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Bernard Pares

Sir Bernard Pares
Pares in Russia during World War 1.
Born (1867-03-01)1 March 1867
Albury, Surrey, England
Died 17 April 1949(1949-04-17) (aged 82)
New York, USA
Occupation Historian, teacher, writer
Known for His work on Russian history and literature

Sir Bernard Pares KBE (1 March 1867 – 17 April 1949) was an English historian and academic known for his work on Russia.


Early life and family

Pares was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge,[1] where he graduated in Classics taking a third. He worked over the next ten years as a school teacher spending his vacations touring the main battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars.

He married Margaret Ellis, daughter of Edward Austin Dixon, a dental surgeon in Colchester.[2] They had three sons. Peter (who became a diplomat), Andrew (who became a soldier) and Richard (a historian), and two daughters, Elizabeth and Ursula (Susan), who married Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, the landscape architect, becoming an eminent plantswoman and photographer in her own right.[3]


He first visited Russia in 1898 at about the same time as he was appointed a university extension lecturer in Cambridge. Writing and researching on Russian history and literature, he was appointed in 1906 Reader in Russian History at the newly established University of Liverpool. In the same year, Pares made close contact with the leading members of the Russian Duma. His personal acquaintance with many of the foremost Russian liberals informed his subsequent book, Russia and Reform, (1907).

In 1908 Pares was promoted to a chair at Liverpool which he held until 1917. In 1909, he organized the visit to Great Britain of a delegation of the Third Duma on which occasion he was presented with a silver punch bowl and salver with eighteen goblets. Reputed to be the products of the Fabergé workshop, these are currently on display in the foyer of the UCL-SSEES building.

World War 1

With the outbreak of the First World War, Pares was appointed official observer to the Russian army and later seconded to the staff of the British Embassy in Petrograd. Pares set his hopes for Russia with the Provisional Government and, following the Bolshevik revolution, moved to Siberia to support Kolchak's army where he gave frequent lectures to the White troops. He was for his services to British relations with Russia awarded a KBE in 1919,[4] but was until 1935 banned by the new communist government from re-entering Russia.

Later life

In 1919, Pares moved to the recently founded School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), then a part of King's College London, University of London, where he took up the post of Professor of Russian Language, Literature and History, editor of the Slavonic Review (later Slavonic and East European Review) and Director of the School. As Director, Pares successfully negotiated the School's re-establishment as an independent institute of the University and its move to the North Wing of the University's new Senate House in Bloomsbury. Pares continued to write and research on Russian history and literature, publishing most notably his History of Russia (1926 and subsequent editions). In 1939, Pares retired as Director, subsequently acting as an adviser to the wartime government on Russian affairs. He moved to New York in 1942 where, shortly after completing his autobiography, he died.


In 2008, the established chair of Russian history at the (now) UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies was renamed the Sir Bernard Pares Chair in Russian History. The established chair had, after Pares, been held by Hugh Seton-Watson and Geoffrey Hosking. The first holder of the reinaugurated and newly named chair is Professor Simon Dixon, formerly of the University of Leeds.


Published Works

  • Russia and Reform, Constable, London, 1907. from
  • Day by Day with the Russian Army, 1914-15, Constable London, 1915. from
  • The League of Nations and Other Questions of Peace, Hodder and Stoughton, 1919.
  • A History of Russia, Alfred Knopf, NY, 1926.
  • My Russian Memoirs, Jonathan Cape, 1931.
  • Moscow Admits a Critic, T. Nelson, London and NY, 1936.
  • Russia and the Peace, Macmillan, NY, 1945. from
  • A Wandering Student, Syracuse University Press, 1948.
  • The Fall of the Russian Monarchy, Phoenix Press, 2001.


  1. ^ "Pares, Bernard (PRS885B)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ Haslam, Jonathan (May 2005). "Pares, Sir Bernard (1867–1949)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Moggridge, Hal (May 2005). "Ursula Jellicoe (1907–1986)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31114. p. 448. 8 January 1919.

Further reading

  • Pares, A Wandering Student, Syracuse, 1948
  • Seton-Watson R.W. Bernard Pares // The Slavonic and East European Review. 1949. Vol. 28, № 70. Р. 28-31.


External links

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