Collection Camb. Medieval History - Papers relating to the Cambridge Medieval History Series

Identity area

Reference code

Camb. Medieval History

Unique identifier

GB 275 Camb. Medieval History


Papers relating to the Cambridge Medieval History Series


  • 1911–1930 (Mainly dated between 1920 and 1930. A few dating from 1911.) (Creation)

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4 Boxes paper

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Administrative history

The Cambridge Medieval History consists of eight volumes published by Cambridge University Press between 1911 and 1936. It was intended as a comprehensive work of general history, beginning with the Roman Empire under the rule of Constantine in 300 and ending with the unification of Spain in 1516. The series aimed to provide a clear and interesting narrative for the general reader and to give students a summary of ascertained facts and an indication of historical disputes. It was also a book of reference, including extensive bibliographies and maps with each chapter. Professor J. B. Bury originally planned the series and the editors of the first two volumes were H. M. Gwatkin and J. P. Whitney. The First World War caused an interruption in the publication process, and also necessitated a change in the editorship. Volume III was published in 1922 with the two original editors being joined by J. R Tanner and C. W. Previté-Orton. The latter two would take over total editorship from volume IV, published in 1923, for which they were joined by Z. N. Brooke. These three remained as editors for volumes V, VI and VII until the death of J. R. Tanner in 1931. Previté-Orton and Brooke edited the final volume. The books intended to cover the entire field of European medieval history with a specialist in every chapter summing up recent research upon the subject. The contributors came from Europe and America and included many eminent historians of the time. Joseph Robson Tanner (1860-1931) entered St John's College in 1879 and was admitted Scholar in June 1881. He gained his B. A. in 1882, being placed in the First Class of the Historical Tripos. He was admitted to a Foundress Fellowship in November 1886 and subsequently held many important posts in the College. Charles William Previté-Orton (1877-1947) came up to St John's in 1905. Among many academical successes were firsts in the Historical Tripos in 1907 and 1908, the Gladstone Memorial Prize and the Members Essay Prize. He was awarded a fellowship in 1911. He held important posts in the College, being Praelector for nine years and holding the post of Librarian for twenty one years until 1937 when he was elected to the chair of Medieval History in the University. As well as editing the Cambridge Medieval History he was also the sole editor of the English Historical Review between 1926 and 1938. He took his doctorate in Cambridge in 1928 and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1929. Zachary Nugent Brooke (1883-1946) came up to St John's in 1902 and gained a first class in Part I of the Classical Tripos in 1905 and a first in Part II of the History Tripos the following year, together with the Gladstone Prize. In 1907 he was awarded the Lightfoot Scholarship in Ecclesiastical History and in 1908 was elected to a Fellowship at Caius. He was Praelector between 1914 and 1918 and Librarian from 1928 until 1944. In 1944 he became Professor of Medieval History in succession to C. W. Previté-Orton . He was awarded a D.Litt for his book, The English Church and the Papacy, in 1932 and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1940.

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The papers in this collection relate to the work of C. W. Previté-Orton, J. R. Tanner and Z. N. Brooke, though there is some earlier correspondence relating to J. P. Whitney. Included is correspondence with historians and between the editors. There are also notebooks relating to the work of editorship.

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  • English
  • German

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Preferred citation: St John's College Library, Papers relating to the Cambridge Medieval History Series

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Dates of creation revision deletion

26 Jun 2006




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