Arthur Geoffrey Dickens

Arthur Geoffrey Dickens FBA (6 July 1910 – 31 July 2001)[1] was an English academic and author.[2]

Early life

He was born in Hull, Yorkshire, on 6 July 1910, and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Second World War

He served during World War II in the Royal Artillery. From May to October 1945 he served with the military government in Lübeck, where he had to supervise and edit the local newspaper.

Academic career

In 1949, Dickens was appointed professor of history at the University of Hull, later becoming deputy principal and dean of the Faculty of Arts, 195053, and pro-vice-chancellor, 195962. He took up the post of professor of history at King's College London in 1962, where he remained until becoming director of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) and professor of history in the University of London, 196777. Dickens was also active in other bodies, including being president of the Ecclesiastical History Society, 196668;[3] a member of the Advisory Council on Public Records, 196876; an advisor to the Council on the Export of Works of Art, 196876; secretary, chairman and general secretary of the British National Committee of Historical Sciences, 196779; foreign secretary of the British Academy, 196979; and vice-president of the British Record Society, 197880. Dickens enjoyed "a deep love affair with Germany",[4] was a moving force in the establishment of the German Historical Institute in London and was decorated by the German government.[5] He died in London at the age of 91.[1]

His book on the English Reformation was, for many years the standard text on the subject, relying as it did on detailed examination of parish records.

He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1966.

Death and legacy

Papers of Professor Dickens are held by Senate House Library, University of London, and are available to be consulted there.[6]

Selected publications

  • Lübeck Diary. Victor Gollancz Ltd., London 1947
  • The English Reformation, Batsford, 1964 ISBN 0-00-633064-9
  • Lollards and Protestants in the Diocese of York, 1959
  • Thomas Cromwell and the English Reformation, 1959
  • Reformation and Society in Sixteenth Century Europe, 1966
  • Martin Luther and the Reformation, 1967
  • The Counter Reformation, 1968
  • The German Nation and Martin Luther, 1974
  • The Age of Humanism and Reformation, 1977


  1. Obituary: Prof. A.G. Dickens Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Whitney, RD Jones (10 August 2001), "Geoffrey Dickens: Historian renowned for his authoritative works on the Reformation and encouraging academic links between Britain and Germany", The Guardian, retrieved 2 May 2018
  3. Past Presidents - Ecclesiastical History Society
  4. Patrick Collinson, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 77, p. 21
  5. University of London archives catalogue biographical information

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