New: LGBT Magazine Archive; Women and Social Movements, International; Trench Journals

I am delighted to announce that access to a number of major new eresouces is now available.

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 of purchases of ProQuest eresources includes items which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets. Under the banner of diversity, we are particularly pleased to improve our resources useful for the study of gender, LGBTQ, women’s history and race.

The new acquisitions include:

  • Art and Architecture Archive (part 1)
  • Black Abolitionist Papers (1830-1865)
  • Die Deutsche Lyrik
  • Digitale Bibliothek Deutscher Klassiker
  • LGBT Magazine Archive
  • Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War
  • Twentieth Century Religious Thought III & IV
  • Women and Social Movements, International

Oxford researchers should use their SSO to gain remote access. The resources can be access via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

Art and Architecture Archive

Full-text archive of periodicals (cover-to-cover colour scans) in the fields of art and architecture. Date range: 19thC – 21stC. Subjects covered include fine art, decorative arts, architecture, interior design, industrial design, and photography worldwide.

Black Abolitionist Papers (1830-1865)

This collection covers a unique set of primary sources from African Americans actively involved in the movement to end slavery in the United States between 1830 and 1865. The content includes letters, speeches, editorials, newspaper articles, sermons, and essays from libraries and archives in England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Over 15,000 items written by nearly 300 Black men and women are available for searching.

Die Deutsche Lyrik

Die Deutsche Lyrik in Reclams Universal-Bibliothek covers almost 500 years of German lyric poetry and includes the work of over 500 authors from the 15th to the 20th century. Published with the co-operation and support of Philipp Reclam jun., Stuttgart, it contains the complete text of each poem, including material such as dedications and authorial notes which are an essential part of the original volumes. Publisher’s prefaces and epilogues, introductions, editorial notes, biographies, glossaries and indices are not usually included.

Digitale Bibliothek Deutscher Klassiker

The Bibliothek Deutscher Klassiker series has been in print publication since 1981. Published with the cooperation and support of the publishers Deutscher Klassiker Verlag Frankfurt am Main, this database covers covers the works of major authors spanning eleven centuries and includes historical, philosophical, theological, political and art history texts. Collections of essays, speeches and other non-literary material add context and background material. As every individual text is edited to the same high standard, you can rely on the quality and accuracy of each edition and the collection as a whole.

LGBT Magazine Archive

The resource archives of 26 leading but previously hard-to-find magazines are included in LGBT Magazine Archive, including many of the longest-running, most influential publications of this type. The complete backfile of The Advocate is made available digitally for the first time. As one of the very few LGBT titles to pre-date the 1969 Stonewall riots, it spans the history of the gay rights movement. LGBT Magazine Archive also includes the principal UK titles, notably Gay News and its successor publication Gay Times.

Twentieth Century Religious Thought III and IV

Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library is a multivolume, cross-searchable online collection that brings together the seminal works and archival materials related to worldwide religious thinkers from the early 1900s until the first decade of the 21st century.

Vol I (Christianity) and Vol II (Islam) are already available in Oxford.

Vol III (Judaism): Focuses on modern Jewish theology and philosophy and details Judaism’s evolution from the late 19th century by examining printed works and rare documents.

Vol IV (Buddhism, Hinduism & Taois): Focuses on the various facets of Eastern Religion spanning over two-hundred years.

Women and Social Movements, International

Through the writings of women activists, their personal letters and diaries, and the proceedings of conferences at which pivotal decisions were made, this collection lets you see how women’s social movements shaped much of the events and attitudes that have defined modern life.  This digital archive includes 150,000 pages of conference proceedings, reports of international women’s organizations, publications and web pages of women’s non-governmental organizations, and letters, diaries, and memoirs of women active internationally since the mid-nineteenth century.  It also includes photographs and videos of major events and activists in the history of women’s international social movements. Additionally, there are 30 essays from leading contemporary scholars exploring themes illuminated by the primary documents in the archive.

Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War

Published by every type of military and support service unit, from every involved nation, trench journals were a means of expression through which men and women engaged in all aspects of World War I could share their thoughts and experiences.

Over 1,500 periodicals, drawn from the holdings of major libraries and research collections, including the Imperial War Museums and the British Library, make this resource the most comprehensive collection of trench journals available to scholars anywhere in one place.

This resource brings together complete runs of journals from disparate sources. Functionality allows both browsing and precision searching for editorials, advertisements, poetry, cartoons and illustrations, photographs, and obituaries, opening up opportunities for research in multiple fields: literature, history, war studies, cultural studies, and gender studies.

Trial until 30 June: Past Masters (trial of selected collections)

[re-blogged from University of Oxford eResources blog post]

Past Masters – Humanities Full Text Works is a collection of primary-source full-text humanities databases. Past Masters titles are usually comprised of the complete works of individual authors.

Trials of the following collections are running until 30 June 2020, many of which are of interest to historians also. Use SSO for remote access. > Access the trial

Bello: Obras Completas
Benjamin: Gesamtwerk
Browning: Works
Chawton House Memoirs
Chawton House Travel Writings
Chawton House Women’s Novels
Dilthey: Gesammelte Werke und Briefe
Early Franciscans
Edgeworth: Works
Female Gothic
Franciscan Philosophy
Friars Minor Rules Commentaries
Gaskell: Works
Goethes Werke
Grimm: Briefwechsel
Inchbald: Diaries
Lamb: Works
Lytton: Correspondence
Manley: Selected Works
Martineau: British Empire
Martineau: British History
Martineau: Collected Letters
Montesquieu: Œuvres Complètes
Nietzsche: Briefwechsel
Olivi: Works
Oxford Duden German Dictionary
Pickering Women’s Classics
Robinson: Works
Scheler: Gesamtwerk
Schiller: Sämtliche Werke
Shelley (Mary): Literary Lives
Silver Fork Novels
Smith, Charlotte: Works
Trollope: Novels
Weil: Oeuvres
Wharton: Unpublished Writings
Wodeham: Lectura Secunda
Women Writing Home
Women’s Sensation Fiction

Please send feedback to Hilla Wait.

Bodleian New History Books: March 2020 – Women’s History

Bodleian New History Books: March 2020 – Women’s History

March is Women’s History Month in the UK, an event intended to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

While much of “feminist history” is more specifically concerned with the re-reading of history from a female perspective, and re-interpreting history in a more balanced manner, “women’s history” tends to be more generally focused on the study of women in history, their roles, contributions, and situations in life. History was of course written mainly by men and about men’s activities in the public sphere, from war to politics and diplomacy, to science and literature and intellectual history – for a large part women are either excluded, or included only as the wives, mistresses, mothers and daughters of men, or portrayed in stereotypical ways. In his answer to the question “What is Women’s History?”, James F. McMillan thus defines women’s history as being “about putting women back into the historical picture from which, through the predilections of generations of male historians for writing about masculine-oriented activities such as war, diplomacy and affairs of state, they had largely been excluded.” The intent is thus to clearly acknowledge that women have a history of their own, and that gender is as powerful a determining factor as race or class or colour.

In her answer to the same question in the above article, Olwen Hufton mentions three distinct aspects of women’s history as an area of study: to discern women’s past roles and situations, locating them in the social, economic, political, religious and psychological world of traditional society; to give any historical period a “gender dimension” by acknowledging how the attitudes or positions of women influenced the course of events; and re-examining historical accounts collected or compiled by men and based on male assumptions and a masculine conception of both women and themselves.

Contributions to women’s history thus can range from studies of personal achievements of individual or groups of women throughout recorded history, the effect of historical events specifically on women, or the changes in women’s status, social situation or rights in different countries or historic eras. In this month’s blog on the new history books arrived at the Bodleian in the course of March we’ll be looking at a number of studies that focus on interesting women from a wide range of times and cultures (from the Middle Ages to the 21st century), from a wide range of social circumstances (from queens to nuns and suffragettes to musicians), and involving a wide range of literary genres (from memoirs to correspondence to hagiographies).

Calogera Jacqueline Alio’s volume on Sicilian Queenship supplements her Queens of Sicily 1061-1266 (2018), which contains the biographies of eighteen of the countesses and queens of the Kingdom of Sicily during the Hauteville and Hohenstaufen reigns. This follow-up publication  further explores the queens’ use of power and the Sicilian cultural identity forged by these women, from political issues such as their strategies for the suppression of adversaries, to social issues such as  patronage and heraldry, and to cultural aspects such as sexuality, poetry, and even cuisine.

An aristocratic woman is also at the centre of Carolyn James’ A Renaissance Marriage, which offers a fascinating account of a political marriage in Italy in the late 15th and early 16th century. Drawing on unpublished correspondence between and by Isabella d’Este and her husband Francesco Gonzaga, rulers of Mantua, the correspondence illustrates the couple’s marriage throughout political challenges such as the Italian Wars of the early 16th century and the public health crisis of the spread of syphilis in Renaissance Europe, painting a vivid picture of a woman in a Renaissance marital relationship as well as contributing to the history of emotions, of politics and military conflict, of childbirth, childhood and family life, and of disease and medicine.

Rather than merely the biography or correspondence, it is the autobiographical writings of a fascinating woman from the early modern era which are newly translated from the Yiddish in Glikl: Memoirs 1691-1719. Glikl bas Leib, also known as Glückel of Hameln, was a Jewish businesswoman in Germany, and her memoirs, begun after the death of her beloved husband, record the varying fortunes of her family and community over the course of 30 years. With its undeniable literary qualities, recounting of traditional tales and beliefs, indebtedness to contemporary Yiddish moral literature and especially in the significance she assigns to her own life experience, Glikl’s memoirs serve admirably for putting herself firmly into the historical picture of early modern Germany.

Two studies of religious women are next in the roughly chronological order of this blog. The first of these is Sue E. Houchins’ and Baltasar Fra-Molinero’s Black Bride of Christ, the first English translation of the Compendio de la vida ejemplar de la Venerable Madre Sor Teresa Juliana de Santo Domingo by Juan Carlos Pan y Agua (1752) , the hagiography of Teresa de Santo Domingo. Born as a tribal princess in West Africa with the name of Chicaba, enslaved by the Spanish and later freed to enter a convent, her acts of charity, her mystical experiences, and her fame as a healer or miracle worker led to her beatification after her death. The hagiographical biography translated here is not only the basis of the continuing efforts to have her canonized, but a vivid account of the life and times, struggles and successes of a black slave woman in 18th-century Spain.

Michael E. O’Sullivan’s Disruptive Power then focuses on a similarly fascinating and influential religious woman in the context of a surprising revival of faith in Catholic miracles in Germany from the 1920s to the 1960s, originating from the case of this particular mystic and stigmatic, Therese Neumann of Konnersreuth. O’Sullivan explores the political and social agenda of the “rebellious traditionalists” which were her followers, from theologians, politicians and journalists to Cardinals and everyday pilgrims, and their route from the Weimar Republic through the Third Reich, and into the Federal Republic of Germany. Drawing on archival material from Germany and the US, the focus also widens to visionaries and mystics in a number of rural towns after World War II, providing micro-histories that illuminate the impact of mystical faith on religiosity, politics, and gender norms.

The final three studies I would like to highlight in this month’s blog are studies of modern history, and two of them show the truth of the well-known aphorism that well-behaved women never make history – they are accounts of some of the female troublemakers, dissidents, agitators and campaigners who challenged the male dominance of democracy, religion and society, and in doing so changed the world. Hedwig Richter’s Frauenwahlrecht documents the fight of women for their right to vote from the middle of the 19th to their successes in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, and beyond these to the struggle for equal rights for women still ongoing today. The women’s movements to claim their space in the public and political sphere undeniably caused one of the great changes of society mentality, and the various contributions to this volume show the eventful history of women’s suffrage from a number of different perspectives with a distinct focus on the international character of this struggle. Helen Lewis with Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights then really takes the aphorism to heart, showing how much of feminism’s success can be attributed to complicated, contradictory, or imperfect women. However, because they were fighting each other as well as fighting for equal rights many of these difficult women have, Lewis argues, been whitewashed or forgotten in the modern search for feel-good, inspirational heroines. Drawing on archival research and interviews Lewis presents the histories of these troublemakers, from working-class suffragettes to the twenty-first-century campaigners for abortion services, in an attempt to show the history of women’s rights in an unvarnished light.

Sandra Soler Campo’s Mujeres músicas takes the history of women composers, performers or conductors right up to the present time in a re-discovery of professional females who were, she argues, silenced and often ignored until the 70s and 80s of the last century, when at last a considerable number of female musicians began to be sufficiently acknowledged in the English-speaking world as both prominent and influential. Soler Campo traces the challenges faced by female musicians from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic and into the twentieth century; looks at contributions made to the history of women musicians in musicology, history and gender studies; and examines female professional musicians as orchestra members, conductors, composers, and performers in the 20th and 21st century, discussing the difficulties they face, advances they have made, and the goals to be achieved for them in the 21st century.

You can find more studies that contribute to Women’s History on our LibraryThing profile tagged with “women” or “feminism“.

Please note: as the Bodleian Libraries are closed during the current COVID-19 outbreak, this new history books blog will unfortunately be on hiatus for the duration of the global health crisis. You can explore our LibraryThing shelf here, either by simply browsing or by exploring tags for subjects you are interested in, and access past themed blog posts on the Bodleian new books here.

Trials of three women’s history eresources

March is Women’s History month! 

Colleagues have arranged trials to three eresources on women’s history and women’s studies. Across the University many Departments are now undergoing changes to rectify historic gaps in teaching and enhance inclusivity. In this vein, these trials has been arranged as part of the Bodleian’s Changing the Narrative project (https://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/changingthenarrative).

Please send any feedback to Helen.Worrell@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

1. Women and Social Movements, International (Trial until 31 March 2020)

Through the writings of women activists, their personal letters and diaries, and the proceedings of conferences at which pivotal decisions were made, this collection lets you see how women’s social movements shaped much of the events and attitudes that have defined modern life.  This digital archive includes 150,000 pages of conference proceedings, reports of international women’s organizations, publications and web pages of women’s non-governmental organizations, and letters, diaries, and memoirs of women active internationally since the mid-nineteenth century.  It also includes photographs and videos of major events and activists in the history of women’s international social movements.

Finally, 30 essays commissioned from leading contemporary scholars explore themes illuminated by the primary documents in the archive.

2. Women’s Magazine Archive 1 & 2 (Trial until 31 March 2020)

Women’s Magazine Archive 1 provides access to the complete archives of the foremost titles of this type, including Good Housekeeping and Ladies’ Home Journal, which serve as canonical records of evolving assumptions about gender roles and cultural mores. Other titles here focus on narrower topics but deliver valuable source content for specific research areas. Parents, for example, is of particular relevance for research in the fields of children’s education, psychology, and health, as well as reflecting broader social historical trends.

Women’s Magazine Archive 2 features several of the most prominent, high-circulating, and long-running publications in this area, such as Woman’s Day and Town & Country. Collection 2 also, however, complements the first collection by including some titles focusing on more specific audiences and themes. Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, for example, are oriented towards a younger readership, while black women’s interests are represented by Essence. Women’s International Network News differs in being a more political, activist title, with an international dimension.

Topics covered these collections include family life, home economics, health, careers, fashion, culture, and many more; this material serves multiple research areas, from gender studies, social history, and the arts, through to education, politics, and marketing/media history.

3. Women’s Studies Archive (Trial until 6 April 2020)

As a comprehensive academic-level archival resource, Women’s Studies Archive: Issues and Identities will focus on the social, political, and professional achievements of women throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. Along with providing a closer look at some of the pioneers of women’s movements, this collection offers scholars a deep dive into the issues that have affected women and the many contributions they have made to society.

Not all of these are affordable, so please consider which should be prioritised and why and send your feedback to Helen.Worrell@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

While you are here, check out our

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 19th century historians: NCCO: Women: Transnational Networks and NCCO: British Theatre, Music, and Literature

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 £125k which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets.  The first tranche of purchases includes a number of important primary sources from Gale Cengage, including NCCO: Women: Transnational Networks, 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.

As part of those purchases, the following resources useful for 19th and 20th centuries history are now available in Oxford via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

  • NCCO: Women: Transnational Networks
  • NCCO: British Theatre, Music, and Literature

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Women: Transnational Networks

Issues of gender and class ignited nineteenth-century debate in the context of suffrage movements, culture, immigration, health and many other concerns. Using a wide array of primary source documents (serials, books, manuscripts, diaries, reports, and visuals) this resource focuses on issues at the intersection of gender and class from the late-eighteenth century to the era of suffrage in the early-twentieth century, all through a transnational perspective. The collection contains deep information on European and North American movements, but also expands its scope to include collections from other regions.

Researchers and scholars will find rare content related to:

  • Social reform movements and groups
  • High and popular culture
  • Literature and the arts
  • Immigration
  • Daily life
  • Religion

Source libraries include the Library of Congress, the London School of Economics and Political Science Library, and the Library of the Society of Friends.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture

This resource features a wide range of primary sources related to the arts in the Victorian era, from playbills and scripts to operas and complete scores. These rare documents, many of them never before available, were sourced from the British Library and other renowned institutions, and curated by experts in British arts history. Covering more than a century, British Theatre, Music, and Literature is without equal as a resource for 19th century scholars. These rare documents, many of them never before available, were sourced from the British Library and other renowned institutions, and curated by experts in British arts history.

It provides a detailed look at the state of the British art world with, for example, not only manuscripts and compositions, but also documents such as personal letters, annotated programs, meeting minutes, and financial records, offering scholars an unmatched glimpse into the inner workings of the arts world and life in Victorian Britain.

While you are here:

New ejournals: Early Modern Women & International Public History

We kick off with 2019 by announcing that Oxford researchers now have access to the following two ejournals in SOLO. Enjoy!

Early Modern Women [ISSN 1933-0065] v1(1), 2006-. Published by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, this journal is “devoted solely to the interdisciplinary and global study of women and gender during the years 1400 to 1700. Each volume gathers essays on early modern women from every country and region, by scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines, including art history, cultural studies, music, history, political science, religion, theatre, history of science, and history of philosophy.”

International Public History [ISSN 2567-1111] v1(1), 2018-. “The IPH is the official organ of the International Federation for Public History. Published twice a year, the journal provides a mix of theoretical, research and “practice-oriented” scholarly articles on a wide range of topics. The multimodal journal offers readers a rich experience through the enhancement of articles using photos, film and audio clips.”

This journals is relevant to those interested in History and memory; digital public history; archiving; libraries; exhibiting; curation; preservation; heritage; communication and media; policy; private and commercial sectors.

Also of interest:

Women history resources at Oxford University (Part 2): a selection of digital resources in the Oxford Libraries

Following on from the first History Day 2018 blog post on Oxford’s archival resources for women’s history, I now turn my attention to interesting full-text online source databases which are available to all registered Bodleian readers. The resources span early modern to modern periods and cover a range of materials, such as diaries, letters, papers and publications by women or for women. Many have a surprisingly global reach though English-language sources still dominate.

Conducting full-text searches in these resources is very difficult. However, many databases are structured in such way as to help find information about women’s daily lives, their thoughts and feelings, but also provide facts and reports on their contributions to e.g. the war efforts. As ever, the more you know about your topic, gleaned from secondary readings, the more success you are likely to have when searching these resources.

More information can also be found on our LibGuide to Women’s Studies.

British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries 1500-1950 (subscription resource)
Documents the personal and immediate experiences of approximately 500 women, as revealed in over 90,000 pages of diaries and letters.

Defining Gender, 1450-1910 (subscription resource)
A thematically organised collection of original primary source material from British archives, which ‘explores the study and analysis of gender, leisure and consumer culture’.

Association for Promoting the Education of Women, 1889-1899 correspondence. Defining Gender.

Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO) (free on web)

EMLO provides access to a combined finding aid and editorial interface for basic descriptions of early modern correspondence: a collaboratively populated union catalogue of sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century letters.

Includes, for instance, the correspondence of Anne Conway (1631-1679)

21 Feb 1650: More, Henry (Dr), 1614-1687 (Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England) to Conway, Anne, 1631-1679. EMLO.

Gerritsen Collection–Women’s History Online, 1543-1945 (subscription resource)
A collection of ‘books, pamphlets and periodicals reflecting the revolution of a feminist consciousness and the movement for women’s rights’, with ‘more than 4,700 publications from continental Europe, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand, dating from 1543-1945. This resource has a more global reach than it might appear.

Granet, La polygynie sororale… (1920), Gerritsen Collection

North American Women’s Letters and Diaries (subscription resource)
Collection of some 150,000 pages of published letters and diaries from individuals writing from colonial times to 1950. Documents the personal experiences of over 1,300 women.

International Women’s Periodicals, 1786-1933: Social and Political Issues (Archives Unbound) (subscription resource)
Online access to 57 women’s magazine and journal publications covering the late eighteenth century to the 1930s. The material allows researchers to explore the role of women in society and the development of the public lives of women as the push for women’s rights (woman suffrage, fair pay, better working conditions, etc.) grew in the United States and England. Some of the titles in this collection were conceived and published by men for women; others, conceived and published by male editors with strong input from female assistant editors or managers; others were conceived and published by women for women. It is therefore also useful for the study of the history of women’s publishing. The strongest suffrage and anti-suffrage writing was done by women for women’s periodicals. Suffrage and anti-suffrage writing, domesticity columns, and literary genres from poetry to serialized novels are included in these periodicals

Gallery of Fashion, Nov 1794. International Women’s Periodicals 1786-1933.

London Low Life (subscription resource)
This collection brings to life the teeming streets of Victorian London, inviting students and scholars to explore the gin palaces, brothels and East End slums of London in the 19th century. From salacious ‘swell’s guides’ to scandalous broadsides and subversive posters, the material sold and exchanged on London’s bustling thoroughfares offers an unparalleled insight into the dark underworld of the city. Children’s chapbooks, street cries, slang dictionaries and ballads were all part of a vibrant culture of street literature.This is also an incredible visual resource for students and scholars of London, with many full colour maps, cartoons, sketches and a full set of the essential Tallis’ Street Views of London – resource for the study of London architecture and commerce. Also includes George Gissing’s famous London scrapbooks from the Pforzheimer Collection, containing his research for London novels such as New Grub Street and The Netherworld.

Women’s Refuges 1871-1880 in London. Thematic Data Map. London Low Life.

Mass Observation Online (subscription resource)
This is a collection of much of the material from the Mass Observation Archive which also records the voices of women. It includes the entire File Report sequence 1937-1972, access to all of the Day Surveys, Directives and Diaries, 1937-1967, Mass Observation Publications 1937-1965 and 87 Topic Collection (e.g. e.g. Smoking Habits 1937-1965, etc.). The Worktown Collection includes material of a major study of the towns of Bolton (Worktown) and Blackpool (Holidaytown).

Diarist 5387, 11 July 1940 [on sexual harassment]. Mass Observation

Useful for the study of social history, sociology, etc., of modern Britain, it covers topics such as abortion, old age, crime, eating habits, shopping, fashion, dance, popular music, coal mining, adult education, sex, reading, ethnic minorities, and the decline of Empire. It is a resource that will be useful to historians, literary scholars, sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists.

Past Masters: Full-Text Humanities (subscription resource)
A collection of primary-source full-text humanities databases, including:

  • Les Œuvres de Simone de Beauvoir
  • The Letters of Jane Austen
  • Bluestocking Feminism 1738-1785.
  • The Letters of Charlotte Brontë
  • The Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney
  • The Notebooks and Library of George Eliot
  • The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814-1844

Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers 1500-1700 (subscription resource) Access to 230 digitised manuscripts from the Perdita Project, written or compiled by women in the British Isles during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Women, War and Society, 1914–1918 (Archives Unbound) (subscription resource)
A digital collection of First World War charity and international relief reports, pamphlets, photographs, press cuttings and more. It fully documents the essential contribution of women during the Great War as well as the revolutionary and permanent impact the World War I had on the personal, social and professional lives of these women. It is an important collection for research into 20th century social, political, military and gender history.

Report On The Increased Employment Of Women During The War With Statistics Relating To July 1917. The Women at Work Collection, Imperial War Museum, London, in Women, War and Society, 1914–1918.

Women Writers Online (subscription resource)
A full-text collection of texts by pre-Victorian women writers, published by the Women Writers Project at Northeastern University.

I close with reference to the underrated Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals 1800-1900 (subscription resource). For instance, it helps you locate details of Victorian periodicals on e.g. women’s interest as well as give details of editors, circulation figures, etc.

Waterloo Directory for English Newspapers and Periodicals 1800-1900 – Women Fashion search

There is even more!

It goes without saying that other online source databases will of course have material relevant for women’s history, even though they are not dedicated to them. Browse our Databases A-Z to discover more.

Useful links:

Women history resources at Oxford University (Part 1): a selection of archival resource in Oxford Libraries

In a large library system such as the Bodleian Libraries and Oxford college libraries, holding over 13 million books and vast archives between them, archival resources on women can be difficult to spot. Therefore, in honour of History Day 2018, organised by the Institute of Historical Research Library and Senate House Library, and whose theme this year is women’s history, this blog post aims to highlight the archives of a selection of remarkable women who were in some way connected to Oxford or whose papers were deposited in Oxford. Their lives span the political, literary, social and scientific spheres of late 18th, 19th and 20th century Britain. Each one of them has a story to tell, in their own way, through their diaries and letters, and each is outstanding and interesting for their various contributions to British life, culture and science. Collectively, the archives document women’s lives and their struggles for recognition and rights, but also celebrate their achievements both before and after the suffragette movement.

The history of women in Oxford’s male-dominated university is briefly described at History of Women at Oxford. It was thanks to individual initiatives, and the pioneering work of the Association for Promoting the Higher Education of Women (AEW), that women’s colleges came to be established in Oxford. Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville opened in 1879, followed by St Hugh’s in 1886 and St Hilda’s in 1893. Women only become full members of the University in 1920.

Exhibition: Sappho to Suffrage: women who dared

6 March 2018 — 22 February 2019
Venue: Treasury, Weston Library (Map)

Pirates and poets; suffragettes and explorers – this exhibition celebrates the achievements of women who dared to do the unexpected. Sappho to Suffrageshowcases some of the Bodleian’s most remarkable and treasured items. Highlights on show from the Bodleian Libraries collections of over 13 million items include:

  • 2nd century BCE fragments of Sappho’s poetry written on papyrus;
  • Ada Lovelace’s 19th century notes on mathematics;
  • the manuscript of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein;
  • a manuscript of Jane Austen’s juvenilia, Volume the First;
  • photographs by the Victorian photography pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron; and
  • a musical score by Fanny Mendelssohn.
  • the only known surviving version of the board game Suffragetto:

Highlights of the exhibition also include a ‘lost banner‘, a specially commissioned recreation of a banner originally used by the Oxford Women’s Suffrage Society in 1908, and a display featuring the perspectives of contemporary women one hundred years since the vote was won.

POLITICS

Papers of Emma Alice Margaret (Margot) Asquith, Countess of Oxford (1864-1945)

‘Margot’ Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith by Elliott & Fry. NPG x90783

Political hostess and diarist. Married H.H. Asquith, the Home Secretary, in 1894. In 1905 Asquith became Chancellor of the Exchequer and in 1908 Prime Minister. Her leading position, as Asquith’s wife, in London Society is reflected in her correspondence.

The collection includes diaries, 1876-1923; general correspondence, 1876-1945, followed by family correspondence, 1884-1945; literary papers, 1879-1945; personal papers.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Papers of Barbara Castle, Baroness Castle of Blackburn, 1868-2002

Barbara Anne Castle, Baroness Castle by Walter Bird 17 June 1964 NPG x1664273

Labour cabinet minister and campaigner.

The papers comprise diaries 1953-2001, family correspondence 1903-2000; political papers (encompassing papers relating to the Labour Party, backbench MP subject files, ministerial papers, MEP papers, and House of Lords subject files); speeches and lectures, 1937-2001; financial and legal papers, 1919-2002; personal papers, 1926-2002; Secretaries’ papers, 1983-2002; Drawings and paintings, 1967-[1995]; and Photographs, 1905-98.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

 

Violet Milner Papers (1872-1958) 

Imperial activist. Married Lord Edward Herbert Gascoyne-Cecil (1867-1918) in 1894. She subsequently married Viscount Milner (1854-1925) in 1921. She had an interest in politics and was editor of The National Review1932-48.

The collection consists mainly of the papers of Violet Milner. It contains material relating to 19th- and 20th-century British and Imperial history, in particular the Boer War. The coverage of 20th-century South African politics is notable. Most major British politicians and political events of this period are documented in some way.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Margery Fry (1874-1958) (held at Somerville College, Oxford)

Penal reformer and Principal of Somerville College 1927-30. Archive comprises correspondence and papers.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Correspondence and papers of Lady Violet Bonham Carter (1887-1969)

(Helen) Violet Bonham Carter, Baroness Asquith of Yarnbury by Howard Coster. 1933.  NPG x3017

Liberal political figure and daughter of H.H. Asquith and his first wife Helen.

Held the position of President of the Women’s Liberal Federation twice, from 1923-5 and again 1939-45. In 1945 she was invited to become President of the Liberal Party Organization, the first woman to do so, holding office until 1947. In 1963 she became the first woman to give the Romanes lecture at the University of Oxford, speaking on ‘The Impact of Personality on Politics’.

She also wrote articles for magazines, mainly for women, and letters to newspapers on national and international causes. Awarded a life peerage in 1964 and attended House of Lords until her death in 1969.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Papers of Evelyn Emmet, Baroness Emmet of Amberley (1901-75)

Evelyn Emmet, Baroness Emmet of Amberley by Walter Bird, November 1958. NPG x167398

Politician and Conservative MP.

Educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford (1917-20) where she read literae humaniores. Her political career began in local government but played a national role serving on the Home Office probation advisory committee and of the Home Office special commission on cinema and the child in 1950. In 1952 and 1953 she was the UK delegate to the UN’s general assembly. Became an MP in 1955 and elevated to the Lords in 1964, serving there as deputy speaker and deputy chair of committees 1968-77.

The papers include diaries, correspondence, speeches, articles, broadcasts, and printed papers relating to her political career.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Papers of Vera Brittain  1893-1970

Vera Brittain by Howard Coster. 1936. NPG x24033

Writer, feminist, pacifist.

Best known as the author of the memoir Testament of Youth. She was accepted to read English at Somerville College, Oxford, in 1915; returned after World War I in 1919, changing her course to Modern History. Papers of Vera Brittain consist of:

  • Notebooks concerning her participation in the World Pacifist Conference and her lecture tour in India, 1949-50
  • Volume of photographs of Cape Comorin, India, n.d.

Papers of Vera Brittain held at Somerville College: the Somerville archive contains a collection of her letters, diaries, photos and books left to the College by her friend and one-time literary executor Paul Berry.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

LITERATURE & CULTURE

Abinger Papers

The Abinger collection comprises the correspondence and papers of three generations of the Godwin & Shelley families. This includes the majority of the surviving correspondence and papers of the philosopher and author William Godwin and his first wife, the feminist author Mary Wollstonecraft, and second wife, the translator and bookshop owner Mary Jane Clairmont, as well as the correspondence of Everina Wollstonecraft and Eliza Bishop, Mary Wollstonecraft’s sisters.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie. oil on canvas, circa 1797. NPG 1237

Writer, advocator of women’s rights and philosopher.

Best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), a best seller of its day, but also wrote novels and a book on the history of the French Revolution.

Archive includes correspondence & papers from 1785 to 1797.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

 

Mary Shelley (1797-1851)

Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell. oil on canvas, exhibited 1840. NPG 1235

Writer and daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft. Best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus(1818).

Archive includes correspondence and papers, manuscripts of novels, short stories, poems, non-fiction works, personal papers (drawing, inventories, financial papers).

A fair copy of Shelley’s 1817 script for Frankenstein (MS. Abinger c.58) is available in Digital.Bodleian.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

 

Papers of Barbara Mary Crampton Pym (1913-80)

Novelist.

Read English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Papers include the manuscripts of published and unpublished novels and short stories, literary papers, notebooks, diaries and correspondence. Loose leaves removed from some of the bound volumes, including notes and drafts for novels, are in MS. Pym 99.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Papers of Sibyl, Lady Colefax (1874-1950)

English interior decorator, hostess and socialite. The collection includes letters from many of the literary and society figures of her day, some personal and family papers, a few diaries of Lady Colefax, her visitors’ books, and a number of photograph albums.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879)

Victoria photographic pioneer. Cameron’s work was largely forgotten until the 1940s, but she has been widely recognised since then as one of the most important and innovative photographers of all time.

Her photographs can be found in a number of albums held at the Bodleian Library, amongst them an album, which she had compiled for Sir Henry Taylor. These photos are collectively known as The Henry Taylor Album.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Elizabeth Maconchy Archive (1907-94) (held at St Hilda’s College, Oxford)

Dame Elizabeth Maconchy by Howard Coster. 1938. NPG x23833

Irish composer.

The archive contains almost all the manuscripts of her compositions as well as some printed scores, programmes, press cuttings, and some correspondence.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

SCIENCE

Mary Somerville (1780-1872) Collection, [c.1700]-1972 (in Bodleian Library, owned by Somerville College)

Mary Somerville by James Rannie Swinton. chalk, 1848. NPG 690

Science writer and mathematics expositor.

Received many honours during her lifetime, and after her death, Somerville College, Oxford, founded in 1879 as a women’s college, was named after her. A Somerville scholarship for women also commemorates her name.

Archive includes correspondence and papers, also relating to the Somerville family.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

 

Correspondence of Ada Lovelace (1815-52) (part of Papers of the Noel, Byron and Lovelace families)

Ada Lovelace by William Henry Mote, after Alfred Edward Chalon. stipple engraving, published 1839. NPG D5124

English writer, mathematician and early computer pioneer.

Active in Victorian London’s social and scientific elite alongside Mary Somerville. The main part of this collection of papers belonged to Annabella, Lady Byron.

The collection also contains correspondence of Ada and her husband William, 1st Earl of Lovelace, used by Doris Langley Moore in her biography Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1978). See Bodleian Ada Lovelace blog.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

Archive of Mabel FitzGerald (1872-1973)

Physiologist (esp. on respiration) and clinical pathologist.

Studied unofficially (women were not yet admitted to the university for that subject) and then researched physiology in Oxford. The archive comprises personal and scientific papers, spanning her lifetime, as well as family papers.

> Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article (subscribers only)

SUFFRAGE AT OXFORD

Archive of the Association for the Education of Women in Oxford, 1878-1922

Papers relating to the education of women at Oxford University. Women were not admitted to membership of the University until 1920, although they had been allowed to sit some University examinations and attend lectures for over forty years by that date. It was the work of the Association for Promoting the Higher Education of Women (AEW), founded 1878, that women’s colleges came to be established in Oxford.

The archive includes minute books, 1878-1920; papers relating to the finances of the Association, 1878-1922; papers relating to students, 1883-1920; and printed and miscellaneous papers, 1877-1920.

More from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (subscribers only):

National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage (act. 1910–1918) by Julia Bush
National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (act. 1896–1918) by Sandra Stanley Holton

USEFUL LINKS

New: International Women’s Periodicals, 1786-1933: Social and Political Issues (Archives Unbound)

Womanhood, vol VI June To November 1901, in International Women’s Periodicals 1786-1933 (Cengage)

I’m pleased to inform Oxford researchers and students that you now have access to the online International Women’s Periodicals, 1786-1933: Social and Political Issues (Archives Unbound).

This Cengage resource provides online access 57 women’s magazine and journal publications covering the late eighteenth century to the 1930s.

The material allows researchers to explore the role of women in society and the development of the public lives of women as the push for women’s rights (woman suffrage, fair pay, better working conditions, etc.) grew in the United States and England.

Some of the titles in this collection were conceived and published by men, for women; others, conceived and published by male editors with strong input from female assistant editors or managers; others were conceived and published by women, for women. It is therefore also useful for the study of the history of women’s publishing.

Gallery Of Fashion, May 1796, in International Women’s Periodicals 1785-1933 (Cengage)

The strongest suffrage and anti-suffrage writing was done by women for women’s periodicals. Suffrage and anti-suffrage writing, domesticity columns, and literary genres from poetry to serialized novels are included in these periodicals. Thus this resource provides a wide array of views for study.

The collection contains overwhelmingly English and US publications, with 4 German, 1 French periodical and 1 Icelandic periodical.

Access is via SOLO or Databases A-Z. Use your Oxford Single Single On for remote access.

While you are here, you might find these subscription eresources also useful: