Green, Edward Rodney Richey (1920–81), historian, was born 1 March 1920 in Belfast, only son of Edward Thomas Green, businessman, and his wife Evelyn Green. He was educated at the RBAI, matriculated in 1937 into QUB, and moved in 1938 to TCD, where in 1942 he graduated with first-class honours in modern history and political science. His father had built up a very successful business for the manufacture and distribution of animal foodstuffs, and over the next ten years Rodney spent periods of time working in his father's firm. He continued with research and teaching. In 1944 he obtained a B.Litt. from TCD and in 1952 he was awarded the degree of D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. Over this decade he also took up a number of teaching and research positions at TCD, QUB, St Antony's College, Oxford, the University of North Carolina, and Harvard University. In 1954 he was appointed assistant lecturer in social and economic history at the University of Manchester; he was promoted to lecturer in 1957 and senior lecturer in 1963. In 1970 he returned to Belfast to become the director, with the status of honorary professor, of the newly established Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University.
Green made a very significant contribution to the area of Irish social and economic history, and was responsible for the publication of many articles and books in this area. His first volume, The Lagan valley, 1800–1850: a local history of the industrial revolution (London, 1949), charted the impact of industrialisation in north-east Ulster. He was a pioneer in industrial archaeology in Ireland and was responsible for The industrial archaeology of County Down (1963). Emigration to America from Ireland was another source of deep interest to him, and he edited Essays in Scotch Irish history (1969). He served on the Ancient Monuments Advisory Council for Northern Ireland, the board of the Ulster Historical Foundation, and the RTÉ authority, and became a member of the RIA in 1973. He established the Institute of Irish Studies at QUB as a leading centre in the intellectual life of Northern Ireland. He died 21 January 1981 from a coronary attack and was buried at Eglantine graveyard, near to his former family home at Hillsborough, Co. Down.
He married (1948) Kathryn Bradbury, an American; they had two sons and a daughter.