Taylor and Francis Humanities and Social Sciences ebooks 2016-2025

Readers have been severely impacted by the British Library outage and the loss of access to electronic legal deposit material. To support our readers, Bodleian Libraries have set up an ebook deal with Taylor & Francis EBA (access until 30 December 2025).

Taylor & Francis (including the Routledge imprint) is by the largest depositor of Non Print Legal Deposit (NPLD also known as eLD) material, with over 124,000 items held in the currently inaccessible British Library repository. Calculations from NPLD usage statistics from 2016-June 2023 show that T&F is also the most heavily used publisher (over 30,000 title accesses). Content, usage and requests fall predominantly in the subject areas of Humanities and Social Sciences.

An evidence-based acquisitions (EBA) package for the “missing” NPLD content from Taylor and Francis was decided to be the single most effective measure to mitigate the effect of the BL outage, which has had a far greater impact on monographs and edited collections, in comparison to journal holdings, where our subscriptions and R&P deals have largely covered the effects of the outage.

The new EBA for 2016-2025 (running until end 2025, and adding new content on publication) provide coverage for most currently missing titles and for the anticipated delay in restoring ingest of new publications.

Access has been turned on for current content and the individual records have been added to SOLO. Current content is just over 30,000 ebooks, splitting 60:40 between Social Sciences and Humanities. By the end of the subscription (December 2025), Oxford will have had access to over 35,000 titles.

At the end of the agreement, the libraries can select titles for perpetual access to the value of the deal, with a 17% uplift). Selections will be carried by library staff, with the benefit of the usage statistics during the period of the deal, to inform choices on permanent retentions.

While you are here:

New: GLOBALISE – digitised Dutch East India Company archives for 17th & 18th centuries

Researchers interested in colonial history and Dutch history will be delighted to know that over 5 million scans of the Dutch East India Company are now freely and fully searchable at GLOBALISE.

 GLOBALISE Unlocking the history of early globalisation and colonialism for researchers and the general public. Image of Hougly complex in Bengalen Consisting of approximately twenty-five million pages, the UNESCO Memory of the World-listed archives of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) offer a unique view on interactions between European and non-European actors in Asia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 5 million scans of the ‘Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren’ (1610-1796) of the VOC are now fully searchable. From early October 2023, a prototype of the GLOBALISE transcriptions viewer is online at: https://transcriptions.globalise.huygens.knaw.nl/.

These archives not only provide insights into the VOC’s operations but also offer rare glimpses into early modern societies in Asia, Africa, and Australia. For these regions, where few archival sources exist, the VOC archives hold unique and invaluable information, illuminating their multifaceted interactions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This resource is useful for those interested in early modern global and colonial history.

While you are here, check out…

New: Expulsions from German Universities during National Socialism

We are delighted to report that historians now access have to Vertreibungen aus den deutschen Universitäten im Nationalsozialismus = Expulsions from German Universities during National Socialism via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

This database provides short biographical descriptions of German academics that were forced to leave their academic jobs during the Nazi regime. The expulsion of numerous scientists by the Nazi regime’s brutal policy of exclusion, and the international refugee movements it caused, can be regarded as a significant turning point in the history of science. The “cleansing” of the German universities that began in 1933 led to a considerable loss in Germany’s intellectual milieu.

The text is in German.

Reference entry for Gerhard, Dietrich written by Michael Grüttner. Give brief information on the university, position, birth and death dates, and a brief description of the academic work.

© De Gruyter. Gerhard, Dietrich written by Michael Grüttner. Vertreibungen aus den deutschen Universitäten im Nationalsozialismus. Accessed 8 March 2024

The database covers 1,300 persons who were affected by the dismissals, covering all German universities in detail. The short biographies provide information on academic status and disciplines, religious affiliation, membership in political parties, reasons of expulsion, and also (if applicable) on concentration camp imprisonment, countries of emigration and remigration.

Links are provided to other biographical resources such as Deutsche Biographie.

You can search by person, university, academic displine, birth and death dates. You can also browse by person or academic discipline.

Other related resources (SSO required):

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:

New: Women’s Studies Archive: Issues and Identities

As we continue to grow our eresources collections on women’s history, we are pleased to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to Women’s Studies Archive: Issues and Identities.

Home page of the resource showing a search box and an image of a line of suffragettes holding a poster which reads "Mr Presidents, how long must women wait for liberty".

National Woman’s Party members picket outside the White House in 1917 with the message, “Mr. President, How long must women wait for Liberty” Source: Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 12 © Gale Cengage

This collection traces the path of women’s issues in the 19th and 20th centuries, drawing on primary sources from manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, and more. It captures the foundation of women’s movements, struggles and triumphs, and provides researchers with valuable insights. It focusses on the social, political, and professional achievements of women, the pioneers of women’s movements, and is useful to understand the issues that have affected women and the many contributions they have made to society.

It is, however, more generally also a useful resource to research WWI, WWII, social and economic conditions, and world events in the 20th century, as described and seen from women’s perspectives and revealed in periodicals, correspondence and papers.

Descriptions of daily life in e.g. letters also reflect on life, society and cultures across the world, including the Far East, Africa, and South America. Some biographical information of individual women and their families is also documented.

Excerpt of a letter reading: "The primary clases here in the school opened Veb [sic] 7, as well as course of admission given for those desireing to enter the hinasio (from the 5th grade through the 9th. The firls are lovely and many are from very fine families. The graduates from the colegio are in constant demand by government employers, business houses, post offices, etc. because the girls are so much better trained, more dependable, honest, efficient, and versatile. They are constantly raising the prestige of the school."

Excerpt of Letter of 6 March 1944 (Belo Horizonto, Brazil), The Gladys Oberlin Papers, 1943-1980, in Women’s Studies Archive: Issues & Identities. Source Library University of Oregon Library © Gale Cengage

Topics covered include

  • the history of Feminist theory and activism
  • domestic culture
  • lay and ordained church women
  • women in industry
  • women’s sexuality and gender expression
  • women’s education
  • women’s movement
  • women’s health and mental health
  • women and law
  • women and the control of their bodies
  • women’s roles and interactions within society.

The collections are:

  • European Women’s Periodicals
  • Malthusian, 1879-1921 (formerly Women and the Social Control of Their Bodies)
  • Women’s Lives
  • Women’s Labour League: Conference Reports and Journals, 1906-1977
  • Committee of Fifteen Records, 1900-1901
  • Grassroots Feminist Organizations, Part 1: Boston Area Second Wave Organizations, 1968-1998
  • Grassroots Feminist Organizations, Part 2: San Francisco Women’s Building / Women’s Centers, 1972-1998
  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America Records, 1918-1974
  • Herstory
  • Women and Health/Mental Health
  • Women and Law Collection
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom: United States Section, 1919-1959
  • Collected Records of the Woman’s Peace Party: 1914-1920
  • Records of the Women’s Peace Union: 1921-1940
  • Women’s Trade Union League and Its Leaders

The sources comes from the New York Public Library, The National Women’s History Project, the London School of Economics Women’s Library, and many more.

Please note that many handwritten and type-script documents will be hard to read as the ink is faint in places.

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

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:

New: Confidential Print: Latin America

Researchers in Latin American and Caribbean History now have access to Confidential Print: Latin America, 1833-1969, a terrific database recently acquired by the Bodleian Libraries that focuses on the subject area through a British diplomatic lens.

Front page of Confidential Print: Latin America showing tabs for further information (Introduction, Documents, Chronology, Interactive World map, Essays, Help). The main space is a photo of a steam ship on a river.

Confidential Print: Latin America, 1833-1969 is part of Archives Direct, published by Adam Matthew Digital, which is a cross-searchable platform incorporating multiple products sourced from the National Archives at Kew.
Image credit: akg-images

OvERVIEW

[Information from Adam Matthew Digital/Archives Direct website]

“The series originated out of a need to preserve the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices. These range from single-page letters or telegrams to comprehensive dispatches, investigative reports and texts of treaties. All items marked ‘Confidential Print’ were printed and circulated immediately to leading officials in the Foreign Office, to the Cabinet and to heads of British missions abroad.

“This collection consists of the Confidential Print for Central and South America and the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Topics covered include slavery and the slave trade, immigration, relations with indigenous peoples, wars and territorial disputes, the fall of the Brazilian monarchy, British business and financial interests, industrial development, the building of the Panama Canal, and the rise to power of populist rulers such as Perón in Argentina and Vargas in Brazil. …

“The collection begins in the aftermath of independence for the former Spanish and Portuguese colonies of Latin America, addressing the politics of state-building and the Latin American nations’ establishment of their place in the fast-expanding global economy.”

Scope of the collections

Confidential Print: Latin America, 1833-1969 includes the following file classes from The National Archives, Kew in their entirety.

  • FO 420/1-294: Central and South America general, 1833-1941
  • FO 467/1-5: Brazil, 1947-1951
  • FO 486/1-10: Mexico, 1947-1956
  • FO 495/1-10: River Plate countries (Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), 1947-1956
  • FO 497/1-10: South America general, 1947-1956
  • FO 533/1-11: Central America and Caribbean general, 1946-1957

The following selected files are also included:

  • FO 118/276, 281, 287, 305, 317, 331: South and Central America general, 1906-1913
  • FO 177/297: Chilean Revolution, 1891
  • FO 461/14-22: Americas general, 1958-1969
  • FO 508/8: South and Central America general, 1908-1909

Material types included:

  • Profiles of leading political, military, diplomatic and economic figures
  • Incoming and outgoing diplomatic dispatches
  • Correspondence
  • Statistical charts and tables
  • Descriptions of leading personalities
  • Accounts of tours
  • Minutes of meetings and conferences
  • Texts of treaties
  • Political summaries
  • Economic analyses
  • Annual reports and calendars of events, by country
  • Maps

Searching the collection

There are multiple ways of searching the full text database. A simple box on the home page that enables you to search the collection via its dedicated portal, as well as giving you the option, once you’ve clicked through to the next interface, to cross-search one or more of the other collections on the platform that the Bodleian Libraries subscribes to.

In addition, you can use the advanced search that enables you to select multiple keywords and you can also click out to search by country using an interactive world map.

There is a useful set of search tips.

Confidential Print: Latin America, 1833-1969 is available via SOLO or Databases A-Z. University members should use Single Sign On for remote access. The individual newspapers are also discoverable in SOLO.

Frank Egerton, Librarian (Bodleian Latin American Centre Library) and Subject Consultant (Latin American History and Social Sciences).

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

  • Save the date: Bodleian iSkills: Confidential Print and Foreign Office Files: Sources for 19th and 20th century studies. 7 November 2023, 2-3pm (Week 5)
  • More Foreign Office sources at Oxford.
  • Guide to resources for Latin American History (LibGuide)

New eresources: more South Asian newspapers databases

[posting on behalf of Emma Mathieson, Subject Librarian for South Asian studies]

We are very pleased to let historians know that Oxford now has access to two new South Asian newspaper databases.

The first is Readex’s South Asian newspapers : historical newspapers from South Asia.

Landing page of the database 'South Asian Newspapers: historical newspapers from South Asia', showing a asearch boxThis gives access to 10 publications, including Amrita Bazar Patrika, the Ceylon Observer, and the Madras Mail. The database provides scans of original pages and the contents can be searched by keyword or browsed by date. Unfortunately, keyword searching does not seem to be possible for the titles in South Asian languages. These are Amrita Bazar Patrika, Bankura Darpan and Kayasare Hinda and although full-text search is not available, browsing by date of publication is straightforward and readers can easily scroll through individual issues. I am following up the question of keyword searching for these particular titles with the supplier.

The dates of coverage are not the same for each title. The earliest issue available is the 30th November 1864 issue of the Ceylon Observer’s predecessor, the Colombo Overland Observer. The latest date covered is 31st December 1922, for which copies of four separate titles are available. Readers can see a full listing with dates. As with all these databases, some gaps are inevitable.


The other database is the near identically-named South Asian newspapers (to distinguish them on SOLO and Databases A-Z look out for the subtitle/lack of a subtitle).

The landing page of South Asian Newspapers (by Centre for Research Libraries) showing a search box and three photos, including a black & white photo of Ghandi and Nehru in discussion.

This is a new open access resource, hosted by East View in collaboration with the Center for Research Libraries, and it is part of East View’s Global Press Archive database. This collection complements nicely the Readex database, comprising a further dozen titles, including the Ceylon Daily News, the Malabar Herald and the Pakistan Observer. There are also three titles in South Asian languages, the Dainika Basumati (Bengali), Dnyanaprakasa (Marathi) and Samaja (Nepali).

The coverage of titles in this collection is wide-ranging and generally later than the titles in the Readex database. There are a couple of titles from the 19th century, but the majority are 20th century, and in fact most are post-1945. You can see a full list by going to the home page and selecting the “title navigation” link.

While you are here…

New: Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan, 1834-1922: From Silk Road to Soviet Rule

Oxford reseachers now have access to Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan, 1834-1922: From Silk Road to Soviet Rule (Archives Unbound).

‘This collection of documents sheds a remarkable light on British and Anglo-Indian foreign policy and intelligence across the Persianate world – Russian Central Asia, Qajar Persia and Afghanistan. It contains a wealth of diplomatic correspondence and memoranda – much of it intercepted from Britain’s rivals and neighbours in the region – which include much ethnographic, religious and cultural material alongside the purely political. It will be an essential resource for scholars and students alike.’ Dr Alexander Morrison, University of Oxford.

Landing page for the resource. Image shows a colour print of an Oriental market scene.

Central Asia Persia and Afghanistan 1834-1922: From Silk Road to Soviet Rule © Adam Matthew Digital 2023

From Adam Matthew Digital:

“This collection of Foreign Office files explores the history of Persia (Iran), Central Asia and Afghanistan from the decline of the Silk Road in the first half of the nineteenth century to the establishment of Soviet rule over parts of the region in the early 1920s. It encompasses the era of “The Great Game” – a political and diplomatic confrontation between the Russian and British Empires for influence, territory and trade across a vast region, from the Black Sea in the west to the Pamir Mountains in the east.”

Included in the resource “are 188 volumes from FO 65 and all 11 volumes of FO 106, comprising original correspondence, drafts and enclosures which detail ‘Proceedings in Central Asia’ from 1858 to 1905; 30 volumes of general correspondence relating to Central Asia from FO 371, dated 1920-1922; and 118 Confidential Print files for Central Asia from the FO 539 series, covering 1820-1971. Maps previously included in these volumes and extracted to form part of the MFQ, MPK and MPKK series are also made available here.”

“The collection begins with materials relating to Britain and Russia’s relations with regional powers in the 1830s, and continues with volumes which can be used to explore the Anglo-Afghan Wars, conflicts between Russia and its neighbours to the south, the construction of strategic infrastructure, border disputes and confrontations including the Panjdeh Crisis, and continued competition between Britain and Russia for influence and territory into the early twentieth century, ending with documents which describe fears of Communist subversion in British India and growing Soviet influence over the governments of Afghanistan and Persia.”

Snippet from Affairs of Persia and Afghanistan Correspondence Part I page 3: Correspondence relating to the affairs of Persia and Affghanistan [sic]. No 1: Mr McNeilk to Viscount Palmerston (received April 28 1837). Described of transmitting a copy of a letter from the Indian government and discusses British intentions towards Afghanistan and Persia.

Affairs of Persia and Afghanistan Correspondence Part I page 3. 1837-1838, FO 539/1, in Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan, 1834-1922: From Silk Road to Soviet Rule © Images including crown copyright images reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London,

The Foreign Office files contain:

  • Correspondence
  • Telegrams
  • Intelligence Reports and Agents’ Diaries
  • Newspaper clippings, and translations of Russian-language articles
  • Maps and plans
  • Government reports and memoranda
  • Copies of treaties and agreements
  • Photographs, sketches, and landscapes.

The documents are mostly in English though some French items are included. You can search and browse in various ways. Some documents are digitised manuscripts.

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