New: US Department of State documents relating to Middle and Near Eastern affairs

Thanks to our colleagues, Oxford researchers now have access to 5 new databases providing accesss to important source materials for Middle and Near Eastern history in the 19th and 20th centuries. The sources are all drawn from the US Department of State so obviously present an interpretation of affairs from a US perspective. On the other, and by virtue of being in English language, this source material is easily accessible to those without the requisite linguistic skills.

These resources are useful to those researching:

  • the history of many Middle and Near Eastern countries, incl. internal and foreign affairs, economic and social history with US commentary.
  • Arab foreign policy and diplomatic relations
  • Arab-Israeli relations, Palestine conflict
  • the history of US diplomatic and foreign policy, foreign relations and the organisation and management of the diplomatic service.
  • the support by the Department of State given to US citizens living or travelling in the Middle and Near East.
  • the foreign policy of other Western powers
  • Western colonisation and de-colonisation of the Middle and Near East
  • Military history, Suez Canal Crisis 1956, etc.
  • Christian-Muslim relations and conflict
  • Biographical details of Middle and Near Eastern politicians, officials, political or religious activities.

The countries include Aden, Egpt, Iraq, Libya and Persian Gulf States and Yemen.

The records from the US Department typically include correspondence, field reports, intelligence reports, agents’ diaries, memos, dispatches, minutes, maps, and newspaper excerpts. They provide much insight and a huge amount of detail on people, events and places. They help to understand the development of foreign policy and read of frank and the confidential exchanges of views and thoughts between US officials.

Cover page from the American Consulate in Port Said, dated 7 Jan 1955, noting the enclosure of the dispatch of a compendium of biographic information on leading personalities in the Suez Canal Zone and the Sinai Peninsula.

Central File: Decimal File 774.521, Internal Political And National Defense Affairs., National Defense Affairs. Army, Navy And Air. (General)., Intelligence Activities. Subversive Activities., Biographical Data. (** Nationality Of Individual). January 7, 1955 – November 13, 1957. MS, Egypt: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1853-1962: Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs of Egypt (Decimal Files 774, 874, and 974), 1955-1959. National Archives (United States). Archives Unbound (accessed August 17, 2023). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/SC5111706452/GDSC?u=oxford&sid=bookmark-GDSC&xid=a51625b1&pg=2.

In many instances, the documents include verbatim records of meetings and discussions, or transcripts from local or regional media. Digitised documents have captured handwritten or typed annotations and official stamps.

Typed list of Arab names with brief biographical details. 'Abed, Muhammed: wa'ez [sic] of the Canal. Prominent religious figure. Effective speaker of the old school. Tall, well set up. About 55. Used at most public gatherings in Port Said.

Central File: Decimal File 774.521, Internal Political And National Defense Affairs., National Defense Affairs. Army, Navy And Air. (General)., Intelligence Activities. Subversive Activities., Biographical Data. (** Nationality Of Individual). January 7, 1955 – November 13, 1957, p2. MS, Egypt: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1853-1962: Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs of Egypt (Decimal Files 774, 874, and 974), 1955-1959. National Archives (United States). Archives Unbound (accessed August 17, 2023). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/SC5111706452/GDSC?u=oxford&sid=bookmark-GDSC&xid=a51625b1&pg=2.

1. Aden: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1880-1906 (Archives Unbound)

Aden’s strategic location long made it a strategic asset. The British captured Aden in 1839, and it served as a key port on the route from the Mediterranean to India via the Suez Canal. The documents in this collection are sourced from the Central Files of the General Records of the Department of State. The records are under the jurisdiction of the Legislative and Diplomatic Branch of the Civil Archives, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

2. Egypt: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1853-1962 (Archives Unbound)

This archive covers Egypt from the years before the opening of the Suez Canal through the era of British domination, Egyptian nationalism, and independence. The documents are sourced from the Central Files of the General Records of the Department of State. The records are under the jurisdiction of the Legislative and Diplomatic Branch of the Civil Archives, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

3. Iraq: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1888-1944 (Archives Unbound)

Iraq, from Ottoman rule through British colonial occupation and independence, is treated here from the perspective of the United States. The documents are sourced from the Central Files of the General Records of the Department of State. The records are under the jurisdiction of the Legislative and Diplomatic Branch of the Civil Archives, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

4. Libya: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1796-1885 (Archives Unbound)

This archive documents the American consulate in Tripoli. Included here are correspondences of Secretary of State James Madison during the Tripolitan War, 1801-1805, between the United States and the piratical North African Barbary States. Handwritten correspondences from Secretary of State William H. Seward in the Lincoln Administration, relating to the opening of the port of New Orleans in 1862, and exchanges from Secretary of State James G. Blaine, in the Garfield Administration, make this a rich resource in U.S. diplomatic history. The collection is sourced from the Central Files of the General Records of the Department of State. The records are under the jurisdiction of the Legislative and Diplomatic Branch of the Civil Archives, National Archives and Records Administration,

5. Persian Gulf States and Yemen, The, 1950-1959 (Archives Unbound)

This Archives Unbound collection of U.S. State Department Central Classified Files relating to the internal affairs of the Persian Gulf states and Yemen, contains a wide range of materials from U.S. diplomats.

These documents highlight the structure and activities of the Persian Gulf States’ and Yemen’s political system, government, judiciary, laws, military, customs, economy, finance, agriculture, natural resources, industry, communications, and media. Because of the broad scope of these records, they both supplement and complement the coverage offered by the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States series.

While you are here, you may also be interested in:

Do you want to know which other resources are useful for your study? Check out our LibGuides:

Useful Oxford Libraries and subject specialists:

New: Napoleon – Letters and Papers: Sources of a Family

The homepage of the resource, showing a brief introduction and a search box. The introduction reads: "About this database There is hardly any other family who influenced European history between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries as much as the Bonapartes did. From the French Revolution to the Treaty of Versailles, the members of this family influenced all spheres of public and private life in politics, art, literature, science, administration, the military, and even landscaping. To this end, they corresponded in writing with all important contemporaries. "Calling all Napoleon researchers and 19th century French historians! You will be pleased to know that a major resource Napoleon – Letters and Papers: Sources of a Family is available as an Open Access resource.

This database, published by de Gruyter, provides access to the Bonaparte family’s autographs and correspondence. It is a valuable source for the study of French and European history, science, and intellectual attitudes from the late 18th century to the early 20th century.

The project will at first publish the correspondence of Prince Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (who would later become Emperor Napoleon III) until 1838, thereby covering the period that the Bonaparte-de Beauharnais family spent in exile at Lake Constance. A 2023 database update will contain his correspondence until 1873. The database will, for the first time, compile his surviving autographs into a collection that will make it possible to reinterpret the emperor’s personality and biography.

Future plans include adding digitised letter and papers of:

  • Hortense de Beauharnais (launch planned for 2024)
  • Eugène de Beauharnais-von Leuchtenberg (launch planned for 2025)
  • Joséphine de Beauharnais (launch planned for 2026)

(Information has been taken from Overview.)

Image of the transcribed letter on the left with the manuscript letter on the right. The snippet reads: "Londres le 30 Juin 1831 Mon cher Général, Je vous remercie bien de votre aimable lettre. J’ai été enchanté d’apprendre que la Duchesse de Frioul avait uni son sort au vôtre, et comme j’ai une tendre vénération et un véritable attachement pour elle, et que j’éprouve pour vous une sincère amitié, je ne sais qui je dois féliciter davantage ; ou le Général Fabvier d’avoir épousé la Duchesse de Frioul, ou la Duchesse de Frioul d’avoir épousé le Général Fabvier. "

“Londres le 30 Juin 1831 […]” In Napoleon – Letters and Papers edited by Christina Egli and Dominik Gügel. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2023. https://www.degruyter.com/database/NAPO/entry/nt_18300630_a/html

You can search full-text or browse the resource in various ways, including by place and person. Most of the letters will be in French. The correspondence stretches across Europe, esp. Germany, Switzerland, Italy and England.

The letters are transcribed and can be viewed side-by-side with the digitised manuscript letter.

Biographical annotations helpfully identify people mentioned, even if they used an alias.

While you are here, you might also be interrested in:

New: China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West, Part I: 1815–1881

Landing page of the resource with a searhc box and a thumbnail image of a historical map of China.Oxford researchers now have access to China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West, Part I: 1815-1881.

This database is an essential primary source archive for researching the internal politics of China and Britain, their relationship, and the relationships between other Western powers keen to benefit from the growing trading ports of the Far East. The sources are all in English.

Digitized in two parts from the FO 17 series of British Foreign Office Files (The National Archives, UK) Part 1 of Imperial China and the West provides General Correspondence relating to China from 1815–1881. The FO 17 series provides a vast and significant resource for researching every aspect of Anglo-Chinese relations during the nineteenth century, ranging from diplomacy and war, to trade, piracy, riots and rebellions within China, international law, treaty ports and informal empire, transnational emigration, and translation and cross-cultural communication.

Start of a letter from Sir Henry Pottinger, written 5 Jan 1844, on the subject of British opium. The letter mentions that a report is enclised,.

From Sir Henry Pottinger. MSS: FO 17/78 5.Jan 1844. China and the Modern World, Gale/ Cengage

This archive is comprised of material digitized from collections held by The National Archives (Kew):

These hand-written documents have been opened up to scholars with the use of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology. The manuscripts are fully searchable and you can see the transcript together with the original manuscript.

While you are here, you might also be interested in…

New: C19: The Nineteenth Century Index

Landing page of the resource, showing the search box, and various images in the background, such as Napoleon and Jane Austen.Oxford researchers now have access to C19: The Nineteenth Century Index.

This database is a bibliographic resource for 19th century research, comprising tens of millions of records and providing integrated access to finding aids for books, periodicals, official publications, newspapers, archives, and reference material.

Where do the citations in C19 come from?

The 25 million+ records in C19 Index to date are from the following sources:

  • American Periodicals
  • The “Bookman” Directory of Booksellers, Publishers and Authors
  • British Periodicals
  • Cotgreave’s Index
  • Cumulative Index to Niles’ Register 1811–1849
  • Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism
  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
  • An Index to Legal Periodical Literature
  • The Nineteenth Century
  • Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue
  • Palmer’s Index to The Times
  • Periodicals Index Online
  • Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature
  • Proceedings of the Old Bailey
  • Stead’s Index to Periodical Literature
  • The U.S. Serial Set
  • The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900 (previously held as a separate database)

Searching

Users can query its component indexes simultaneously or can conduct more detailed research using search pages for specific indexes or content types.

How do I find the full-text?

Once you have found a citation, you can then locate the full-text in SOLO. Archive.org and HathiTrust are also good resources to find out-of-copyright 19th century publications.

New: Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History

We are delighted to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History.

It is a fascinating collection of wide-ranging materials drawing on the collections of the  Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University), the pre-eminent library for the study of American women. Its collections include the papers of Susan B. Anthony, Julia Child, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Amelia Earhart, Betty Friedan, Pauli Murray, Adrienne Rich and other notable women.

This resource brings together hundreds of accounts by women of their travels across the globe from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. Students and researchers will find sources covering a variety of topics, including architecture, art, the British Empire, climate, customs, exploration, family life, housing, industry, language, monuments, mountains, natural history, politics and diplomacy, race, religion, science, shopping and war.

Sources

A wide variety of forms of travel writing are included, ranging from unique manuscripts, diaries and correspondence to drawings, guidebooks and photographs. The resource also includes a gallery with hundreds of items of visual material, including postcards, sketches photographs and even passports.

Image of 2 pages of Edna McKinnon's American passport, showing her deatils such as name, date of birt, etc and showing a passport photo.

Time period covered

A broad time period is covered. The earliest document is a letter from Lucretia Goddard to her cousin describing the wedding of Mehetable May Dawes to Samuel Goddard on 30 September 1818, after which the Goddards went to England for nine years, living initially in Liverpool and then in Manchester. The latest documents are Ida Pruitt’s notes and correspondence from the early 1970s concerning her visits to China.

What will you discover?

The sources can also be used to examine the variety of motivations for travel, including tourism, work, exploration, missionary activities and pilgrimages: accounts range from the first trip of a young student abroad to the spiritual journey of a retired woman seeking enlightenment.

Voyages by rail, road, sea and air are all covered, as are walking, cycling and even a journey by stagecoach. Some items are relatively brief, such as a record of a car journey when cars were relatively new, which records the places that were passed through, the weather and the road conditions. Others are daily journals which describe long tours of Europe, in which all the details of the trip are meticulously recorded. Then there are scrapbooks containing fantastic visual material such as photographs, postcards, cuttings and sketches and other ephemera.

Geographical coverage

Places visited include the USA and Canada; China, Japan and the Philippines; Europe (very well documented); Russia; Africa; and Australia.

The above text is largely based on Nature & Scope in Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History, Adam Matthew Digtital.

While you are here, you might also be interested in:

New: Four digital archives to boost Ukrainian and Slavonic studies

The Ukrainian Flag (top half in blue, top bottom in yellow.

Digital collections of twentieth-century Ukrainian newspapers and a Russian journal from the start of the nineteenth century can be found in SOLO’s Databases A – Z

A black and white newspaper cutting showing a group of young men and women looking at some newspapers.

This picture is from Sovetskaia Ukraina December 31 1939, p. 3. Materials republished from products and services originally made available by East View Information Services. Email: eastview@eastview.com URL: www.eastview.com

Oxford University members can now read four new primary sources on the history and politics of Ukraine and the Russian Empire, at a time when access to regional archives is severely constrained. These crucial resources enable researchers to forge truthful accounts of Ukraine and its successive colonial governments, within the broader struggle against the re-writing of Ukrainian and Russian history.

The Pravda Ukrainy Digital Archive presents first Sovetskaia Ukraina (Soviet Ukraine) founded in 1938, and its later incarnation Pravda Ukrainy (The truth of Ukraine). These newspapers were the mouthpiece of Ukraine’s Communist Party. They were a Ukrainian version of the Soviet-wide Communist newspaper Pravda (Truth), also in our collection. During the 1990s Pravda Ukrainy dramatically changed tack, becoming a key supporter of democratic politics and independent journalism. The newspaper closed in 2014.

The Demokratychna Ukraina Digital Archive contains an almost complete run of the newspaper Demokratychna Ukraina (Democratic Ukraine), after it was transformed in 1992 into one of Ukraine’s leading independent democratic newspapers. It shows in detail Ukraine’s transition to independence, and the political and social transformations that ensued – before Demokratychna Ukraina was eventually closed in 2020.

The Donetsk and Luhansk Newspaper Collection offers a unique view of the Russian-backed separatist administrations of Luhansk and Donetsk, from 2013–2015. These administrations and their armies produced several short-lived newspapers, as part of their propaganda. The newspapers in this collection demonstrate particularly clearly not only the ideological position of Russian-backed separatists, but also the publicly sanctioned emotional experience of these forces.

Vestnik Evropy (the herald of Europe) is one of the Russian Empire’s first journals, founded by the prominent Russian historian Nikolai Karamzin. No less a literary figure than Aleksandr Pushkin published his poems for the first time in this journal. It was intended as a forum for pro-European intellectuals, and continued its existence – albeit intermittently – during the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Vestnik Evropy Digital Archive (1802 – 1830) complements the Bodleian’s existing print and electronic holdings, by presenting issues from Vestnik Evropy’s first decades.

These digital archives are provided by East View Information Services. You can run Cyrillic word-searches both within the individual collections, and across the entire East View platform; Vestnik Evropy has been transcribed into modern Russian orthography, so you can search using a normal Cyrillic keyboard. You can also download the pdf scans from the platform. These periodicals are in Russian and Ukrainian – however machine translation might be possible, depending on the quality of the scan.

While you are here, why not check out

New Archives Unbound databases for US History on 19th and 20th centuries political, cultural and social history

[Re-blogged from Vere Harmsworth Library blog, 25 July 2023]

I am pleased to report that the VHL has committed funding towards four new databases from the Archives Unbound collections from Gale.

These four collections are now available for all Bodleian readers to use, and can be found in SOLO or our Database A-Z. You can find out more about each collection below. Their topics range from the American Confederacy, religion, politics and African American movements in 1930s/40s America.

You can search across all the above databases via Gale Primary Sources. Please note that you will need to use your Single Sign On to access these resources remotely.

Confederate Newspapers: A Collection from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama

This collection is a mixture of issues and papers from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Alabama ranging from 1861-1865. These newspapers “recorded the real and true history of public opinion during the war. In their columns is to be found the only really correct and indicative ‘map of busy life, its fluctuations and its vast concerns’ in the South, during her days of darkness and of trial.” The newspapers are text-searchable, and include advertisements. Topics include everyday life in the Confederacy, as well as discussions of the Civil War and Slavery.

Election of 1948

This collection provides documents and the perspectives of the four base camps from the 1948 United States presidential election: Democrat incumbent President and eventual victor Harry S. Truman (1884–1972; U.S. President, 1945–1953), Republican and New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey (1902–1971), Progressive and former Vice President Henry A. Wallace (1888–1965) and Dixiecrat and South Carolina Governor J. Strom Thurmond (1902–2003). Sources include Papers of Harry S Truman, Thomas E. Dewey Papers, Papers of Americans for Democratic Action as well as selections from several southern newspapers. These sources show the political landscape of the United States post-WWII, and the growing tensions within the country.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Race Relations, 1933-1945

This new series contains a collection of essential materials for the study of the early development of the Civil Rights Movement-concerned with the issues of Lynching, Segregation, Race riots, and Employment discrimination. FDR’s record on civil rights has been the subject of much controversy. This new collection from FDR’s Official File provides insight into his political style and presents an instructive example of how he balanced moral preference with political realities. Topics also include the migration of African Americans to northern states, the role of Eleanor Roosevelt in championing equal rights and racial justice, and reports on key individuals and organisations, such as the NAACP.

Global Missions and Theology

This collection documents the broad range of Nineteenth Century religious missionary activities, practices and thought in the United States by reproducing pivotal personal narratives, organizational records, and biographies of the essential leaders, simple missionaries, and churches. This collection includes materials on missionary activities among Native Americans and African Americans, both slaves and freedmen. In addition, it highlights activities in far-flung regions and countries, such as Africa, Fiji and Sandwich Islands, India, China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Hawaii.

Bethan Davies, Vere Harmsworth Librarian

New: Dublin Castle Records, 1798-1926

We are delighted to report that Oxford researchers now have access to Dublin Castle Records, 1798-1922, providing access to the records of the British administration in Ireland prior to 1922.

Irish anti-recruitment poster c WWI. Text reads: Irish Traitors! Shame! shame! shame! Who are the young men of Irish race and Irish blood who take the Saxon shillingThe Dublin Castle administration in Ireland was the government of Ireland under English and later British rule, from the twelfth century until 1922, based at Dublin Castle. The records cover a crucial period which saw the rise of Parnell and the Land War in 1880 through to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1921.

This collection comprises materials from Series CO 904, The National Archives, Kew, UK. Most of these papers relate directly or indirectly to the methods adopted by the authorities, using civil and military forces, to combat the efforts of the Nationalist organizations to secure Irish independence.

Among the contents of this archive are:

  • Police Reports. Divisional Commissioners’ and County Inspectors’ monthly confidential reports from January 1892 to December 1897.
  • Inspector General’s and County Inspectors’ monthly confidential reports from January 1898 to December 1913 and January 1914 to September 1921 respectively.
  • Files recording outrages against the police and reports from individual counties on criminal offences.
  • Public Control and Administration from 1884-1921 including the seizure and censorship of various publications and journals.
  • Judicial Proceedings
  • Enquiries and Miscellaneous Records from 1872-1926
  • Information on various petitions, court appeals and compensation claims
  • Royal Irish Constabulary Prime Special Branch files on over 440 individual Sinn Fein and Republican suspects from 1899-1921, including Eamon de Valera and Sir Roger Casement. Each file contains information on an individual suspect.

More information on the administrative background.

Dublin Castle Records 1798-1926 can be accessed via SOLO (in due course) and Databases A-Z.

While you are here, you might also be interested in…

New: East African Newspapers

A guest blog post by Sarah Rhodes, African & Commonwealth Subject Librarian, Bodleian Libraries.

We are delighted that Oxford researchers and students now have access to the East African Newspapers dataset.

This exciting newspaper collection, recently acquired by the Bodleian Libraries, is provided by East View Information Services and sponsored by the Center for Research Libraries.

Overview:

[Information from the East View website]

The twentieth and early twenty-first centuries were a time of great change for Africa. In East Africa, this time witnessed the growth of decolonization as independence movements swelled, and local, autonomous self-governance took hold throughout the region. This period was also punctuated by famine, drought, political uprisings, border disputes, and war as countries worked to navigate the post-colonial landscape.

The East African Newspapers collection provides insight into this region during this critical time, featuring key newspapers from the region from the 1940s to the mid-2010s. This collection includes three titles: Daily Nation (Kenya), The Ethiopian Herald, and The Monitor (Uganda), accounting for over 34,000 issues and over 800,000 pages.

Newspaper scope:

Daily Nation (Nairobi): Daily Nation was first launched as a sister paper to the Swahili language Taifa in 1960 and rose quickly to be the highest circulating newspaper in Kenya. The newspaper covers the end of colonial rule, the rise of an independent Kenya, and the country’s rapid growth in the modern era.

The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa): Founded in 1943, The Ethiopian Herald is a government-owned newspaper run by the Ethiopian Press Agency. The English-language paper covers the country’s transition from a monarchy through the communist era and into the present democratic republic.

The Monitor (Kampala): Founded in 1992, The Monitor (relaunched as The Daily Monitor in 2005) is considered Uganda’s leading independent newspaper. Among other domestic and international topics, the newspaper provides in-depth coverage of Yoweri Museveni’s lengthy reign as president.

Searching the collection:

The newspapers have been scanned in their original format and can be searched using keywords both within the newspaper images or text.  Searches can also be customised using the advanced search function with the options to refine by publication, language and date ranges.

The East African Newspapers collection is available via SOLO or Databases A-Z. University members should use Single Sign On for remote access. The individual newspapers are also discoverable in SOLO.

Sarah Rhodes, African & Commonwealth Subject Librarian, Bodleian Libraries.

While you are here, why not check out…

… other African newspaper resources in our Newspapers and other online news sources from the 17th – 21st centuries (LibGuide)

… Sarah’s excellent African resources (LibGuide).

all our subscription newspaper eresources (Databases A-Z)

Pride 2023

Happy Pride Month! To celebrate Pride, from 1st to 30th June, we have created a display using a range of e-books which focuses on the history and experiences of the LGBT+ community.

All of these e-books are available for Oxford University members to read remotely – just make sure you sign into SOLO with your ‘Single Sign On’ first. By clicking on the book covers below you can access the SOLO records of a few of the texts featured on our display.

For more information about upcoming events in Oxford celebrating Pride click here.