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Lewis Namier Papers

Date range: c.1912-1972

Number of items:

Papers of Sir Lewis Bernstein Namier (1888–1960), the influential historian and Professor of History at the University of Manchester, 1931–53.

Namier was born in Russian Poland to non-practising Jewish parents, and moved to England in his late teens, entering Balliol College, Oxford, in 1908. After spending several years in the business and diplomatic worlds, he settled down to a full-time academic career in the mid-1920s, with a particular interest in British parliamentary history. Two major works, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (1929) and England in the Age of the American Revolution (1930), established him in the front rank of British historians.

After retiring from Manchester in 1953, Namier worked on the History of Parliament series, with particular responsibility for the period 1754–90.

The archive contains notes and drafts of The Structure of Politics, but it chiefly consists of post-war material relating to the History of Parliament series (Namier was responsible for the period 1754–90) and Namier's biography of Charles Townshend. There are also manuscript and typescript essays, lecture notes and reviews by Namier, nearly all of which ideal with 18th-century English politics, but with some on 19th-century European history.

There is relatively little correspondence in the collection, but it does include letters from historians such as Richard Pares, J. H. Plumb, and Lucy Sutherland. The collection also includes some of Julia Namier’s research notes for the biography of her husband, including appreciations and obituaries.

The Library also holds a separate collection of manuscripts and papers collected by Namier for his research. These are primarily 18th- and 19th-century documents including correspondence between the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Henry Bilson-Legge (1708-1764), and his political colleagues, as well as papers concerning French and Indian affairs (English MSS 668-669).

See also:

Namier correspondence in the Manchester Guardian Archive

Further Information:

  • Namier Papers catalogue available online via ELGAR.
  • Namier Political Manuscripts catalogue available online via ELGAR.

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