Royal Historical Society’s volume 46 of its Camden Fifth Series is focused on the remarkable contributions made by the prolific and prominent scholar of British and constitutional history, Sir William Ivor Jennings (1903-65).

A remarkable man with great influence
Jennings left lasting works such as Cabinet GovernmentThe Law and the Constitution and The Approach to Self-Government, which all remain in print despite being written well over six decades ago.  In addition a rich corpus of articles, broadcasts and public information publications, including an appraisal of the Magna Carta for the 750th anniversary, serve as further evidence of his substantial contributions to scholarship and public service.   Beyond Britain Jennings was incredibly dynamic in advising and influencing states on political and constitutional matters across the world including Canada, Ceylon, Ethiopia, India, Ghana, Maldives, Malta, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Rhodesia, South Africa and Sudan.

A unique archive that sheds light on British ideas about democracy and on institutions across the globe during  the decolonisation era
Sir Ivor Jennings also had an invaluable and substantial archive consisting of diaries, memoranda, policy papers, unpublished articles and private correspondence with major figures. Few scholars were aware of its existence and even for those few that did it was difficult to access due to Jennings’ near indecipherable handwriting and the unedited structure of the papers. Dr Harshan Kumarasingham, Institute of Commonwealth Studies/University of Cambridge was confident of the collection’s scholarly value and submitted it to the Society’s Camden Series, which publishes through Cambridge University Press edited volumes containing unpublished sources important to British history with expert commentary.   The Camden Series enabled Dr Kumarasingham to bring together various critical documents into one easily accessible volume.

Free access to the introduction

The introduction provides a guide to this English Professor’s remarkable international role and his scholarly value.  Until 30th September 2015 you can read the introduction to this volume here for free.


This post has been adapted from a piece originally published in the Royal Historical Society Newsletter.

Further information on the book can be found on the Cambridge University Press website here.



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