[UPDATE: This trial has now finished as of 20th March, 2022.]
I am pleased to report that the Vere Harmsworth Library has organised trial access to Colonial America for Bodleian Readers. The trial will run until the 20th March, 2022.
Colonial America consists of all 1,450 volumes of the CO 5 series of Colonial Office files held at The National Archives in London, plus all extracted documents associated with them. This unique collection of largely manuscript material from the archives of the British government is an invaluable one for students and researchers of all aspects of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century American history and the early-modern Atlantic world.
Documents can be browsed by title, date, volume, theme, document type and colony/region. They are also indexed with relevant keywords, names, and places. Print and manuscript materials are full-text searchable, thanks to handwritten text recognition technology.
The resource is made up of 5 modules:
Module 1: Early Settlement, Expansion and Rivalries
The first module of Colonial America documents the early history of the colonies, and includes founding charters, material on the effects of 1688’s Glorious Revolution in North America, records of piracy and seaborne rivalry with the French and Spanish, and copious military material from the French and Indian War of 1756-63.
Module 2: Towards Revolution
This module focuses on the 1760s and 1770s and the social and political protest that led to the Declaration of Independence, including legal materials covering the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party. It is also particularly rich in material relating to military affairs and American Indians.
Module 3: The American Revolution
This module charts the upheavals of the 1770s and 1780s which saw the throwing off of British rule in the Thirteen Colonies. Contents include volumes of intercepted letters between colonists, the military correspondence of the British commanders in the field and material produced by the Ordnance Office and the office of the Secretary at War, as well as two copies of the ‘Dunlap’ edition of the Declaration of Independence printed on the night of the 4th-5th July 1776.
Module 4: Legislation and Politics in the Colonies
This module traces the colonies’ legal and political evolution between 1636-1782. Copies of council and assembly minutes record debates on international politics, including Britain’s war with Spain, expeditions against the French in Canada, and trade regulations. Court journals also trace legal cases and trials heard in the colonies, whilst series of official correspondence and revisions of acts reveal attempts to increase jurisdiction of British officials in the colonies, expand settlement, and improve public facilities and trade. The extensive revisions and annotations of these documents also expose the internal (and often personal) political agendas of their creators.
Module 5: Growth, Trade and Development
The preponderant part of this module consists of correspondence with the Board of Trade. There are also details of land grants, financial accounts and documents focusing on American Indian relations, as well as George Vancouver’s despatches to London from his 1791 expedition to the Pacific Northwest. The module contains a number of shipping returns, accompanied by a video interview with Hannah Knox Tucker (PhD candidate, University of Virginia), who discusses these documents and their value for researchers in detail.
You can access Colonial America using your Single Sign On here.
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