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Sons of the American Revolution Visiting Professorship at King’s College London for 2017


Invitations are extended for expressions of interest for the position of Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Visiting Professor at King’s College London for 2017.


The Georgian Papers Program aims to digitize, disseminate, and interpret an extraordinarily rich collection of materials, including correspondence, maps, and royal household ledgers.  Making this extensive collection of approximately 350,000 items available to scholars the world over, the project will transform our understanding of the Georgian period, in Britain and through its connections in the wider world.


In furtherance of these goals, King’s College London and the SAR invite expressions of interest to join the academic staff of the university and to contribute to the interpretation of the archive.


One Visiting Professorship will be awarded annually for each of the academic years 2017 and 2018 (and subject to the review of the program by the SAR possibly also 2019 and 2020).  King’s College London and the SAR welcome expressions of interest from academics of international standing drawn from any relevant discipline.


  • SAR Visiting Professors will have direct, regular access to the Georgian Archives at Windsor Castle and individual workspace at King’s College London. This will include access to College libraries and those of the University of London as well as the British Library and The National Archives at Kew.
  • Each professorship will be expected to make a significant contribution to increased public understanding and appreciation – both in the USA and UK –of the decades surrounding the American Revolution and in so doing contribute to academic discourse within the university.
  • Visiting Professors will work on their own research and will be invited to lead an academic seminar or series of seminars on the interpretation of the archive in relation to their own work. They will also be available to staff of the Georgian Papers Program for consultation about interpretation and dissemination.
  • Professors will be required to prepare a paper relating to their area of study and use of the Royal Archives and offer the paper to the SAR for publication. They will also be asked to speak about their work in relation the King’s College London and the Royal Archives at SAR events.


Professorships are expected to be of eight-week duration, but subject to faculty discussion may be spread across more than one term.  Funding directly available to professors includes £15,500 to cover a return flight to the US, hotel accommodation and subsistence and books.  Funding up to £4,000 has been allocated to support UK travel and administrative support.  The university will also host a major public lecture and hospitality for up to 200 guests.


King’s College London is a recognized hub for the interdisciplinary study of the eighteenth century.  The Centre for Enlightenment Studies consists of 25 academics from eight departments and draws on a range of expertise in the field of literature, cultural and intellectual history, science and medicine, music, languages, philosophy and religion, naval and military history.  King’s runs a highly successful MA in 18th Century Studies with the British Museum.  King’s Department of Digital Humanities and the Archival Service equally have a track record of ground breaking research and delivery in the fields of digital access and data interpretation.


King’s is delighted to be working with The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and is grateful for their support which will enable us to attract leading international academics to join the work of Georgian Paper Program.  The SAR is an historical, educational, and patriotic, non-profit corporation whose members are direct descendants of the men and women who supported the cause of American Independence during the years 1774-1783.  The SAR’s headquarters is in Louisville, Kentucky, but its members are located in all fifty states of the United States and throughout the world.


Applicants should forward their curriculum vitae and a letter of expression of interest to Joseph W. Dooley, Chairman of the SAR King’s College London Partnership Committee at by September 30, 2016.  The final decision on the appointment shall be made by King’s.

A book launch and lecture of ‘Crusoe’s Island: A Rich and Curious History of Pirates, Castaways and Madness’ (Faber & Faber, September 2016)

From acclaimed naval historian Andrew Lambert, Crusoe’s Island charts the curious relationship between the British and an island on the other side of the world: Robinson Crusoe, in the South Pacific. The tiny island assumed a remarkable position in British culture, most famously in Daniel Defoe’s novel. Andrew Lambert reveals the truth behind the legend of this place, bringing to life the voices of the visiting sailors, scientists and artists, as well as the wonders, tragedy and violence that they encountered.

‘Superbly evocative . . . With its thrilling, even hypnotic naval narratives, Lambert’s book feels very reminiscent of Patrick O’Brian’s wonderful Jack Aubrey stories.’ – Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times on The Challenge
Andrew Lambert is Professor of Naval History in the War Studies Department, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and also Director of the Laughton Naval History Unit housed in the Department. His work focuses on the naval and strategic history of the British Empire between the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War, and the early development of naval historical writing. He received the 2014 Anderson Medal for The Challenge: Britain against America in the Naval War of 1812.
His books include Nelson: Britannia’s God of War, Admirals: The Naval Commanders Who Made Britain Great and Franklin: Tragic Hero of Polar Exploration. His highly successful history of the British Navy, War at Sea, was broadcast on BBC Two.

There will be a reception following the book launch on Monday 12th September at King’s College London. To register for this free event please follow the instructions on the link below:

Researching in the Round Tower: report by Georgian Papers Fellow, Rick Atkinson

Rick Atkinson, freelance military historian, was an Omohundro Institute Georgian Papers Fellow who spent last April researching at the Royal Archives. He is researching the first volume of a projected trilogy about the American Revolution and used his time in the archives to look at the role of King George III in military decisions, specifically those relating to espionage and expeditionary warfare, starting in early 1775 and carrying through the Battle of Princeton in 1777.


Atkinson at Henry VIII Gate, Windsor Castle, April 2016
Atkinson at Henry VIII Gate, Windsor Castle, April 2016


I’ve worked in some exotic locations—Mogadishu, Mali, Baghdad, Kazakhstan, Riyadh—but none more evocative than the top of the Round Tower in Windsor Castle, where I spent the month of April 2016, as a Georgian Papers fellow. The researcher’s path to this archive is steep: through the Henry VIII Gate and the Norman Gatehouse, up 102 stone steps in the Round Tower and then another 21 wooden steps to the reading room. It’s as close to time travel as I’ve ever experienced.

As an author and a military historian from Washington, D.C., I’m working on a trilogy about the American Revolution. My previous books have been about four 20th century wars, each of them expeditionary, and I’m intrigued by the challenges of waging war at great distance in the 18th century. In the official and private papers of George III, complemented by the vast trove of Treasury, Colonial Office, Admiralty, War Office, and Audit Office documents in the National Archive at Kew, the depth and breadth of those challenges comes clear. So does the extent to which the King is closely involved in all aspects of logistics, politics, strategy, diplomacy, naval affairs, and intelligence collection during the Revolution. His appetite for information is enormous. What he knows is impressive; what he doesn’t know will help cost Britain her American colonies.

The American stereotype of a tyrannical nincompoop quickly dissolves with a little exposure to the Georgian papers. I also spent time examining the correspondence and documents of Queen Charlotte and two eventual heirs to the throne, George IV and William IV. In these papers we see the worries and preoccupations of a husband and father, and of a monarch wrestling with the fretful issue of how to prepare a prince to become a king in a changing world. I also took several days to examine the military maps of George III in the Print Room and to examine some of the King’s personal holdings in the Royal Library.

I couldn’t be more grateful to those responsible for opening up the Georgian Papers and giving us a deeper look at this extraordinary period in our common heritage, particularly King’s College London and the Omohundro Institute. Oliver Urquhart Irvine, the Librarian and Assistant Keeper of the Queen’s Archive, and his colleagues at Windsor Castle, were extraordinarily generous, accommodating, and good-humored. Not least, I was in Windsor for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration. I told Oliver that the irony was not lost on me that I had interrupted my research on the Revolution to stand on a street curb with thousands of others to sing “Happy birthday, your Majesty.”

This post and others also appear on our sibling GPP site at the Omohundro Institute.