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: Napoleon – Letters and Papers: Sources of a Family

The homepage of the resource, showing a brief introduction and a search box. The introduction reads: "About this database There is hardly any other family who influenced European history between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries as much as the Bonapartes did. From the French Revolution to the Treaty of Versailles, the members of this family influenced all spheres of public and private life in politics, art, literature, science, administration, the military, and even landscaping. To this end, they corresponded in writing with all important contemporaries. "Calling all Napoleon researchers and 19th century French historians! You will be pleased to know that a major resource Napoleon – Letters and Papers: Sources of a Family is available as an Open Access resource.

This database, published by de Gruyter, provides access to the Bonaparte family’s autographs and correspondence. It is a valuable source for the study of French and European history, science, and intellectual attitudes from the late 18th century to the early 20th century.

The project will at first publish the correspondence of Prince Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (who would later become Emperor Napoleon III) until 1838, thereby covering the period that the Bonaparte-de Beauharnais family spent in exile at Lake Constance. A 2023 database update will contain his correspondence until 1873. The database will, for the first time, compile his surviving autographs into a collection that will make it possible to reinterpret the emperor’s personality and biography.

Future plans include adding digitised letter and papers of:

  • Hortense de Beauharnais (launch planned for 2024)
  • Eugène de Beauharnais-von Leuchtenberg (launch planned for 2025)
  • Joséphine de Beauharnais (launch planned for 2026)

(Information has been taken from Overview.)

Image of the transcribed letter on the left with the manuscript letter on the right. The snippet reads: "Londres le 30 Juin 1831 Mon cher Général, Je vous remercie bien de votre aimable lettre. J’ai été enchanté d’apprendre que la Duchesse de Frioul avait uni son sort au vôtre, et comme j’ai une tendre vénération et un véritable attachement pour elle, et que j’éprouve pour vous une sincère amitié, je ne sais qui je dois féliciter davantage ; ou le Général Fabvier d’avoir épousé la Duchesse de Frioul, ou la Duchesse de Frioul d’avoir épousé le Général Fabvier. "

“Londres le 30 Juin 1831 […]” In Napoleon – Letters and Papers edited by Christina Egli and Dominik Gügel. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2023. https://www.degruyter.com/database/NAPO/entry/nt_18300630_a/html

You can search full-text or browse the resource in various ways, including by place and person. Most of the letters will be in French. The correspondence stretches across Europe, esp. Germany, Switzerland, Italy and England.

The letters are transcribed and can be viewed side-by-side with the digitised manuscript letter.

Biographical annotations helpfully identify people mentioned, even if they used an alias.

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

New: China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West, Part I: 1815–1881

Landing page of the resource with a searhc box and a thumbnail image of a historical map of China.Oxford researchers now have access to China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West, Part I: 1815-1881.

This database is an essential primary source archive for researching the internal politics of China and Britain, their relationship, and the relationships between other Western powers keen to benefit from the growing trading ports of the Far East. The sources are all in English.

Digitized in two parts from the FO 17 series of British Foreign Office Files (The National Archives, UK) Part 1 of Imperial China and the West provides General Correspondence relating to China from 1815–1881. The FO 17 series provides a vast and significant resource for researching every aspect of Anglo-Chinese relations during the nineteenth century, ranging from diplomacy and war, to trade, piracy, riots and rebellions within China, international law, treaty ports and informal empire, transnational emigration, and translation and cross-cultural communication.

Start of a letter from Sir Henry Pottinger, written 5 Jan 1844, on the subject of British opium. The letter mentions that a report is enclised,.

From Sir Henry Pottinger. MSS: FO 17/78 5.Jan 1844. China and the Modern World, Gale/ Cengage

This archive is comprised of material digitized from collections held by The National Archives (Kew):

These hand-written documents have been opened up to scholars with the use of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology. The manuscripts are fully searchable and you can see the transcript together with the original manuscript.

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

New: Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History

We are delighted to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History.

It is a fascinating collection of wide-ranging materials drawing on the collections of the  Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University), the pre-eminent library for the study of American women. Its collections include the papers of Susan B. Anthony, Julia Child, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Amelia Earhart, Betty Friedan, Pauli Murray, Adrienne Rich and other notable women.

This resource brings together hundreds of accounts by women of their travels across the globe from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. Students and researchers will find sources covering a variety of topics, including architecture, art, the British Empire, climate, customs, exploration, family life, housing, industry, language, monuments, mountains, natural history, politics and diplomacy, race, religion, science, shopping and war.

Sources

A wide variety of forms of travel writing are included, ranging from unique manuscripts, diaries and correspondence to drawings, guidebooks and photographs. The resource also includes a gallery with hundreds of items of visual material, including postcards, sketches photographs and even passports.

Image of 2 pages of Edna McKinnon's American passport, showing her deatils such as name, date of birt, etc and showing a passport photo.

Time period covered

A broad time period is covered. The earliest document is a letter from Lucretia Goddard to her cousin describing the wedding of Mehetable May Dawes to Samuel Goddard on 30 September 1818, after which the Goddards went to England for nine years, living initially in Liverpool and then in Manchester. The latest documents are Ida Pruitt’s notes and correspondence from the early 1970s concerning her visits to China.

What will you discover?

The sources can also be used to examine the variety of motivations for travel, including tourism, work, exploration, missionary activities and pilgrimages: accounts range from the first trip of a young student abroad to the spiritual journey of a retired woman seeking enlightenment.

Voyages by rail, road, sea and air are all covered, as are walking, cycling and even a journey by stagecoach. Some items are relatively brief, such as a record of a car journey when cars were relatively new, which records the places that were passed through, the weather and the road conditions. Others are daily journals which describe long tours of Europe, in which all the details of the trip are meticulously recorded. Then there are scrapbooks containing fantastic visual material such as photographs, postcards, cuttings and sketches and other ephemera.

Geographical coverage

Places visited include the USA and Canada; China, Japan and the Philippines; Europe (very well documented); Russia; Africa; and Australia.

The above text is largely based on Nature & Scope in Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History, Adam Matthew Digtital.

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

New Archives Unbound databases for US History on 19th and 20th centuries political, cultural and social history

[Re-blogged from Vere Harmsworth Library blog, 25 July 2023]

I am pleased to report that the VHL has committed funding towards four new databases from the Archives Unbound collections from Gale.

These four collections are now available for all Bodleian readers to use, and can be found in SOLO or our Database A-Z. You can find out more about each collection below. Their topics range from the American Confederacy, religion, politics and African American movements in 1930s/40s America.

You can search across all the above databases via Gale Primary Sources. Please note that you will need to use your Single Sign On to access these resources remotely.

Confederate Newspapers: A Collection from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama

This collection is a mixture of issues and papers from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Alabama ranging from 1861-1865. These newspapers “recorded the real and true history of public opinion during the war. In their columns is to be found the only really correct and indicative ‘map of busy life, its fluctuations and its vast concerns’ in the South, during her days of darkness and of trial.” The newspapers are text-searchable, and include advertisements. Topics include everyday life in the Confederacy, as well as discussions of the Civil War and Slavery.

Election of 1948

This collection provides documents and the perspectives of the four base camps from the 1948 United States presidential election: Democrat incumbent President and eventual victor Harry S. Truman (1884–1972; U.S. President, 1945–1953), Republican and New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey (1902–1971), Progressive and former Vice President Henry A. Wallace (1888–1965) and Dixiecrat and South Carolina Governor J. Strom Thurmond (1902–2003). Sources include Papers of Harry S Truman, Thomas E. Dewey Papers, Papers of Americans for Democratic Action as well as selections from several southern newspapers. These sources show the political landscape of the United States post-WWII, and the growing tensions within the country.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Race Relations, 1933-1945

This new series contains a collection of essential materials for the study of the early development of the Civil Rights Movement-concerned with the issues of Lynching, Segregation, Race riots, and Employment discrimination. FDR’s record on civil rights has been the subject of much controversy. This new collection from FDR’s Official File provides insight into his political style and presents an instructive example of how he balanced moral preference with political realities. Topics also include the migration of African Americans to northern states, the role of Eleanor Roosevelt in championing equal rights and racial justice, and reports on key individuals and organisations, such as the NAACP.

Global Missions and Theology

This collection documents the broad range of Nineteenth Century religious missionary activities, practices and thought in the United States by reproducing pivotal personal narratives, organizational records, and biographies of the essential leaders, simple missionaries, and churches. This collection includes materials on missionary activities among Native Americans and African Americans, both slaves and freedmen. In addition, it highlights activities in far-flung regions and countries, such as Africa, Fiji and Sandwich Islands, India, China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Hawaii.

Bethan Davies, Vere Harmsworth Librarian

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

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

Thursday 4 May afternoon (week 2)

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

North Writing School, Examination Schools

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

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

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

Over 30 stalls will cover many areas:

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

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

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

Accessibility

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

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

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

Get yourself kitted out for your research 

Hand cupping a seedling.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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

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

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

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

Trial until 31 March: State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782

Screenshot showing part of an 18th century manuscript from State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782. The blurb reads: "Behind the scenes in Georgian Britain. State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782 gives researchers and students unprecedented access to British government records during the Age of Enlightenment." We are re-trialling State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782 and invite students and researchers to give us feedback. The trial ends on 31 March. Please send any comments to isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. While there is no funding for any of the four parts, your feedback is valuable in assessing priority purchases should funds become available.

What is State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782?

This resource extends Gale’s State Papers Online programme into the eighteenth century. Oxford researchers already have access to State Papers Online I – IV: The Tudors, Stuarts & Commonwealth 1509-1714 (Foreign & Domestic).

State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782 represents the final collection of the State Papers series from The National Archives before the series was closed and replaced by the Home Office and Foreign Office series in 1782. It covers the reigns of the Hanoverians George I (1714-1727), George II (1727-1760) and part of the reign of George III (up to 1782). The resource provides online access thousands of manuscripts relevant for the study of eighteenth century British government of internal and foreign affairs.

The documents provide evidence of the extent and nature of decisions taken by government and, more importantly, who was making those decisions. The records also illustrate the personal style of the secretaries of state who, with the chancellor of the Exchequer, controlled almost the entire life of the nation.

Researchers can examine the different ways in which the three Hanover monarchs conducted the business of monarchy and develop perspectives on the king’s changing role in political and administrative history.

Part I: State Papers Domestic, Military and Naval and the Registers of the Privy Council

This part includes documents on British internal political history during the reigns of the three Georges, including behind-the-scenes accounts of the turbulent events of George I’s reign (the Jacobite uprisings); the development of cabinet government; the ascension of George II and the consolidation of Whig supremacy; the riots surrounding libertarian politician John Wilkes; and the inept handling of the colonies that marred the early years of George III’s reign.

Along with the many internal and external threats to Hanoverian rule, users can also search and browse across a rich range of reports, petitions, and correspondence relating to the general administration and constitution of England; law and order; trade and shipping; and the founding of an empire abroad that extended to North America in the west and the Indian subcontinent in the east.

Part II: State Papers Foreign: Low Countries and Germany

The part documents the relationship of the Hanoverian reign with Flanders, Holland, and Germany, with particular focus on European powers such as the Holy Roman Empire and German states and towns. It also includes the Military Expedition series and the Archives of British Legations.

The papers include correspondence with English diplomats abroad and foreign diplomats in England, original and draft treaties, letters between heads of state, intercepted dispatches and other intelligence, working papers of the secretaries, and material relating to military, naval, and colonial policy.

Part III: State Papers Foreign: Western Europe

Papers in this part include documents relating to France, Dunkirk, Portugal, Spain, Malta, the Italian States and Rome, Genoa, Tuscany, Venice, Savoy and Sardinia, Sicily and Naples, as well as supplementary records of the Levant Company in Aleppo and the Aleppo consulate. It also includes the Royal Letters and Treaties series.

The majority of the papers are those written or received by the Secretaries of State for the Southern Department in the course of British diplomacy and intelligence gathering by British ambassadors and envoys abroad.

Part IV: State Papers Foreign: Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey

The papers in this part includes the letters, memorials and treaties pertaining to Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Saxony, Prussia, Russia, Turkey and the Barbary States. It also includes papers sent to the British Secretaries of State from foreign ministers in England, as well as ‘confidential’ and intercepted letters between key figures in international politics.

Part IV covers nations and events at the borders of Europe and European power, from Russia emerging as an imperial force in the North as Sweden’s power declined after the Great Northern War (1700-1721), to piracy and conflict in the Mediterranean, wars and treaties with the Ottoman Empire at the outer reaches of Russia and Austria, and the constant building up of armies and fleets to bolster status and secure territories.

Also of interest:

Subscription resources are accessible to staff and students of Oxford University (use SSO for remote access) and Bodleian Library card holders (access in reading rooms).

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.