The First Fifty Years of the Historical Association

Classic Pamphlet

By HA, published 1st March 2009

The first 50 years of the HA, 1906-1956

It was in the 19th century for the most part that the study of the past was revolutionized through the progress in criticism, the opening of archives and the great development of what we call ‘historical thinking’. In the same century the historical approach produced a transformation in many branches of thought and scholarship... By 1900, historical thinking and scientific thinking appeared to be challenging one another for the supremacy—confronting one another almost as equal powers. The epic of modern historical scholarship is a story that hardly goes back further than 150 years.

Within that space of time, the last half-century can be regarded, in England at least, as a distinct and independent period. It is in 1906 and the immediately preceding years—the time when the Historical Association was being set on foot—that we find in different parts of the country a new kind of stirring which seems to indicate the opening of a further advance...