Memory and Commemoration in the Institute of Historical Research Library

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With the emergence within historical research of the study of memory and commemoration practices, the IHR library has seen a substantial growth over recent years in its collections documenting the history of memory. In addition, with significant centenaries of historical events and an exponential rise in public commemoration and heritage events, the library has endeavoured to collect works on memorialisation practices and the influence history has in society as a whole. Consequently, the library now contains extensive holdings in both theoretical works and general introductions to the field, as well as volumes focusing upon specialised studies with examples ranging from memorials to seafarers in Britain and Ireland, to contemporary attempts to 'market' memory in Latin American societies.

The relevance and appeal of memory and memorialisation studies throughout historical research and across disciplinary boundaries, necessitates that works concerning memory are distributed across the library's collections. As the IHR's holdings are mostly arranged geographically, material falls within the IHR's collection areas of bibliographies and archive guides, reference works, historiography, published primary sources and periodicals. Selected examples concerning the history of memory and commemoration practices from these collections are outlined below.

Whilst works are distributed across collections, multiple holdings can be found in the general historiography section at classmarks E.1 and E.144, as well as at classmarks within specific collections (for example memorialisation of the Holocaust EY.095, Spanish Civil War ES.0979, the First World War W.09). Highlighted sources concerning the study of memory in relation to the First World War, Spanish Civil War and the Holocaust are outlined below. These case studies have been chosen for the breadth of sources available in the IHR library for the study of the memorialisation, commemoration practices and collective social memory surrounding these historical events.

Memorial Candles lit for Holocaust Memorial Day

Highlights of the Collection

Theoretical Works - Memory


Theoretical Works - Commemoration/Public Heritage



Selected Works From Across the Collections

Case Studies - First World War


Case Studies - Spanish Civil War

Memorial to Spanish Civil War in Belfast

Case Studies - The Holocaust



Wreath laying ceremony at Nationaal Monument op de Dam, Amsterdam

Journals, Periodicals and Electronic Resources

Current copies of most journals are on open access in the current periodical room on the ground floor and back issues can be ordered from the onsite store. Many are also available online within the building via the links on the catalogue entry. Selected relevant examples concerning the history of memory include:

A full list of electronic resources available within the library can be found here. Selected examples include:

Related collections

Within IHR Library

Material relating to the study of memory and commemoration practices can be found across the collections of the IHR library. Of particular note are the holdings within the General collections, Jewish History collection and Military History collection. 

Other Libraries, Archives, Organisations

The Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory (CCM) at The Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) is an invaluable centre for researchers with an interest in the study of memory. The centre hosts a seminar in Cultural Memory, as well as providing a range of web-based resources such as an international bibliography in memory studies, a database of researchers, and publications of original (non-copyrighted) sources and abstracts of relevant articles and talks.

Senate House Library also contains a wealth of resources on the theory of memory studies and commemoration practices. In addition, the Institute of Latin American Studies, the German Historical Institute and the Wiener Library contain holdings detailing the memory debates and history of heritage within their respective remits. 

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Memory and Commemoration in the Institute of Historical Research Library | Institute of Historical Research


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