Research Summary and Profile
- Research interests:
- Digital resources, Digitisation, Early Modern, Gender studies, History, Modern History
- Summary of research interests and expertise:
I began as a historian of eighteenth-century British history, and went on to study the rise of politeness and gentlemanliness as key values within Hanoverian society. I later turned to the relationship of biography and history, and undertook research a wide range of areas of British history, 18th-20th century, as Senior Research and Publication Editor for the Dictionary of National Biography based at Oxford University's History Faculty and Oxford University Press. Via several projects I remain closely involved with publishing for historians.
I'm currently researching in two areas: the history of reference and reference publishing in 19th and early 20th-century Britain, with a focus on the consolidation of knowledge and the intersection of technology with reference collections; and, second, the social and professional networks of early women undergraduates at the University of London in the early 1900s. The latter is part of a larger prosopographical survey of the early generations of women undergraduates at the University, 1868-1928. In digital history I'm interested in the place of primary and secondary digital content in how we study, and the implications of digital access for our understanding of the past. My broader research interests include historiography, and the development of the early historical profession; innovation in forms of historical writing; and the relationship of history to mental health.
- Publication Details
Date Details 01-Jun-2022 'Pollard's Thursdays: the origin and ethos of Institute seminars, 1921-25', in David Manning ed., 'Talking History: Seminar Culture at the Institute of Historical Research, 1921–2021' (University of London Press, 2022, forthcoming)
09-Sep-2021 Eliza Jeffries Davis (1875-1943), founder of the IHR, entry for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (forthcoming)
05-Aug-2021 'Advanced historical study and the formation of the Institute of Historical Research, c.1900-1921', Historical Research (August 2021, forthcoming)
01-Dec-2020 'Using online bibliographies in teaching and research'
Part of the Royal Historical Society's 'Teaching Portal' for university students and researchers (2020)
25-Nov-2020 Review article, 'The Club. Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age', by Leo Damrosch, Journal of Modern History, 92/4 (Dec 2021), 935-7
12-Nov-2020 'Our Century: past and future thinking at the Institute of Historical Research', WC1E, University of London alumni magazine, 5 (Dec 2020), 34-5
30-Sep-2020 Institute publishing in the 2020s: what can we do for ourselves?
Workshop on the future of small-scale digital publishing; with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.
02-Jun-2020 'The class of 1906: women's friendship circles at the University of London - a social network approach'
Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, University of Oxford
07-May-2020 Review article, 'Men on Trial: Performing Emotion, Embodiment and Identity in Ireland, 1800–45, by Katie Barclay, English Historical Review (May 2020)
10-Jan-2020 'BBIH and the histories of Georgian Britain'
Panel on 'New digital pathways into the eighteenth century', British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies annual conference, Oxford (January 2020)
16-Oct-2019 Articles for 'Leading Women: Opening Access - 150 years of women in higher education' (University of London)
17-Sep-2019 'Dictionaries as data: new research from digital records'
British and Irish Furniture Makers Online, Conference, University of London (October 2019)
05-Jul-2019 'Brief lives: a short history of shifting value'
Creative Histories conference, University of Bristol
03-Jun-2019 'Print, data, network, photograph: recreating women student ties at the University of London, 1900-1910'
Fordham University International Digital Humanities Conference, Fordham University / Birkbeck, London
03-Jun-2019 'Taking biography to the end of the line: Leslie Stephen's lietrary circle in St Ives', seminar, Oxford Centre for life Writing, Oxford University
01-Jun-2019 'Enlightenment masculinities: towards embodiment and experience', in Lise Andries and Marc André Bernier eds. 'L’Avenir des Lumières/The Future of Enlightenment' (Hermann, Paris, 2019), 123-38
01-May-2019 'Women's education, to the Power of Nine'
15-Apr-2019 'What is national biography for? Dictionaries and digital history’, in Karen Fox ed., True Biographies of Nations? The Cultural Journeys of Dictionaries of National Biography (ANU Press, 2019), 57-78
13-Apr-2019 'The five ages of national biography, 1769-2019'
invited lecture, University of London Extra Mural Studies
18-Sep-2018 'Oh Pioneers! Remembering the London Nine', WC1E, University of London magazine, 3 (2018), 16-20
16-Sep-2018 'The Stephens in St Ives: Leslie, Virginia and the Dictionary of National Biography', Virginia Woolf Bulletin, 59 (2018), 11-24.
01-Aug-2018 'Women undergraduates and the University of London, 1868-1928', Past and Future, no. 23 (Summer 2018), 10-12
28-Jun-2018 'Holloway and History: London women undergraduates and their networks, 1900-1910'
conference paper, 'Negotiating Networks: new research on networks in economic and social history', Insititute of Historical Research, June 2018
20-Jun-2018 'From gloom to Bloom: Virginia Woolf in Gordon Square'
04-May-2018 'History and women in higher education', Times Higher Education podcast
14-Apr-2018 'The Stephens in St Ives: Leslie, Virginia and the Dictionary of National Biography'
invited lecture, Virginia Woolf Society annual conference, University of London, April 2018
17-Jan-2018 'The London Nine: remembering Britain's first women students', Times Higher Education
01-Nov-2017 'History in an extra dimension', Past and Future, 22 (autumn 2017), 16-18
01-Sep-2017 'Putting your degree to work', BBC History Magazine
08-Aug-2017 The king of King's Cross: Henry Croft and the Pearly Kings
01-Aug-2017 Review article, 'Boswell's Enlightenment', Robert Zaretsky, Journal of Modern History, 89/2 (2017), pp. 394-6
15-Nov-2016 ‘Recreating lives with digital resources’
'New approaches to biography', panel, Oxford Centre for Life Writing, Wolfson College, Oxford, November 2016
01-Aug-2016 ‘Digital future journeys for national biography'
conference paper, 'Cultural Journeys of Dictionaries of National Biography', Australian National Biography (ANU), Canberra, July 2016
06-Jun-2016 270 biographies for the 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' (2004-16), including Richard ‘Beau’ Nash (1674-1762), master of ceremonies, and the Kit-Cat Club (c.1696-1720).
01-May-2016 Biography and British History Online
01-Apr-2016 ‘National biography and the Bodleian’
invited lecture, Friends of the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, April 2016
01-Mar-2015 ‘National biography as national collection’
conference paper, 'Audiences, authority and collaboration', National Portrait Gallery, London (March 2015)
01-Mar-2014 Review article, Jack Radnor, 'Johnson and Boswell: a Biography of Friendship', Journal of Modern History, 86 (2014), pp. 900-02
01-May-2013 'Opportunities for national biography online: the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2005-2012', in Melanie Nolan ed., The ADB's Story (ANU Press), pp. 345-71
07-Mar-2012 Review article, Stephen Banks, 'A Polite Exchange of Bullets. The Duel and the English Gentleman', Journal of British Studies, 51 (2012), pp. 483-5
01-May-2009 ‘Faces and crowds: biography in the city’, in Clare Brant and Susan Whyman eds., Walking the Streets of Eighteenth-Century London, John Gay’s ‘Trivia’ (OUP, 2009), pp. 1-15
01-Aug-2008 ‘Life on the Square: National biography in WC2’, Trafalgar Chronicle, 18 (2008), 264–71
01-May-2007 ‘Tears and the man’, in Barbara Taylor and Sarah Knott eds., Women, Gender and Enlightenment (Palgrave, 2005)
01-Oct-2004 'From the cracks of history', History Today, 54 (Oct. 2004), 36-9
05-Mar-2003 Review article, David Kuchta, 'The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity', American Historical Review, 108 (2003), pp. 571-2
01-Jun-2002 ‘Polite ‘persons’: character, biography and the gentleman’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, vol. 12 (CUP, 2002), 333-54
01-Jun-2001 Men and the Emergence of Polite Society, Britain 1660-1800 (Longman, 2001), 250pp
01-Apr-1999 ‘James Boswell’s manliness’, in Tim Hitchcock and Michele Cohen eds., English Masculinities, 1660-1800 (Longman, 1999), 111-30
01-Aug-1998 ‘Men about town’, in Hannah Barker and Elaine Chalus ed., Gender in Eighteenth-Century England (Longman, 1998), 31-57
01-Apr-1998 ‘An effeminate or efficient nation? Masculinity and eighteenth-century social documentary’, Textual Practice, 11 (1997), 429-43
Publications available on SAS-space:
Date Details May-2012 Opportunities for National Biography Online: The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2005–2012
Jul-2016 Biography and British History Online
Aug-2017 The king of King's Cross: Henry Croft and digital history
Apr-2019 'What is national biography for? Dictionaries and digital history', in Karen Fox ed. True Biographies of Nations? Cultural Journeys in National Biography (ANU Press, 2019), 57-78
Book description: Dictionaries of national biography are a long-established and significant genre of biographical and historical writing, existing in many forms across the globe. This book brings together practitioners from around the English‑speaking world to reflect on national biographical dictionary projects’ recent cultural journeys, and the challenges presented to them by such developments as the transition to a digital environment, a new alertness to the need to represent diversity, and the rise of transnationalism. Exploring their paths forward, the chapters of this book collectively make a powerful argument for the continued value and importance of large‑scale collaborative biographical dictionary research.
Jun-2018 'The Stephens in St Ives: Leslie, Virginia and the Dictionary of National Biography'
Jul-2019 Enlightenment masculinity: towards experience and embodiment
- Research Projects & Supervisions
Details 'Advanced historical thinking' and the Institute of Historical Research 1900-25
Using the newly catalogued IHR archive, a study of the development of 'advanced historical thinking' in the formative years of the historical profession. 'Advanced thinking' as it was termed at this time emerged as a central goal in the planning and early years of the Institute of Historical Research, established at the University of London in 1921.
'Oh pioneers! Lives and legacies of University of London women students, 1868-1928'
A prosopographical study of the early generations of the London University women students.
For Reference: publishing, technology and the consolidation of knowledge, 1860-1920
Current PhD topics supervised:
Dates Details From: 01-Oct-2019
A social history of eighteenth-century banking, 1730-1780
A prosopographical and social historical study of clients of the early commercial banking sector, co-supervised with Perry Gauci (Oxford)
Henry Brougham and the enlightenment origins of slavery abolition
An intellectual biography of the whig politician and future lord chancellor, Henry Brougham and his application of Scottish enlightenment theories of political economy to the abolitionism campaign (second supervisor).
Peer to peer lending: a history of annuities and the annuity market in England, 1775-1815
A social and cultural history of the annuity market of private lending, co-supervised with Professor Anne Murphy (Hertfordshire)
A new cultural history of the Foundling Hospital, London, 1740-1820
A study of the social, economic, cultural and intellectual influence of the London Foundling Hospital as a metropolitan and national site of innovation. Principal supervisor, with Rachael Johnson (Kingston)
Available for doctoral supervision: Yes
- Relevant Events
Date Details 17-Sep-2021 'Rethinking research practices and pipelines, post pandemic'
As academic organiser: the 2021 Gerald Aylmer Conference, co-organised by the Institute of Historical Research, The National Archives and Royal Historical Society.
14-Jul-2021 'The accountability of historians', 2021 'Historical Research' lecture with Oxford University Press
As academic organizer: the 2021 IHR 'Historical Research' lecture, given by Professor Ludmilla Jordanova (Durham), sponsored by Oxford University Press.
30-Sep-2020 Institute publishing in the 2020s: what can we do for ourselves
As academic organiser and speaker. A workshop co-hosted with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture on digital publishing in the 2020s
29-Jul-2020 'Writing histories of 2020: responses and perspectives', the 2020 Historical Research annual lecture
As academic organiser. The annual Historical Research lecture which this year addressed historians' responses to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter campaign. Held online.
15-Jul-2020 Getting your first book published: an RHS / IHR workshop for Early Career Historians
As academic organiser: an ECR workshop from the IHR and Royal Historical Society, bringing together History commissioning editors and first time authors to advise on first book publishing.
11-Mar-2020 Co-production and Collaboration in the Archive: the 2020 Aylmer Conference
As academic organiser: the 2020 Gerald Aylmer Conference, co-organised by the Institute of Historical Research, The National Archives and Royal Historical Society.
09-Mar-2020 Lives of Houses: the 2020 London Weinrebe Lecture in Biography
As academic organiser: the 2020 Weinrebe Lecture, organised by the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, University of Oxford, with the Institute of Historical Research
20-Nov-2019 Home Truths: panel and day workshop on family history
As academic organiser: part of the 2019 Being Human Festival in the Humanities, on the theme of 'Secrets and Discoveries'
As academic organiser: day research workshop for ECRs and History Librarians, with the John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester
23-May-2019 New Approaches to Writing History: memoir, autobiography and the historian's past
As academic organiser: co-organised with the Raphael Samuel History Centre and Birkbeck, University of London
20-Feb-2019 Digital Futures in the Archive
As academic organiser: the 2019 Gerald Aylmer Conference, co-organised by the Institute of Historical Research, The National Archives and the Royal Historical Society.
15-Feb-2018 'Home: new histories of living', IHR 2018 conference
As academic organiser: two-day IHR conference on new approaches to the history of domesticity and the home.