Oxford Historical Society Second Series

The Oxford Historical Society was founded in 1884 by a group of dons in memory of – and to fulfil a wish of – the Reverend John Richard Green. This son of Oxford (his father had been a maker of academic gowns living in St John's Street) had written a runaway bestseller in 1874: A Short History of the English People. It has been possible for later generations to decry his efforts as those of another "amateur" in the old, literary tradition of history: he was not a university-trained historian, and his natural strengths were the narrative and the vivid character rather than the assiduous detailing of original sources.

But these critics failed to see that he was, in other regards, a modernising force, an early champion of social and cultural history, local and municipal history, who saw the lot of the common people as more important than that of the ruling elites.

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