French History in the Institute of Historical Research Library

About the French collection

The Library has extensive collections of French material, ranging from the history of the early Franks to modern France. There are strong local history holdings, as well as national material, making the IHR unrivalled as a source for French local history in Britain. The IHR's collections focus on primary sources, with supplementary guides, bibliographies, reference works and periodicals.

There are strong collections of chronicles, cartularies, editions of letters, political, legal and biographical works. Although there are extensive holdings on all periods of French history, the nineteenth century is particularly well-represented, thanks to a bequest from Vincent Wright.

Related IHR collections

  • There is a large amount of material in the military collection, for example extensive sources on the Franco-Prussian War, soldier's diaries and the Armées Françaises dans la Grande Guerre series.
  • Material on French colonial history is in the Colonial collections.
  • Diplomatic history in the International Relations collection, such as Documents diplomatiques français.
  • Religious history (classmark ER), such as works on the monastic orders and papal records.
  • General collection, including for example atlases, biographical dictionaries, reference works, works on the Carolingian Empire and histories of European universities.
  • Relevant material relating to the border regions will also be found in the Low Countries collection, especially the local section.

Organisation of the main French collection (classmark EF)

The items are classified with the letter EF (EFF for oversized material), subdivided as follows:




Bibliographies and Archive Guides

General and subject specific. Examples include:


General, Reference works, Encyclopedias and Dictionaries, Biographical Dictionaries, Atlases

For example:


Medieval France

This section is divided into 3 periods: to 987 (EF.22), 987-1328 (EF.24) and 1328-1483 (EF.27). More general material is at the beginning (EF.21). Each section is subdivided by type of material: General Works, Politics & Government, Law, Religion, Economic & Social History, Culture & Learning, Individuals, Other Subjects. Examples include:


French history 1483 – 1643

Subdivided by material type as above.

  • EF.41 Whole Period
  • EF.42 1483 – 1515
  • EF.44 1515 – 1559
  • EF.46 1559 – 1610
  • EF.48 1610 – 1643


French history 1643 – 1789

Subdivided by material type as above.

  • EF.51 Whole Period
  • EF.53 1643 – 1715
  • EF.55 1715 – 1774
  • EF.57 1774 – 1789


French history 1789 – 1815

French revolution:

  • EF.61 The Origins of the French Revolution
  • EF.64 The Revolution & Counter-Revolution in the Localities

Other material by period, subdivided by material type as above:

  • EF.62 Whole Period
  • EF.63 1789 – 1799
  • EF.67 1799 – 1815


French history 1815 – 1914

Subdivided by material type as above

EF.71 Whole Period
EF.73 1815 – 1830
EF.74 1830 – 1848
EF.75 1848 – 1852
EF.76 1852 – 1870
EF.77 1870 – 1914


French history 1914-

Subdivided by material type as above

EF.81 Whole Period
EF.83 1914 – 1940
EF.85 1940 – 1944
EF.87 France since 1944



Covering both general and specific/local subjects, examples include:

Journals on French history will also be in other sections such as E.9 (general European history) and ER.9 (Religious history).

Organisation of the French Provinces collection (classmark EFP)

  • EFP.1 Place Names & Topography
  • EFP.2 Works concerning more than one region
  • EFP.31 Alsace
  • EFP.32 Angoumois (Charente département)
  • EFP.33 Anjou (Maine-et-Loire département)
  • EFP.34 Artois (Pas-de-Calais département)
  • EFP.35 Aunis & Saintogne (Charante-Maritime département)
  • EFP.36 Auvergne
  • EFP.37 Béarn (Basses-Pyrénées / Pyrénées-Atlantiques département)
  • EFP.38 Berry
  • EFP.39 Bourbonnais (Allier département)
  • EFP.40 Bourgogne
  • EFP.42 Bretagne
  • EFP.44 Champagne
  • EFP.45 Corse
  • EFP.46 Dauphiné
  • EFP.47 Flandre (Nord département)
  • EFP.48 Foix (Ariège département)
  • EFP.49 Franche-Comté
  • EFP.50 Gascogne
  • EFP.51-2 Guyenne (and Aquitaine in general)
  • EFP.53-5 Île-de-France (EFP.54 Paris)
  • EFP.56-7 Languedoc
  • EFP.58 Limousin
  • EFP.59 Lorraine
  • EFP.60 Lyonnais
  • EFP.61 Maine
  • EFP.62 Marche (Creuse département)
  • EFP.63 Nivernais (Nièvre département)
  • EFP.64-7 Normandie (EFP.67 Rouen)
  • EFP.68 Orléannais
  • EFP.69 Picardie (Somme département)
  • EFP.70 Poitou
  • EFP.71-2 Provence
  • EFP.73 Rousillon (Pyrénées-Orientales département)
  • EFP.74 Savoie
  • EFP.75 Touraine (Indre-et-Loire département)
  • EFP.90 Monaco



Other relevant libraries/institutions

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