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The Société de l'Histoire de France (SHF) was established on 21 December 1833 at the instigation of the French minister for Public Instruction, François Guizot, in order to contribute to the renewal of historical scholarship. On 31 July 1851 it was approved by President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte as being of public interest. For almost two centuries, the SHF has been one of the main forces in the publishing of texts and documents on French history. Many leading French historians of the 19th and 20th centuries have been elected to its annual presidency. Its field was initially limited to the period before 1789, but the SHF later absorbed the Société d'Histoire Contemporaine (1927).

Its series of critical editions and its periodicals (Bulletin and Annuaire, combined since 1863 under the title Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de France) amount to over 500 volumes, a unique treasury of historical source material: mainly chronicles, memoirs, journals and letters, but also other documents such as financial or judicial records. A large proportion of all volumes published up to 1940 are now freely accessible online.

The SHF gathers twice yearly for a lecture on a historical topic and, on occasions, holds conferences for a wider audience.

Membership is open to both professional historians and serious amateurs interested in supporting and taking part in our activities. Candidates are presented for election to the Council by an active member. Members receive all new publications in addition to invitations for lectures and conferences. The annual fee (50 €) is our main source of income and goes almost entirely to the printing of new volumes.

Among other resources, this website, launched in 2005, provides the complete catalogue of publications (with links to all titles accessible of available online) and a general index of articles and documents published in the Annuaire-Bulletin from 1911 to the present.