In the nineteenth century, associations were crucial for the development of a large interest in history and played an important role in the transition from amateurism to professionalism. They published sources, historical texts and journals, organized excursions and public lectures, and engaged for the protection of historical documents or the foundation of museums. They often had strong ties to their local or regional histories. With the twentieth century other types of associations came about: that of professional historians or history teachers, usually at the national level, at first devoted to history in general and thereafter increasingly focused on specializations. Today associations are still the social backbone of civic interest in all sorts of history both for the professional historian and for the larger public.

Data Collection

Mapped in this category are learned societies and professional associations whose activities are predominantly or exclusively devoted to history and which are acting at national or regional level. Local societies were only included if their activities were of national importance.

While work was progressing, a systematic inventory of associations proved rather difficult, information for some countries and periods were too fragmentary and we decided for the printed Atlas version not to plot the results for the entire continent on the maps. Now, with the Digital Atlas, the very rich, though quite varied, amount of information that we gathered for almost all countries in Europe will be available for researchers.  

Please keep in mind that this is still work in progress and that a complete final check of all data elements displayed with the institution has not yet been completed. Therefore, for example, historical variants of the names are only given if they were provided by the data author or if information about names and periods of time was stated in authority files such as GND, BnF or Wikidata.
If you have any further information about some of the associations please feel free to contact us.


Image: Ivan Teterin, Historians’s Day at the Convent of St. Bridget near Tallinn, 1912. By courtesy of the Estonian History Museum (F 5781), Tallinn.


Further reading

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