Access to online Anglican missionary archive resources

The landing page of USPG. It shows a black & white print of harbour scene, links to browse through volumes and documents, a link to view highlights. and a text box of insights which read: "The USPG and other missionary organisations aim to facilitate the spread of Christianity by appointing missionaries to visit and stay in various countries around the world. Whilst on a mission, representatives of the Church are expected to perform a number of tasks to promote Christianity. This may involve providing a Christian education, engaging in charitable work, and performing services."

America in records from colonial missionaries, 1635-1928

We are pleased to announce that Oxford researchers now have online access to 14 collections of the Anglican missionary archive, the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG), which have been digitized by British Online Archives. Previously only available in the Weston Library, the digitised material can now be accessed throughout the University and remotely with the Oxford SSO.

The USPG is a UK-based Anglican missionary organisation, founded in 1701, which sent missionaries to many parts of the world and was involved in educational, charitable and medical work as well as evangelization. The material also throws light on social conditions, travel and daily life abroad from the view point of British missionaries and their families.

The digitized material is relevant to British, Commonwealth and global history, covering the 17th to mid-20th centuries. It has been organised into 14 collections which can be found via SOLO or Databases A-Z:

  1. America in Records from Colonial Missionaries, 1635-1928
  2. ‘Bray Schools’ in Canada, America and the Bahamas, 1645-1900
  3. Indigenous Cultures and Christian Conversion in Ghana and Sierra Leone, 1700-1850
  4. Colonial missionaries’ papers from America and the West Indies, 1701-1870
  5. The West Indies in records from colonial missionaries, 1704-1950
  6. Canada in records from colonial missionaries, 1722-1952
  7. Indian and Sri Lankan records from colonial missionaries, 1770-1931
  8. Australia in records from colonial missionaries, 1808-1967
  9. South Africa in records from colonial missionaries, 1819-1900
  10. New Zealand & Polynesian records from colonial missionaries, 1838-1958
  11. Tanzania and Malawi in records from colonial missionaries, 1857-1965
  12. Colonial women missionaries of the Committee for Women’s Work, 1861-1967
  13. Ghana in Records from Colonial Missionaries, 1886-1951
  14. ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’: Missionaries in Asia during the World Wars, 1914-1946

Early modern and modern source materials

The digitized material dates from 1635 to 1967 and includes letters, journals, reports, minute books, financial records, statistical returns, drawings, leaflets, questionnaires, school records, press cuttings, and printed books and magazines.

A single page handwritten letter from Franklin to Lyttleton.

Letter of 3 June 1786 from Benjamin Franklin, while President of Pennsylvania, to Rev. Thomas Lyttleton concerning the lease of land for a school.
Shelfmark: USPG Bray/N.America/3/f.2/item 4
©2014 Microform Academic Publishers with permission of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

Wide geographical reach

The geographical coverage is wide including the American colonies before independence, Canada, the Caribbean, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.

A typed page of a 1912 report on a biblewoman by the USPG's Committee of Women's Work. Names and descriptions are filled in with handwriting.

Report on a Biblewoman in India, 1912. Shelfmark: USPG CWW 311
©2014 Microform Academic Publishers with permission of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

Topics covered include:

  • the establishment of the Anglican Church in north America
  • the American War of Independence
  • slavery and its abolition
  • the establishment of Christian schools
  • indigenous communities
  • women missionaries
  • the impact of colonialism
  • philanthropy
  • the experience of wars including the two World Wars and the Sino-Japanese War

The digitized material represents a proportion of the whole USPG archive which is held on deposit in the Bodleian Library and is available for consultation in the Weston Library.

Lucy McCann, Senior Archivist, Special Collections, Bodleian Libraries

Other useful subscription resources:

Introducing MARCO, Oxford’s new discovery tool for Manuscripts and Archives

We are delighted to report that a major new discovery tool for Oxford archives and manuscripts, MARCO, is now available. Oxford’s very own Professor Lyndal Roper, Regius Chair of History, launched the service in a ceremony on 26 October 2023.

Front page of MARCO showing searc box, with links to Help and About. Manuscripts and Archives at Oxford University (MARCO) searches descriptions of manuscripts and archives held at the Bodleian Libraries and some Oxford colleges.

It is for all users of manuscript and archive collections held at the Bodleian Libraries and Oxford colleges and is the easiest place to start your search for manuscripts and archives held in Oxford, allowing searching across all online descriptions of the collections.

The discovery tool will allow researchers to deep-dive into detail but also discover material they may not have expected to be held in Oxford.

Where there is a digital copy in Digital.Bodleian, a link will be provided.

A yellow picture of several magnifying glasses scattered around.

ELEVEN CATALOGUES = ONE SEARCH

The descriptions are drawn from eleven online catalogues, extending from Greek papyrus fragments from the 5th century BC to 21st century born-digital archives.

  1. Bodleian Archives and Manuscripts
  2. Charters in the Bodleian Libraries
  3. Medieval Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries
  4. Fihrist: Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World
  5. Karchak: Tibetan Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries
  6. Hebrew Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries
  7. Genizah Fragments at the Bodleian Libraries
  8. South Asian Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries
  9. Armenian Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries
  10. Senmai: Shan Buddhist Manuscripts
  11. Georgian Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries

The collections include works of literature, medieval legal charters and deeds, politics, science, medicine, theology, law, music, photographic material and religious devotion, as well as many forms of documentary material produced by individuals and institutions.

The project unifies information about individuals, ensuring that whichever spelling or variation of a name you use, you will still find relevant materials:

Showing the 4 catalogues where Moses Maimonides is mentioned: Hebrew and Judaica Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries Hebrew and Judaica Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World Medieval manuscripts in Oxford librariesYou can also use keyword searching for find relevant materials.

What is not included?

Please note that not all manuscripts and archives are described online. Many of the catalogues are works-in-progress, and some collections are not yet described online at all. For more information, see below.

Continue to search individual catalogues

Existing users of the individual catalogues, or users who know which individual catalogue describes material they need, can still search the source catalogues directly.

About the project

The project aims to create a researcher-driven and easy to use discovery interface, MARCO, which will allow manuscript and archival materials from the Bodleian and Oxford’s colleges to be searched together. This discovery layer will enable new and existing audiences to better access the materials and will offer a fit-for-purpose environment for finding information about Oxford’s unique collections.

MARCO realizes the Bodleian Libraries’ vision of a connected, user-friendly, robust and adaptable digital environment for the University of Oxford’s manuscripts and archives.

Huge congratulations are due to the very many colleagues involved in designing and launching this project which is part of the Mellon Foundation funded FAMOUS project.

While you are here:

Access to Bodleian Libraries archives: The Bodleian Libraries’ welcome academics, students and researchers to consult special collections in person. Information on how to do so can be found on the Using Special Collections page.

Archives in Colleges: For information about consulting items held at Oxford colleges, please contact the colleges directly. For help and advice using special collections held at Oxford colleges, see Oxford College Archives and Oxford college library guides.

Guides and Finding Aids. For an overview of the special collections held at the Bodleian Libraries, see the Special Collections section of Bodleian Libraries website. This includes:

  • Subject Guides, which provide an overview of all the Libraries’ special collections, not just those catalogued online, with links to further information.
  • Detailed finding aids, which give specific information working with individual collections.

Please contact Bodleian Special Collections if you need any further information.

New: Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive, part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World

We are delighted to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive, part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World.

This collection provides access to a wide range of materials to help understand the inception of slavery in Africa and its rise as perpetuated on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, with particular focus on the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

It covers a wide spectrum of subjects related to the history of slavery: legal issues; economics; the Caribbean; children and women under slavery; modes of resistance; and much more, from 1490 to 1896.

Snippet from an 1851 court report, reading "Note. The following report is published at the request of numerous persons who are of opinion that all which is known of the operation of the Fugitive Slave Bill should be spread before the public. To the legal profession it will be of interest, as developing new points in the construction and application of a Statute, destined to be of great political importance now and in future history. They will be able to judge of the construction upon the Statute, and of the law of evidence, as laid down and applied by the Commissioner, and contended for by the representative of the Government. Not the profession alone but the public can judge of the temper and manner as to parties and witnesses in which the prosecution was pressed and the judicial duties performed."

Report of the proceedings at the examination of Charles G. Davis, Esq., on a charge of aiding and abetting in the rescue of a fugitive slave, held in Boston, in February, 1851 / Davis, Charles G. United States. Circuit Court (Massachusetts). Boston : White & Potter, printers, 1851
© Cengage

Sources

Sources include monographs and individual papers, account ledge books, diaries, names of slave ships, lists of captains and crews, details of slave ship seizures as well as description of slave conditions, company records, newspapers, and a variety of government documents.

The resource is also useful for finding European travellers and missionaries accounts (often the only records available to document the evidence of slavery in Africa) and European business records (particularly valuable for piecing together the many wars and commercial disputes among the African powers on the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia area.

Geographical coverage

This resource is particularly relevant in its significant coverage of France, Haiti, Jamaica, Denmark, Portugal, Brazil, Senegal, and many other countries and regions.

Source institutions

The sources come from a variety of institutions including The National Archives (esp. Colonial Office records), Company of Royal Adventurers of England Training with Africa, British Library manuscripts, US Customs Service Records, and more. Material used in this collection include:

  • U.S. Customs Service Records: Port of New Orleans, Louisiana Inward Slave Manifests, 1807-1860
  • U.S. Customs Service Records: Port of New Orleans, Louisiana Outward Slave Manifests, 1812-1860
  • Exploration and Colonization of Africa
  • Selected Records of the Danish West Indies, 1672-1917: Essential Records Concerning Slavery and Emancipation
  • Appellate Case File No. 2161, United States v. The Amistad, 40 U.S. 518
  • Records of the U.S. District and Circuit Courts for the District of Connecticut: Documents Relating to the Various Cases Involving the Spanish Schooner Amistad
  • Records of the Spanish Governors of Puerto Rico, Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 (Slave Schedules)
  • Company of Royal Adventurers of England Trading with Africa and Successors: Records
  • Heartman Manuscript Collection at Xavier University Library, New Orleans: Manuscripts on Slavery
  • Africa Squadron, 1843-1861; Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from Commanding Officers of Squadrons
  • The Yale University Collection of Latin American Manuscripts, Part V: The Caribbean
  • Oliver Pollock Papers, 1767-1788
  • Vernon-Wager Papers, 1654-1773
  • Jamaica Manuscripts Collection, 1774-1950
  • British Library Collections
  • Aaron Thomas papers, 1798-1799

Sensitive content

Please note that you may encounter harmful and/or offensive material during your research. It is important to approach sensitive topics with cultural awareness and respect for the lived experiences of marginalized groups and individuals.

Related resources:

History Thesis Fair for undergraduates on 4 May (week 2): explore – discover – meet specialists

We are delighted to run the History Thesis Fair for second-year undergraduates this year. Come and meet over 50 specialists to talk about resources for your dissertation topic.

Thursday 4 May afternoon (week 2)

Colleges B-N: 2-3pm & College O-W: 3-4pm

North Writing School, Examination Schools

A collage of different archival materials to advertise the History Thesis Fair on Thurs 4 May 2023, afternoon. Colleges B-N 2-3pm. Colleges O-W 3-4pm. It's an opportunity to explpre, be curious, meet, network, and learn.

The Fair is an excellent opportunity for students to gain a wider perspective on the wealth and riches of research sources available for your field of study.

At the Fair you can learn about resources you may not yet have yet considered and meet the curators of collections who can guide you towards relevant material or useful finding tools.

Over 30 stalls will cover many areas:

  • Special Collections, libraries and archives, e.g.
    • Archives and Manuscripts 1500-1800
    • Archives and Modern Manuscripts 1800-
    • College Libraries (Special Collections)
    • College Archives’ Collections
    • Early Printed Books
    • Institute of Historical Research Library / Senate House Library
    • Oxford Brookes University Special Collections and Archives
    • Oxfordshire History Centre
    • UK Government and International Intergovernmental Publications
  • Topical stalls, e.g.
    • Biography
    • Community History
    • Digital Scholarship
    • Disability History
    • Legal History
    • LGBTQ+ History
    • History of Science & Medicine
    • Oxford and Empire
    • and more
  • Geographical stalls, e.g.
    • Africa & Commonwealth
    • East Asia & South Asia
    • Eastern Europe and Russia
    • Great Britain & West Europe
    • Middle East, Hebrew & Judaica, Caucus & Central Asia
    • Latin America
    • United States

You will also have an opportunity to speak to other students who have previously written dissertations and learn about their TOP 10 TIPS.

The format of the Fair encourages you to explore and discover new materials at your own pace, to be curious, to network and to make connections to experts and their peers while also learning about creative use of sources in Digital Scholarship.

Accessibility

The main entrance to the Examination Schools is stepped. There is a ramped entrance immediately to the left of the main entrance. There is lift access throughout the building, two wheelchair accessible toilets and hearing support systems that can be deployed where needed throughout the building. Most areas of the building have level access.

The accessible toilet is gender neutral and is at the bottom of the staircase opp. Room 8.

If you have any queries, please email library.history@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Get yourself kitted out for your research 

Hand cupping a seedling.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Doing research on your thesis also means that you will need to learn new skills, deepening your knowledge of resources and sources and how to go about locating and using them.

To help you on this exciting journey, the library has organised a series of talks, classes, and workshops which are designed to

  1. Upskill your information searching and research skills;
  2. Learn about the rich sources available to them in Oxford (and beyond) and know how to access them;
  3. Learn how to handle the material, incl. archives, correct citation practices, ethical research practice, etc.;
  4. Get to know relevant experts in Oxford libraries and archives.

Check out the classes and workshops set up for you to help you learn the skills you will need.

New online request service for Archives and Manuscripts is now live

Our wonderful colleagues in the Weston Library have launched their new online request service for archives and manuscripts. This should help readers with a more flexible and efficient way of ordering, e.g. from the comfort of your sofa or ordering in advance of a research trip.

Bodleian Archives and Manuscripts Requests makes it easier for both readers and staff to order material for consultation in the Reading Rooms. You can make request directly from one of our online catalogues, e.g. archives.bodleian.ox.ac.uk, medieval.bodleian.ox.ac.uk, hebrew.bodleian.ox.ac.uk. Just look out for the ‘Request’ button on the record. You can also track your orders and access your full order history in your account.

Screenshot of BodlIbs Archives & MSS catalogue

Once you have found your item(s), click on the Request button to order it to the reading room.

You must register!

For more information see our Special Collections webpages or register for the new service at requests.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/logon. If you created an account while the system was being tested, this will still be valid so there is no need to create a new one. Even if you are already a registered Bodleian Libraries reader or have a University card, you will need to register separately for this service.

Please note, at the moment, some material cannot be ordered via the new service (where this is the case, it will be stated in the catalogue record). For further information on which collections can be ordered see bodleian.ox.ac.uk/collections-and-resources/special-collections/ordering/requests.

If you have any questions about the new system, please contact the project manager ruth.turvey@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

New: Wiley Digital Archives British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) Collection (1830-1970)

Thanks to an agreement between Jisc and Wiley, Oxford researchers now have access to Wiley Digital Archives: British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) Collection (1830-1970)

This resource provides access to content from The British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS). Founded 1831 and renamed in 2009 to The British Science Association, its main aim was to improve the perception of science and scientists in the UK. The BAAS collection documents the efforts of the British scientific community to establish science as a professional activity and make Britain into a globally competitive centre for science. Many of the prominent names of British science since the early 19th century are associated with the BAAS.

This collection is complemented by material drawn from 10 British universities. The aggregated university collections serve to connect the manuscripts, papers and correspondence of some of the most important scientists of the 19th and early 20th centuries into a singular source for research. These collections were selected and curated on the recommendation of prominent academics working in the History of Science. These include collections contributed by University College London, Leeds University, Senate House Libraries, London, and Liverpool University. Further collections are in the process of being confirmed. The collections cover the work of scientists including Charles Wheatstone, Oliver Lodge, Samuel Tolansky and William Ramsay.

The BAAS collection contains a broad collection of document types: Reports, manuscript materials, newspaper clippings, photographs, brochures and catalogues; Field reports and minutes; Annual reports.

The collection spans a wide variety of interdisciplinary research areas and supports educational needs in a broad range of subjects and disciplines, including: History of Science, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, Area Studies, Colonial, Post-Colonial and Decolonisation Studies, Development Studies, Environmental Degradation, History, Sociology, Geology, International Relations, Trade and Commerce, Law and Policy relating to Science.

Also of interest:

Researching Archives training session

NEW SESSION ADDED! This session will also run Tue 25 Feb, 2-3.30pm.

Are you looking to level up your researching skills? Want to start your archival research and don’t know when to start? This session, run by Weston Library Senior Archivist Lucy McCann is for you!

Fri 28 February, 2-3.30pm

Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

This session provides an introduction to using archives for research and will cover

  • defining archives
  • archival arrangement
  • the practicalities of working with archival material
  • finding relevant archives
  • archives in the Bodleian, the University and further afield
  • web archives

No need to book. Just turn up.

Postgrads: Book now for the Humanities Research Fair Mon 27 January 2-5pm

After last term’s cancellation, here is a reminder that bookings for the re-scheduled Humanities Research Fair for postgraduates are now open.

The Fair will take place on Monday 27 January 2-5pm, South School, Exam Schools, OX1 4BG (map).

This free event is an excellent opportunity for Humanities postgraduate students to gain a wider perspective on the wealth and riches of research sources available for your field of study.

In a single place you get to meet lots of experts at the same time. You can learn about resources you may not yet have yet considered and meet the curators of collections who can guide you towards relevant material or useful finding tools.

Secure your goody bag and book a place now.

The format of the Fair encourages you to explore and discover new materials at your own pace, to be curious, to network and to make connections to experts and their peers while also learning about creative use of sources in Digital Humanities.

 

40+ stalls

  • Special collections (archives & early printed books, maps, museums)
  • Topical stalls (e.g. resources for English literature, Theology, History, Modern Languages, Biography)
  • Geographical stalls (e.g. US studies, Latin American, Far & Near Eastern, European)
  • General resources (e.g. Information skills, SOLO, Open Access, Digital Humanities, Top 10 Tips from a Graduate)
  • Take part in the live historical printing with the Centre for the Study of the Book
  • Relax with a cup of tea at the Student Wellbeing stall and try your hand at fiendish Bodleian jigsaw puzzle

A series of talks on Digital Humanities will accompany the Fair.

If you have any enquiries, please email humanitiesresearchfair@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

New discovery tool to search Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts

[Re-blogged from the Bodleian Libraries’ announcement]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

While you are here…

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

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

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

Visual History Archive workshop (USC Shoah Foundation, Centre for Advanced Genocide Research)

Tuesday February 26, 2019 2pm–4pm

Ho Tim Seminar Room University of Oxford China Centre (Dickson Poon Building, Canterbury Road)

No booking required!

The Visual History Archive® is USC Shoah Foundation’s online portal that allows users to search through and view more than 55,000 video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide. Initially a repository of Holocaust testimony, the Archive has expanded significantly to also include survivor and witness testimony from other genocidal events: the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923), the Nanjing Massacre (1937), the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda (1994) and the Guatemalan Genocide (1978-1996) as well as more recent testimonies relating to the Anti-Rohingya Mass Violence (August-October 2017).

This 2 hour workshop run by the USC Shoah Foundation will provide hands-on training on how to use the Visual History Archive, introducing students, librarians, staff, and faculty to the archive’s history, collections, interface, and search engines that are the key to unlocking the research and teaching potential of the archive. Learn about watching interviews and get tips how successfully to navigate the many testimonies.

USC Shoah Foundation Logo

USC Shoah Foundation