response here).
Then we turn to The Grass Roots of English History: Local Societies before the Industrial Revolution by David Hey, as Richard Hoyle reviews a very personal vision of what local history might be, the outcome of a lifetime’s reading, thinking, teaching and writing (no. 2054).
Next up is Jameel Hampton’s Disability and the Welfare State in Britain. Chloe Trainor praises a valuable contribution both to the historiography of the welfare state, and disabled people more generally (no. 2053).
Finally we turn to Sung-Eun Choi’s Decolonization and the French of Algeria: Bringing the Settler Colony Home. Kelsey Suggitt believes students and established scholars alike will find this a useful resource, particularly in terms of studying decolonization (no. 2052).
Winston Churchill in a jeep outside the German Reichstag during a tour of the ruined city of Berlin, 16 July 1945 by Lockeyear W T (Capt), Malindine E G (Capt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//38/media-38944/large.jpg. This is photograph BU 8950 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24498201
The IHR Library recently acquired access to the vast digital Churchill Archive. It can be consulted within the library, but IHR Library members can also access this collection of over 800,000 items remotely.
Access is simple, and is detailed below, but please speak to one of the librarians if you have any issues.
IHR Library members should access this resource onsite or offsite using the link from the catalogue record or the e-resources webpage. (Direct access to the resource is only available through the Churchill Archive website if you are using one of the IHR PCs.) When offsite, these links will prompt you for your name and the barcode number from your IHR membership card. Once you have access to the site, it will say ‘Subscriber Access’ at the top right of the screen.
The optional MyArchive feature allows you to save your searches and favourite documents. To set this up, you can 1) click ‘Sign in’ and 2) click the ‘register here’ link.
There is further information and a useful Take a Tour feature on the Churchill Archive website.
If you are not a member of the IHR Library and would like to join, further information is available on the Membership page.
We look forward to hearing what use you make of this important resource.
Accompanying the Institute’s Winter Conference, the library has put together a small exhibition on the lower ground floor, show-casing some of the resources you can find in its collections on the subject of civil war.
Displays include a varied selection of sources on the civil war of the 1640s, including a range of contemporary works on political thought, including an 18th century edition of John Milton’s tract, The tenure of Kings and Magistrates, as well as works highlighting the wars influence on political discourse in the latter seventeenth century and beyond, accounts of the conflict in Ireland, Scotland, and a range of English counties, as well as a selection of civil war ballads. Imagery too is included; one can view a copy of the famous front-piece to Εικον Βασιλικη, found in the library’s edition of the works of Charles I.
We start this week with The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil war and the Remaking of the American Middle Border by Christopher Phillips. Robert Cook and the author discuss a book which is essential reading for anyone interested in the American Civil War and its unforeseen consequences (no. 2051, with response here).
Next up is James Hinton’s Seven Lives from Mass Observation, which David Kilgannon believes will serve as an exemplary model for future historians of social history, Mass Observation and the latter half of 20th-century Britain (no. 2050).
Then we turn to Tracks of Change: Railways and Everyday Life in Colonial India by Ritika Prasad, and Aparajita Mukhopadhyay praises a book which deserves a wide audience and is a valuable addition to social historiography of Indian railways (no. 2049).
Finally, the IHR’s very own Kate Wilcox reviews Pro-quest’s UK Parliamentary Papers: House of Commons, which she recommends as being an immensely powerful and wide-ranging tool for research (no. 2048).
The opening lecture of this year’s IHR Winter Conference will be delivered by John Morrill, retired Professor of British and Irish History in the University of Cambridge – the theme of the conference is “Civil Wars” and John’s lecture will consider “The English Revolution as a Civil War”. To mark this event, I was asked to write something about John, and in particular his connection with the Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH), with which I have myself been involved since 1992.
The current online BBIH has its roots in the desire of the Royal Historical Society in the late 1980s to consolidate and update the various printed bibliographies of British and Irish history, amounting at that time to over 40 volumes, which had been produced by the Society and the Institute of Historical Research since the 1930s. The plan that emerged was for a project that would run from 1990 to 1995, and would result in the publication of the complete database (which would be as comprehensive as possible) on CD-ROM, with a series of select bibliographies appearing in print. As John himself observed in the introduction to the published CD-ROM, “No nation or state has hitherto attempted any such guide to historical writing about itself, and no other discipline has attempted such a synthesis of its accumulated scholarship.”
The majority of the printed volumes which were consolidated into the 1998 CD-ROM edition of the bibliography (bottom right). The volumes with white labels are the copies that were scanned to produce the electronic data. View larger version.
In the establishment of all this, John was a driving force, recommending that the project should not seek simply to produce new printed volumes but should embrace electronic technology, finding funding (principally from the Leverhulme Trust), and even obtaining, from a colleague in Cambridge, the advice that resulted in the purchase of the MicroVAX 3100 on which the data was compiled (the machine still exists in the Cambridge Computer Museum.) John became the project’s General Editor, assembling an advisory board whose first meeting, over an exceptionally hot couple of days in Cambridge, was said to have put the project’s entire expenses budget in jeopardy thanks to its copious mineral water consumption. Steps were taken to improve coverage in areas which it was felt had been under-represented in some of the printed bibliographies – Irish history, the history of the empire and Commonwealth, and the history of women.
The editorial process built upon the model established by Geoffrey Elton for the Royal Historical Society’s Annual Bibliography of British and Irish History in the 1970s – draft entries would be sent to a team of academic editors who would check details, add indexing, and suggest any additional items that ought to be included (John had, indeed, been one of the Annual Bibliography‘s academic editors for several years). Modifying this process to handle a large cumulative bibliography over a relatively short period involved, over the life of the project, recruiting and managing some 200 scholars (including several in the USA and Australia), a process that John likened to an academic “corvée”. Recruitment and management of this workforce was largely delegated to “volume editors”, each responsible for the team working on a particular period, but John was perhaps one of the few people who could have co-ordinated this exercise; thanks to his personal and academic generosity and sociability, he possessed much goodwill on which to draw. Despite this, it turned out that the ability of university teachers to contribute to the project had been over-estimated – they found the pressures on their time increasing during the 1990s and, in the UK, the Research Assessment Exercises did not make any allowance for work on long-term collaborative projects, obliging many to concentrate on their own publications.
The CD-ROM edition of the bibliography, published in 1998, with the manual open at a typical page. View larger version.
Other problems emerged. The electronic scanning of the printed texts, carried out by Papworth Industries at an early stage in the development of this technology, proved less accurate than expected – or, at least, levels of error that sounded acceptable when expressed as a percentage of the characters involved were soon seen to be significant (I recall ‘The Martello towers of Romney Marsh’ being mutated into ‘The Martello tourers of Romsey Marsh’). The amount of work which would have to be done by the project’s central editorial team was likely to overwhelm the one and two-thirds staff who had been appointed, even though a considerable amount of “hands-on” editorial work was done by John himself and by the project’s Executive Secretary, Julian Hoppit. As a result, while the “academic corvée” contributed an enormous amount, the life of the central office had to be extended by a year, and much work had to be put into the hands of paid research assistants. This in turn meant raising more money, in which John again played a leading part – ultimately, the project involved eighteen grant applications, of which sixteen were successful. The printed selections, which depended most on the judgement of the academic editors, never appeared, except for the volume on imperial, colonial and Commonwealth history edited by Andrew Porter. On the other hand, it was recognized that, logically, the project had no end, and money was raised to set up a successor project to continue the work of revising the database and updating it with new publications. So, the publication of The Royal Historical Society Bibliography on CD-ROM: the history of Britain, Ireland, and the British overseas by Oxford University Press in 1998, containing around a quarter of a million entries, proved to be, not the end of the process, but the start of a new era; by the time of its publication the successor project was already underway – reflecting the changing landscape of reference publishing, it soon decided to publish future editions online and eventually evolved into BBIH. It had been decided that the successor project would be most appropriately based in the IHR and John’s direct involvement ceased at this point – but not before he had played a large part in designing the successor project and raising seed funding for it; in an interview conducted in 2008 he said that he thought that the bibliography was his “proudest achievement” and I can testify that he continues to take an avuncular interest in it.
I recall the late Kevin Sharpe observing that, after a conference or similar meeting, John would sit in the bar talking all evening “like the rest of us” but, when the bar closed, John did not go straight to bed like his colleagues but would do a few more hours’ work first. Indeed, while serving as General Editor of the bibliography, John still found the time and energy to serve as Vice-Master of his Cambridge college, to lecture in the University, to supervise research students, and to continue to publish on his own research interests – of the 117 items by John currently listed by BBIH, 37 were published in 1990-6, while John was General Editor of the bibliography. Seven of these 37 were collections of essays edited (or co-edited) by John, a further reflection of his skill in bringing historians together in co-operative projects. Indeed, since John’s active involvement with the bibliography ceased at the end of 1996, this skill has been deployed, alongside his scholarly insight into the 17th century, as a Consultant Editor for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (dealing with over 6,000 17th-century lives), as one of three senior scholars who managed the preparation of an online edition of the depositions of witnesses to the massacres in Ireland in 1641, and now as General Editor of a project to produce a new edition of all the recorded words of Oliver Cromwell (covering both his written works and his recorded speeches) which is currently nearing completion.
 The Royal Historical Society Bibliography on CD-ROM : the history of Britain, Ireland, and the British overseas (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998), p.2 of accompanying booklet. Back to text
 The Museum’s website says that the machine was donated by me, which is true in the sense that I was the person who delivered it. Whether it was really mine to give is questionable, but it had lingered in my custody for well over a decade after the end of the project, by which time it seemed to deserve preservation. Back to text
 Andrew N. Porter, Bibliography of imperial, colonial and Commonwealth history since 1600 (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2002). Back to text
1 February 2017, Wolfson Conference Suite, IHR
An intimate view of evil? How German Jews made sense of Nazi perpetrators
Professor Mark Roseman, Indiana University Bloomington
Holocaust Memorial Day Event – Institute of Historical Research in collaboration with the Research Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.
After years of focusing on policy and perpetrators, historians of the Holocaust have begun to give victims’ experience more attention. But we have been surprisingly slow to ask how victims viewed the perpetrators. Jews from Germany were in some ways best placed to understand the Nazis – they shared the same language and national background after all, and had anxiously observed them evolve. At the same time, they, more than any other victims, were forced to confront painful questions about how the culture in which they had taken such pride had produced the barbarians who now confronted them. How did they make sense of the “perpetrators from next door”?
Mark Roseman is a historian of modern Europe, with particular interests in the History of the Holocaust and in modern German history. Current research projects include a critical synthesis of recent work on Nazi perpetrators, and a project looking at a life-reform and resistance group in Germany 1920-2000.
The lecture is free and open to all and advanced registration is required. Register online now