Reference numberPIF
TitlePersonal Information Files
DescriptionAutobiographical notes by Fellows of the Royal Society. The series commenced in 1941 in order to provide standard details of Fellows lives and careers, together with more expansive personal statements which would be of use to later biographers, including the authors of the 'Biographical Memoirs'. The full Personal Record provides the following separate categories which Fellows complete at their discretion:
1. Birth, parentage, ancestry and relations, marriage and offspring
2. Circumstances and memories of childhood, schooling, university and higher education, postgraduate studies
3. Appointments held, public honours, additional information, list of publications.

The format of the record was amended in 1989. Originally, records were in the form of sheafs; this style, and the timing of the scheme's commencement, indicates that the statements were intended as a continuation of Bulloch's Roll. Current records are in the A4 size format. There are details on approximately 1000 Fellows and Foreign Members up to 1990, when the sequence was expanded, and now includes published biographical information on both Fellows and Foreign Members.

The Personal Records are stored within the sequence of Fellows and Foreign Members Personal Information Files, and are arranged alphabetically.

Since 1932, the Society's series of Obituary Notices and later Biographical Memoirs have ensured the publication for posterity of biographical information about Fellows and their research achievements. These Memoirs have become an important record of developments in the world of science but their value depends on the amount of information available to the biographer.

Fellows and Foreign Members are therefore asked to prepare for the Society as complete an account as possible of their family background, their life and work and to suggest the names of possible biographers.

Autobiographical Notes are strictly confidential during the life-time of the subject. After death Personal Information Files become available to the author of the Fellow's biographical memoir, for purposes of biography and scientific history. Otherwise the file remains closed for fifty years following the death of the subject.
ArrangementAlphabetically by surname
Access statusClosed
Access conditions50 year closure period from death of the subject. Some limited access may be possible depending on the contents of the file. Contact
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    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of
    the world's most eminent scientists and is the
    oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    Registered charity number 207043

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