History Theses 1901-1970: Historical research for higher degrees in the universities of the United Kingdom. Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1976.
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The list of historical theses published here is not a list of theses which are necessarily available for consultation, since in nearly all British universities it is only in relatively recent years that students have been required to place a copy of their work on deposit. In order to give as complete a picture as possible of historical research for higher degrees in the first seventy years of the twentieth century, the titles of all theses which can be presumed to have been completed have been included. The compiler apologises to librarians who may be asked to produce theses which they do not possess and to scholars frustrated in their desire to consult them.
A brief account of the method of compilation may give some indication of certain limitations in the present list. Historians have been fortunate in that regular printed lists of completed theses in history have been available from 1920. These were printed in the journal History from 1920 to 1929 and in the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research from 1930 to 1932. From then until 1966 they were recorded in annual Theses Supplements (Nos. 1–27) to the Bulletin and from 1967 in a separate publication of the Institute, Historical Research for University Degrees in the United Kingdom, beginning with List No. 28. Up-to-date lists, containing titles of theses completed in the previous year, have obvious advantages but also have disadvantages. Since the information has often to be taken from circulars rapidly corrected in history departments, errors and omissions are numerous, and 'ghosts', that is, theses completed but not approved, may have been. included. The titles culled from these sources could not therefore simply be put together to form a consolidated list. Nevertheless they provided a useful basis for the compilation and were tested and supplemented in three ways.
The first source used was official printed lists of thesis titles issued by universities. These are surprisingly few in number: in many universities there is no documentation of post-graduate research; in others such printed records as exist are incomplete. A few universities included such lists in their Calendars, for some if not all of the period covered.
The second attempt at checking was by an approach to the library of the university in question. Sometimes it was possible to obtain a xerox copy of the handlist of theses in a given library: if a separate handlist did not exist, a list of titles was submitted to the librarian for checking against the main library catalogue. In this way many titles and names of authors were verified, but only when copies of the theses had actually been deposited.
If these sources were unproductive, a third check was made from the list of graduates of a university, if one existed. In this way it could be ascertained whether the degree was in fact awarded. The complete title, however, could not be checked, and the one recorded here may not be correct. The registrar's department of certain universities confirmed in some cases that post-graduate degrees had been awarded, and the archives of the University Registry at Oxford were consulted to prove the completion of theses at that university before the printed lists began.
The list which follows contains theses completed and approved for the degree of B.Litt. and for doctor's and master's degrees in universities of the United Kingdom. A few B.D., B.Phil, and B.Sc. theses are included, but not dissertations for the B.A. degree or in partial fulfilment of an M.A. degree. Doctorates awarded for published work and M.Ed. theses are also excluded.
Theses prepared in history faculties have been included, however unhistorical or surprising their subjects may seem to be. Many theses prepared in other faculties have been listed, but for reasons of space the number of titles in marginal subjects has had to be limited. It is not always possible to deduce from the title of a thesis the exact subject matter or period covered, so that there may be errors in arrangement. A large number of London theses were looked at in cases of doubt, but for other universities only the most difficult queries were submitted to university librarians, who kindly furnished replies.
Where possible the calendar year of the degree is given, though in some cases this could not be ascertained and the academic year is used.
The names of students are normally given in the form used by the university in question. Non-British names often do not appear in their correct indigenous form, nor are they consistently westernised. Women students who, in the process of obtaining their degree, were recorded under their maiden and married names are here entered under both. In the index of authors an attempt has been made to distinguish between students with similar names and initials. Where one person appears to have obtained two or even three degrees, these are separately listed in the index.
It would be impossible to record the names of all the librarians and university registrars who have kindly and patiently replied to queries. Thanks are due to them all, and also to my colleagues at the Institute of Historical Research who have saved me from many blunders. This is also a fitting place to express my gratitude to Mrs. Nicole Mott who has cheerfully and speedily typed the Institute's list of theses for very many years and has now helped to produce the consolidated list. Her accurate typing has again saved hours of correcting time and her expert eye has once more detected errors and inconsistencies.