New eresources for 20th century history: World War I, British Union of Fascists files, Northern Ireland, Middle East, Soviet women, world news

We are pleased to announce access to six major eresources which are useful for 20th century historians. They cover key historical events in British, European and world history and contain a great range of sources, from newspapers, government and diplomatic documents, maps, to digitised newsreels. Most resources are strong in international relations and political and diplomatic history, while two resources (Soviet Women, World Newsreels Online) also have a social, gender and cultural aspect, to varying degrees.

Oxford researchers, you can also access these resources remotely with your SSO.

The British Union of Fascists: Newspapers and Secret Files, 1933-1951

Homepage of the resource, depicting a black and white photo of Oswald Mosley walking past supporters showing the fascit salute.

Homepage of
The British Union of Fascists: Newspapers and Secret Files, 1933-1951, British Online Archives

Part of British Online Archives’ Politics and Protest series, the resources contained within this collection chart the rise and fall of fascism in Britain during the 1930s and 1940s, with a particular focus on Oswald Mosley’s blackshirt movement.

The bulk of the documents are official BUF publications, including Fascist Week¸ The Blackshirt, The East London Pioneer, and Action. In addition, there are hundreds of government documents relating to Mosley’s internment under Defence Regulation 18B during the Second World War. Geographical coverage includes Great Britain and the United States.

The series covered include: CAB 127 (Cabinet Office: Private Collections of Ministers’ and Officials’ Papers); HO 45 (Home Office: Registered Papers); HO 262 (Ministry of Information: Home Intelligence Division Files); HO 283 (Home Office: Defence Regulation 18B, Advisory Committee Papers); KV 2 (The Security Service: Personal Files); PCOM 9 (Prison Commission and Home Office, Prison Department: Registered Papers: Series 2); and PREM 4 (Prime Minister’s Office: Confidential correspondence and papers).

The Middle East Online Series 2 – Iraq 1914-1974 (Archives Unbound)

Lists details of two out of almsot five thousand documents in the collection.

Screenshot from Middle East Online: Iraq 1914-1974.

Drawing on the collections from the National Archives at Kew, UK, these documents cover the political and administrative history of the modern state which has emerged from the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia.

Like Series 1 (Middle East Online: Arab-Israeli Relations, 1917-1970), this database offers conference reports, ministerial memos and diplomatic dispatches, as well as official letters of correspondence from regional leaders, press releases and arms deal reports. This collection will also appeal to those with an interest in economics, politics and peace studies.

Series 2 on Iraq covers these events:

  • The war in Mesopotamia and the capture of Baghdad in 1917
  • Introduction of the British Mandate and the installation of King Faisal in 1921
  • Independence and Iraq’s membership in the League of Nations in 1932
  • Coups d’état in the 1930s and 1940s
  • The Baghdad pact of 1955 and the military coup of 1958 leading to the establishment of a republic
  • Oil concessions and the threat to Kuwait
  • The rise of Ba’athism and Saddam Hussein
  • The USSR-Iraq Treaty of Friendship in 1972
  • Iran-Iraq relations

The vast majority of the almost 5,000 documents are in English with c 100 in Arabic and c 160 in French.

Northern Ireland: A Divided Community, 1921-1972 Cabinet Papers of the Stormont Administration (Archives Unbound)

Lists details of two out of more than 1500 documents in the collection.

Screenshot from Northern Ireland: A Divided Community.

The history of Ireland in the twentieth century was dominated by the political and sectarian divide between the north and the south, leading to sustaining armed violence over several decades. 2021 markes the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland in May 1921.

This resource provides access to Government documents of the British administration in Northern Ireland 1921-72 (CAB/4) offer what have been described as the best continuous record of government activity and decision-making in the world, and shows “how government actually worked”. The papers are a complete digital facsimile of the Cabinet Conclusion files of the Northern Ireland Government, filed as CAB/4 at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). These CAB/4 files contain a full record of every debate and transaction for the entire duration of the Stormont administration, the devolved government of Northern Ireland. Separate files exist for each Cabinet Meeting and include minutes and memoranda. The discussions and decisions reflect the wide range of problems and activities involved in making the new administration work.

Topics debated and reported in just one sample year of the Troubles (1970) include: policing, arms and explosives, social need, prevention of incitement to religious hatred, army occupation of factories, road spiking, routing of Orange Day parades, dock strikes, law and order, riots, and the roles of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Paris Peace Conference and Beyond, 1919-1939

An image of the resource' s homepage, depicting 4 key statesmen (Foch, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Orlando)

From left to right: Marshal Foch, George Clemenceau (French PM), David Lloyd George (British PM), Vittorio Orlando, (Italian PM), from Paris Peace Conference and Beyond, 1919-1939, homepage, British Online Archives (accessed 9 Aug 2021)

Drawn chiefly from the UK National Archives, including selected FO 608 files, these Foreign Office records for the first time offer an emphatic and comprehensive coverage of the various peace treaties signed at the end of the First World War. The Treaties of Versailles, Saint-Germain, Sevres, Trianon, Neuilly and Lausanne are all covered in great depth. They collectively saw to the redrawing of boundaries, the stripping back of German military might and the effective end of the Ottoman Empire. These records are supplemented by the personal papers of Robert Cecil and Arthur Balfour – held at the British Library – both of whom played prominent roles during the course of the Conference.

The papers include cabinet papers, agenda, records of conversations, memoranda, dispatches, telegrams, confidential reports, maps, treaties, and selected news clippings.

This resource has a global reach. Use it to explore and learn how the Allied Powers scrambled to create a diplomatic epilogue to ‘the war to end all wars’.

Soviet Woman Digital Archive (1945-1991)

Front cover of Soviet Women, Nov 1989, depicting a woman with 2 fluffytoy animals.

“FRONT COVER” Soviet Woman. 1989.

Established in the aftermath of WWII in 1945, the magazine Soviet Woman proclaimed on the cover of its first issue its fundamental mission: “A magazine devoted to social and political problems, literature and art…”

Published initially under the aegis of the Soviet Women’s Anti-Fascist Committee and the Central Council of Trade Unions of the USSR, it began as a bimonthly illustrated magazine tasked with countering anti-Soviet propaganda by introducing Western audiences to the lifestyle of Soviet women, including their role in the post-WWII rebuilding of the Soviet economy, and their achievements in the arts and the sciences. The Soviet Woman digital archive contains all obtainable published issues from the very first issue, comprising more than 500 issues and over 7,500 articles.

Over the years the magazine developed regular sections covering issues dealing with economics, politics, life abroad, life in Soviet republics, women’s fashion, as well as broader issues in culture and the arts. One of its most popular features was the translations of Soviet literary works, making available in English, (and other languages) works of Russian and Soviet writers that were previously unavailable, allowing readers worldwide a peek inside the hitherto insular Soviet literary world. An important communist propaganda outlet, the magazine continued its run until the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

World Newsreels Online: 1929–1966

In December of 1941, cinema audiences around the world—from New York to Tokyo, Amsterdam to Paris—waited expectantly for news of Pearl Harbor. This resource lets  historians see what those audiences saw and more, by delivering more than 500 hours of newsreels content instantly.

A screenshot of a girl on crutches

“February 28, 1944.” , directed by Anonymous , Universal Pictures Company, 1944. Alexander Street, https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/universal-newsreels-release-272-february-28-1944.

The vast majority of newsreels come from Polygoon-Profiti and Universal Pictures Company. Footage also includes 87 documentaries and commercial announcements. About 3000 reels are in Dutch and just over 2000 are in English, with a few hundred in French and Japanese. While newsreels focus on conflict during this time, but there is also content on children, sport, culture, social life, the environment, science and technology.

Reels come with searchable transcripts, tools to share and embed elsewhere, and tools create and export citations.

World War I and Revolution in Russia, 1914-1918: Records of the British Foreign Office (Archives Unbound)

Lists details of two out of almost 3,500 documents in the collection.

Screenshot from World I and Revolution in Russia, 1914-1918

This collection documents the Russian entrance into World War I and culminates in reporting on the Revolution in Russia in 1917 and 1918. The documents consist primarily of correspondence between the British Foreign Office, various British missions and consulates in the Russian Empire and the Tsarist government and later the Provisional Government.

Drawing on the National Archives, UK, collection within Foreign Office 371: Records of General Political Correspondence – Russia, this resources gives online access to almost 3,500 documents. This collection comprises the complete contents of the former Scholarly Resources microfilm collection entitled British Foreign Office: Russia Correspondence, 1914-1918. The vast majority of documents are in English, with c 450 in French and a very small number in other European languages.

Trials: Le Monde; Al-Ahram Digital Archive (1875-2020); Global Newsstream

Oxford historians are invited to trial the following newspaper resources. You will need SSO for off-campus access.

Global Newsstream (trial until 19 May 2021)

Global Newsstream contains full text articles from over 3,000 news sources, providing current coverage from many sources as well as archives extending back to the 1980s. Included are a number of key UK, US and international titles such as the Guardian, The New York Times, El Mundo and Le Monde.

Global Newsstream’s coverage of Le Monde from 2011 to the present complements ProQuest’s historical archive of Le Monde from 1944 to 2000. As both databases are on the ProQuest platform the two databases are cross-searchable. The trial of Global Newsstream will run for the same time as the trial of Le Monde (Historical archive) until 19 May 2021.

Please note that as only 25% of the historical archive of Le Monde is available for the current trial; there will be another trial of both databases in September 2021 (when the Le Monde historical archive database will be complete).

Please send any feedback to nick.hearn@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Le Monde (trial until 19 May 2021)  

The historical archive of Le Monde – one of the newspapers of record for France – is now available in full-page digital image format from Proquest. The period covered is from the foundation of Le Monde in 1944 up to 2000. It should be noted that only 25% of the content of this database is currently available. It is cross-searchable with Global Newsstream (also a ProQuest product) which covers Le Monde from 2011 up to the present (and also includes a range of other key UK, US and other international newspapers).

The Bodleian Libraries trial will end on 19 May. Another trial of both databases will be held in September 2021 when the Le Monde historical archive will be complete.

Please send any feedback to nick.hearn@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Al-Ahram Digital Archive (1875-2020) (trial until 15 May)

Founded in 1875, Al-Ahram (الأهرام‎) is one of the most prominent Arabic newspapers in the Middle East, with a legacy as Egypt’s most authoritative and influential national daily. Al-Ahram established itself as a high-quality journalistic venture during the mid-20th century reporting across the political, social, economic and cultural scope of the nation. After President Nasser nationalized the Egyptian press in 1960, readers generally considered the paper the de facto voice of the central government. Al-Ahram has long featured contributions from many of the Arab world’s most important literary figures and intellectuals: Naguib Mahfouz, Edward Said, Yusuf Idris, Taha Hussein, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, and Azmi Bishara among them, as well as nationalist leaders such as Mustafa Kamil and Saad Zaghlul. Influential forward-leaning contemporary writers such as Sabah Hamamou are also affiliated with the paper. The newspaper over its history successfully expanded to circulate content from around the world, printing international editions as well as Arabic-language editions of the daily. The Al-Ahram Digital Archive features full page-level digitization, with page-views and searchable text. It offers scholars Arabic and English interfaces, options to download or print pages in high resolution, and features to crowd-source improvements to the OCRed text.

Please send feedback to lydia.wright@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

New eresources: historical newspapers, Middle East, historical exploration, slavery

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.

We are therefore delighted to announce access to five major eresources which will be of interest to historians, as well as others researchers in Humanities, and researchers interested in politics, international relations, Middle Eastern studies, British Empire and de-colonisation, history of exploration, historical geography and climate change.

Use SSO for remote access.

Sunday Times Historical Archive, 1822-2016

Despite the similarity of names, The Sunday Times was an entirely separate paper from The Times until 1st January 1967, when both papers came under the common ownership of Times Newspapers Ltd. To this day, The Sunday Times remains editorially independent from The Times with its own remit and perspective on the news.

British Library Newspapers, Part V (1732-1950)

Providing access to more regional and local British newspapers, Part V completes the BL Newspapers collection (library edition). Please note that there are some newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive (public edition) which were never included in the library edition.

With a concentration of titles from the northern part of the United Kingdom, Part V deepens the database’s northern regional content, doubling coverage in Scotland, tripling coverage in the Midlands, and adding a significant number of northern titles to the British Library Newspapers series. Part V includes newspapers from the Scottish localities of Fife, Elgin, Inverness, Paisley, and John O’Groats, as well as towns just below the border, such as Morpeth, Alnwick, and more. Researchers will also benefit from access to important titles such as the Coventry Herald, which features some of the earliest published writing of Mary Ann Evans (better known as George Eliot).

Middle East Online: Arab-Israeli Relations, 1917-1970

This resource offers the widest range of original source material from the British Foreign Office, Colonial Office, War Office and Cabinet Papers from the 1917 Balfour Declaration through to the Black September war of 1970-1. Here major policy statements are set out in their fullest context, the minor documents and marginalia revealing the workings of colonial administration and, following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, British diplomacy towards Israel and the Arab states.

Royal Geographical Society – Wiley Digital Archives – (1478-1953, History of Geography, Colonization and Climate Science in the British Empire)

The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) covers history of geography
exploration, colonization and de-colonization, anthropology, law, climate science, gender studies, cartography, and environmental history throughout the British Empire from ~1478 to 1953. The archive contains manuscripts, correspondence, reports, conference papers, proceedings, maps, charts, atlases, photographs, surveys, data and ephemera, all presented as fully searchable digital images that can be analyzed, downloaded, manipulated, and compared with content from other societies and universities in the Wiley Digital Archives program.

Slavery, abolition and social justice

Covering the period 1490 to 2007, this resource brings together primary source documents from archives and libraries across the Atlantic world. It allows students and researchers to explore and compare unique material relating to the complex subjects of slavery, abolition and social justice.

In addition to the primary source documents there is a wealth of useful secondary sources for research and teaching; including an interactive map, scholarly essays, tutorials, a visual sources gallery, chronology and bibliography.

New in Oxford: East India Company – Women in The National Archives – Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981

I am pleased to announce that Bodleian Libraries has been able to make a number of eresources purchases some of which will be of interest to historians.

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 which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets.

East India Company

This resource offers access to digitised primary source documents from the India Office Records, held at the British Library, a key archive for the history of South Asia from 1599 to 1947 and the most important collection for the history of the East India Company itself. The resource contains digitised royal charters, correspondence, trading diaries, minutes of council meetings and reports of expeditions, among other document types, this resource charts the history of British trade and rule in the Indian subcontinent and beyond from 1599 to 1947.

Also of interest: 

Women in The National Archives

This resource provides access to an online finding aid for women’s studies resources in The National Archives (TNA), Kew, covering 1559-1995. It also gives access to early 20th century original documents on the Suffrage Question in Britain, the Empire and Colonial Territories.The finding aid enables researchers to quickly locate details of documents relating to women held in The National Archives (TNA). It is still far more detailed and extensive than anything available elsewhere on the web and has the benefit of ranging across all of the classes held at TNA. The original documents will be valuable for those teaching courses on: The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage in Britain, 1903-1928 and The granting of women’s suffrage in Colonial territories, 1930-1962.

It’s a useful resource for those researching women’s history generally but particularly the history of abortion, clothing, conditions of service, divorce, domestic work, education and training, employment, equal opportunities and pay, health, marriage, maternity and child welfare, nursing and midwifery, prostitution, single parents, teaching and teacher training, trade unions, widows, women’s organisations, women’s suffrage and women’s rights and status.

Highlights of the collections include: The campaign for women’s suffrage in Britain and the British Empire; Biographical information on individual suffragettes; The ‘Cat and Mouse’ campaign; Police surveillance; Prison conditions; Parliamentary debates and committee reports.

Also of interest:

Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981

This is an online collection of documents sourced from The National Archives, UK. It comprises formally classified British government documents, including correspondence, annual reports, dispatches, maps, minutes of ministerial meetings and printed leaflets. The documents relate to a number of topics including the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Oil Crisis, the Lebanese Civil War and the Camp David Accords, the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War.

Also of interest:

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

The Bodleian Libraries have committed substantial external funding to a one-off set of purchases of electronic research resources deemed to be important to researchers in the University. This follows a project to identify desiderata across all subjects and to list suggestions from readers. The list includes items costing up to £125,000 which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets. The first tranche of purchases includes a number of important primary sources from Gale Cengage, including Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Trans-Jordan: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1836-1944, together with their new Gale Digital Scholar Lab, which will allow digital research methods to be applied across all the primary sources published by them and acquired by the Bodleian Libraries.

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

This collection covers U.S. perspectives on Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Trans-Jordan, from Ottoman rule to the era of British and French mandates following the First World War. The archive is sourced from the Central Files of the General Records of the Department of State. The records are under the jurisdiction of the Legislative and Diplomatic Branch of the Civil Archives, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

SUR, 1931-1992 (Archives Unbound)

In Public Domain. From Wikipedia (17 April 2019

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

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

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

While you are here:

Trial until 1 March: Foreign Office Files for the Middle East 1971-1981

Colleagues in the Social Science Library (SSL) have arranged trial access to Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981 which is available until 1 March 2019.

This resource is an online collection of documents sourced from The National Archives, UK, which are useful for the understanding the events in the Middle East during the 1970s. It comprises formerly classified British government documents, including correspondence, annual reports, dispatches, maps, minutes of ministerial meetings and printed leaflets. The documents relate to a number of topics including the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Oil Crisis, the Lebanese Civil War and the Camp David Accords, the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. The resource also assesses military interventions and peace negotiations carried out by regional and foreign powers like the United States and Russia.

Commercial interests are also scrutinised, with in-depth analyses of Middle East nations’ economic stability and reviews of international arm sales policies. The activities of oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia are closely monitored, with particular reference to the Gulf States and members of OPEC.

Utilising the significant collection of diplomatic correspondence, minutes, reports, political summaries and personality profiles, users can explore a decade characterised by conflict.

The online archive will be of particular interest to researchers in International Relations, Politics, Global Governance and Diplomacy, Public Policy, International Development, Economics, Area Studies, History and more.

Please send any feedback about this trial to jo.gardner@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

While you are here…

… the following related source databases and guides are already available to Oxford researchers:

New: French Mandate in The Lebanon, Christian-Muslim Relations, and the U.S. Consulate at Beirut, 1919-1935

I am delighted to report that colleagues in the Oriental Institute Library have purchased online access to:

French Mandate in The Lebanon, Christian-Muslim Relations, and the U.S. Consulate at Beirut, 1919-1935 (Archives Unbound)

It is now accessible via SOLO and Databases A-Z to Oxford researchers.

Sourced from the U.S. National Archives, this collection consists of correspondence and telegrams received and sent by the American consular post in Beirut. The topics covered by these records include the protection of interests of American citizens, foreign trade, shipping, and immigration.

But there is more to these records than traditional consular activities—the Beirut post provides a unique look into the French Mandate in Syria-Lebanon. Consular officials reported on the administration of the Mandate, its problems, French repression and Arab rebellion.

There are unique materials on the Druse Rebellion of 1925, religious conflicts between Christian, Maronite, and Muslim communities, repression by French military forces, French efforts to settle Bedouin tribes in Syria, nationalist organizations and rebellion, anti-Zionism activities, riots and civil disturbances in the cities, villages and rural areas, failure of the Franco-Lebanese Treaty of 1936, creation of a new mandate administration in Syria in 1939, the war clouds in Europe, and Palestinian views on Syrian independence.