Samuel, Raphael Elkan (1934-1996)

Scope and Content

Papers of historian Raphael Samuel, 1934-1996, notably including working papers on the heritage of East London; doctoral notes on the Victorian poor; an ethnographic contribution to Michael Young's pioneering sociological research on family and kinship in Bethnal Green; records concerning the East End underworld gathered through the oral history of Arthur Harding, criminal and Barnardo boy; printed and manuscript material, including notes, correspondence, publication drafts, photographs, slides, pamphlets, annotated newspaper and journal extracts concerning all aspects of Raphael Samuel's work, publications and career; 140 audio and video cassettes containing recordings of radio and television appearances and conversations with other historians, reels of film, photographs and index cards, c1950-1996.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born, London, 1934; educated at King Alfred's School, Hampstead, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he was tutored by and became friends with historian Christopher Hill; during this time he became a Marxist, joining the Communist Party and the Communist Party Historian's Group; the latter an organisation formed by E.P.Thompson, Christopher Hill, Rodney Hilton, Eric Hobsbawm, Maurice Dobb and others and which was responsible for founding the journal Past and Present, which aimed to pioneer the study of working class history; left the Communist Party, 1956, and was one of the founder editors, together with Stuart Hall and Charles Taylor, of what was soon to become the New Left Review; appointed Tutor in Sociology at Ruskin College, Oxford, 1962; launched a series of national workshops, starting in 1966, on topics previously neglected including women's history, the history of childhood, empire and patriotism, the changing definitions of nations and the cultural diversity of Britain. Participation in these workshops was to remain extremely popular into the 1970s and 1980s, and many of its contributors became initial writers for the History Workshop Journal, founded in 1975; appointed Professor at the University of East London in 1996, although died shortly after. His publications include: Village Life and Labour (1975), Miners, Quarrymen and Saltworkers (1977), People's History and Socialist Theory (1981), East End Underworld (1981), Culture, Ideology and Politics (1983), Theatres of the Left: 1880-1935 (1985), The Lost World of Communism (1986), The Enemy Within: The Miners' Strike of 1984 (1987), Patriotism: The Making and Unmaking of British National Identity (1989), Patriotsm: Minorities and Outsiders (1989), The Myths We Live By (1990), Theatres of Memory (1996) and Island Stories: Unravelling Britain (1997).


No further arrangement at present.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited between 1998 and 1999 by Alison Light and the Raphael Samuel Trustees.

Other Finding Aids

A temporary handlist of a small part of the collection is currently available. Please consult the Archivist at for further details.

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Stefan Dickers.

Conditions Governing Use

Documents cannot be photocopied at present. Digital photography (without flash) is permitted for research purposes on completion of the Library's Copyright Declaration form and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Related Material

Oxfordshire Record Office hold papers relating to Headlington Quarry, Oxon, c1860-1920.