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 for early modernists: The Cecil Papers

It gives me great pleasure to announce that early modernists at Oxford now have access to The Cecil Papers. The purchase was made possible thanks to the generosity of many donors and contributors across the University: English Faculty Library, History Faculty, Merton College, All Souls College, St John’s College Library, Lincoln College, Oriel College Library, Balliol College Library, Keble College Library, New College, Pembroke College Library, and St Hugh’s College Library. I am very grateful to all donors without whom the purchase of this important historical source database, which has long been on the history eresources desiderata, would not have been possible.

The Cecil Papers provides online access to a collection of Tudor and early Stuart documents, principally from the reigns of Elizabethan I and James I/VI, privately held by the Gascoyne-Cecil family at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. After 1585. Attrib. to Marcus Gheeraerts the Yr [Public domain]

Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1602.
John de Critz [Public domain]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The resource contains nearly 30,000 documents gathered by William Cecil (1521-98), Lord Burghley and his son Robert Cecil (1563-1612), First Earl of Salisbury. These important statesmen were Lord High Treasurer and Secretary of State serving under Elizabeth I and then James I. It complements extremely well the State Papers Online.

The collection includes many 16th and 17th century state papers, grants from the Crown, legal documents, treaties, correspondence, political memoranda, reports but also family and estate papers.

Key events covered in this collection include:

  • The clandestine plans for James’ accession to the English throne
  • Mary Queen of Scots’ imprisonment and execution
  • Tudor re-conquest of Ireland
  • The Spanish Armada
  • Military events in the Low Countries
  • Gunpowder Plot
  • The Main Plot and imprisonment of Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Early English settlement of America

The manuscripts are full-text searchable on the ProQuest platform. You can see both the scanned original manuscript as well as the transcribed version which will help those struggling with their palaeographical skills. Full-text searching is possible and hits are usefully highlighted.

The names and number of the ships that served against the Spanish Fleet.

July [1588] CP 166/83, The Cecil Papers. All Rights Reserved. Images reproduced by courtesy of Hatfield House Archives.

The Publication Search allows you to browse specifically for Family / Estate Papers, Maps, and Petitions.

Researchers will find a number of additional support material, available in the About section. They include:

  • An essay about the archival history of the collection.
  • Notes on the numbering of the Cecil Papers and the scope of the digital collection.
  • brief introduction to some key points of palaeography.
  • Some quick reference material, relating to differences in dating, numerical and monetary systems, likely to be found in documents such as those contained within The Cecil Papers.

The Cecil Papers are now available on Databases A-Z and will soon also be in SOLO.

While you are here…

New: Arcadian Library Online: History of Science and Medicine collection

I am delighted to announce that thanks to a generous donation, the Bodleian Libraries has been able to purchase Arcadian Library Online: History of Science and Medicine collection.

This online resource enables easy exploration of the rich holdings of the Arcadian Library. A privately-owned collection of rare ancient manuscripts, early printed books, and documents from the 10th to 20th centuries, the Arcadian Library collects the shared cultural heritage of Europe and the Middle East.

The first module of this online resource, the History of Science and Medicine collection, contains the contributions of early Arab and Persian scientists, doctors and thinkers; their translation, reception and influence in Europe and their lasting influence on the development of Western scientific and medical knowledge. It also brings together 19th and 20th century records of science, medicine and natural history from across the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions.

There are texts on

Content highlights include:

  • Ibn Baklarish’s Kitab al-Musta’ini – Book of simple medicines
  • Haly Abbas’s (Al Majūsī) seminal tenth century medical text Liber Totius Medicine Necessaria Continens
  • Liber de cirurgia by Albucasis (Al-Zahrawi) – a pivotal fifteenth century medical treatise detailing early Arab surgical practices and instruments
  • An early edition of Serapion the Younger’s book of medical botany, Liber aggregatus in medicinis simplicibus
  • Reports of European scientific explorations documenting the animals, plants and geology of countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria

I recommend browsing by period, place, people, topic, language and content type to get a sense of the scope of this curated collection.

The vast majority of the content comes from printed works and are in Latin. Texts are also in Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Persian and Spanish. The medieval and early modern periods are particularly strong.

In due course the bibliographical details of each item in this collection will also be discoverable in SOLO.

Features include:

  • High-resolution, full-colour images (400ppi)
  • Searchable in either English or Arabic
  • Dedicated taxonomy enables filtered search by topic, place, period, people, language or content type
  • Commentary articles linked to primary texts
  • Full catalogue records include available provenance and condition notes
  • Integrated Arabic keyboard

Now online: Ambix: the Journal of the Society for the Study of Alchemy and Early Chemistry

Oxford researchers will be pleased to know that Ambix: the Journal of the Society for the Study of Alchemy and Early Chemistry is now available online, starting with volume 44 (1997). For issues before that date, you will need to consult the printed copy.

Ambix is an internationally-recognised, peer-reviewed journal and the leading specialist publication in its field, which is viewed as a major outlet for current research. Published four times a year, in February, May, August and November, its remit is to facilitate the publication of high-quality research and discussion in all areas relevant to the history of alchemy and chemistry, including:

  • ancient, medieval and early modern alchemy
  • the Chemical Revolution
  • the impact of atomism
  • the rise of organic chemistry
  • the chemical industry
  • quantum chemistry
  • interactions between the chemical sciences and other disciplines

The Journal’s scope extends to the history of pharmacy and chemical medicine, environmental studies of the chemical industry, and the material and visual culture of chemistry. ” (https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?show=aimsScope&journalCode=yamb20, accessed 15 May 2018)

Ambix also publishes reviews in English of books dealing with any aspect of the history of alchemy and chemistry.

New: American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection (1684-1912)

Our colleagues in the Vere Harmsworth Library have arranged permanent access to the online American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection (1684-1912). They write:

“We’re delighted to announce that Oxford users now have access to all five parts of the American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection from EBSCO.

The collection provides digital access to the full text of thousands of American periodicals published between 1684 and 1912, digitised from the collections of the American Antiquarian Society. Titles cover a broad range of subjects and interests related to every aspect of American life and culture, from politics to religion, science, law, literature and the arts.
>>More information on the AAS periodicals collection

Access is available via Databases A-Z – use single sign-on for remote access.”

From the VHL Blog post [accessed 15 March 2018]

Also useful:

New: 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection

I am pleased to report that Oxford researchers now have access to the online 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

A collection of late 16th and early 17th century newspapers, pamphlets and broadsheets, the Nichols newspaper collection is held at the Bodleian Library and was bought by the library from the Nichols family in 1865. It comprises 296 volumes of bound material. In partnership with the Bodleian Library, Gale scanned the original physical copies to produce this online resource.

Burney and Nichols

The two biggest collections of 17th- and 18th-century newspapers were owned by Dr. Charles Burney and his fellow collector, John Nichols. The Nichols Newspaper Collection contains titles that are not in the Burney Collection and fill gaps from title runs in Burney. Having access, therefore, to both the 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers and the 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection is wonderful news for early modernists studying British history, politics, society, culture and also international relations in this period.

Using Gale Primary Sources you can search across both Burney and Nichols newspaper collections simultaneously.

Content of the Nichols Newspapers Collection

The resource, covering the period 1672 to 1737, includes approximately 300 primary titles of newspapers and periodicals and 300 pamphlets and broadsheets.

Examples of some interesting newspapers include Athenian Mercury (1691-1697), The Flying Post (1695-1733), The Post Boy (1695-1728) and many more. It also includes all four issues of The Ladies Mercury, an early example of a periodical aimed at women, and The Female Tatler, the first known periodical with a female editor.

The Female Tatler [A. Baldwin] (London, England), March 24, 1710, Issue 109. Gale.

How to use and search the Nichols Newspapers Collection

Advanced searches include limiting to type of content, year, etc. As ever when searching full-text in early modern newspaper resources, the use of language has to be carefully considered. The resource does allow you to search for variations in spelling. Reading the Help > Search section is highly recommended. Proximity searching doesn’t seem to be available, to the best my knowledge. Researchers can browse by publication title or date.

The resource comes with introductory essays and resources:

  • ‘A Copious Collection of Newspapers’: John Nichols and his Collection of Newspapers, Pamphlets and News Sheets, 1760–1865 (Julian Pooley, University of Leicester)
  • The English Press in the Long Eighteenth Century: An Introduction, Change Amidst Continuity (Professor Jeremy Black, University of Exeter)
  • London Newspapers and Domestic Politics in the Early Eighteenth Century (Professor Hannah Barker, University of Manchester)
  • Advertising Novels in the Early Eighteenth-century Newspaper: Some examples from the Bodleian’s Nichols collection. (Dr Siv Gøril Brandtzæg, University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim)
  • Dealing with the ‘Fair Sex’: Women and the Periodical Press in the Nichols Collection (Claire Boulard Jouslin, Université Paris3-Sorbonne Nouvelle)
  • The Nichols Collection, 1666–1737: Religion, Regulation and the Development of the Metropolitan Press (Daniel Reed, Oxford Brookes University)

Finally, it also includes a tool which analyses the frequency or popularly of terms in the digitised documents (Term Frequency). While the visualisation of term frequency is exciting and linking relevant documents is incredibly useful, any post-1737 results should be ignored as, of course, there are no Nichols newspapers after that year:

John Nichols (1745-1826)

John Nichols was a writer, printer, former Master of the Stationers’ Company and biographer of Hogarth (Biographical anecdotes of William Hogarth, 1781) and local history enthusiast (The history and antiquities of the county of Leicester, 4 vols., 1795-1815) . An enthusiastic collector and antiquarian, he began collecting newspapers from c 1778, when in June that year he purchased a share in the Gentleman’s Magazine, becoming sole printer from 1780.

Learn more about him and his family:

More early modern resources

New: The Grand Tour

I am pleased to report that Oxford researchers now have access to The Grand Tour (Adam Matthew Digital). Use your SSO for remote access.

As thousands of British tourists are currently enjoying their holidays in Europe, no doubt Facebooking and Instagramming their experiences and sights, it is worth reflecting back how travel accounts used to be written and at a time when European travel was reserved to the aristocratic and wealthy young men of the eighteenth century and seen as part of their education.

The Grand Tour, a term first used by J. Gailhard, The compleat gentleman, or, Directions for the education of youth as to their breeding at home and travelling abroad (1678)*, was a phenomenon which shaped the creative and intellectual sensibilities of some of the eighteenth century’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers. Now researchers have access to digitised accounts of the English abroad in Europe c1550-1850.

The source materials in The Grand Tour highlight the influence of continental travel on British art, architecture, urban planning, literature and philosophy. They are also useful for the study of daily life in the eighteenth century, whether it be on transportation, communications, money, social norms, health, sex or food and drink. Furthermore, the material covers European political and religious life, British diplomacy; life at court, and social customs on the Continent, and is an excellent resource for the study of Europe’s urban spaces. This resource will be useful for those studying history, history of art and architecture, British and European literature.

There is a wealth of detail about cities such as Paris, Rome, Florence and Geneva, including written accounts and visual representations of street life, architecture and urban planning.

What is included?

The Grand Tour provides full-text access to a curated collection of manuscripts, printed works and visual resources. The materials draw on collections held in a number of libraries and archives, including many in private or neglected collections. Assembling these in a single resource will allow researchers for the first time to better compare the sources.

In particular the scanned and indexed materials include letters; diaries and journals; account books; printed guidebooks; published travel writing; but also visual resources such as paintings and sketches; architectural drawings and maps. Palaeographical skills are needed to decipher manuscript letters. Some images of scanned manuscripts are challenging to read.

Using an interactive map, researchers can also locate any sources related to a town or city:

Also included is an online version of John Ingamells (comp.), Dictionary and Archive of Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 (New Haven, 1997). This well-known publication lists over 6,000 individual Grand Tourists, provides biographical details and details of their tours.

For those needing an introductory and historiographical account of Grand Tour research, there are essays by Professors Jeremy Black, Edward Chaney and Rosemary Sweet.

Other supplementary aids include a chronology of 18th century European events, a political chronology of Italy, and a list of Italian rulers, as well as a selected bibliography for further reading.

The Grand Tour is accessible to Oxford researchers and Bodleian-registered readers via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

Also useful

ANSELL, Richard, Foubert’s academy : British and Irish elite formation in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Paris and London, in Beyond the Grand Tour : Northern metropolises and early modern travel behaviour; edited by Rosemary Sweet, Gerrit Verhoeven and Sarah Goldsmith. (London: Routledge, 2017)

GOLDSMITH, Sarah, Dogs, Servants and Masculinities : Writing about Danger on the Grand Tour, in Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 40:1 (2017) 3-21, DOI: 10.1111/1754-0208.12342.

*Oxford English Dictionary, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/80717, accessed 17 August 2017

Trial until 17 Nov: Digital Downloads (The National Archives)

Oxford researchers now have access to a trial of Digital Downloads from The National Archives (UK).

digital-downloads-tna-alien-arrivals

The National Archives (TNA) is the official archive of the UK Government and for England and Wales, collecting documents dating back over 1,000 years. Digital Downloads provides full access to TNA’s digitised collection of millions of historical records relevant for medieval to modern history. Apparently 5% of the TNA records have been digitised so far, with more being added.

digital-downloads-tna-eden

digital-downloads-tna-british-army-war-diaries

The collections are very strong in military and naval history (e.g. service records), wills from 1384-1858, and migration history (e.g. alien’s registration cards 1918-1957).

Currently accessible collections include:

  • Aliens’ registration cards 1918-1957
  • British Army medal index cards 1914-1920
  • British Army nurses’ service records 1914-1918
  • British Army war diaries 1914-1922
  • Country court death duty registers 1796-1811
  • Durham Home Guard 1939-1945
  • Famous wills 1552-1854
  • French muster rolls from the Battle of Trafalgar 1805
  • Household Cavalry soldiers’ service records 1799-1920
  • Irish maps c1558-c1610
  • Logs and journals of ships of exploration 1757-1904
  • Looted art 1939-1961
  • Merchant seamen’s campaign medal records 1914-1918
  • Merchant seamen’s campaign medal records 1939-1945
  • Merchant shipping movement cards 1939-1945
  • Middlesex military service appeal tribunal 1916-1918
  • Naturalisation case papers 1801-1871
  • Prisoner of war interview reports 1914-1918
  • Recommendations for military honours and awards 1935-1990
  • Royal Air Force combat reports 1939-1945
  • Royal Air Force officers’ service records 1918-1919
  • Royal Air Force operations record books 1939-1945
  • Royal Flying Corps airmen
  • Royal Marines’ service records 1842-1925
  • Royal Naval Air Service officers
  • Royal Naval Air Service officers’ service records 1906-1918
  • Royal Naval Air Service ratings
  • Royal Naval Division service records 1914-1919
  • Royal Naval Reserve officers’ service records 1862-1964
  • Royal Naval Reserve personnel
  • Royal Naval Reserve service records 1860-1955
  • Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve service records 1903-1922
  • Royal Navy officers’ service record cards and files c1840-c1920
  • Royal Navy officers’ service records 1756-1931
  • Royal Navy ratings’ service records 1853-1928
  • Royal Navy unpaid pensions 1830-1860: claims by next of kin
  • Sir Anthony Eden’s private office papers 1935-1946
  • Victoria Cross registers 1856-1944
  • Victorian prisoners’ photograph albums 1872-1873
  • Wills 1384-1858
  • Wills of Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel 1786-1882
  • Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps service records 1917-1920
  • Women’s Royal Air Force service records 1918-1920
  • Women’s Royal Naval Service personnel

Collections which will display on the site but which will not be accessible to anybody who does not have Ancestry.com or findmypast accounts, include:

  • Alien arrivals
  • Alien entry books
  • British Army and militia 1760-1915
  • Census records
  • Crime, prisons and punishment 1770-1935
  • First World War soldiers’ service and pension records
  • Prisoners of war: selected records 1715-1945
  • Railway employment records 1833-1956
  • Royal Air Force airmen service records 1912-1939

The trial ends on 17 November. Feedback should be sent to isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Also of interest:

Ancestry.com freely available in Oxford Central Library (& other public libraries)

digital-downloads-tna-wills

Paas’ German Political Broadsheet 1600-1700 now in Upper Reading Room

Those researching seventeenth century German history, especially the Thirty Years’ War, will be pleased to learn that I have added the entire set of Paas’ German Political Broadsheet to the Upper Reading Room, Old Bodleian Library, so that it is more easily accessible and browsable.

german-political-broadsheets-1600-1700-set-of-vols

Paas, John Roger, The German Political Broadsheet, 1600-1700. 12 vols. (Wiesbaden, 1985). Shelfmark: URR K.9.1.

 

Paas’ meticulous research in finding, describing and publishing all known extant 17th century broadsheets is wonderful and sometimes underrated source material covering a tumultuous period in German and Central European history. In particular the first half of the century saw the Thirty Years’ War 1618-1648, one of Europe’s most violent religious war.

While the majority of the broadsheets are located in German libraries, museums and archives, the ambition to publish as complete a record of German broadsheets as possible has sent Paas on research trips to over 180 libraries, archives and private collections across Europe and the US. Over 3,000 broadsheets are reproduced in full-page size and all known copies are cited.

german-political-broadsheets-1600-1700-image

Paas, John Roger, The German Political Broadsheet, 1600-1700. (Wiesbaden, 1985) vol. 1, p. 232.

The entire set publishes the broadsheets chronologically. Each volume introduces the period with a helpful scholarly overview of the years and period in question. The repositories are carefully listed and each plate has a brief description and shelfmarks.

Suggested reading

Recommended web resources

New: European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750

European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750 is a freely accessible comprehensive guide to printed works about the Americas written in Europe before 1750. It is provided by EBSCO.

European Views of the Americas - logoThe database contains more than 32,000 entries and is a comprehensive guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe before 1750. It covers the history of European exploration as well as portrayals of Native American peoples. There is good content from continental Europe.

The European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750 database addresses the following subjects and themes:

  • America in literature
  • Botany
  • British in America
  • Catholic Church
  • Commerce
  • Discoveries
  • Dutch in America
  • Economics
  • Fisheries
  • French in America
  • Geography
  • Great Britain–Colonies
  • Indians
  • Jesuits (and other religious orders) in America
  • Law
  • Mines & mineral resources
  • Natural history
  • Navigation
  • Pirates
  • Shipping
  • Slave-trade
  • Spain–Colonies
  • Tobacco
  • Voyages around the world

You can locate material by searching in a variety of ways or browsing for publication (A-Z) or name and geographic lists of publishers, printers and booksellers.

European Views of the Americas - sample

“The database is derived from the seminal reference work, European Americana: A Chronological Guide to Works Printed in Europe Relating to the Americas, 1493-1750. Commonly known as the Alden-Landis bibliography (after the co-editors John Alden and Dennis Landis), this reference work features documents produced in Europe that make some mention of the discovery and emerging awareness of the Americas. The work is arranged in chronological order across six volumes. The database is searchable by every category of information found within the printed volumes and will be an invaluable resource for researchers interested in the subject.” http://support.ebsco.com/knowledge_base/detail.php?id=4994, accessed 21 July 2016

You have a good choice of saving and exporting your citations with permalinks and citation assistance also provided.

Also of interest: