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Philip Carter

Dr Philip Carter is Director of Digital and Publishing, and Senior Lecturer in British History

Philip is responsible for the IHR's digital and publishing projects, with research interests in early modern Britain, history of publishing and women's higher education.

philip.carter@sas.ac.uk; tel: +44 (0) 207 862 8828

Institute roles

Philip is responsible for the IHR's digital research and publishing projects, including British History Online and the Bibliography of British and Irish History, and for the Institute's Open Access publishing programme. He also heads the IHR's programme of academic partnerships with organisations, including The National Archives.

Philip teaches and supervises on the Institute's MRes and PhD programmes, and is co-director of 'History Now', the Institute's annual summer school. For the School of Advanced Study, he chairs the History PhD panel for the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.

Philip studied history at Magdalen and Wolfson colleges, Oxford, where he focused on eighteenth-century British social and cultural history. His other research interests include historical biography, and the relationship of national biography and digital history. Prior to joining the IHR, Philip was Senior Editor at the Dictionary of National Biography in the Faculty of History, Oxford University. He was a Scouloudi research fellow at the IHR in 1995-6.

Research interests

Philip is currently researching in two areas: the history of reference and reference publishing in 19th and early 20th-century Britain, with a focus on the consolidation of knowledge and the intersection of technology with reference collections; and, second, the social and professional networks of early women undergraduates at the University of London in the early 1900s. The latter is part of a larger prosopographical survey of the early generations of women undergraduates: ‘Oh Pioneers! Lives and legacies of women students at the University of London, 1868-1928’.

In digital history he's interested in the place of primary and secondary digital content in how we study, and the implications of digital access for our understanding of the past. His broader interests include historiography, and the development of the early historical profession; innovation in forms of historical writing; and the relationship of history to mental well-being.

Teaching and supervision

Philip teaches and supervises on the Institute's MRes degree, specialising in public history, gender history, biography and history, and history and scale. He also contributes sessions on historical writing and publishing to the IHR's training programme.

He currently supervises 3 MPhil / PhD students  who are researching the London Foundling Hospital, 1730-1820; the market for annuity loans and personal lending in England, 1775-1815; and the private client base of West End banks, 1670-1780.

Philip welcomes enquiries from prospective MPhil / PhD students in the fields of: eighteenth-century social history; late nineteenth-century / early twentieth-century publishing and structures of knowledge; and the early history of the IHR and historical research.

Philip's wider academic activities

Since 2017 Philip has been an associate editor for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and an associate member of the Oxford history faculty. He is a member of the editorial board for the Royal Historical Society's 'New Historical Perspectives' Open Access books series, and of the advisory group for University of London Press. He is also a Project Board member for the Furniture History Society's British and Irish Furniture Makers Online.

With colleagues from the RHA and TNA, he is responsible for the annual Aylmer Seminar for historians and archives, held at The National Archives. In 2019 he joined the library and archives committee of the Goldsmiths' Company, London.

Philip has appeared on a number of national and regional radio programmes to discuss the topic of historical biography, and has written for the THE, History Today and BBC History Magazine.

Selected publications

  • (with Jonathan Blaney), 'The class of 1906: women's friendship circles at the University of London', in Charlotte Berry and Esther Lewis eds. Negotiating Networks. Social Network Analysis in Social and Economic History (University of London Press, forthcoming)
  • Articles for 'Leading Women: Opening Access - 150 years of women in higher education' (University of London, 2019)
  • ‘Enlightenment masculinities: towards embodiment and experience’, in Lise Andries and Marc André Bernier eds., L’Avenir des Lumières/The Future of Enlightenment (Hermann, Paris, 2019), 123-38.
  • What is national biography for? Dictionaries and digital history’, in Karen Fox ed., True Biographies of Nations: Cultural Journeys of Dictionaries of National Biography (ANU Press, 2019), 57-78 [available Open Access]
  • 'The Stephens in St Ives: Leslie, Virginia and the Dictionary of National Biography', Virginia Woolf Bulletin, 59 (Sept. 2018), 11-24.
  • 'Historical biography and British History Online' (2016)
  • 200 biographical and group entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2016), including Richard ‘Beau’ Nash (1674-1762), master of ceremonies, and the Kit-Cat Club (c.1696-1720).
  • ‘Digital opportunities for national biography: the Oxford DNB online, 2005-12', in The Australian National Biography: the first 50 years, ed. by Melanie Nolan (ANU Press, 2013), 345-71 [available Open Access]
  • ‘Faces and crowds: biography in the city’, in Clare Brant and Susan Whyman eds., Walking the Streets of Eighteenth-Century London, John Gay’s ‘Trivia’ (OUP, 2009), 1-17
  • ‘Life on the Square: National biography in WC2’, Trafalgar Chronicle, 18 (2008), 264–71
  • ‘Tears and the man’, in Barbara Taylor and Sarah Knott eds., Women, Gender and Enlightenment (Palgrave, 2005), 156-73
  • ‘Polite ‘persons’: character, biography and the gentleman’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th ser, vol. 12 (CUP, 2002), 333-54
  • Men and the Emergence of Polite Society, Britain 1660-1800 (Longman, 2001), 250 pp.
  • ‘James Boswell’s manliness’, in Tim Hitchcock and Michele Cohen eds., English Masculinities, 1660-1800 (Longman, 1999), 111-30
  • ‘Men about town’, in Hannah Barker and Elaine Chalus ed., Gender in Eighteenth-Century England (Longman, 1998), 31-57
  • ‘An effeminate or efficient nation? Masculinity and eighteenth-century social documentary’, Textual Practice, 11 (1997), 429-43

Article peer and book reviews for the American Historical Review, British Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies, English Historical Review, Historical Research, History Today, Journal of British Studies, Journal of Modern History, Rethinking History and Reviews in History (to 2020). Philip has also written articles for Ancestry, BBC History Magazine, History Today, the IHR's Past and Future, Royal Historical Society newsletters, Times Higher Education and the University of London's annual review.

Recent presentations and events

  • 'The class of 1906: women's friendship circles at the University of London -- a social network approach', Oxford Centre for Life Writing, Oxford University (June 2020)
  • 'BBIH and the histories of Georgian Britain': panel on 'New digital pathways into the eighteenth century', British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies annual conference, Oxford (January 2020)
  • 'Home truths: new approaches to family history', with Raphael Samuel History Centre and London Metropolitan Archives, part of the 2019 Being Human festival (November 2019)
  • 'Dictionaries as data: new research from digital records', British and Irish Furniture Makers Online, Conference, University of London (October 2019)
  • 'Is a short life a good life? Brevity in historical biography', Creative Histories conference, University of Bristol (July 2019)
  • 'Enhancing digital research projects: linked data', Prince Albert Digitisation Project Workshop, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (June 2019)
  • 'Print, data, network, photograph: recreating women student ties at the University of London, 1900-1910', Fordham University International Symposium on Digital Scholarship, Fordham University, NY / Birkbeck, University of London (June 2019)
  • 'New approaches to writing history', panel, Birkbeck, University of London (May 2019)
  • 'The five ages of national biography, 1769-2019', invited lecture, University of London Extra Mural Studies (April 2019)
  • 'Holloway and history: London undergraduates and their networks', Negotiating Networks conference, IHR, London (July 2018)
  • 'Virginia Woolf in Gordon Square', University of London Open Gardens Weekend (June 2018)
  • 'The Stephens in St Ives: Leslie, Virginia and the Dictionary of National Biography', invited lecture, Virginia Woolf Society annual conference, University of London (April 2018)
  • ‘Recreating lives with digital resources’, Oxford Centre for Life Writing, Wolfson College, Oxford (Nov. 2016) 
  • ‘Digital futures for national biography’, ‘Cultural Journeys of Dictionaries of National Biography’, conference, Australian National University, Canberra (July 2016) 

Philip's recent blog posts