The Society for the Study of French History has generously funded a project to highlight our archive collections in the area of French history. It has included cataloguing and selective digitisation of materials as well as the creation of a guide to the Anglo-French resources in the IHR archive.

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 Society for the Study of French History logo
Dinner invitation issued to Alexander Taylor Milne, Assistant Secretary of the British National Committee (BNC) of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS), relating to the 1954 Anglo-French Conference in Edinburgh. (Ref.: IHR/4/3/29)
We can now for the first time easily identify and retrieve the material for anyone who wishes to consult it, in a way that was not possible previously. We are very grateful to The Society for the Study of French History for funding the work which will interest and benefit the Society’s members and other researchers.

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.

seminar register
Sample student attendance register entries for the (unnamed) Modern French History Seminar led by Professor Paul Vaucher, academic session 1923/24. (Ref.: IHR 3/3/21, fol. 21)
Anyone interested in using the archive should contact the IHR Library in advance to arrange an appointment to view the material.