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!

Chinese eresources trials until 25 August 2019

I’m pleased to report that the HD Chung Chinese Studies Librarian has organised trials of three Chinese eresources. Access is available on-campus and off-campus with VPN.

The resources being trialled are:

雕龙中日古籍全文资料库 Diaolong Database of Chinese & Japanese Pre-Modern Books: Provides full-text access to almost 30,000 pre-modern Chinese and Japanese titles covering history, politics, economy, religion, philosophy, literature, ethnography and geography. It includes collected works such as 方志丛书 (China local gazetteer series), 四库全书  (Classified collection of complete works), Japanese Pre-Modern Books and Qing Dynasty archives. http://hunteq.com/ancientc/ancientkm

中国近代报刊 (Chinese Modern Newspapers): Database provides access to pre-1949 Chinese newspapers published on mainland China and Taiwan, including Shen bao, Zhong yang ri bao, Taiwan min bao and Taiwan ri bao. http://www.dhcdb.com.tw/SP/

大公报 = Ta Kung Pao (1902 -1949): one of the major Chinese newspaper titles which is considered to be an authoritative source for the study of Chinese modern history, politics and society. http://tk.dhcdb.com.tw/tknewsc/tknewskm

The trials end on 25 August 2019. If you have any feedback or questions, please email the HD Chung Chinese Studies Librarian.

While you are here, check out…

New Bodleian History Books: June 2019 – Kings and Queens

For millennia kings and queens, emperors and empresses, royal consorts and mistresses, and in general members of royal houses have captured the attention of historians, historiographers, biographers, anthropologists, social scientists, theologians and the common people alike – from Suetonius and De vita Caesarum to Hello! Magazine. Because the earliest roots of kingship are found in sacral power, kings have been (and occasionally still are) considered by their people to have divine ancestry, even to the point of being revered as living gods; an idea that still continued in a way into the Christian Middle Ages through the concept of the divine right of kings. Monarchy or kingship (or queenship) thus denotes not only to a form of government but also to a supposed quality of “majesty” which marks rulers and their families as exceptional, and seems to still lie at the core of the fascination with royalty found in today’s society.

Examples of monarchs can be drawn from all four corners of the world, from the pharaohs of Egypt to the kings of Babylon and Minoan Crete, the emperors of ancient China, Japan, and Byzantium, the Caesars of Rome, the kingdoms of medieval Europe, and the emirates and sultanates of North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Until as late as the 20th century monarchy was the most common form of government, and while most monarchs today do not wield anywhere near the power of the kings and queens of old, they are still the heads of state in 45 nations across the world in both constitutional and autocratic monarchies – so there is plenty of material not only for the royalty-hungry tabloids of today, but also for the historians who chart how kings and queens and royal families influenced the time in which they lived, and shifted the course of history.

Mirrors for Princes

The speculum principum as a genre of political writing has its roots in the early Middle Ages, but theories of ideal kingship, books of advice for new rulers, or collections of examples of great rulers, are a type of writing that seems almost as old as the institution of monarchy itself – and continues in some form to today with self-help books on leadership such as Covey’s The 7 habits of highly effective people (1999) or Goleman’s Primal Leadership (2002).A new edition of the most famous example of the genre is just out by Cambridge UP in Machiavelli: The Prince with a revision of Russell Price’s acclaimed translation and a rewritten and extended introduction by Quentin Skinner, an improved timeline of key events in Machiavelli’s life, and an enlarged and fully updated bibliography. The essay collection Concepts of Ideal Rulership from Antiquity to the Renaissance (also available online), on the other hand, deliberately stays away from such classic specula as The Prince or earlier examples such as Seneca’s On Clemency, and instead examines ideas of rulership discussed in other literary genres, from Plato’s dialogues and Aristotle’s ideas on kingship to the advice of the Byzantine peasant-turned-emperor Basil I to his son Leo VI in the 9th century, and literature aimed at the later medieval Italian officials called podestà. Finally, in Autorità e consenso: regnum e monarchia nell’Europa medievale Maria Pia Alberzoni discusses the idea of or “monarchy” in the European Middle Ages as a model formulated on the examples offered by the Classical (Roman Imperial) world, but revised through reference to the Bible and other European nations, with a focus on the developments of the concept of legitimate power and its affirmation.

Empires and Emperors

If rulers of single nations make their mark on history and attract the interest of the historian, the more so do the rulers of multiple nations amalgamated into an empire.

In Emperor: A New Life of Charles V Geoffrey Parker draws on new evidence for a study of the world’s first transatlantic empire with an account of the life of Emperor Charles V (1500-1558), ruler of Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and much of Italy and Central and South America. Parker’s biography explores both political aspects in Charles’ achievements and the decisions that created and preserved his vast empire, and more intimate details of the ruler’s life for any insight into his character and inclinations. A comparison of two dynasties of near-contemporary medieval emperors is offered in an essay collection on the Staufen and Plantagenets. Contributions discuss a wide range of issues on these German and the English royal houses of the 12th century, including the images of their respective rulers on coins and seals, the ideas and ideals of kingship propagated in their narratives, the expansion of their domains by marriage, or the issue of ruling a territory that stretches across barriers like the English channel and the Alps.

Queens and Consorts

Among the predominantly male monarchs throughout the ages, powerful and successful female rulers tend to stand out even more, and have been accorded rather more attention over the last half century; and although they may not nominally reign, the influence and power wielded by the wives and consorts of kings and emperors is now also being recognised.

Catherine Hanley discusses the woman who was arguably England’s first regnant queen in Matilda: Empress, Queen, Warrior. While undeniably closely tied to powerful male monarchs as daughter of the English king Henry I, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Henry V and Geoffrey of Anjou, and mother of England’s Henry II, Matilda was an impressive, powerful, and fascinating woman in her own right as an empress, the first ever female heir to the English crown, and an able military and political leader. A woman similarly in the shadow of more famous and powerful male royals around her is the subject of Conor Byrne’s monograph Katherine Howard: Henry VIII’s Slandered Queen: a woman stripped of her title of queen not 16 months after becoming the monarch’s fifth wife, and beheaded three months later at only 18 or 19 years of age. The study challenges her notorious reputation of promiscuity and accusations of adultery, attempts to redeem her as the monarch’s most defamed queen and adjust a popular opinion skewed by her representations in media. A reigning queen who very much overshadowed her own prince consort, on the other hand, is Queen Victoria (1819–1901). In her new biography The Young Victoria Deidre Murphy charts the years preceding her 63-year-long reign in a volume which includes portraits of the queen as princess, childhood diaries and sketchbooks, clothing, jewellery, and correspondence, and paints a vivid picture of Victoria’s early years through accounts of her personal relationships with famous people such as her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and Prince Albert, as well as with lesser-known figures such has her first schoolmaster, her governess, and her half-sister.


You can find more books on the subject on our online LibraryThing shelf tagged with kings and rulers, queens and royal consorts, and monarchy.

Vacation Loans

With the end of Trinity Term fast approaching, readers are advised that vacation borrowing for the summer will commence on Wednesday 26th June. Please note, this is 9th week, due to the History of the British Isles assessment for 2nd year History undergraduates. From this date onwards, HFL borrowing limits will increase to 30 items (short loans inclusive), with a due date of Monday 14th October. Wishing you all the best of luck in the coming weeks!

New Bodleian History Books: May 2019 – War

War is
A grave affair of state;
It is a place
Of life and death,
A road
To survival and extinction,
A matter
To be pondered carefully.

Thus Sun Tzu in his Art of War (p. 6), the probably earliest philosophical treatise on a phenomenon of human interaction which more than any other has been credited with shaping and changing the course of history. From the Thermopylae (480 BC) and Marathon (490 BC) to Stamford Bridge and Hastings (1066); from Agincourt (1415) and the Siege of Orléans (1428-29) to Trafalgar (1805) and Waterloo (1815); from Saratoga (1777) and Gettysburg (1863) to the “Battle of Britain” (1940) and Stalingrad (1942-43) – the outcome of battles has determined the outcome of wars, and the outcome of wars has determined the fate of the nations who fought them.

No wonder then, that battles, war, warfare, and military history are topics to be found frequently in the new history books at the Bodleian every week – the nine volumes I’d like to present here are only some of the books on war in history that are newly arrived this month.

War and Culture

In his recent study War in Human Civilisation, Azar Gat collects some of the fundamental questions on war and its relationship to human civilisation:

Why do people engage in the deadly and destructive activity of fighting?…Have people always engaged in fighting or did they start to do so only with the advent of agriculture, the state, and civilization? How were these, and later, major developments in human history affected by war and, in turn, how did they affect war? (p. ix)

Three of the books on war new this month tackle such questions of its impact on or relationship to humans and their culture and cultural ideas.

Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831), Prussian General and military theorist, and veteran of the Napoleonic wars, argues in his treatise Vom Kriege (On War) that the violence of war “arms itself with the inventions of Art and Science” – that is, with ideas (i.e. tactics and strategy), and with technology (i.e. weaponry). Two of the new studies argue that it is in fact not technology, but the human mind which is the most powerful weapon of all. Both studies take a macrohistoric approach to the topic – in Carnage and Culture Victor Davis Hanson discusses nine landmark battles from the victory of the Greeks against Xerxes at Salamis to the Tet offensive, arguing that it is positive Western culture and values which produce superior arms and soldiers. Similarly, John A. Lynn in Battle: A History of Combat and Culture looks at examples from several millennia and from around the globe to explore the way ideas, far more than bullets or bombs, shape the conduct of warfare. Human ideas and ideologies as the causes of wars, rather than as the weapons used in the waging of them, are discussed in Arnaud Blin in his study on War and Religion. Moving from the emergence of the great monotheistic faiths in the Mediterranean through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance into the modern era, he shows how religion not only fuelled a great number of conflicts but also defined the manner in which these wars were conducted and fought.

Men and Steel

In yet another famous treatise on war, Dell’arte della guerra (1521), Niccolò Machiavelli discusses four mainstays of war and their relative importance:

Men, steel, money, and bread, are the sinews of war; but of these four, the first two are more necessary, for men and steel find money and bread, but money and bread do not find men and steel. (Book 7)

The history of weaponry and weapons technology is of course closely linked to the history or war in general, and Machiavelli’s synecdochal use of “steel” comprises the entire phenomenon of the arms race, whether in the form of artillery, aircraft, firearms, missiles, or, in the 20th and 21st century, weapons of mass destruction. No less interesting are the humans who wield those weapons. Two of the new Bodleian books discuss these two closely linked aspects for the same series of medieval wars, the crusades. In Artillery in the Era of the Crusades Michael S. Fulton draws on both literary and archaeological evidence to examine the use of mechanical artillery, particularly the trebuchet, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the Levant, while Steven Tibble’s The Crusader Armies draws on a wide range of Muslim as well as Western texts and archaeological evidence to discuss strategies of attack and defence, adaptation, evolution, and cultural diversity of the two opposing armies.

War in Human Memory

Throughout human historiography and literary production wars have been reported, described, narrated in fiction, romanticised, and sparked a plethora of both poetry and prose in an effort to understand it or process the experience – from the Chanson de Roland to Shakespeare’s Henry V, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Wilfred Owen’s poetry, Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and Heller’s Catch-22.

Attempting an overview of such memory and memorializing of one particular war, The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the Crusades surveys the multilingual literary output on the theme of the crusades over the space of an entire millennium, from the earliest reports to the modern era, presenting the enduring legacy of the crusaders’ imagery from the chansons de geste to Walter Scott and from Charlemagne to Orlando Bloom. Memories of war with a rather shorter afterlife, and rather less romanticised and more credible, are collected by Frances Houghton in The Veterans’ Tale, accounts of how British veterans of the Second World War remembered, understood, and recounted their experiences of battle throughout the post-war period, and the contrasts with official, scholarly, and cultural representations of the Second World War in Britain.

The End of the War

Clausewitz advocates a theory of two types of war, or more specifically, of two different ways to end a war: either by completely destroying the enemy, or by prescribing peace terms to him. The latter type has thankfully been rather more prevalent in recent times, and has resulted in peace treaties which are as famous and as history-defining as the wars they ended, and three of the new books look back at the conclusion of three major wars of the 20th century. A new addition to the Very Short Introduction series discusses The Treaty of Versailles on the centenary of the end of World War I, analysing the many subtle factors that influenced the treaty, and looking back at how the many conflicting objectives (such as a desire for peace after five years of disastrous war, demands for vengeance against Germany, the uncertain future of colonialism, or the emerging threat of Bolshevism) evolved throughout the remainder of the twentieth century – and also looks at its role in bringing about the conditions which ultimately led to World War II. The 70th anniversary of the conclusion of WWII, the 1945 Potsdam Agreement, is occasion for Das Potsdamer Abkommen 1945-2015, a collection of essays which discusses the conflicting objectives of the three main global powers, the Soviet Union, the USA and Great Britain, in the aftermath of the victory over Nazi Germany. Already at the time of the Potsdam Agreement, however, the battle lines were being drawn for the Cold War. The ending of this longest (if not most violent or bloodiest) war of the 20th century is discussed by Michael Cotey Morgan in The Final Act: the Helsinki Accords, if they did not actually end the Cold War, certainly served as a blueprint to do so. This account of the diplomatic saga that produced this historic agreement draws on research in eight countries and multiple languages, and argues that despite being initiated by the Soviets, the final agreement embraced liberal democratic ideals more than communist ones, and instead of restoring the legitimacy of the Soviet bloc, established principles that undermined it.

You can find more books on the subject on the History at the Bodleian LibraryThing shelf, tagged with “war”, “warfare”, “military history”, and “treaties”.

New resources for global history: Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Trans-Jordan (1836-1944) and SUR, 1931-1992

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 costing up to £125,000 which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets. The first tranche of purchases includes a number of important primary sources from Gale Cengage, including Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Trans-Jordan: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1836-1944, together with their new Gale Digital Scholar Lab, which will allow digital research methods to be applied across all the primary sources published by them and acquired by the Bodleian Libraries.

Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Trans-Jordan: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1836-1944 (Archives Unbound)

This collection covers U.S. perspectives on Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Trans-Jordan, from Ottoman rule to the era of British and French mandates following the First World War. The archive 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, Washington, D.C.

SUR, 1931-1992 (Archives Unbound)

In Public Domain. From Wikipedia (17 April 2019

SUR is one of the most important and influential literary magazines published in Latin America in the twentieth century. This collection includes images of the complete magazine, including covers, photographs and advertisements, more than 50,000 pages; a comprehensive electronic index of 6,300 entries, correcting mistakes and inconsistencies found in the index published in the magazine; and a set of images of manuscripts from the first issue as well as an unpublished set of letters by Victoria Ocampo.

Founded in 1931 by Argentine intellectual Victoria Ocampo (1890-1979), SUR is well known throughout Latin America and Europe. Over its long and distinguished history, SUR featured the writings of the leading figures in literature, philosophy, history and the plastic arts not only from Latin America, but also from North America and Western Europe. Contributors included LeCorbusier, Lacan, Sarte, and Woolf; and Argentine authors include Borges, Cortázar, Silvinia Ocampo, and Bioy Casares. Through Ocampo’s social commentary and choice of contributors, she advanced an Argentine version of Liberalism at a time when most Latin Americans confronted reactionary regimes, military rule, economic chaos and demagogues.

This important literary title featuring the century’s principal authors and intellectuals is vital for historical research.

While you are here:

New resource for 20th century historians: Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century

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 costing up to £125,000 which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets. The first tranche of purchases includes a number of important primary sources from Gale Cengage, including Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century, together with their new Gale Digital Scholar Lab, which will allow digital research methods to be applied across all the primary sources published by them and acquired by the Bodleian Libraries.

Political Extremism & Radicalism in the Twentieth Century

This resource provides access to “a compilation of rare and unique archival collections covering a wide range of fringe political movements. It has been sourced from distinguished libraries and archives across the world but also premiers some previously hidden treasure troves.

With an extensive scope of content focused on political extremism and radical thought, this archive is one of the first digital archives covering such a broad assortment of both far-right and left political groups. It offers a diverse mixture of materials, including periodicals, campaign propaganda, government records, oral histories, and various ephemera, which allow researchers to explore unorthodox social and political movements in new and innovative ways and to understand what impact they have had on today’s society.

The collections cover a period of just over a century (1900s to 2010s) when the world saw the formation of several civil rights movements for the rights of minorities, women’s rights, and gay rights. It also encompasses the rise and fall of a number of peripheral groups deemed ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’ by contemporaries, such as anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-war, communist or socialist, creationist, environmentalist, hate, holocaust denial, new left, survivalist, white supremacist, and white nationalist. Global in scope, although the archive presents materials largely from the US and Britain, it also showcases important factions from Europe and Australia, such as the Norwegian Nazi Party and the Australian National Socialist Party. By spanning multiple geographic regions, the resource shows both the cultural impact of radical groups at a national level as well as the international networking and cross-border exchanges of extreme political movements.

Following are some highlights from the archive:

The Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda from the John Hay Library at Brown University, features extremist literature ranging from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s – the most heated days of the civil rights movement. Publications in this collection represent a cross-section of extremist opinion towards integration and civil rights activism, but it also contains materials on American anti-Semitism, Christian Identity theology, neo-Nazi groups, and white supremacy movements.

The American Radicalism Collection from Michigan State University is a collection of ephemera on radical political groups across a range of extremist and radical movements, including those involved in religion, race, gender, the environment, and equal rights. The materials represent a large variety of viewpoints, from the far-right to the far-left, on political, social, cultural, sexual, and economic issues in the United States from 1970 to the present.

The Searchlight Archive, held at the University of Northampton in the UK, consists of documents from Searchlight Associates, an information service founded in 1962 that aimed to investigate racist and fascist groups in Britain and abroad and publicise their activities by publishing exposes in their Searchlight magazine. The collections consist of various ephemera accumulated as part of their investigations as well as the complete run of Searchlight magazine (1965-present). Most distinctively, the archive also includes the Searchlight Oral Histories Collection, which consists of interviews (available to researchers as both audio files and transcripts) with anti-fascist activists active from 1940s-1990s.

The National Archives at Kew in the UK, is the source archive for digitised secret service and home office documents relating to inter- and post-war British fascist and communist movements. This includes the Security Service: Personal (PF Series) Files series containing selected files from the First and Second World War periods and the inter-war years on suspected spies, renegades, communist sympathisers, right-wing extremists, and other groups in which the British Security Service took an interest, including pacifist and anti-conscription groups. It also contains Home Office papers pertaining to the detention of Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, during the Second World War as well as a number of other suspected Nazi sympathisers who were members of far-right groups, such as the Imperial Fascist League, the Nordic League, and the Right Club.”

New resources for 19th century historians: NCCO: Women: Transnational Networks and NCCO: British Theatre, Music, and Literature

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 costing up to £125k which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets.  The first tranche of purchases includes a number of important primary sources from Gale Cengage, including NCCO: Women: Transnational Networks, together with their new Gale Digital Scholar Lab, which will allow digital research methods to be applied across all the primary sources published by them and acquired by the Bodleian Libraries.

As part of those purchases, the following resources useful for 19th and 20th centuries history are now available in Oxford via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

  • NCCO: Women: Transnational Networks
  • NCCO: British Theatre, Music, and Literature

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Women: Transnational Networks

Issues of gender and class ignited nineteenth-century debate in the context of suffrage movements, culture, immigration, health and many other concerns. Using a wide array of primary source documents (serials, books, manuscripts, diaries, reports, and visuals) this resource focuses on issues at the intersection of gender and class from the late-eighteenth century to the era of suffrage in the early-twentieth century, all through a transnational perspective. The collection contains deep information on European and North American movements, but also expands its scope to include collections from other regions.

Researchers and scholars will find rare content related to:

  • Social reform movements and groups
  • High and popular culture
  • Literature and the arts
  • Immigration
  • Daily life
  • Religion

Source libraries include the Library of Congress, the London School of Economics and Political Science Library, and the Library of the Society of Friends.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture

This resource features a wide range of primary sources related to the arts in the Victorian era, from playbills and scripts to operas and complete scores. These rare documents, many of them never before available, were sourced from the British Library and other renowned institutions, and curated by experts in British arts history. Covering more than a century, British Theatre, Music, and Literature is without equal as a resource for 19th century scholars. These rare documents, many of them never before available, were sourced from the British Library and other renowned institutions, and curated by experts in British arts history.

It provides a detailed look at the state of the British art world with, for example, not only manuscripts and compositions, but also documents such as personal letters, annotated programs, meeting minutes, and financial records, offering scholars an unmatched glimpse into the inner workings of the arts world and life in Victorian Britain.

While you are here:

New: The Telegraph Historical Archive 1855-2000 and British Library Newspapers Part III-IV

I am delighted to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to two online newspaper resources which have long been on our desiderata: The Telegraph Historical Archive 1855-2000 and British Library Newspapers Part III-IV. These are now accessible via SOLO or Databases A-Z > Newspapers.

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 costing up to £125,000 which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets. The first tranche of purchases includes a number of important primary sources from Gale Cengage, including British Library newspapers parts III and IV and The Telegraph Historical Archive 1855-2000.

The Telegraph Historical Archive 1855-2000

This is a searchable digital archive of what was once the world’’s largest selling newspaper. Researchers and students can full text search across 1 million pages of the newspaper’s’ backfile from its first issue to the end of 2000, including issues of the Sunday Telegraph from 1961.

The newspaper was directed at a wealthy, educated readership and is commonly associated with traditional Toryism, despite its more ‘liberal’ beginnings especially in regard to foreign policy. Under the editorship of poet and Orientalist Edwin Arnold (from 1873 to 1899), the paper published widely on foreign affairs and foreign cultures. This led to The Telegraph’s coverage of Henry Morton Stanley’s expedition to Africa in search of David Livingstone, which it co-sponsored with the New York Herald.

Daily Telegraph notable highlights include:

The Kaiser Wilhelm affair: On 28 October 1908, the Daily Telegraph published an infamous interview with Kaiser Wilhelm, the German chancellor who alienated the British public with such uncensored comments as ‘you English are mad, mad, mad as march hares.’

Telegraph trial - Kaiser Wilhelm snippet 28 Oct 1908

“The German Emperor and England”, Daily Telegraph, Wed. 28 Oct. 1908, Issue 16694, p.11

The cryptic crossword puzzle: the crossword was circulated to recruit Allied codebreakers during the Second World War and was published in The Telegraph on January 13, 1942.

British Library Newspapers, Parts I-IV (1732-1950)

In addition to Parts I and II, researchers now also have access to parts III and IV of the British Library Newspapers which has more English, Welsh and Scottish regional and local newspaper content online into the first half of the 20th century. Interesting titles include:

  • Aberdeen Journal (1901-1939)
  • Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette (1749-1950)
  • Cambridge Independent Press (1839-1920)
  • The Cornishman (1878-1950)
  • Derby Daily Telegraph (1879-1950)
  • The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette (1827-1950)
  • Essex Newsman (1870-1950)
  • Hereford Journal (1781-1867)
  • Leeds Times (1833-1901)
  • The Norfolk Chronicle (1776-1867)
  • The Nottingham Evening Post (1878-1950)
  • The Salisbury and Winchester Journal (1775-1867)
  • The Salisbury and Winchester Journal (1827-1950)
  • The Western Times (1827-1950)

Researchers may be more familiar with the British Newspaper Archive (BNA) which provides access to digitised regional and local British newspapers. While searching in teh BNA is free, and, indeed, useful to locate a citation, it requires an individual subscription to see the content. If that is the case, please check the Library purchased British Library Newspapers. Please note we still don’t have Part V of British Library Newspapers and that BNA has content which is not available in any parts of British Library Newspapers. Confusing, or what? Join the club!

While you are here:

New: Journal of Medieval Worlds, 2019-

Medievalists will be pleased to learn that you have access to the very newly published Journal of Medieval Worlds (ISSN 2574-3988), joining two other global medieval journals already available in Oxford (The Medieval Globe, Medieval Worlds). The subscription is funded thanks to the Madeline Barber Bequest. It can be accessed via SOLO.

Journal of Medieval Worlds is a new peer-reviewed  academic journal, published quarterly by University of California Press. It aims to disseminate multi-disciplinary research on the global medieval world, primarily covering the period 750-1600. Its purpose is to “explore interconnections across regions and build meaningful comparisons across cultures”.

The geographical coverage includes Japan, China, Central Asia, South Asia, East and West Africa, North Africa, Oceans and Seas, the Americas, Middle East and Levant, and Europe, including Northern and Eastern Europe.

The strong multidisciplinary approach is evident: “Fields and topics addressed in the journal include, but are not limited to, Archaeology, Cultural Geography (including Cartography), Economics, Gender and Sexuality, History (including Cultural History), History of the Arts (including Architecture, Art, and Music), Law, Literature and Rhetoric, Material Culture (including Codicology, Epigraphy, Numismatics, and Papyrology), Historical Demography, Philology, Philosophy, Religion, Science (including Medicine and Technology), and Theology.”

As well as research articles, the journal will also publish reviews of books, textbooks, and relevant exhibitions, as well as essays and features on pedagogy.

In the inaugural issue, the Editor’s Remarks by Edward D. English and Oxford’s very own Peter Frankopan‘s “Why we need to think about the Global Middle Ages” set out the intellectual aims of the journal in more detail.

You can set up RSS feeds or eToC alerts if you want to be kept informed of new articles, reviews, etc.

Other global medieval journals available in Oxford:

While you are here you might like to know about…