Cam, Helen M. (Helen Maud), 1885-1968Alternative names
Cam was a medieval historian, the first woman professor on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, and a professor at Cambridge University in England, where she was active in local politics.
From the description of Papers, 1928-1969 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232006945
Cam was a medieval historian, the first woman professor on the Faculty of arts and Sciences at Harvard University, and a professor at Cambridge University in England, where she was active in local politics.
From the description of Helen Maud Cam collection of English autographs, 1867-1927. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612753300
From the guide to the Helen Maud Cam collection of English autographs, 1867-1927 and undated., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)
1909-1912 teacher at Cheltenham Ladies' College; 1912-1919 assistant lecturer at Royal Holloway College; 1919-1921 staff lecturer at Royal Holloway College; 1921-1926 Pfeiffer research fellow at Girton College, Cambridge; late 1920s fellow and lecturer in history for Girton College; 1929-1948 lecturer in history at Cambridge University; 1944-1948 vice-mistress of Girton College; 1945 elected to British Academy; 1948-1954 Zemurray Radcliffe professor at Harvard; 1949-1960 president of the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions; 1957 CBE
British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001394.0x000352
Helen Maud Cam [HMC] was born on 22 August 1885 in Abingdon, the fourth of nine children of the Reverend William Herbert and Kate Cam. The family moved to Birchanger in Essex in 1893. Educated at home, HMC then studied history at Royal Holloway College in London from 1904-1907. A fellowship in history at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, from 1908-9, was followed by three years teaching at Cheltenham Ladies' College. She returned to Royal Holloway College as a lecturer in 1912 and remained there for 10 years. It was during this period that she began research on local government in the 13thC, publishing Studies in the Hundred Rolls: Some Aspects of Thirteenth-Century Administration in 1921.
In 1921, HMC was offered the Pfeiffer Research Fellowship by Girton College, Cambridge, in order to continue her research into the Hundred Rolls. She was recognised from the mid-1920s onwards as a leading authority on medieval local government. She published The Hundred and The Hundred Rolls in 1930. After this there were very few further full-length books but her output of articles and papers was prolific.
HMC remained at Girton until 1948, undertaking both teaching and research. She became, in 1937, the first woman to gain the title of the Cambridge LittD. She supported numerous projects, including Romsey Town Labour Club in Cambridge and Hillcroft College for Working Women in Surbiton. A sabbatical year from Cambridge in 1936-37 took her as far afield as India. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1945.
HMC was appointed to the Zemurray Radcliffe chair of history at Harvard University in 1948, thus becoming Harvard's first female professor. On her retirement in 1954, she set up home with her sister Norah in Sevenoaks, Kent. Much of her time in 'retirement' was spent on work for the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions, of which she had become President in 1949.
Outside academic history, HMC enjoyed literature of a wide variety, including detective fiction. She published a pamphlet entitled 'Historical Novels' in 1961, the result of a lifelong fascination with the genre. The study of law also occupied much of her retirement years, giving her the opportunity to 'justify a long-standing devotion'. In particular, she edited for the Selden Society the records of the London Eyre of 1321.
Helen Cam died in Kent in February 1968.
From the guide to the Personal Papers of Helen Maud Cam, circa 1895-1995, (Girton College Library, University of Cambridge)
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