Sir Geoffrey Elton Papers

Scope and Content

Correspondence and other papers of Sir Geoffrey Elton; also personal papers including birth and marriage certificates of Sir Elton and Lady Sheila Elton; various photographs of Elton and his family including degree ceremonies.

Administrative / Biographical History

Geoffrey Elton (1921-1994) was born in T�bingen, Germany in 1921 as Gottfried Rudolf Ehrenberg. His parents were the scholars Victor Ehrenberg and Eva Dorothea Sommer. Elton's family fled to Britain in 1939 and Elton later graduated in Ancient History from the University of London. He enlisted in the British Army in 1943 and became a British citizen in 1947. He later taught at the University of Glasgow and from 1949 onwards at Clare College, Cambridge University and was the Regius Professor of Modern History there from 1983 to 1988. He was knighted in 1986. Elton worked as publication secretary of the British Academy from 1981 to 1990 and served as the president of the Royal Historical Society from 1972 to 1976. He married a fellow historian, Sheila Lambert, in 1952. He died in 1994. Lady Elton later died in 2006.


The numbering sequence still follows the order imposed by Lady Elton; the initial rehousing project was completed by Chris Patel, Archives Assistant in 2008.

Acquisition Information

Acc 1996/Nov; 2006-07/10 - The collection known as the Elton Papers was transferred by Sir Geoffrey Elton's widow, Lady Elton, in November 1996. She had sorted and weeded the collection after discussion with the then Archivist, Mrs Suzy Johnson. The collection was to remain closed until the death of Lady Elton. No further action was taken for the next ten years until the news of the death of Lady Elton in 2006. The Archivist was contacted by DeLoyd Guth who was already in contact with other members of the Elton family and an initial listing of the collection was completed for reference. Two separate transfers of personal papers and photographs of Sir Elton and his wife were then transferred in 2006 via the Bursar in May 2006 (2005-06/31) and by Bidwells via Roger Schofield in December 2006 (2006-07/10).

Other Finding Aids

'Elton Papers initial list' available on request.

Conditions Governing Use

Royal Historical Society, London

Related Material

Portrait of Elton (1984) by Liz Clifford is hanging in the Forbes Mellon Library; see CCHR/2/ELT for biographical material and CCHR/5/14 for Archive display