Robert Clifford Latham CBE, MA, FBA was born in Staffordshire and attended Queens’ College, Cambridge.
In 1939 he was appointed as a Lecturer at King’s College London, and later Reader of History and Dean of Men at Royal Holloway College, University of London, during the introduction of male undergraduates. As Fellow and Pepys Librarian at Magdalene College, Cambridge, from 1972 to 1982, he had charge of the remarkable collection of books, prints and manuscripts which Samuel Pepys had left to his old college.
Since 1950 he had dedicated his life to the study and editing of Pepys’ diary, and through collaboration with William Matthews of UCLA, it was eventually published as ‘The Diary of Samuel Pepys: a new and complete transcription’ in nine volumes, in 1970-83. It was described in The Times as “the absolutely complete and unimprovably definitive edition […] so exceptional that it can be said to have set new standards of scholarship”.
Latham was appointed CBE in 1973 and elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1982.