Resource: Dictionary of Medieval Latin for British Sources

The Library has acquired the online Dictionary of Medieval Latin for British Sources, the first to focus on British Medieval Latin and based on the close reading of thousands of mainly Latin texts written in Great Britain from 540 to 1600 A.D.  Authors included were British, lived in Britain, or writings of British authors living abroad.  It also includes texts from territories under the administration of the the English Crown.

The online version is an addition to the Database of Latin Dictionaries (DLB) to which the Library already subscribes.  A print version of the Dictionary resides in our library in the Doe Reference Dictionaries collection at PA2891 .L281.

Primary Sources: South American Missionary Society records, 1844-1919

South American Missionary Society records, 1844-1919  Includes most of the material held in the SAMS archives for the period up to 1919. When originally founded in 1844, this Church of England-affiliated organization was called the Patagonian Mission. This collection reproduces the minute books, reports from the mission field, articles and photographs on the geography, anthropology, natural history and economic development for the society’s magazine, launched in 1867, as well as the journals of its Anglican founder, Captain Allen Gardiner, and two others of its missionaries, Edward Bernau and Adolfo Henriksen.

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

Primary Sources: Additional records of and related to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to Foreign Parts

Additional materials related to the USPG contained in British Online Archives.

Archives of the Associates of Dr Bray to 1900
The body of records consists primarily of correspondence files, minute books and financial reports for the institution established by Dr Thomas Bray and his associates. It includes:  
– Administrative records and letters of the Associates   
– Printed books in the archive   
– Rules and reports of the Associates
– Correspondence and records for schools in America
– Correspondence and records concerning the school in the Bahamas
– Correspondence on the establishment of schools in Canada
– General correspondence and records of the Associates

Journal, annual sermons and reports of the SPG, 1701-1870
This collection offers a range of documents which reveal details of the lives the missionaries of the USPG really led. Starting with the formation of the USPG by Royal Charter in 1701, the reports, letters, minutes and accounts of places like Canada in the eighteenth to nineteenth century inform the reader about the colonists’ attitudes and perceptions of American and other colonies during this period. Several documents in this collection feature commentary, directly or indirectly, on relations between the colonizers and the first nations such as the Iroquois and Algonquians. It includes:
– Founding documents of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts
– Journal of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts
– Appendix to SPG Journal
– Annual sermons and reports of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 1701-1845

Records of the Committee on Women’s Work 1861-1967
First an autonomous body linked with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in 1895 this became an organization more closely tied with the SPG, and in 1904 an SPG Committee for Women’s Work was established. This digital collection currently comprises approximately two thirds of the records relating to the Committee on Women’s Work stored at Rhodes House Library, Oxford. It includes:
– Ladies’ Association for the Promotion of Female Education 1861-1895
– Womens’ Missionary Association, c1895-1904
– SPG Committee for Womens’ Work, 1904-1967
– Miscellaneous items, 1866-1960

Primary Sources: Records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) (now named the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) was organized after Rev. Dr. Thomas Bray visited the American Colonies and found the Anglican Church there in disarray. He obtained a charter from King William III in 1701 to establish SPG as an organization authorized to send priests and schoolteachers to America to minister to the colonists and to “take the message of the gospel to the slaves and native Americans.”1

The SPG quickly expanded into the West Indies, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and West Africa, and in the 19th century into India and South Africa. The Library’s access to British Online Archives includes a significant collection of SPG records from all of these locations.

American Material in the archives of the USPG, 1635-1812 Includes:
– letter books kept by the secretaries of the societies, consisting of copies of letters and papers from and to the missionaries appointed by the SPG to the American colonies and also from the colonial governors, private persons and churchwardens. Many of the originals are no longer extant.
– Index volumes for the letter books
– Published accounts of two early SPG missionaries to America
– Supplementary material from 1821-1828, which includes three volumes of copies of the most important letters (i.e., those read before the Society) and sent.

Australian records in the USPG archiveFiles relating to the establishment of the Society’s activities in the province of the Anglican Church of Australia and the development of an organization to support them. Includes:
– Unbound documents, subdivided by diocese: Adelaide, Melbourne, North Queensland, Perth, Sydney, and Tasmania.
– SPG Chapliancy services to emigrants, 1821-1864
– Copies of letters received and sent (from and to the Society in London)
– Indices to the Australian records

New Zealand & Polynesian records in the USPG archive Records relating to the early history of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia. Includes:
– Files from the Melanesia Diocese, 1838-1958
– Files from the New Zealand Diocese, 1838-1875
– Copies of letters received and sent (to and from the Society in London)
– Indices to the New Zealand province records

Canadian Records in the USPG Archive, 1722-1952These papers chart the development of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel from its early days in Canada until its decline there. The majority of the reports included here are in fact narrative accounts submitted by members of the clergy working in various locations across Canada. Includes:
– Records relating to New Brunswick 1783-1857
– Records relating to Fredericton 1844-1860
– Records relating to Quebec 1793-1860
– Records relating to Montreal to c1860
– Records relating to Upper Canada 1788-1859
– Records relating to Toronto to c1860
– Records relating to Nova Scotia to c1860
– General records relating to Canada 1785-1864
– Reports for Canada, 1901-1950

Early Colonial and Missionary Records from West Africa
This resource comprises selected documents from microfilm collections, including: early Gold Coast records from the archives of the USPG; the papers of Thomas Perronet Thompson, the first Governor of the Colony of Sierra Leone; An account of two missionary voyages by Rev. Thomas Thompson; the letters of Rev. Philip Quaque, etc.

Gold Coast records from the archives of the USPG, 1886-1951
The period from 1903 onward is the most substantially documented in this collection. Records relating to the first 150 years are reproduced in both the Early colonial and missionary records from West Africa and the West Indies material in the archives of the USPG, 1710-1950. Includes:
– Copies of letters sent and received
– Committee of Women’s Work Correspondence
– Original letters from abroad, 1899-1933
– Missionary reports, 1906-1933
– Miscellaneous Gold Coast Papers, 1886-1951

South African archives of the USPG
United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel began its labors at the Cape of South Africa in 1821, the western division being occupied in that year and the eastern division in 1830. This collection from the Archives of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, dates from their earliest connection with South Africa. Includes records for Capetown, Grahamstown, Natal, St Johns – Kaffaria, and Zululand.

West Indies material in the archives of the USPG, 1710-1950
– Records from 1714-1908, divided into eight sections: the general archives and those appertaining to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and the Leeward Islands, Trinidad, British Guiana and Honduras (Central America and the Mosquito coast).
– Copies of letters sent and received
– The Codrington Collection, 1704-1898
– Quarterly reports from missionaries, 1901-1950
– Papers of the Barbados Committee, 1710-1842
– Miscellaneous USPG contents

South Asian records of the USPG
– Records beginning around 1770, during the period of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK), and continue for some years after 1825, when the SPG accepted responsibility for the Danish and English missions in Tamil Nadu, as well as conducting its own work elsewhere in India.
– Copies of letters sent and received (to and from the Society in London)
– Annual reports of missionaries, 1840-1861
– Annual reports of missionaries, 1856-1900
– Selected Sri Lankan material, 1827-1867
– Miscellaneous additional materials

Primary Sources: British Pamphlets Relating To the American Revolution, 1764-1783

A recent addition to the resources we acquire through British Online Archives is British Pamphlets Relating To the American Revolution, 1764-1783. According to the collection description, it “includes a copy of every available British and Irish pamphlet relating to the American Revolution that was printed in Great Britain between January 1st 1764 and December 31st 1783. Broadsides and controversial books which are relevant to the various aspects are also included. Two publications that lie outside the chronological limits of The American Controversy have also been included, one from 1763 and another from 1784, in order to complete a series of tracts on a common theme.

“In addition to British and Irish pamphlets, those American and European pamphlets that were reprinted in Britain between 1764 and 1783 feature alongside British parliamentary speeches that were published for outside readers, public reports and papers (though not government documents such as royal proclamations and parliamentary bills and acts). Pamphlets concerning Quebec have been included as the debate over its administration and government impinged on the pre-war disputes between Britain and the American colonies.”

TRIAL: Primary Sources: Foreign Office Files for the Middle East

The Library currently has a trial for Adam Matthew Digital’s collection of FOREIGN OFFICE FILES FOR THE MIDDLE EAST, 1971-1981.

This currently includes only Module 1, 1971-1974: The 1973 Arab-Israel War and the Oil Crisis, which was released in January.

The trial ends February 29. The resource can be accessed at With trial access it is not possible to download documents in the collection.

“Digitising full runs of Foreign Office files from The National Archives, this collection provides invaluable insight into events in the Middle East during the 1970s. Covering events such as the Arab-Israeli War, the Lebanese civil war and the Iranian Revolution, Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981 is an essential resource to help students and researchers understand the modern Middle East. This collection documents UK interests in the internal activities and political relationships of countries such as Egypt, Israel, Syria, Iran, Libya and Lebanon, the oil affairs of nations like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Algeria and Iraq, as well as participating in military intervention and peace negotiations during key conflicts, and monitoring the UK’s commercial interests. Split chronologically into three modules, Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981 tackles these events using a variety of material, from correspondence between civil servants and embassies, reports and memorandums, to political summaries and personality profiles.”

Two more modules will be published in the future:
 • Module 2, 1975-1978: The Lebanese Civil War and the Camp David Accords (Nov 2016)
 • Module 3, 1979-1981: The Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War (Jan 2017)

Please contact me with your thoughts about the usefulness of this resource.

Primary Sources: British Documents on the End of Empire Project

British Documents on the End of Empire (BDEEP) is an online platform providing access to full-text downloadable copies of three series of books produced by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. The volumes contain largely previously unpublished materials from the official archives of the British Public Record Office (now U.K. National Archives).

Each volume was edited by a leading scholar in the field of decolonization, who located and analyzed “key documentation charting shifts in the political, social, and economic policies of officials, both at home and in the colonies.” As stated at the site, the volumes “contain a wealth of material on issues such as constitutional reform, economic development and foreign relations which remain remarkably relevant to the work of contemporary policy-makers in the UK and across the Commonwealth.”

Series A is volumes of general British government documents relating to the British Empire. Series B is volumes on particular countries. Series C volumes are guides to archival sources at the Public Record Office.

Series A
1. Imperial Policy and Colonial Practice, 1925-1945 (in two parts, 1996), edited by SR Ashton and SE Stockwell
2. The Labour Government and the End of Empire, 1945-1951 (in four parts, 1992), edited by Ronald Hyam
3. The Conservative Government and the End of Empire, 1951-1957 (in three parts, 1994), edited by David Goldsworthy
4. The Conservative Government and the End of Empire, 1957-1964 (in two parts, 2000), edited by Ronald Hyam and Wm Roger Louis
5. East of Suez and the Commonwealth, 1964-1971 (in three parts, 2004), edited by SR Ashton and Wm Roger Louis

Series B
1. Ghana (in two parts, 1992), edited by R Rathbone
2. Sri Lanka (in two parts, 1997), edited by KM De Silva 3. Malaya (in three parts, 1995), edited by AJ Stockwell 4. Egypt and the Defence of the Middle East, 1945-1949 (in three parts, 1998), edited by John Kent
5. Sudan (in two parts, 1998), edited by Douglas H Johnson
6. The West Indies (in one part, 1999), edited by SR Ashton and David Killingray
7. Nigeria (in two parts, 2001), edited by Martin Lynn
8. Malaysia (in one part, 2004), edited by AJ Stockwell
9. Central Africa (in two parts, 2005), edited by Philip Murphy
10. Fiji (in one part, 2006), edited by Brij V Lal
11. Malta (in one part, 2006), edited by Simon C Smith

Series C
1. Records of the Colonial Office, Dominions Office, Commonwealth Relations Office and Commonwealth Office (in one part, 1995), edited by Anne Thurston
2. Records of the Cabinet, Foreign Office, Treasury and Other Records (in one part, 1998), edited by Anne Thurston

The Library has only a few of the print volumes in its collection. Many thanks to James Vernon for making me aware of this valuable resources. A link to this site has been added to the History: Britain & Ireland subject guide at

Primary Sources: Records Relating to the Slave Trade at the Liverpool Record Office

This British Online Archives collection includes private merchants’ papers preserved at the Liverpool Record Office relating to the transatlantic slave trade. During the eighteenth century when these documents were compiled, Liverpool was the leading slave trade port in the world. “The material includes correspondence with ship captains and Caribbean agents about the acquisition of Africans and their sales; statistics on the Liverpool slave trade; sales accounts of the lots of Africans disembarked in the Americas, often with the names of purchasers and prices; information on dealings with diverse African groups along the coast of West Africa; and details of payments for slave sales. The account books of ships’ voyages includ material on the outfitting of vessels and the cargoes of goods exported to Africa.”

 The vast majority of these documents are handwritten and have not been transcribed. The metadata describing the documents can be searched, but not the documents themselves. Only individual pages can be downloaded and/or printed.

Primary Source: The Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933

In Spring 1929 a group of labor leaders and trade unionists were arrested and charged under section 121-A of the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860) for “conspiring to deprive the King of His Sovereignty of British India.” Labeled by the British government as Bolsheviks, only a few of the men were members of the Communist Party, which at the time did not have a strong presence in India. The preliminary proceedings, subsequent trial, and appeals together lasted four years, during which the accused garnered much public sympathy and the Communist movement in India gained more support.

The Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933, a collection contained in British Online Archives, includes documents drawn from the British Library, Labour History Archive & Study Centre and Working Class Movement Library. They include India Office records, personal papers of one of the accused, papers of a Secretary of the Labour party that show widespread support of the accused, and a collection of books and pamphlets related to the trial.