The Library has extensive collections of French material, with strong collections on local history, chronicles, cartularies, editions of letters and political, legal and biographical works. The new guide and catalogue of archive material open up the records of an important strand of French studies in England. Zoë Karens, former IHR archivist, completed the work in early 2021. Michael Townsend, collections librarian, has now added the guide and a gallery of images as part of the French history collection guide on the IHR website.
The catalogue (pdf) covers around 140 items of different types including seminar registers, correspondence and conference materials such as programmes, invitations, lists of delegates, synopses of papers and details of excursions. The material gives a real social history of the events as well as insights into the study of French history between the 1930s and 1950s. The Anglo-French conferences were organised through connections between the IHR and the British National Conference of the International Congress of Historical Sciences (ICHS).
There are records for the following Anglo-French Conferences
- 1934: Paris (ref: IHR/4/3/16)
- 1939: Cambridge (ref: IHR/4/3/16)
- 1945: London (ref: IHR/4/3/18/1 and IHR/4/3/18/2)
- 1952: Bordeaux (ref: IHR/4/3/24, IHR/4/3/25 and IHR/4/26)
- 1954: Edinburgh (re: IHR/4/3/28, IHR/4/3/29 and IHR/4/3/30)
- 1957: Caen (ref: IHR/4/3/38)
Attendance registers from the Modern French History seminar survive from the 1920s to early 1930s and the late 1940s to mid 1950s and show who was studying French history in London at the time. The seminar remains vibrant and, nearly a century after its inception, has been meeting virtually during recent restrictions.