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Past members of the group

Past members of the group

In the early days of the Group, academics worked alongside amateur volunteers on local records. Together, they created the journal Local Population Studies, which crosses the popular-professional divide. Research for The Population History of England was undertaken with the help of more than 300 volunteers, and their local knowledge contributed significantly to the academic project. In the 1980s, members of the Group with Cambridge University Press established a new series, Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time, which has published a series of important monographs. In 1986, the Group established a second journal, Continuity & Change: A Journal of Social Structure, Law and Demography in Past Societies, edited by Richard Wall and Lloyd Bonfield. Since its foundation, the Group has placed a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies and the importance of conversations across professional boundaries.

In the Group, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers work alongside established academics and specialists in data management, statistical analysis and cartography. The structure of the Group has always been non-hierarchical, its atmosphere international, and its ethos inclusive. The distinctive institution of morning coffee in the library is remembered fondly by members of and visitors to the Group. In bringing together students, visitors, research staff and professors, morning coffee offers not just a chat but also an opportunity to raise academic questions informally, and has provided many with a good idea, a solution to a problem, or even a new research direction. For example, the International Network for the Comparative History of Occupational Structure grew out of a morning coffee conversation.

Emeritus Directors Tony Wrigley and Richard Smith, although retired, remain closely involved with the Group. Long-serving members of staff in addition to the Directors include: Roger Schofield, Research Assistant from 1966, Director of the Group from 1974 to 1994, who remained research active until some years before his death in 2019; data specialist Ros Davies, who who contributed to various projects until her death in 2016; Richard Wall, who in addition to authoring important works on family structure and work was also co-founder and editor of Continuity & Change until his death in 2011; and Jim Oeppen, demographer with the Group for three decades and now at the Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics, Southern Denmark University.

Training and encouraging new scholars has always been central to the Group's purpose. The Group's former PhD students include: Prof. Lloyd Bonfield (New York Law School), Prof. David Cressy (Ohio State), Dr John Landers (Oxford), Prof. David Levine (Toronto), Prof. Sheilagh Ogilvie (Cambridge), Prof. Lawrence Poos (Catholic University of America), Prof. Pamela Sharpe (Tasmania), Prof. Richard Smith (Cambridge), Prof Keith Snell (Leicester), Prof. Simon Szreter (Cambridge), Prof. Keith Wrightson (Yale), Prof Zhongwei Zhao (Australian National University). Former post-doctoral fellows at the Group now holding professorships include: Jeremy Boulton (Newcastle), Osamu Saito (Hitotsubashi), and Kevin Schurer (Leicester). Osamu Saito, along with Richard Smith and Tony Wrigley, appear in Alan Macfarlane's Film Interviews with Leading Thinkers. See a full list of PhD theses completed at the Group.

The Group regularly hosts a range of international scholars in different disciplines. Among many others, these have included: Maryse Marpsat (sociology, statistics) Administrator of the French National Institute of Statistics (INSEE); Osamu Saito (economics) Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University; Zhongwei Zhao (Chinese demography) Professor, Australian National University; Diego Ramiro-FariƱas, Director of Demography at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research; and George Alter, Emeritus Director, Inter-university Consortium for Social and Political Research, University of Michigan. A full list of Group visitors will be available soon.

The diversity of work undertaken at the Group is also illustrated by recent monographs developed out of Group PhD theses:

The Group has produced six Fellows of the British Academy, a Knighthood and a CBE, a President of the British Academy, a Master of one Cambridge and one Oxford College, two Presidents of the Economic History Society, two presidents of the British Society for Population Studies and a host of graduate students who have gone on to have distinguished careers (including, in Cambridge, five members of the current History Faculty, one member of the current Geography Department, one Professor in the Economics Department and the Emeritus Head of the Geography Department).