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…

New Bodleian History Books: April 2019 – History of Science

We live in the age of  “post-truth”, of “alternative facts” and the “war on science”, in which all manner of scientific knowledge is questioned, experts are doubted, and denialism is rife. Online platforms provide sources of information which fuel the beliefs of climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers, and fill the proponents of pseudosciences such as astrology or alternative medicines with distrust in established institutions, authority and experts.

Faced with a present like this, it can be rather reassuring to take a look back at the long history of science and the development of science and scientific thought from its beginnings through to today, if only to see for yourself the uncontrovertible evidence of how science and scientific innovations and inventions have shaped the course of human history and influenced human society as it is today – whether you believe with Karl Popper that scientific knowledge is progressive and cumulative, or with Thomas Kuhn that scientific knowledge moves through paradigm shifts.

Science itself (if we define it as “the knowledge of natural regularities that is subjected to some degree of sceptical rigour and explained by rational causes”) is rather older than the invention of writing, so the long history of science begins with non-verbal evidence of “scientific” thought – neolithic structures showing astronomical alignments such as Stonehenge are an obvious example of this, or archaeological evidence for the extraction of copper and tin and later iron from metal ore which led to the Bronze and Iron Ages. But although modern “science” as such really only dates back to the scientific revolution of 16th- and 17th-century Europe, the astronomers, alchemists and natural philosophers of the Ancient world, Antiquity and the Middle Ages usually receive their well-deserved credit from historians of science for playing their important part in the accumulation of human knowledge of the natural world.

The recently arrived new Bodleian books in the subject area of history of science thus not only span an impressive number of centuries, they also illustrate the diversity of smaller fields which fall under the greater umbrella term of “history of science”: there are volumes that chart the history of a particular branch or discipline, studies with a more social focus that document the influence of scientific discoveries or technological inventions on human society, and also biographies that celebrate the lives of individual influential scientists.

Histories of Science

Three of the volumes I would like to highlight in this month’s blog are traditional “histories” of scientific disciplines. Danilo Capecchi’s The Problem of the Motion of Bodies offers a history of mechanics which presents both a synchronic analysis of individual historic periods from Antiquity through the Middle Ages and Renaissance to Modernity, as well as a diachronic discussion which makes comparisons between different periods, looking at the what inspired humans to attempt to gain insight into the mechanisms of motion. Also charting the developments of a single discipline is Edouard Mehl’s Le temps des astronomes, his discussion of astronomy in the early modern world as a method of calculating celestial movements of the future and the past, as well as its modern understanding in which this definition quickly became insufficient, inadequate, and finally obsolete. Finally, Jost Weyer’s first volume of a projected two-volume series on the history of chemistry covers first early forms of chemistry from the Greco-Roman world to the Latin Middle Ages via Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Arab world, China and India, and then moves to a description of its development into an actual science during the early modern age from the 16th to the 18th century. In its aim to show not only how chemistry changed over the course of world history, but also how chemistry itself changed world history, it would also rather neatly fit into this following second batch of books.

Science and the World

In Un trésor scientifique redécouvert Dominique Bernard introduces a collection of over a thousand scientific instruments from the mid-19th to the turn of the 20th century preserved at the University of Rennes in Brittany. Many of these were invented by or belonged such great names among scientists as Leon Foucault of the famous pendulum, the nobel prize laureates Pierre and Marie Curie, or Pierre Weiss and his electromagnets, and the volume emphasises both the historical and educational interest in these, looking at the sometimes very “modern” concepts that influenced their design. Audra J. Wolfe’s Freedom’s laboratory also focuses on the role of science and scientists in a particular historic era, namely the Cold War, where US propaganda promoted a vision of American science with an emphasis on “scientific freedom” and a “US ideology” conceived as opposed to Communist science. The continued hold of Cold War thinking on ideas about science and politics in the United States is demonstrated in following this thought through to the present day with a discussion of the recent March for Science and the prospects for science and science diplomacy in the Trump era. How specifically scientific inventions rather than scientific thought influenced the 20th and 21st century world we live in is the subject of David Segal’s aptly named One hundred patents that shaped the modern world, charting the huge impacts, many unexpected, of new inventions on multiple spheres of our lives, and placing inventions into historical perspective – from everyday items such as tarmac, aspirin, liquid crystals, ring-pulls of soft drink cans and barbed wire to history-changing ones such as Morse code, television, transistors, diodes, and gene editing.

Men and Women of Science

Marc Raboy’s biography of Guglielmo Marconi could, again, just as easily be listed with the above two volumes – it charts the life and doings of the man whose invention and patent of radio waves and establishment of stations and transmitters around the world made global communications wireless, and whose impact on modern society and life can hardly be overstated. Generally rather better known that Marconi, though not in his profession as a scientist, is the subject of a second biographical study: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the Lewis Carroll of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland fame, was a lecturer in Mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford, and Amirouche Moktefi’s book on his “mathematical world” for the first time collects the materials on his mathematical achievements, including personal letters and drawings, in a single volume which describes his writings in geometry, algebra, logic, the theory of voting, and recreational mathematics, and discusses his mathematical legacy.

You can find all our new books tagged with “History of Science” on LibraryThing here.

Easter Opening: closed Friday 19 to Sunday 21 April; open Easter Monday 22 April

The library will be closed over the Easter weekend, from Friday 19 April to Sunday 21 April inclusive. However, we will be open on Easter Monday (22 April), from 9am-5pm. Please note, there will be no book delivery service on this day. Normal Vacation hours (9am-7pm) and deliveries will resume on Tuesday 23 April.

If you decide you’d like to combine your chocolate with some reading whilst the library is closed, don’t forget you can access many of our resources electronically. With your Single Sign On, you can make use of all our ebook, ejournal and database subscriptions while away from Oxford.

Happy Easter everyone!

Early modernists: Learn how to use State Papers Online (SPO) (webcast)

Researchers and students working on early modern history will usually, at some point or other, come across the need to use State Papers Online (SPO) which is accessible via SOLO and Databases A-Z. SPO a wonderfully rich source database but not easy to use and the extent of the content is not always fully understood. Oxford researchers now have access to a webcast of a 1h12m long training session with Cengage’s trainer Caroline Beckford and a few historians, 3 May 2018, 1.30-3pm, Lecture Theatre, History Faculty.

The training session goes into some detail explaining the content of the materials that have been digitised (letters, treaties, maps, plans, etc.) and how to find them. If you want to learn more about SPO and have an hour to spare, then I highly recommend watching the webcast from the comfort of your armchair and a cup of tea by your side.

What is State Papers Online?

SPO contains the Tudor and Stuart governments “domestic” and “foreign” papers – the equivalent of today’s documents from the Home and Foreign Offices and the Royal Archives. These everyday working papers of the British royal government reveal Tudor and Stuart society and government, religion and politics in all its drama allowing scholars to trace the remarkable – and frequently violent – transformations of the 16th & 17th centuries.

This major resource re-unites the Domestic, Foreign, Borders, Scotland, and Ireland State Papers of Britain with the Registers of the Privy Council and other State Papers now housed in the Cotton, Harley and Lansdowne collections in the British Library. The papers are digitised images and are accompanied by the Calendars. The Calendars State Papers are fully searchable, and each Calendar entry has been linked directly to its related State Paper.

Charter for the Levant Company, [Jan 7] 1591; Document:SP 97/2 ff. 159-60 – State Papers Online (accessed 10 April 2010)

Among the Calendars included are the HMC Calendars and the Haynes/Murdin transcriptions of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House.

SPO is relevant to those studying Early Modern British and European history: diplomatic, political, social, cultural, local, legal, religious, kingship and queenship, exploration, travel and trade and early empire; Early Modern literature; Renaissance and Reformation Studies; Tudor & Stuart history.

Also of interest

New Bodleian History Books: March 2019 – Ireland

In honour of St Patrick’s Day celebrated not two weeks ago, I would like to use this March edition of the New Bodleian History Books blog to showcase a number of studies on Ireland and Irish history newly arrived at the library this month.

The history of the island of Ireland is a long one, from the first evidence of human habitation 12,500 years ago through the Christianisation period and St Patrick’s work on the island in the 5th century; the Viking presence from the raids in the 8th century to the Battle of Clontarf in 1014; the Norman invasion in 1169; the conquests, rebellions and religious conflicts in the early modern period; the Battle of the Boyne in 1690; the union with Great Britain in 1801; the great Famine in the mid-19th century; the Home Rule, Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence in the early 20th century; the Troubles in the late 1960s and Bloody Sunday; the Good Friday Agreement; all the way to the threat of a hard border in Ireland and the role of the DUP in Britain’s Brexit negotiations today.

Rather than attempting to provide anything like a comprehensive overview of any of these eventful eras, most of the books on Irish history that have arrived in the Bodleian this month can be seen as presenting a variety of interesting snapshots of Ireland’s long history, and its societies and cultures.

The Great Famine

This year marks the sesquicentenary of the end of the Great Irish Famine (1845-49), and two of the volumes deal with this watershed event in the history of Ireland: The Great Irish Famine and Social Class looks at the impact of the catastrophe on Ireland’s economy (including its relations with Britain) and investigates topics such as the suffering of the rural classes, landlord-tenant and class relations, Poor Laws, and relief operations during the food crisis. A rather different approach is taken by Niamh Ann Kelly in Imaging the Great Irish Famine, which examines commemorative visual culture – memorial images, objects and locations – from that period to the early twenty-first century, linking these artefacts of historical trauma and enforced migration to the ongoing dispossession of people across the world who are driven out of their homes and countries on a wave of conflict, poverty and famine.

The Irish Abroad

Voluntary rather than enforced emigration and travel by Irish nationals is thematised in two other new studies. In Medieval Irish Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela Bernadette Cunningham traces the long connection between Ireland and the shrine of St James in Galicia, and tells the stories of some of the men and women who undertook the hazardous journey by land and sea between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, drawing on sources from official documents, historical chronicles, literary texts and saints’ Lives to archaeological finds to look at the varied influences on and motivations of these pilgrims. The story of a group of 1,300 young Irish men who travelled across Europe several centuries later to defend Pope Pius IX’s Papal States on the Italian Peninsula is told by Donal P. Corcoran in The Irish Brigade in the Pope’s army 1860. The volume looks at the battles in which the Irish fought and died for the pope at Perugia, Spoleto, Castelfidardo and Ancona, as well as their imprisonment at Genoa after the defeat of the pope’s forces, and their heroes’ welcome when they were finally allowed to journey home to Ireland.

Irish Local History

Charting the history of the diocese of Derry is Ciarán Devlin’s The Making of Medieval Derry; originally published in 2013 it is out in a new paperback edition made greatly accessible through a number of new indices. Devlin’s history of Derry is a tale of saints and sinners, of churchmen and warlords, of scholars and craftsmen, of Derry itself as sacred city, as frontier citadel, as royal capital and episcopal see. Also looking back at local history is John O’Callaghan in his volume on the role of Limerick as a key social, political and military battleground during the Irish revolution, Limerick: The Irish revolution, 1912-23. This is only one of so far eight similar volumes on these eventful years published by Four Courts Press which draw on a wide array of contemporary sources to try and draw a realistic picture of the lives of local people in Mayo, Louth, Derry, Monaghan. Waterford, Tyrone and Sligo as well as in Limerick during this time.

Residing in Ireland

The long and varied relationship between religion and landscape in Ireland during the dawn of Christianity, the Middle Ages and the post-medieval era is discussed in Church and Settlement in Ireland, with twelve individual essays on how, over the centuries, the church formed a core component of settlement and played a significant role in the creation of distinct cultural landscapes in Ireland. For the 20th century, Emer Crooke takes a look the same topic of residence and buildings on the island with his book White Elephants, which discusses the country house and the state in post-independence Ireland from 1922 to 1973. Not regarded as an integral part of the national heritage, but rather symbols of British oppression, hundreds of former landlords’ residences were sold on, demolished or simply abandoned to ruin in these decades, with politicians torn between conserving them, or burying them and the past they represented.

 Ireland in the Press

Finally, historians and journalists celebrate the character, role, culture and history of the Irish Sunday newspaper over the course of the last century in The Sunday papers: a history of Ireland’s weekly press, with chapters, with individual chapters each examining a particular paper, from long-running, prestigious publications like the Sunday Independent or the Sunday Times to papers such as the Sunday Freeman which only ran in the years 1913–16. The chapters examine the Ireland in which these papers first appeared, their origins, proprietors, editors, journalists and contributors, their major stories and controversies, business dynamic, circulation and readership, and assess their overall contribution to Irish journalism, society and culture.

You can find all our books tagged with “Ireland” on LibraryThing here.

New ejournal: Brill Research Perspectives in Jesuit Studies, 1, 2019-

Oxford historians will be pleased to know that online access to Brill Research Perspectives in Jesuit Studies (eISSN 2589-7454) is now available via SOLO.

This peer-reviewed journal publishes four fascicles each year on various thematic subjects. It has a global reach and covers early modern and modern history.

Vol.1, Issue 1 (2019): Jesuit Schools and Universities in Europe 1548–1773

Vol. 1, Issue 2 (2019): Gathering Souls: Jesuit Missions and Missionaries in Oceania (1668–1945)

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

  • Index Religiosus: International Bibliography of Theology, Church History and Religious Studies [subscription resource]: Index Religiosus is a reference bibliography for academic publications in Theology, Religious Studies and Church History. It covers publications written in various European languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, etc.) and is the result of collaboration between the Catholic University of Louvain and the KU Leuven, which are both recognized internationally for their excellence in the field of Theology and Religious Studies. The new bibliography starts on the basis of two existing bibliographies: the bibliography of the Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique and the Elenchus Bibliographicus from the journal Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses. From January 2014 onwards, the printed version of the bibliography of the Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique and the Elenchus Bibliographicus will be no longer available. These printed bibliographies will be replaced by the Index Religiosus.
  • ATLA with ATLASerials [subscription resource]: ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials is the full text version of the ATLA Religion Database (ATLA). This database is a collection of major religion and theology journals selected by some of the major religion scholars in the United States. Coverage of this database dates back to 1949
  • Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation [subscription resource]: Catholic authors of the 16th and 17th centuries took advantage of print technology to create a vast treasury of published documents–a legacy that to this day has been but selectively sampled and appreciated. The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation makes the documentary riches of this era more accessible than ever, adding powerful functionalities that maximize the flexibility with which researchers can search, view, organize, and manipulate this historically important source material. With new content uploads occurring on a regular basis, the database offers a constantly growing treasury of documents, including papal and synodal decrees, catechisms and inquisitorial manuals, biblical commentaries, theological treatises and systems, liturgical writings, saints’ lives, and devotional works.
  • Catholic Encyclopedia: The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

Vacation loans begin Monday!

From Monday 4th March you may start checking books out for the Easter vacation.

You can borrow up to 15 books but from Thursday 7th March the limit goes up to 20 including short loans.

Please return or renew your current loans by Wednesday 6th March and remember to pay your fines.

Vac loans must be returned by Monday of first week in Trinity Term (29th April). Please don’t leave them at home or you will be fined!

New Bodleian History Books: February 2019 – Historical Letters

In this 21st century, corresponding in longhand is a dying art – the idea of a “love email” really does not ring right, and online blogs have all but replaced the open letter and the handwritten diary.

But as primary sources for the study of history, letters, whether hand- or later machine-written, have a unique appeal – however much distance the individual contemporary conventions may add, letters still always convey a sense of directness and immediacy. They seem to us to open a window into the writers’ innermost thoughts, and let us feel a special closeness to their lives and circumstances.

There is certainly no shortage of famous letter-writers whose creations have been preserved for posterity – the letters of Pliny the Younger to the Roman historian Tacitus with their eye-witness accounts of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius; the Epistles of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, Corinthians or Ephesians; the exchanges of the tragic lovers Heloise and Abelard in the 12th century; or the around 3,000 letters of Queen Elizabeth I, some of them to her youthful successor James VI of Scotland.

Occasionally, even more interestingly, letters of not-so-famous people survive, and offer the historian unique insights into the lives, concerns, and views of (mostly) ordinary people. The Paston family’s letters to each other which cover over 70 years and document their rise from peasantry to aristocracy are a case in point, or the collections of so-called pauper letters, written in the 18th and early 19th century to the overseers of the poor by the poor people themselves.

The modern electronic letter may, however, have one advantage over the traditional handwritten one – it is far easier to save, store, or make accessible. Historical letters on paper, if they even survive, can be difficult to access; they are stored in archives or museum collections, or remain in the possession of the writers’ relatives and heirs, or the original correspondents. To be useful as sources for historians, historical letters need to be laboriously collected, preserved, edited, perhaps even translated, in order to become an accessible source for historians to study.

This February, a number of the new history books acquired by the Bodleian are such collections of letters as primary sources of history from the early modern and modern periods, which supply insights into a multitude of different lives, minds, and concerns.

Two of these are part of vast collections of letters that shed light on some of the Greats in the history of science. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was a compulsive letter-writer and respondent, who made a point of replying to every letter he received. As a result, the edition of his collected correspondence runs to currently 26 volumes, the latest of which has just arrived in the Bodleian. The correspondence of Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919), the foremost systematist and system builder of Darwinism, reaches similar proportions with over 44,000 letters which represent a rich resource of information about intellectual, cultural, and social life during the industrializing era of Germany. A major 25-year project by the Ernst Haeckel House has just published the first volume of a planned 25-volume critical edition of his collected letters.

There are also three new collections of letters with a political focus. Although all three are concerned with German history, they are very different otherwise. From the era of World War II comes a collection of letters written and sent back home by both German and Russian young soldiers from Stalingrad. Two more collections shed light on German politics of the later post-war era: letters and other documents that illustrate the interactions of the author Heinrich Böll with German Socialist Party leader and Chancellor Willy Brandt throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, and the political reports and correspondence written by Swiss diplomats stationed in East Berlin in the 1980s.

Last but not least (because it is after all not even two weeks since Valentine’s Day) there are the love letters. J’ai tellement envie de vous presents 25 years’ worth of love letters written by the (in)famous ladies’ man and King of France Henry IV (1553-1610) to his many and various wives and mistresses. Of slightly less elevated status, but still from aristocratic circles, are the correspondents of the collection Briefe der Liebe: in 18th century Germany Henriette von der Malsburg, 16 years old, enters into a marriage of convenience with Georg Ernst von und zu Gilsa  – but they subsequently, and surprisingly to them both, fall passionately in love. Their letters explore both the overwhelming emotional and the physical aspects of their love, but come to an abrupt end after only a year of married bliss with Henriette’s death in childbirth in 1767. Rather longer-lasting is the literary relationship of Balthasar and Magdalena Paumgartner, a merchant couple from Nürnberg, Germany, whose 169 letters from over 16 years of marriage provide a fascinating look at the  work conditions, property issues, gender roles, emotions, married life and family relations at the turn of the 17th century.

If this sounds interesting, do check out the lists of all Bodleian History books on LibraryThing tagged with “letter writing” and “correspondence”!

 

New: Diccionario Biográfico Electrónico (DBE)

I am pleased to report that Oxford researchers now have access to the Diccionario Biográfico Electrónico (DBE).

The DBE is an updated and corrected version of the Spanish national biography, Diccionario biográfico español, providing online access to more than 45,000 biographies of deceased individuals which span 2,500 years of Spanish history. While its focus is on the Iberian Peninsula, it has a global reach to include biographies of individuals active in territories which were part of the Spanish administration. Each biography has a brief listing of key readings.

Important: please note that only the basic search is available without login. For advanced search, log in using the username and password on WebLearn (see instructions in Databases A-Z). Please log out when you have finished as only one Oxford user can be logged in at a time.

Advanced search is particularly useful to locate biographies of individuals whose names you don’t know. For instance you can search by religion, profession, locality, etc. Once you have found a biographical entry, DBE then suggests other individuals related in some way to your person of interest.

While you are here…

  • List of other online biographical resources (only some will be freely accessible)
  • New books on historical biography (blogpost January 2019)
  • Tip how to find published biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, etc. in SOLO:
    • In SOLO, go to Advanced Search
    • Change Any Field to Subject
    • Add biography to the Subject field
    • Can you refine your search further by adding for instance a country to the search, limiting it by language or publication year.