Trial until 26 October: Women, War and Society, 1914–1918 (Archives Unbound)

I am pleased to announce a trial of Women, War and Society, 1914–1918 (Archives Unbound) which is now available to our readers.

Women, War and Society, 1914–1918 - screenshotThis resource fully documents the essential contribution of women during the Great War as well as the revolutionary and permanent impact the War 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.

The resource reproduces primary source material brought together in the Imperial War Museum, London, and originally published by the Air Ministry, League of Mercy and War Fund, Purple Cross Service, Russian Relief Fund and many other organizations. This definitive digital collection of charity and international relief reports, pamphlets, photographs, press cuttings and more is fully searchable.

Please leave feedback at History databases desiderata & trials or email

Related resources:

New: BelgicaPress – digitised Belgian newspapers 1831-1950

Landing page of Belgica Press, showing the search box and some introductory information which is at 24 April, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek België (Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, Royal Library of Belgium) launched BelgicaPress, an online resource providing access to nine digitised historical Belgian newspapers. Over 4 million pages have been digitised. They cover 1831 to 1950 for the following newspapers:

L’Echo De La Presse, Gazet Van Brussel, Het Handelsblad, L’Indépendance Belge (printed in Britain), Le Messager De Gand, De Nieuwe Gids, De Nieuwe Standaard and Het Nieuws Van Den Dag.

However, only content before 1919 is freely accessible over the internet. That is still an amazing 1.2 million pages and particularly good news for 19th century and World War I historians.

How do you spot free content? In your search results list, look out for:BelgicaPress - screenshot - online availableContent after 1919 can only be consulted in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek België itself. And how do you spot those? In your search results list, look out for:

BelgicaPress - screenshot - available in KB onlyThanks to OCR, the content is full-text searchable. However, I have found it somewhat temperamental. For instance, Hitler also retrieves bitter and Ritter.

Once you have an image on the screen, you can zoom in really well and you can pick up a permalink. I particularly like the ability to select a section which then automatically gets enlarged. A nice touch.

Despite a few niggles, this resource should be hugely welcomed by researchers and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek België should be praised for its work.

As it’s so useful, it is now also listed in Databases A-Z and SOLO.

Related resources:

[updated 3 August 2023]

Talk series on The Great War

A series of talks are taking place this term, accompanying the Bodleian Library’s exhibition The Great War: Personal Stories from Downing Street to the Trenches (18 June 2014 — 2 November 2014).

ALL WELCOME – FREE ADMISSION. Please note that, as places are limited at the talks, we recommend booking in advance via the Bodleian Library website:

Wednesday 15 October (13.00 – 13.30: Convocation House, Bodleian Library)

Dr Adrian Gregory, Fellow and Tutor in History, Pembroke College

‘The Problem with Propaganda’

Wednesday 29 October (13.00 – 13.30: Convocation House, Bodleian Library)

Professor Martin Ceadel, Fellow and Tutor in Politics, New College

Conscription and Conscientious Objection’

Wednesday 5 November (13.00 – 13.30: Convocation House, Bodleian Library)

Mr Mike Webb, Curator of the Exhibition, Special Collections, Bodleian Library

‘From Downing Street to the Trenches’

Oxford World War I Centenary Programme

[Re-blogged from Oxford World War I Centenary Programme.]

As part of the commemoration of World War I, a number of events in Oxford are scheduled for Hilary Term 2014:

The Great War and Global History conference, Oxford 9-10 January 2014

A conference in collaboration with the Centre for Global History and the Maison Française.

Plenary speakers include: Patrick O’Brien, Georges-Henri Soutou, Hans van de Ven, Hervé Drévillon, Tamara Scheer, Jos Gommans, Douglas Porch, Margaret MacMillan, Tonio Andrade, Martin Ceadel, Karen Hagemann, Sudhir Hazareesingh, Naoko Shimazu, Dominic Lieven, Hew Strachan, James Belich.

First World War Anniversary Lectures at Christ Church

With a view to encouraging and informing reflection, the McDonald Centre in association with Christ Church Cathedral will stage the following series of public lectures during Hilary Term.

The Great War: Personal stories from Downing Street to the Trenches, 1914-1916
A Bodleian Exhibition 12 June to 2 November 2014

Great War Centenary Talk on Friday 18 May

Speaker: Katie Longo (Balliol College, Oxford)
Title: Towards to Great War Centenary: selections for an exhibition

Location: Seminar Room, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
Date: Friday 18 May 1pm

On Friday 18 May Katie Longo will give a talk, Towards the Great War Centenary: selections for an exhibition (1:00 pm, Seminar Room, Pitt Rivers Museum).  This is also an opportunity to hear about plans for the Bodleian’s 2014 exhibition.

Katie was appointed to this year’s Balliol-Bodley Scholarship, which affords Balliol postgraduates the opportunity to work with Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library in support of cataloguing or curatorial research.  With the 2014 exhibition in mind, Katie has been exploring the papers of Gilbert Murray (1866-1957), Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford.

Murray is a good starting point for asking certain questions about contemporary perceptions of the Great War.  He is well known for his association with conscientious objectors and with the foundation of the League of Nations; and yet in 1914 he wrote a pamphlet justifying the British war position. Katie has been surveying the Murray papers, concentrating on the early part of the war, with several questions in mind. What is his general attitude to the war?  Does he have a realistic understanding (in terms of the scale, duration, likely losses, strategy etc.)?  What is the source of his information (official sources, friends, newspapers, propaganda, soldiers at the front etc.)?  What is his attitude to Germany and the Germans? – from the blog of the centenary preparations, posted by Mike Webb (Bodleian Library, Western Manuscripts)

Related links: Centre for the Study of the Book Events Calendar | Oxford World War I Centenary Blog | Murray Papers Bodleian Library Catalogue Record | The Great War Archive | Gilbert Murray Trust