Primary Sources: State Papers Online – Foreign

images of monarchs
The Library has acquired the Foreign State Papers of early British Monarchs.

State Papers Online Part II: The Tudors, 1509-1603: State Papers Foreign, Scotland, Borders, Ireland and Registers of the Privy Council
“Documents Tudor England’s relations with its neighbours, both near and distant including those it sought to control (Scotland, Ireland and Wales), those it fought wars or maintained peace with in Europe (the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, France) and those it traded with (the Ottoman Empire, the Barbary coast and Russia.)”

State Papers Online Part IV: The Stuarts and the Commonwealth, James I – Anne I, 1603-1714: State Papers Foreign, Ireland and Registers of the Privy Council
“Part IV completes the Papers of the Stuart period and contains volumes of State Papers from, to and about all the countries of Europe. Many of these countries have lost their own collections from this period increasing the rarity and value of these British State Papers. All the great international themes of the 17th century play out in document after document making them an essential resource for not only British but European History: marriage alliances, revolutions, wars and treaties, trade and commerce and, crucially, religion.”

These can be found along with the State Papers Domestic for these time periods, at State Papers Online.


Primary Sources: East India Company Archives

Secretary's Office, East India HouseThe Library has acquired from Adam Matthew Digital their collection of East India Company records, which will be published in three modules. The module available now, “Trade, Government and Empire, 1600-1947” includes 932 volumes of the British Government’s India Office Records (IOR):

IOR/A: The East India Company’s charters, statutes and treaties
IOR/B: The minutes of the meetings of the Courts of Directors and Proprietors
IOR/C: The minutes and memoranda of the Council of India
IOR/D: The minutes and memoranda of the general committees and offices of the East India Company
IOR/Z: Indexes to selected documents in classes B and D

These records include minutes of council meetings, memoranda and papers laid before the councils, council resolutions, charters, text of legislation, correspondence, personnel lists, and printed monographs. The Nature and Scope section of the resource provides more details.


Primary Sources: Pamphlets Relating to Scottish Nationalism, 1844-1973

Pamphlets Relating to Scottish Nationalism, 1844-1973 includes publications written by individuals arguing for Scottish independence (1847-1972), official publications of the Scottish National Party and its Predecessor (1928-1973), calls for an Independent Scotland (1853-1973), visions for the future of Scotland (1844-1973), and critiques of England and its Treatment of Scotland.

This British Online Archives collection has been digitized from the original microfiche that was published in 1978. The quality of the digitized images reflects the quality of the original images produced from the materials at the National Library of Scotland. A PDF guide to that microfiche collection is available from the Center for Research Libraries.


Primary Sources: Victorian Popular Culture

During the last year The Library acquired the digital archive Victorian Popular Culture, which consists of four thematic collections.

Frederick Bancroft, Prince of Magicians

Spiritualism, Sensation, and Magic “explores the relationship between the popularity of Victorian magic shows and conjuring tricks and the emergence of séances and psychic phenomena in Britain and America. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw an explosion of interest in the occult, and the foundation of a new religious movement, Spiritualism.”1

Circus animals

Circuses, Sideshows, and Freaks includes rare books, children’s literature, and celebrity memoirs and “focuses on the world of travelling entertainment, which brought spectacle to vast audiences across Britain, America and Europe in the 19th and early 20th century. From big tops to carnivals, fairgrounds and dime museums, it covers the history of popular shows and exhibitions from both audience and professional perspectives.”2

Music hall photo

Music Hall, Theatre, and Popular Entertainment covers pantomime, exhibitions, pleasure gardens, and a wide range of other types of public entertainment and spectacles.

Scene from Buster Keaton film

Moving Pictures, Optical Entertainments, and the Advent of Cinema covers optical entertainments from the 18th to early 20th century. The collection includes digital clips of original archival footage dating back to 1894.

The documents are categorized as printed material and visual material. All print materials are full-text searchable and visual material and manuscripts are keyword indexed. Search results are sorted by relevance by default, but can be sorted by author, date, and document type, and can be filtered to limit to visual or printed material.

The materials included were sources from multiple archives, including:

  • Senate House Library, University of London: The Harry Price Library of Magical Literature 
  • Senate House Library, University of London: The Malcolm Morley Collection
  • Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin 
  • National Fairground Archive, University of Sheffield 
  • Vauxhall Gardens Collection, Lambeth Archives 
  • The May Moore Duprez Archive 
  • The British Library 
  • The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum 
  • British Film Institute National Archive

1 http://www.victorianpopularculture.amdigital.co.uk/Introduction/NatureAndScope/Spiritualism 
2 http://www.victorianpopularculture.amdigital.co.uk/Introduction/NatureAndScope/Circuses


Primary Sources: Colonial State Papers

The Library has acquired Colonial State Papers, a joint venture of ProQuest and the National Archives (UK) that resulted in the digitization of the Colonial Office Collection 1, Privy Council and related bodies: America and West Indies, Colonial Papers.  It contains thousands of papers that were presented to the Privy Council and the Board of Trade between 1574-1757, and which relate to England’s governance of, and activities in, the American, Canadian and West Indian colonies.

Included in this database is the Calendar of State Papers, Colonial: North America and the West Indies 1574-1739, a bibliographic tool providing over 40,000 descriptive records. The Calendar covers not only CO 1, but also documents from many other collections relating to the colonial past. Many of the bibliographic entries in The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial: North America and the West Indies 1574-1739 are supplemented with full transcriptions, extracts or summary abstracts, all of which can be searched in Colonial State Papers.

The search box defaults to searching both Colonial State Papers and the Calendar, but it is possible to limit your search to just items that have been digitized, and those documents can be downloaded as images or PDFs. Each record also has a durable URL that can be linked to from bCourses or a website.
The quality of the scanned images is very high, which helps with the fact that the original documents and hand-written, and sometimes stained, damaged, or faded. Tools built into the database will allow you to zoom in to see detail.
example of zoom feature in database