Trial until 29 Nov 2019: Bloomsbury Medieval Studies

Oxford medievalists are invited to trial Bloomsbury Medieval Studies.

This is a new interdisciplinary digital resource with a global perspective covering the medieval period. It brings together high-quality secondary content with visual primary sources, a new reference work and pedagogical resources into one cross-searchable platform, to support students and researchers across this rich field of study.

Specifically, the resource contains over 150 scholarly works (incl. primary texts, research monographs, companions) which have been published by Bloomsbury and other publishers such as IB Tauris, Arc Humanities Press, Amsterdam University Press.

It also contains a newly published reference work (The Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Age) and over a 1000 images sourced from collections in the British Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Senate House Library (London).

The trial ends on 29 November 2019. Feedback should be sent to isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

New discovery tool to search Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts

[Re-blogged from the Bodleian Libraries’ announcement]

The Bodleian Libraries have today released Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts https://archives.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/, providing access to the Bodleian’s world-renowned collection of archives and manuscripts on a new, user-friendly site.

The resource is in beta and researchers are encouraged to give feedback.

Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts is a new interface which revolutionizes the discoverability of archives. Whereas previously descriptions of archives and manuscripts were available in separate online catalogues, they’ve now been brought together into one site.

https://archives.bodleian.ox.ac.uk

Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts currently includes descriptions for approximately 100,000 boxes of archival material collected by the Bodleian Libraries, dating from c. 1500 to the 21st century. Material described is predominantly in manuscript form, but the collections also contain large amounts of photographic material, audiovisual items, and born-digital content. Over the next 12 months Bodleian Libraries staff will continue to add to Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts, incorporating some of the Bodleian’s most important published catalogues – the Summary and New Summary Catalogues.

The predecessor to Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts, the Online Catalogue for Archives and Manuscripts, will remain available until early January 2020 at which point we will switch over to Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts fully, and decommission the Libraries’ old Online Catalogues platform.

For more information and an FAQ about Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts visit the public FAQ document.

While you are here…

The online catalogue for Medieval archives and manuscripts held in the Bodleian Libraries is available at https://medieval.bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

A guide to finding aids for Bodleian Libraries’ oriental archival collections is in the LibGuide for Oriental Manuscripts.

Administrative records of the University of Oxford are part of the Oxford University Archives.

New Bodleian History Books: September 2019 – Economic History

New Bodleian History Books: Economic History

Adam Smith’s 1776 Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is generally considered to be the first modern work of economics, and economic history as a discipline is even younger, tracing its origins only to the late 19th and early 20th century. As a discipline, economic history can be variously defined as the study of the economic aspects of societies and individuals in the past, or the history of the economic use of resources such as a land, labour and capital, or the examination of the past performance of individual economies. It thus includes a number of different sub-disciplines such as financial and business history, or demographic and labour history, and asks questions about such diverse issues as the demand and supply of goods and services, production and costs of production, trade and trade routes, levels of income, distribution of wealth, or volume and direction of investment. But since historical economic phenomena have no existence independent of the social, political, cultural, religious and physical environment in which they occurred, economic historians will also draw on the areas of political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and might consider a wide variety of  factors including crime, education, the family, law, politics, religion, social institutions, war, science, and the environment.

This blog entry is not the place to get involved in the great debate of the exact relationship between economics, history and economic history (does any study of economics involve a component of economic history so that the two are inseparable? Or does economic history constitute its own field separate from mainstream economics? Does economic history belong into the History Department or into the Economics Department?) – without taking any sides, the History books newly arrived at the Bodleian I have chosen to highlight in this month’s blog are simply studies on any aspect of economics from a historical perspective, from discussions of a single historical person’s individual wealth or influence on economics, to the trade and industries of towns and cities, the economic situations and influences of larger regions, and finally global economic issues.

Individual economics

Economic history asks questions about some of the fundamental aspects of people’s lives in the past – how and where they lived, how they were born and died, how they worked and earned and spent their money. The factors that influence these include anything from climate and geography to political instability and form of government, the availability or discovery of natural resources, the size and health of population and availability of labour, the existence of natural or artificial infrastructure, and the development or invention of technology. Forces like these are usually understood to be outside the control of single, individual actors – but on the other hand an influential individual, be it a king or queen, politician or economic theorist, businessman or inventor, can certainly singlehandedly change the shape and direction of their society’s economy.

Bernard Allorent’s La fortune de la Grande Mademoiselle examines the personal fortune and property of Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier (1627-1693), which most certainly qualified as “un enjeu politique”, “a political issue” of 17th century France.  One of the greatest heiresses in history, she died unmarried and childless, leaving her vast fortune to her cousin, Philippe of France, the younger brother of Louis XIV. The documentary evidence examined throws light not only on her fortune (and varying fortunes!) and its management, but also on the debt market of 17th century France, the general economic situation of her times, and the influence of the king in the management of her affairs which resulted in the ultimate transmission of her vast fortune to the royal family. An even greater influence by one individual on the economic affairs of two countries if not a whole continent, this time towards the end of the 20th century, is documented by Mathias Haeussler in his study Helmut Schmidt and British-German Relations. In his office as West German chancellor from  1974 to 1982, Schmidt clashed heavily and repeatedly with his British counterparts Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, and Margaret Thatcher – Schmidt’s competing vision of and incompatible strategy for post-war Europe and the issue of European integration not only influenced contemporary market forces, but had long-reaching repercussions on the shape of the European economy as it is today.

Urban economics

The influence of a place’s geography on its economy can be clearly seen in coastal towns and cities whose harbours ensured their development into and situation as major trading centres, often for centuries or even millennia. Venice is one of the great examples of these (see more on this in the next section), but Cyprus has a claim to a similarly long history in the city of Famagusta, the deepest harbour of the island, which dates back to the 3rd century BC, and developed from the early Middle Ages into one of the major trading ports of the Mediterranean in the possessions of Genoa, Venice, the Ottoman Empire, and finally the British Empire. The collection Famagusta maritima offers essays on a wide range of various economic aspects of the port’s history, from its relationship with both the Papal court and the Islamic world to the trade of such diverse merchandise as soap, olive oil, and slaves, to the modern economic boom brought by tourism in the British colonial and postcolonial era. Rather more northern coastal cities are the subject of a second collection of conference proceedings, “Hansisch” oder “nicht-hansisch”, which examines the smaller cities of Livland in the eastern Baltic. Hanseatic traders established trading posts in larger cities there already in early days of the League in the 12th century, but the present collection examines questions of membership and economic and political influence of Livland’s smaller towns, as well as the relationship of the entire region to the great organisation of the Hanseatic League.

Regional economics

Widening the focus from the individual and the urban space of the city, four of the newly arrived books deal with the economic situation of larger regions. Kaufhäuser an Mittel- und Oberrhein im Spätmittelalter presents the proceedings of a conference on the subject of late medieval trade emporia, “Kaufhäuser”, the forerunners of the modern shopping centre, in the Middle and Upper Rhine valley – rather than dealing with individual establishments, the focus of the contributions is on the overall regional impact and operations,  including the influence of trade centres located in smaller towns. Medieval and early modern economics of Western Europe are the subject of Cultures fiscales en Occident du Xe au XVIIe siècle – Denis Menjot has a long distinguished career in the area of the financial, economic, social and political history of Castile and the towns and regions of medieval Spain, and the 28 contributions collected here in his honour touch on issues of taxes, fraud, the redistribution of resources, and financial government and its social effects in medieval and early modern Europe, with a focus on both the idea of the common good in the Middle Ages and that of fiscal citizenship today.

Renaissance economic history, more specifically the economic influence of Venice and it surrounding region on Old Regime Europe, with a special focus on the issue of economic inequalities, is then the subject of Guido Alfani’s and Matteo di Tullio’s The Lion’s Share. Comparing data from the Venetian Terraferma and the rest of early modern Europe, the two authors argue for the rise of the fiscal-military state (with its disparities in wealth increasing through taxation destined to fund war and defence rather than social welfare) as the root cause of modern inequality and social stratification. A second Festschrift, this one in honour of Philippe Mioche whose areas of interest include industrial history and the history of the European Union, moves us into the modern age: the studies in Industrie entre Méditerranée et Europe, XIXe-XXIe siècle explore contemporary industrial history of Europe and the Mediterranean region through the analysis of its main actors, from the human managers and workers to factories and companies, from family businesses to large international groups, and from mines to furnaces. They trace the influences of international and European policies on these industries, as well as their evolution and their heritage, from the 19th century to the present day.

Global economics

Finally, the last newly arrived book I would like to highlight this month moves us onto the stage of global or world economics: in The Anxious Triumph: A Global History of Capitalism, 1880-1914 Donald Sassoon looks at the establishment of the modern political frameworks all over the world which enabled the globalisation and dominance of capitalism as a system, from the unifications of Italy and Germany to the establishment of a republic in France, the elimination of slavery in the American south, the Meiji Restoration in Japan, and the emancipation of the serfs in Tsarist Russia. Sassoon’s study analyses the impact of capitalism on the histories of many different states as well as its chronic instability, the “anxious triumph” of his title, focusing on the role of the state as an “overseer” of the capitalist “war of all against all” – necessary to develop a welfare state, to intervene in the market economy, and also to protect it from foreign competition.

You can find more books on the subject on our online LibraryThing shelf tagged with economic history or economic conditions.

New Bodleian History Books: August 2019 – History of Religion

Most followers of one of the larger world religions are, or certainly should be, concerned with history to some degree, since the great world religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism are all very much “historical” religions, inescapably tied to the historical events of the life, works, and teachings of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets, Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammad, and Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha.

But even atheists and the non-religious have ample cause to be interested in religions and their history, since religions have of course for millennia influenced the social, economic, cultural and political shape of the societies we live in today. They have stamped their marks on numerous and occasionally quite important aspects of everyday life, from a country’s national holidays and working week to the ethics and morals underlying its laws, or the shape of its towns and cities with their churches, mosques, and temples. Our personal and social lives are similarly permeated and moulded by religious teachings, from the form our relationships, marriages, and families take through to our personal attitudes towards and behaviour with regard to issues such as the environment, human rights, fair trade, or charity.

Religious history is thus very much not distinct from secular, social, political, economic, or intellectual history, but touches on all of these areas. And if that was not a wide enough field yet, in addition the subject matter of “history of religion” encompasses numerous facets from ecclesiastical and church history to the history of theology, the social history of religion, religious literature, the relationship of religion and politics, or the comparative history of religion. It is understandable, then, that the new books on the topic of the history of religion arrived at the Bodleian this month, which I would like to highlight in this month’s blog, touch only on a very small portion of what the subject has to offer.


Rulers and Religions

The connection between rulers and religions is firmly tied in with the idea of the established church or state religion, whether this takes the form of mere government-sanctioned establishments of a religion, genuine theocracies, or, on the other side of the spectrum, an approved religion actually under the control of the state. The degree to which established national religions are imposed upon citizens by ruler and state has rather decreased over the last few centuries especially in European nations, but examples of very close connections between ruler and religion are numerous in both medieval and early modern Europe.

A look at a ruler’s attitude towards religion as well as the relationship between Christianity and Islam during the age of the crusades is presented in William C. Jordan’s The Apple of his Eye, which discusses the efforts of Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) to convert Muslims to Christianity and repatriate them in France during the 13th century. Since Louis is rather better known for his strict attitude towards and often violent opposition of other religions – for example in his laws and edicts against the Jews, the use of the inquisition against the Cathars, or two crusades against the Muslims – these accounts of the peaceful conversion of Muslims highlight an interesting new facet of the saintly king’s character. The relationship of kingly rulers with members of their own, rather than a different religion, is the topic of Barbara Bombi’s monograph on Anglo-Papal Relations in the Early Fourteenth Century, which discusses the diplomacy between England and the papal curia during the reigns of Edward II and Edward III from 1305 to 1360. Bombi examines the diplomatic relationships in the light of several key events of these years, such as the papacy’s move to France after the election of Pope Clement V in 1305, the outbreak of the Hundred Years’ Wars in 1337, and the conclusion of the first phase of the war with the Treaty of Brétigny-Calais in 1360. A third newly arrived study on rulers and their attitudes towards religion examines royalty in 19th century Germany: Der König und sein Beichtvater offers an edition of the personal correspondence between the Prussian King Frederick William IV and his confessor Carl Wilhelm Saegert, as well as of Saegert’s diaries from the eventful months of the 1848 revolution. One of the king’s primary advisors on matters of national and international politics, Saegert’s low birth barred him from elevation to an official post on the king’s staff, but he remained in secret the king’s chief political advisor and emotional supporter for over seven years after 1848.


Religious Writings

Sacred texts are at the centre of the three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but religions have of course produced a plethora of writings beyond these, from non-scriptural interpretations and commentaries and the literature of religious controversies to hagiographies and martyrologies, religious drama and poetry, prayers, hymns and service books, or church historiography.

Martyrologies as a specific genre of early modern hagiographical writings and their impact on contemporary society is the subject of the conference proceedings collected in Märtyrerbücher und ihre Bedeutung für konfessionelle Identität und Spiritualität in der Frühen Neuzeit. The contributions cover martyrologies in England, France, Germany and the Netherlands, looking at the origins and printing histories of these martyrologies from the mid-16th to the 17th century, and the artwork and imagery that accompanied them, but also at their roles in the reformation history of the various European countries, both as a means of strengthening the identity of religious communities and as instruments of religious prosecution. Writings concerned with religious debate and dispute, and the issue of religion and public politics, are at the heart of Peter Lake’s and Michael Questier’s All Hail to the Archpriest, an edition of the rich pamphlet literature occasioned by the “Archpriest Controversy” or “Appellant Controversy”, the debate which followed Pope Clement VIII’s appointment of an archpriest to oversee Catholic priests in England at the end of the 16th century. The pamphlets shed light on issues such as late Elizabethan puritanism and the function of episcopacy, as well as on the accession of James VI in England and the relationship between Protestants and Catholics in this troubled period. Even more religious controversy related to writing from the early modern period is the subject of Nadine Wendland’s Gibbon, die Kirchengeschichtsschreibung und die Religionsphilosophie der Aufklärung, a study of Gibbon’s 1776 The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, whose first volume with its descriptions of early Roman Christianity and persecution provoked outrage among British theologians. The study focusses on Gibbbon’s bias in portraying historical events and figures, examining his methods in dealing with such topics as Christian miracles and heresy, and his handling and reception of authors such as Voltaire and David Hume.


Religion, Politics and Society

That not only the presence of religion but also its absence or diminishing can have a profound impact on society and politics is shown in the essay collection Säkularisierung und Religion: Europäische Wechselwirkungen. The contributions discuss definitions and theories of secularization with reference to both a historical and a contemporary context, examine historical phases of secularization and their possible causes, the theoretical and practical reactions of different religions to the phenomenon, and its substantial repercussions for both society and politics. The often religiously connoted idea of “reconciliation” with a view to national politics is the subject of a second essay collection newly arrived this month, Versöhnungsprozesse zwischen Religion, Politik und Gesellschaft. The contributions by historians, political scientists, sociologists and theologians look at processes of reconciliation as driven by participants from churches, politics and society, examining factors that influence the process of reconciliation and its successes, obstacles and setbacks. They offer a wide range of case studies on international reconciliation processes from the second half of the 20th century, such as those between Germany and France, Russian and Finland, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, South and North Korea, East Germany, and South Africa. Finally, an even more widespread view of religion and politics than either of these two volumes, both in terms of geography and chronology, is taken by Alan Strahern in his Unearthly Powers: Religious and Political Change in World History. Drawing on examples from Ancient Rome to the Incas and 19th-century Tahiti, and dicussing a number of religious phenomena from sacred kingship to reformation, iconoclasm, and conversion, Strahern’s book tackles such fundamental questions as the importance of religion for rulers in the pre-modern world, the emergence and spread of the great world religions of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, the nature of both immanent and transcendent religions, and how the interaction of religion with political authority shaped the course of world history.


You can find more books on the subject on our online LibraryThing shelf tagged with religious history or church history.

New in Oxford: East India Company – Women in The National Archives – Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981

I am pleased to announce that Bodleian Libraries has been able to make a number of eresources purchases some of which will be of interest to historians.

The Bodleian Libraries have committed substantial external funding to a one-off set of purchases of electronic research resources deemed to be important to researchers in the University. This follows a project to identify desiderata across all subjects and to list suggestions from readers. The list includes items which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets.

East India Company

This resource offers access to digitised primary source documents from the India Office Records, held at the British Library, a key archive for the history of South Asia from 1599 to 1947 and the most important collection for the history of the East India Company itself. The resource contains digitised royal charters, correspondence, trading diaries, minutes of council meetings and reports of expeditions, among other document types, this resource charts the history of British trade and rule in the Indian subcontinent and beyond from 1599 to 1947.

Also of interest: 

Women in The National Archives

This resource provides access to an online finding aid for women’s studies resources in The National Archives (TNA), Kew, covering 1559-1995. It also gives access to early 20th century original documents on the Suffrage Question in Britain, the Empire and Colonial Territories.The finding aid enables researchers to quickly locate details of documents relating to women held in The National Archives (TNA). It is still far more detailed and extensive than anything available elsewhere on the web and has the benefit of ranging across all of the classes held at TNA. The original documents will be valuable for those teaching courses on: The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage in Britain, 1903-1928 and The granting of women’s suffrage in Colonial territories, 1930-1962.

It’s a useful resource for those researching women’s history generally but particularly the history of abortion, clothing, conditions of service, divorce, domestic work, education and training, employment, equal opportunities and pay, health, marriage, maternity and child welfare, nursing and midwifery, prostitution, single parents, teaching and teacher training, trade unions, widows, women’s organisations, women’s suffrage and women’s rights and status.

Highlights of the collections include: The campaign for women’s suffrage in Britain and the British Empire; Biographical information on individual suffragettes; The ‘Cat and Mouse’ campaign; Police surveillance; Prison conditions; Parliamentary debates and committee reports.

Also of interest:

Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981

This is an online collection of documents sourced from The National Archives, UK. It comprises formally classified British government documents, including correspondence, annual reports, dispatches, maps, minutes of ministerial meetings and printed leaflets. The documents relate to a number of topics including the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Oil Crisis, the Lebanese Civil War and the Camp David Accords, the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War.

Also of interest:

Trial until 30 Sept: Wiley Digital Archive

Oxford researchers are now invited to trial the Wiley Digital Archive. The trial of this major resource contains the digital collections for Royal College of Physicians, The New York Academy of Sciences, Royal Anthropological Institute and The Royal Geographical Society. For more details about these, search for the individual resources below. The trial will end on 30 September.

The Royal Geographical Society collection provides online access to materials from the society’s library, as well as its extensive archives and maps collections. Contents of the archive include maps, charts, manuscript material, field notes, correspondence, drawings, photographs, pamphlets, atlases, gazetteers, and a range of other published and unpublished material. The society has one of the world’s most important geographical collections including one of the world’s largest collection of maps and charts from their earliest geographical delineations, dating from 1486 to the 20th century.

Feedback should be sent to Andrew Kernot (andrew.kernot@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) and/or Nick Millea (nick.millea@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI) collection provides online access to materials from the society’s extensive archives. Contents of the archive include administrative records, correspondence, fieldwork, illustrations, manuscripts, personal papers, photographs & more. The RAI was founded in 1871, and with roots back to 1837. It’s the world’s longest-established scholarly association dedicated to the furtherance of anthropology (the study of humankind) in its broadest and most inclusive sense. Its distinguished tradition of scholarship stretching back over more than 180 years.

Feedback should be sent to Helen Worrell (helen.worrell@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

The digitized collections of the Royal College of Physicians of London from ~1300 to 1980 and contains a range of searchable monographs, rare books, manuscripts, correspondence, reports, conference papers, medical reports, medical education textbooks, proceedings, lectures, anatomical drawings, public health surveys, photographs, drawings, data and ephemera produced by the researchers and members of the RCP. The collection includes over 100 pre-1501 printed books and content across 24 languages. The history of medicine from early origins in folklore through to the modern practice is represented in this collection, with strong connections to the medical humanities, the interactions between medicine and culture, religion, and government, the establishment of public health systems, and the policies which govern medical education and practice.

This resource will be of interest to those studying the History of Medicine, Medical Humanities, and the History of Science or History of Technology. The archive is also useful for researchers studying Anatomy, Medical Law, Medical Policy, Medical Research (Disease/Treatment), Military Medical Practices, Public Health, General History Research, Gender Studies (Women in Medicine), Health Education, Health and Human Rights, Health Economics, Tobacco-related topics, Medical and Biological Illustration, Medicine or Science and the Humanities, or Social Factors in Health. The RCP archive stands out as a remarkable resource for British history studies in general, and covers over seven centuries of events and developments across the Western world.

Feedback should be sent to Isabel Holowaty (isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

The digitized archives of the New York Academy of Sciences from ~1803 to 2013 and contains a range of searchable manuscripts, correspondence, reports, conference papers, proceedings, maps, surveys, data and ephemera produced by the researchers and members of NYAS. The history of science and medicine in North America are represented in this collection, which also focuses on environmental history, pollution, human rights, public health and ethics.

Feedback should be sent to Isabel Holowaty (isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

While you are here…

Trial: State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782 and The Stuart and Cumberland Papers (until 20 Sept)

(c) Gale CengageOxford early modernists are now invited to trial two State Papers Online resources:

State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782

King George I
studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
oil on canvas, 1714-1725, based on a work of 1714
NPG 544
© National Portrait Gallery, London

This resource  represents the final section of the State Papers series from the National Archives in the UK before the series was closed and replaced by the Home Office and Foreign Office series in 1782.

Covering the reigns of the Hanover rulers George I (1714-1727) and George II (1727-1760) and part of the reign of George III (up to 1782), the series provides unparalleled access to thousands of manuscripts that reveal the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day running of the British Government during the eighteenth century.

It comprises 4 parts:

  • Part I: State Papers Domestic, Military and Naval and the Registers of the Privy Council
  • Part II: State Papers Foreign: Low Countries and Germany
  • Part III: Western Europe;
  • Part IV: Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey.

State Papers Online: The Stuart and Cumberland Papers

William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland
studio of David Morier
oil on canvas, 1749-1770, based on a work of circa 1748-1749
NPG 537
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Digitised for the first time, the Stuart and Cumberland Papers from the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle are now available online in their entirety.

The Stuart Papers represent the correspondence and personal documents of the exiled members of the Stuart dynasty after 1688.

Available here alongside the Cumberland Papers of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and second surviving son of George II, they provide a unique window into the world of the Stuarts and their Jacobite followers, as well as to the incumbent Hanoverian monarchy during a time of continental wars, domestic conspiracies and rival claims to the Throne.

Please send any feedback to Isabel Holowaty by 20 September 2019.

While you are here, check out other key resources for the 18th century?

Bye-bye COPAC, hello Library Hub Discover – search UK and Irish libraries

A generation of researchers and librarians will have grown up with COPAC (Consortium of Online Public Access Catalogues), the union catalogue for research libraries in the UK and Ireland.

Today (31 July 2019), COPAC was retired and replaced by JISC Library Hub Discover (https://discover.libraryhub.jisc.ac.uk/). Time to update those bookmarks!

Library Hub Discover currently contains over 39 million records contributed by 110 institutions across the UK and Ireland. The holdings will include books, journal titles, grey literature, etc. but also maps which you can locate using Advanced Search.

Library Hub Discover is a great resource to discover rare and specialist material tucked away in other libraries or to find out what is available in a library near you.

Contributing libraries include national libraries (e.g. British Library, National Library of Scotland, etc.), Higher Education libraries and some specialist libraries (e.g. Historic England Library, National Gallery Library, National Portrait Gallery Library, National Trust Libraries, Royal Asiatic Society, Royal College of Physicians of London, Royal Society Library, Science Museum Library, The National Archives Library, V&A Libraries, Wellcome Library and many more).

While you are here…

… have you considered using WorldCat, a major union catalogue for US libraries? Excellent to just find out whether something actually exists. Access our subscription (better) version or the free version.

… do you know about the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog, a huge union catalogue based in Germany? Excellent of course for German-speaking countries, but you can also, in a single search, locate collections in worldwide library or library-consortia catalogues.

New Bodleian History Books: July 2019 – Primary Sources

The German historian Leopold von Ranke (1795–1886) is usually hailed as the founder of modern source-based history and the originator of the idea of source criticism (Quellenkritik) in his Zur Kritik neuerer Geschichtsschreiber, a short treatise published as an appendix to his Geschichte der romanischen und germanischen Völker von 1494–1514 (1824). The form of primary historical sources can of course vary immensely, from written documents and eyewitness accounts to data recorded in interviews and fieldwork, from archaeological sites to artefacts, and from images in paintings, photographs and video recordings to audio recordings and recorded oral history. The later 20th and early 21st century have seen a veritable explosion in the amount of primary source material available in the form of electronic data, whether from internet pages, emails, blog posts, or YouTube contributions.

Ultimately primary sources are what all historiography relies on, even if it is through secondary and tertiary studies, but access to sources can be problematic. Source materials in the form of “relics” (tangible objects) may be one-of-a-kind artefacts in a museum somewhere or archaeological evidence in a remote, restricted dig. Human “narratives” (written sources) may only exists in the original documents in a foreign language kept in the basement of an archive, or in a priceless manuscript or unique handwritten letters secured in a private collection or library. Access to such primary sources is made vastly easier through the painstaking and often undervalued work of researchers who find and edit or document them, possibly translate and write a commentary on them, and then publish the results in order to make these materials available to other historians who, naturally after application of rigorous Quellenkritik, are able to use them to illuminate the past. In this month’s blog I would like to highlight some of the editions of primary source materials newly added to the Bodleian History collections.

The Middle Ages

Samu Niskanen presents a first volume of the collected Letters of Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1109), one of the most interesting theologians and philosophers of the 11th century. With a new edition and English translation of 148 letters from Anselm’s time at the abbey of Bec in Normandy (1060-1093), this first volume offers a fresh account of the saint’s life before becoming archbishop of Canterbury. A critical apparatus, detailed commentary, and an introduction analysing the letters’ transmission to the present day accompany the text. Of interest to political and social (rather than religious or philosophical) historians of the earlier Middle Ages is Neil Stacy’s edition of the Cartae baronum of 12th-century England, documents which detail the numbers and names of all knights on English estates held by the tenants-in-chief of Henry II in the year 1166. Bringing together all the extant cartae for the first time, as well as including evidence of cartae now lost, this edition is a key source for any scholars interested in tracing the histories of individual honors and identifying comital, baronial and knightly landholders of the time.

Rather more local, but also rather longer-term history is covered in two new editions (and translations) of original source material from Germany and Italy respectively. Karin Gieschen has edited the documents of one of the prominent convents of Lower Saxony in her volume on the Urkundenbuch des Augustinerchorfrauenstifts Katlenburg. Founded in 1105 in a former ducal castle, the convent attracted high numbers of female nobility from the 13th century until its secularisation in 1534. Many of its documents were lost over time through fire and sacking; the remainder, held at the regional archives since 1721, is here edited for the first time with an introduction charting the colourful history of the convent and surrounding area. A similarly fascinating detailed look at small-scale local history is offered by Gabriele Archetti and Irma Bonini Valetti with their Italian translation of the Medieval Chronicle of Giacomo Malvezzi. A doctor and humanist of the 15th century, Malvezzi compiled the history of his hometown of Brescia in Lombardy from its founding myth through Roman times to the 14th century, drawing on earlier materials such as Paul the Deacon’s History of the Langobards, and painting a colourful picture of the town through real and imaginary events and characters. This edition includes an introduction with biographical information on Malvezzi as well as a discussion of the structure, the aims and the classical and medieval sources of the chronicle.

The 18th and 19th Centuries

More documents that shed light on Italian history, this time of the 18th century, are offered in Andrea Zedler’s historical-critical edition of the Italian travelogue of the Bavarian Kurprinz Karl Albrecht (later Holy Roman Emperor Karl VII) in Giro d’Italia: die Reiseberichte des bayerischen Kurprinzen Karl Albrecht (1715/16). Accompanied by a commentary, the four accounts by the Prince himself and people who travelled with him offer detailed information on the route, elaborate courtly ceremonial and expenses associated with the royal trip abroad, and help to illustrate political as well as cultural aspects of the voyage and its various destinations. Returning to great Britain, an important part of the Victorian era is made accessible in the 16th and final volume of the collected works of Florence Nightingale edited by Lynn McDonald, Florence Nightingale and Hospital Reform. The volume includes writings on her ideas on safer hospital design, location, and materials; plans for children’s, general, military, and convalescent hospitals and workhouse infirmaries; her influential Notes on Hospitals; her anonymous articles on hospital design; and her copious correspondence with architects, engineers, doctors, philanthropists, local notables, and politicians on the subject.

The 20th century

Two of the new editions of primary sources newly arrived at the Bodleian collect or examine primary sources from World War II. Somewhat controversial in its critical approach to a collection of sources often regarded as sacrosanct, Jürgen Graf presents a thorough Quellenkritik of eyewitness accounts from survivors as well as confessions from the perpetrators of the Holocaust in Auschwitz: Augenzeugenberichte und Tätergeständnisse des Holocaust. 30 Gaskammer-Zeugen kritisch geprüft. The volume offers a new edition of the primary sources themselves as well as a critical analysis on their reliability with a view to possibly misremembered or deliberately embellished or understated accounts, and their alignment with other contemporary historical documents and material evidence. More eyewitness accounts from World War II are also newly edited by David G. Roskies in Voices from the Warsaw Ghetto, a collection of reports, diaries, prose, artwork, poems, jokes, and sermons by the Jewish residents of the ghetto, which were gathered in secret and buried for safekeeping, and rather miraculously survived the devastation of the war.

Into the 21st Century

Very current issues are the topics of the final two volumes I would like to highlight in this month’s blog. In his Making Climate Change History, Joshua P. Howe collects key documents from the scientific and political history of climate change from the 19th to the 21st century, including congressional testimony, scientific papers, newspaper editorials, court cases, and international declarations. The collected documents range from Joseph Fourier’s 1824 “General Remarks on the Temperatures of the Globe and the Planetary Spaces” through The Conservation Foundation’s Implications of Rising Carbon Dioxide Content of the Atmosphere from 1963 all the way to Pope Francis’ 2015 Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Finally, though it is not in the first place an edition of primary sources, Ian Milligan’s History in the age of abundance? How the web is transforming historical research fits in superbly with the topic of this blog in that it discusses the issue of the enormous surge of primary source materials in our age of technology. Historians studying the last decade of the 20th and the first decades of the 21st century encounter historical records radically different from what has ever existed before, being faced with massive quantities of digital information in materials such as old and current websites, social media, blogs, photographs, and videos. In this study Milligan discusses the opportunities as well as technical and ethical challenges of these materials, outlining possible approaches, methods, and tools, and considering the wider implications of this shift to digital information for historians, their professional training and organization, and society as a whole.

You can find more editions of primary sources available at the Bodleian here on our virtual LibraryThing shelf.

New: Military Architecture 1600-1900

S. Vauban, Traité de l’attaque et de la défense des places (La Haye, 1743). Military Architecture 1600-1900 (Leiden, 2018), accessed 8 July 2019, http://primarysources.brillonline.com/browse/military-architecture-1600-1900.

I’m pleased to report that Oxford researchers now have access to Brill’s Military Architecture 1600-1900.

This online resource contains 99 printed works which represent the revolutionary developments in fortification in Early Modern Europe in theory and in practice.

The collection covers not only military architecture, but to some extent also the military arts (artillery, army camps, siege) and military and some naval history. While it focuses on early modern history, there are translations of works from Ancient Rome and there is at least one book on medieval military architecture (A. Hamilton Thompson, Military Architecture in England during the Middle Ages. London, 1912). A number of early modern printed books were published before 1600.

It’s possible to search the full-text of the entire collection or of individual books, but bear in mind that the collection comprises works in different languages, including Latin, and may use old language and orthography. Likewise, the rendering of the text from early modern print-type has not always been successful, so it pays to browse the books and read texts to get a sense of the content.

Many works will include illustrations of buildings, fortifications, harbours, etc. It does not appear to be possible to search for these separately.

Obsedio Bredana Armis Phillippi IIII (Antwerpen, 1629), p.9. Military Architecture 1600-1900 (Leiden, 2018), accessed 8 July 2019, http://primarysources.brillonline.com/bowse/military-architect

You will be able to copy the OCRed text of any selections or of a page; you can also download the ebook, or selections of it, as a zipped file; and you can share the link to the resource via email and social media.

Citations can be saved to Endnote and RefWorks, but also seem to work with Zotero.

More about the content

“Similar to the arts, military architecture was split up in national schools or styles, so called fortification manners.The works of Busca, Cattaneo, De Marchi, Tensini, Theti, Zanchi, reflect the Italian School, Errard and Perret the French one and Specklin’s Architektur von Vestungen is an adaptation of the Italian school in Germany.

Stevin’s Sterctenbouwing discusses Cattaneo, Theti and Specklin to assess the benefits of their fortification systems for the Low Countries. The later French school is well represented by Pagan and the works of probably the most famous engineer of all times, Vauban. His various “fortification manners” were applied all over Europe and beyond.

While these works in Military Architecture 1600-1900 allow for a comparative analysis in text and image of European fortification schools, others focus on more local conditions such as Stevin’s works in Dutch and French on the role of pivoted sluices in the fortifications of various harbor towns.

Moreover, Military Architecture 1600-1900 provides insight in the training of fortification in theory and practice for multiple “user-groups”. While the works of the classical authors Caesar, Valturius and Vegetius were used for the philological study of the military arts at universities, the reality of warfare required for training of practical skills for engineers and landsurveyors in the field. Translations of Euclid, works on the practice of geometry and landsurveying (Mallet, Nienrode, Metius, Sems&Dou) were filling that gap. Although Military Architecture 1600-1900 represents the protagonists of the history of fortification, it also includes lesser known authors such as Bruist, Capo-Bianco, Gaya, Gerbier and Pfeffinger. Moreover, the selection does not limit itself to military architecture, but includes the military arts (artillery, army camps, siege) and history.” (Military Architecture, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2018, accessed 8 July 2019 http://primarysources.brillonline.com/browse/military-architecture-1600-1900).

The breakdown of titles per country is as follows:

  • Netherlands: 46 titles
  • France: 25 titles
  • Italy: 14 titles
  • Germany: 13 titles
  • England: 1 title

Military Architecture 1600-1900 is now accessible via SOLO or via Databases A-Z. Enjoy!