|Summary:||Includes research material, offprints of published articles, correspondence, photographs and some personal papers.|
There are no anticipated accruals.
|Access Conditions:||Most of the collection is open to bona fide researchers, though some material is closed access; see individual item descriptions for details.|
Paul Edward Hedley Hair was born in Amble, Northumberland, on 27 Jan 1926. He attended Berwick-upon-Tweed Grammar School (1936-1943) before winning an open major scholarship to St. John's College, University of Cambridge to study History. His undergraduate degree was interrupted by national service (he worked in a coalmine as a haulage hand) and he graduated from Cambridge in 1949. Between 1949 and 1951 he studied for his DPhil at the University of Oxford at Nuffield and Balliol Colleges; he also served as a student bursar here. His thesis, under the supervision of G. D. H. Cole, was on 'The Social History of British Coalminers 1800-1845.'
In 1952 he was appointed a research fellow at the West African Institute of Economic and Social Research (WAISER) at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he undertook field and archive research into the coalmining community at Enugu. In 1955 he moved to Sierra Leone as a lecturer in the Teacher Training Department at Fourah Bay College. He returned to England in 1959 and taught in Bottisham Village College, Cambridgeshire. Here he met his wife, fellow teacher Margaret Robinson; they had a son and a daughter. He returned to Sierra Leone in 1961 as a lecturer in history at the University of Sierra Leone, before moving to the University of Khartoum, Sudan, in 1963 as a senior lecturer; here he set up the study of African history.
In 1965 he was appointed a lecturer in African history at the University of Liverpool. He became senior lecturer in 1968 and reader in 1975. He was appointed to the Chair in Modern History in 1979; this chair was later designated the Ramsey Muir Chair. From 1982 he was the first head of the new department of history after the medieval and modern departments merged. At Liverpool, Hair promoted the study of the history of science and technology and taught on an MSc course on the subject. He also launched the department's series of Historical Studies, published by the University Press.
He retired from the University of Liverpool in 1992, though he remained an Honorary Senior Fellow. During 1992 he also became a visiting professor at the University of California.
He was renowned for his wide-ranging research interests, which including British social history, the Atlantic slave trade, and Portuguese and British West Africa. He recognised the importance of anthropology and linguistics to historical research and carried out detailed research on African languages. He was also involved in various historical societies and committees, including the Hakluyt Society, Liverpool Medical History Society, and the Archives Committee of the Liverpool NHS Trusts.
Paul Hair died after a short illness on 13 Aug 2001.