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Matthew Shaw

Dr Matthew Shaw is Librarian at the IHR

Matthew is responsible for management and development of the IHR's Wohl Library. The Library is a primary and secondary collection of 200,000 items and central to the IHR's role as a research institute.; tel: +44 (0) 207 862 8771

Institute roles

Matthew is the Librarian of the IHR, with research interests in the French Revolution and, more broadly, the long-eighteenth century. He has also worked on American Studies, the First World War and issues related to archives, libraries and digitisation.

Before joining the Institute in 2016, Matthew was curator of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century political and historical papers and was lead curator of the Americas Collections at the British Library, where he curated a number of exhibitions, including Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s rights and freedoms (2008), Growing Knowledge (2010), On the Road: Jack Kerouac’s Manuscript Scroll (2012), Enduring War: grief, grit and humour (2014) and Animal Tales (2015).

He has taught French Revolutionary and early-modern European History at Birkbeck College, where he was an honorary fellow, and is currently at visiting fellow at Northumbria University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

His DPhil (York, 2000) explored the history of the French Republican Calendar. Matthew is available to supervise graduate students in the French Revolution, the history of libraries and the cultural history of timekeeping.

Research interests

  • The French Revolution
  • The history of timekeeping and calendars
  • Almanacs, newspapers and the development of news
  • The history of libraries and museology

Selected publications


  • Stoller’s Départ (with Doug Cowie, London, 2014)
  • Time and the French Revolution: a history of the French Republican Calendar (London, 2011)
  • Historic Lives: The Duke of Wellington (London, 2005).


  • Drawing on the Collections’, Journalism Studies, 2007.
  • ‘Keeping Time in the Age of Franklin: Almanacs and the Atlantic World’, Printing History, 2007
  • ‘Emigration, Abolition and the Atlantic World in the Revolutionary Era’, Electronic British Library Journal, 2003.
  • ‘Reactions to the French Republican Calendar’, French History, 2001. 


  • 'Colonies and Revolutions' in Magna Carta: law, liberty and legacy, edited by Claire Breay & Julian Harrison (London, 2015).
  • ‘There Will Be Blood: the Civil War and the Birth of the Oil Industry’ in Reconfiguring the Union Civil War Transformations Studies of the Americas, edited By Iwan W. Morgan and Philip John Davies (Basingstoke, 2013).


  • ‘Pamphlets and Political Writing’, in the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia of World War I Writing (Edinburgh, 2017).

In Preparation

  • A History of Newspapers, Reaktion Books.


  • Experiencing the French Revolution (Oxford, 2013), edited by David Andress, and the Crisis of Absolute Monarchy, edited by Joel Felix and Julian Swann’, European History Quarterly 45:2 (2015)
  • Lydia Bailey: a checklist of her imprints, by Karen Nipps’, The Library 15:1 (2014)

Networks and collaborations

  • Europeana Collections 1914-1918 consortium project lead
  • British Association for American Studies Library and Resources subcommittee member
  • Panel member, Study of the Human Past, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal