LibGuide for Disability History resources now live

We are delighted to announce that the Bodleian Libraries’ LibGuide Disability History Resources is now live, just in time for UK Disability History Month (UKDHM).

The guide was created by Alice Shepherd, the 2022-23 History Faculty Library Graduate trainee, as part of her year-long project and was launched at a research seminar, convened at the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (OCHSMT) on Monday 27 November 2023.

Alice Shepherd presenting the LibGuide to the audience. The slide on the screen reads: The Oxford Disability History LibGuide

Photo by Isabel Holowaty, 27 Nov 2023, Maison Française, Oxford

Who is the guide for?

It is intended for researchers and students who are studying Disability History and other information professionals supporting researchers. It is also useful for practitioners and members of the public with an interest in (or who have a disability) and wish to gain a historical perspective.

A screenshot fromm the Medical technologies section. It shows a Dental Technology video from YouTube and 2 readigs on the right hand side: 1. Prosthetic Body Parts in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture by Ryan Sweet 2. Accessible America by Bess Williamson What can you find in the guide?

The LibGuide consists of a collection of research resources crowdsourced during a Hackathon by 24 volunteers in Dec 2022 who scoured the internet for relevant archives, journals and various other useful websites. Over 200 nominated resources were then assessed and organised by Alice to make them as discoverable as possible. The guide conforms with accessibility standards.

The selected resources cover a great variety of topics across different historical periods (ancient to contemporary history).

A screenshot from the medieval section, showing Medieval Disabled Bodies, Medieval Graduate Podcast, episode 4, from YouTube. Shows a reading on the right-hand side for Difference and Disability in the Medieval Islamic World Blighted Bodies by Kristina L. Richardson.The disabilities covered are wide ranging and include, for instance, autism, birth defects, chronic pain, hearing loss /deafness, learning disabilities, mental illness, mobility disabilities, visual impairment, and more.

Resources were also selected for aspects of disability relating to education, employment, medical technologies, stigma and war. The materials themselves may be archives, audio-visual, biographies, books, journals, legislation, newspapers, theses and websites.

The guide also lists Oxford historians researching aspects of disability history.

Feedback & suggestions

The guide will continue to evolve. It is currently limited largely to English language resources focused on western history and we hope there will be opportunities to expand its scope in the future.

We very much welcome feedback and, continuing in the crowdsourcing spirit, invite suggestions for additional resources for the LibGuide which can be made via our Recommend a Resource form.

Many congratulations and thanks go to Alice for her terrific work. We believe that this guide will be an excellent resource to help with the discovery of resources for disability history. Thanks of course also go to the volunteer ‘hackers’, without whom this guide would not exist, and the History Faculty for hosting and funding the hackathon in 2022.

Isabel Holowaty, Deputy Head of Humanities Libraries & History Librarian (Research), Bodleian Libraries, Oxford University

Dr Sloan Mahone, History Faculty, Oxford University

While you are here… we have many other guides for history resources. Check them out!

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:

Re-trial until 25 April: Early Modern England: Society, Culture & Everyday Life, 1500-1700

We decided to repeat a trial of Early Modern England: Society, Culture & Everyday Life, 1500-1700. The trial ends 25 April.

This resource offers access to rare and invaluable sources for examining the lived experience of people in England between 1500 and 1700. From ‘ordinary’ people through to more prominent individuals and families, these documents show how everyday working, family, religious and administrative life was experienced across England.

Rather than dealing specifically with the great political and religious upheavals of these years, the project aims to look at the everyday happenings of people in different parts of England.

What topics can you research?

The sources are useful for the study of many aspects of life in early modern England. They include:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts, literature and culture
  • Births, marriages and deaths
  • Family life and relationships
  • Finance
  • Foreign affairs
  • Health and medicine
  • Land and property
  • Law and order
  • Monarchy
  • Politics and government
  • Possessions
  • Poverty
  • Religion
  • Scholarship: science and humanities
  • Trade and economics
  • Travel
  • War
  • Women’s history
  • Work and employment

What type of documents are included?

These experiences are revealed through a wide range of materials including legal records, family correspondence, tax records, administrative records, wills, inventories, petitions, military papers and commonplace books and more.

There is a strong material culture element to this project with the inclusion of images of everyday objects used in early modern households. Many can be viewed in 360-degree rotation.3 early modern objects: cream coloured cap, a chamberpot, a fire bellowsWhich regions are covered?

The different collections of documents enable a regional comparison, for example with court records from the South East, London, the West Midlands and the North West.A guide to the different collections incl. Commonplace books, local legal documents, quarter sessions, archives, etc.Searching

You can browse or search in many different ways. Useful are, for instance, indices for names, themes, regions and places.

The resource also offers searching of manuscripts using Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology. This is still a developing area and results may not always be perfect.

Tell us what you think

The trial ends on 25 April. While there currently is no funding for this resource, your feedback is still helpful to gauge interest amongst the scholarly community. Please email  isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk to comment on the usefulness of the content, who would benefit from it and whether the searching functionality is adequate.

Trial until 15 February: Early Modern England Society, Culture & Everyday Life, 1500-1700

Oxford researchers are warmly invited to trial Early Modern England: Society, Culture & Everyday Life, 1500-1700 [access via SOLO.]

This resource offers access to rare and invaluable sources for examining the lived experience of people in England between 1500 and 1700. From ‘ordinary’ people through to more prominent individuals and families, these documents show how everyday working, family, religious and administrative life was experienced across England.

Rather than dealing specifically with the great political and religious upheavals of these years, the project aims to look at the everyday happenings of people in different parts of England.

What topics can you research?

The sources are useful for the study of many aspects of life in early modern England. They include:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts, literature and culture
  • Births, marriages and deaths
  • Family life and relationships
  • Finance
  • Foreign affairs
  • Health and medicine
  • Land and property
  • Law and order
  • Monarchy
  • Politics and government
  • Possessions
  • Poverty
  • Religion
  • Scholarship: science and humanities
  • Trade and economics
  • Travel
  • War
  • Women’s history
  • Work and employment

What type of documents are included?

These experiences are revealed through a wide range of materials including legal records, family correspondence, tax records, administrative records, wills, inventories, petitions, military papers and commonplace books and more.

There is a strong material culture element to this project with the inclusion of images of everyday objects used in early modern households. Many can be viewed in 360-degree rotation.3 early modern objects: cream coloured cap, a chamberpot, a fire bellowsWhich regions are covered?

The different collections of documents enable a regional comparison, for example with court records from the South East, London, the West Midlands and the North West.A guide to the different collections incl. Commonplace books, local legal documents, quarter sessions, archives, etc.Searching

You can browse or search in many different ways. Useful are, for instance, indices for names, themes, regions and places.

The resource also offers searching of manuscripts using Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology. This is still a developing area and results may not always be perfect.

Tell us what you think

The trial ends on 15 February. While there currently is no funding for this resource, your feedback is still helpful to gauge interest amongst the scholarly community. Please email  isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk to comment on the usefulness of the content, who would benefit from it and whether the searching functionality is adequate.

New State Papers Online experience – preview from 1 Aug

Called all early modernists: a new improved version of State Papers Online can be previewed from 1 August via the SPO webpage. The provider, Cengage Gale, is keen to get your feedback. Given the complexity of the material, I strongly encourage researchers to take a look and send in suggestions and comments. The plan is to retire the current version in December 2022.

What is State Papers Online I-IV 1509-1714?State Papers Online 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. Among the Calendars included are the HMC Calendars and the Haynes/Murdin transcriptions of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House.

What is changing?

You can expect many improvements such as side-by-side viewing of the manuscript and calendar versions and more. See Gale’s blog post New State Papers Online Experience Available to Preview (5 July 2022) for more details.

Screenshot from the new State Papers Online interface showing a calendar entry of SP12 139.

Image from Gale’s bog post ‘New State Papers Online Experience Available to Preview’

Trial until 18 May 2020: Droz ebooks: Humanisme et Renaissance – Calvin

Colleagues in the Taylor Institution Library have set up trials to some online Droz French resources. Two of these will be of interest to early modern history, history of the book, intellectual history, religious history, and European history. You will need SSO for remote access. Please send feedback to isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Humanisme et Renaissance

The Droz Humanisme et Renaissance collection offers a collection of sources and studies on Humanism (Politien, Ficin, Erasmus, Budé…), the French Reformation (Lefèvre d’Etaples, Calvin, Farel, Beza…) and the Renaissance (literary and artistic, Hieronymus Bosch or Rabelais, Ronsard or Primaticcio), as well as the medicine, science, philosophy, book history, and all forms of knowledge and human activity from the long sixteenth century, roughly from 1450 to the death of Henry IV in 1610, the threshold of the classical age.

Calvin

This portal presents all the texts by or about John Calvin which have been published by the Librairie Droz from 1960 to 2012, with an initial focus on Geneva, Calvin, and the beginnings of the French evangelical movement with Lefèvre d’Etaples and Marguerite de Navarre.

Related resources already available in Oxford:

Anti-Calvin

This database comprises the writings of French Catholics against the doctrines of John Calvin (1509-1564) and other protestant leaders. France was a major centre in the clash between Catholics and Protestants during the sixteenth century. Much of the Protestant literature was in French in the hopes of converting the French people. In response, the Catholic Church preserved its position in France with these documents. This archive includes both sixteenth-century attacks on Calvinism and Protestantism as well as defences of the Catholic doctrine.

Huguenots

This collection offers a comprehensive survey of the original writings of the French Huguenot authors, from the first stirrings of radical dissent in the 1530s through to the end of the century. The selection privileges first and foremost original writings of authors writing within France and for an exclusively French audience. Thus whereas Calvin’s Genevan writings are not included, the tracts penned by Theodore de Bèze as part of the polemic exchange during the Colloquy of Poissy (1561) do appear here.

All told the writings collected here reveal an intellectually vibrant movement, meeting unprecedented challenges and later hardship with that mixture of confidence, aggression, and resolution in the face of adversity that characterises Calvinist churches of this era throughout Europe.

Access to Early European Books 5-16 until 31 May 2020

ProQuest have kindly given Oxford researchers free temporary access to Early European Books Collections 5-16 until 31 May 2020. SSO is required for off-campus access.

Collections 5-16 draw mostly material held at Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) but also at Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague, the Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen and the Wellcome Library in London. It provides access to early printed European collections published between 1450 and 1700.

Some collections are themed:

Collection 16 – French Culture in the Early Modern Period – From the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

Collection 15 – Revolution and Reformation: Early Modern Science and Religion – From the Wellcome Library (London), the Kongelige Bibliotek (Copenhagen), the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague) and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Florence).

All EEB collections can be cross-searched.  You can also cross-search with Early English Books Online (EEBO) (SSO required for off-campus access).

You have a number of searching and browsing options, including by subject. You can view the documents in thumbnail, Full View and see the full metadata description. Early European Books can now also be analysed visually with the new Interactive Historical Map. Check out the useful EEB LibGuide to learn more about the collection and how to use it.

Please note that book-level details are not in SOLO. You will need to access EEB directly to search for a particular titles.

After 31 May 2020, researchers will continue to have access to EEB Collections 1-4.

British Online Archives – full access until 20 April 2020

British Online Archives are providing 30-day free access (starting from 23 March) of its entire collection to existing customers in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The company provides access to over 3 million records drawn from both private and public archives. There are 88 collections with thematically organised records covering early modern and modern world history, from politics and warfare to slavery and medicine. These are great source materials for 18th to later 20th century British and global history. Contributing archives include India Office, British Library, The National Archives, British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, LSE.

Examples of themes:

Paris Peace Conference, Prosecuting the Holocaust, Colonial Law in Africa, British Labour Party Papers 1906-1994, Liverpool and Bristol shipping records, slave trade records, missionary archives, British colonial government reports, and much more.

Please remember that this access will cease on 20 April 2020. However, the Bodleian Libraries has purchased a few of these collections already so you can continue to access them after 20 April.