The purpose of the International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH) is to promote and study the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games. This purpose is achieved primarily through research into the history of the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games, through the gathering of historical and statistical data concerning the Olympic Movement and Olympic Games, through the publication of the research via journals and other publications, and through the cooperation of the membership. ISOH is a non-profit organization whose dues are used solely for the production of such publications and research.
The International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH) was formed as the result of a meeting in London, England in December 1991. The idea of forming an Olympic historical society had been the subject of correspondence — mainly between Bill Mallon (USA) and Ture Widlund (SWE) — for many years. On Thursday, 5 December 1991, a group of potential members met at the Duke of Clarence, a small pub in the Kensington section of London. Those present were Ian Buchanan (GBR), Stan Greenberg (GBR), Ove Karlsson (SWE), Bill Mallon (USA), Peter Matthews (GBR), David Wallechinsky (USA), and Ture Widlund (SWE). The invited guests who sent regrets were: Anthony Bijkerk (NED), Peter Diamond (USA), Pim Huurman (NED), Erich Kamper (AUT), Volker Kluge (GER), John Lucas (USA), and Wolf Lyberg (SWE).
At the meeting the wheels were set in motion to form the International Society of Olympic Historians. The late Erich Kamper (†1995), holder of the Olympic Order in Silver and the doyen of Olympic historians, was elected by acclamation as the group’s honorary president, with the first Executive Committee formed from other candidate members.
As of 2015, the ISOH membership roster is 450 strong from 55 nations. The membership includes most of the well-known Olympic historians and researchers on Olympic topics. The majority of recent books on the Olympic Games have been written by ISOH Members. Over 20 ISOH members have received the Olympic Order for their contributions to the Olympic Movement, and several members of the IOC and several past Olympians are included in the membership roster.