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Eighteenth-Century Studies: Online Resources: 3. Scholarly Websites

This is a guide to both free web sites and electronic primary resources we have purchased or subscribe to on/about the long 18th century.

3. Scholarly Websites


History Highway: a 21st Century Guide to Internet Resources Reference and DMC 4 West (CD) D 16.117 .H55 2006

An annotated bibliography of web sites.

A2A: Access to Archives

Contains catalogues describing archives held locally throughout England and dating from the 8th century to the present day.

Art World in Britain 1660-1735

Offers a database of information on art sales of this period, a places database where you can learn where the artworks are located today as well as about significant places related to art of this period, a people database which contains 6000 names of people associated with the world of art at the time, and a sources database for finding transcriptions of sources, bibliographic records and painting titles.

Austen Said: Patterns of Diction in Jane Austen's Major Novels

From University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Allows users to visualize and analyze the language patterns of Austen's most popular works. Word frequencies is a place to begin. View data about unique vocabularies of particular characters in a novel. Or, compare vocabularies used by characters sharing the same age, gender, or character type (such as cad, fool, or heroine).In the novel visualization section view highlighted examples of free indirect discourse, a technique Austen used. Search tool allows user to find select words or phrases in all six of her published novels.

Ballad Operas Online

Ballad operas are "British stage productions from 1728-1760 that combine a comic or sentimental play with musical numbers that re-used 'common tunes'".  Site created at Oxford University, but a collective effort of British and American music scholars.  Sections on theater and dance history, cultural history, political history, stars of ballad operas.  Audio samples link.

BBC History

BBC is the largest broadcasting organization in the world.  This site has an interactive timeline, A-Z index, history for children, features on particularly noteworthy dates, history of personages, as well as links to TV and radio programs.

Beinecke Library, Yale University

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is Yale University's principal repository for literary papers and for early manuscripts and rare books in the fields of literature, theology, history, and the natural sciences. In addition to its general collection of rare books and manuscripts, the library houses the Yale Collection of American Literature, the Yale Collection of German Literature, the Yale Collection of Western Americana, and the Osborn Collection (contains 18th century materials).  Books and manuscripts at Yale have been extensively described since 1926 in the "Yale University Library Gazette," which is available in many libraries.

Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads

The Bodleian Library has unparalleled holdings of over 30,000 ballads in several major collections. Broadside ballads are important source material for: * popular literary history * music history * social history * art history * printing history The Broadside Ballads project, undertaken with funding from the NFF Specialised Research Collections initiative, aims to make the ballads and ballad sheets available to the research community. Broadside ballads were popular songs, sold for a penny or half-penny in the streets of towns and villages around Britain between the sixteenth and early twentieth centuries. These songs were performed in taverns, homes, or fairs -- wherever a group of people gathered to discuss the day's events or to tell tales of heroes and villains. As one of the cheapest forms of print available, the broadside ballads are also an important source material for the history of printing and literacy. Lavishly illustrated with woodcuts, they provide a visual treat for the reader and offer a source for the study of popular art in Britain.

Book History Research Network

BHRN aims to bring together postgraduates, academics, librarians, and independent researchers working in any area or period of 'the history of the book'.  Register of researchers.  Study days. 


Repository of historic botanical literature.  Website created by Missouri Botanical Garden Library.

British Empire

Online exhibition with questions and worksheets on the history of the British Empire.  From the U.K. National Archives.

British History Online

British History Online is the digital library of British historical sources for historians of Britain located worldwide seeking access to texts and information about people, places, and businesses from the medieval through modern periods. Registration is free. Some content is free.  It is being created jointly by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust. Texts from the Centre for Metropolitan History, the Victoria County History Project, Survey of London, and early journals of the Houses of Commons and Lords are also present.  M.S.U. Libraries subscribes to this resource.

British History Sources 1500-1900

Also known as Connected Histories.  This site brings together a range of digital resources related to early modern and nineteenth century Britain with a single federated search that allows sophisticated searching of names, places and dates, as well as the ability to save, connect and share resources within a personal workspace. There are a number of research guides in this website on such topics as: crime and justice, family history, history of London, Imperial and Colonial History, local history, Parliamentary history, poverty and poor relief, religious history, searching for images. Some free info; some requires libraries/individuals to subscribe.

British Association for Local History

Has a section "Useful Links" at top, to find many more sites re local history, for whatever reason they're needed.

British Library: Georgians Revealed

Britain's Georgian Era (marked by the reigns of King George's I-IV) ran from the early eighteenth century into the early nineteenth century. This period was marked by numerous artistic developments: Romantic poetry, unique architecture and design, and flamboyant fashion among others. With this collection from the British Library, visitors can explore a number of items that illustrate the aesthetics of the Georgian Era. Perhaps the highlight of this collection are the paintings.Other items of note include historic maps, sketches of dresses, and sheet music.

British Museum: London 1753

Online tour of the city as it appeared around 1753.  Historic prints and drawings.

British Museum Collection Database

When complete, it will contain a record of every object in the Museum collection. Currently it includes records for the Museum’s collections of objects from Africa; the Americas; central, east, south and southeast Asia; ancient Egypt and Sudan; Europe, ancient Greece and Rome; Oceania; prehistory, and prints, drawings and other works of flat art from all over the world. The information in the records on the database is made available here in its entirety, along with its associated files of controlled terms (the thesauri and authority files such as for materials, techniques and place-names). Only fields giving prices paid and personal addresses have been withheld.

British Printed Images to 1700

Funded by UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, this is a searchable database of thousands of prints and book illustrations from early modern Britain.  Includes also materials on techniques, history of printmaking, descriptions of main printing genres, survey of the historiography of this field to 1700, a directory of publishers and printsellers, and links to other useful sites.

C18-L: Resources for Eighteenth-Century Studies Across the Disciplines

Selected Readings is an interdisciplinary bibliography of eighteenth-century studies in the West, covering the period 1660-1830, from 1992 onward.

C18th Connect: Eighteenth-Century Scholarship Online

A sister-organization for NINES, 18thConnect gathers together a community of scholars that shapes the world of digital resources. Their main concerns are: Access via plain-text searching for all scholars to open access and proprietary and digital archives including EEBO and ECCO, even if their institutions are unable to afford those resources; Peer-review of the growing number of digital resources and archives for which 18thConnect offers an online finding aid; Reflection on Best Practices with scholars who are negotiating new modes of publication and scholarly production.

Captive Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas

"Between 1441 and 1888, Europeans and their descendants in the Americas enslaved many millions of Africans. Torn from their homeland, men, women, and children were shipped to the Americas and forced into slavery. The transatlantic slave trade was a highly profitable maritime business. Without African slaves, the potential economic value of the Americas could never have been realized. Slaves made possible the taming of the wilderness, construction of cities, excavation of mines, and the establishment of powerful plantation economies. This exhibition examines the transatlantic slave trade and seeks to increase understanding of this maritime epic and its legacies in the modern world." -- The Mariner's Museum, Online Exhibition.  Museum located in Newport News, Virginia.

Charles Peirce Collection of Social and Political Caricatures and Ballads

The Charles Peirce Collection of Social and Political Caricatures and Ballads brings together a range of fabulous prints published in London during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This collection eventually found its way to the American Antiquarian Society.

Chymistry of Isaac Newton

Devoted to study of his interest in alchemy.  From Indiana University-Bloomington.  Both primary and secondary sources.  His work underpins the modern science of chemistry.  Digitized collection of his alchemical manuscripts, with a diplomatic transcriptions showing as closely as possible the original and a normalized transcription, edited to be made more readable.  Browsable and full-text searchable. Glossary of alchemical terms. 

Clements Library

The William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan collects primary source materials in all formats relating to the history of America prior to the mid-twentieth century. The holdings are particularly strong in the intellectual, cultural, and military history of the late colonial period, the Early Republic, and the 19th century, but are very broad and richly interconnected.

Crace Collection of Maps of London

This is the essential guide through the history of London: some 1200 printed and hand-drawn maps charting the development of the city and its immediate vicinity from around 1570 to 1860. The maps were collected, mainly during the first half of the nineteenth century, by the fashionable Victorian society designer, Frederick Crace. After entering the site look for the link to "See all the items in this exhibition." From the British Library Map Collections.

Current Value of Old Money

Links to tools and online resources to calculate the current value of "old" money.  British orientation.

Gathers together philosophical texts of 18th-c. Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, which are searchable by keyword and phrases and proximity.  Contains Critical Survey of the Literature on Hume and the First Enquiry, a bibliography on Hume, by Millican Merivale.

Digital Locke Project

"A pilot project that makes a start with a scholarly text edition of the manuscripts of the British philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) in the form of an XML-encoded database that is used simultaneously for an online version and the printed version of the manuscripts. Locke’s most influential work is An Essay concerning Human Understanding. He produced several drafts of this work in the nearly two decades prior to its publication and he continued producing additions, corrections and other related material after the first edition had appeared in 1689. During its first phase the ‘Digital Locke Project’ concentrates on the manuscripts produced after the first publication of the Essay until Locke’s death in 1704. The database includes a transcription of the manuscripts with text-critical apparatus, historical and philosophical notes, a precise description of all relevant manuscripts, and a reconstruction of the genesis of the texts."


Offers digitized historical maps of Europe.  Browse by date and place. 

Dissenting Academies Project

In 1662, the Parliament of England passed the Act of Uniformity - which required adherence to many rites and ceremonies prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer. One of the rites required was episcopal ordination for all ministers. In response, other Protestant religious communities established a number of dissenting academies, which were "intended to provide Protestant students dissenting from the Church of England with a higher education similar to that at Oxford and Cambridge, from which they were largely excluded." This digital humanities project, created by the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English, allows visitors to learn more about these academies through an extensive database and encyclopedia of 220 academies that existed between 1660 and 1860. The database also includes thousands of individuals who were involved in the academy as tutors or students.

Early History of Michigan: From the First Settlement to 1815 (1856)

Early Modern Women Database

This database provides links to World Wide Web resources useful for the study of women in early modern Europe and the Americas. It focuses on the period ca. 1500 to ca. 1800. Resources have been selected for their scholarly value by librarians on the arts and humanities team of the University of Maryland Libraries. Materials range from bibliographic databases to full-text resources, images, and sound recordings. Most of the resources linked here are free. Some require a license for access.

ECHO: Exploring & Collecting History Online - Science, Technology and Industry

Echo's research center catalogs, annotates, and reviews web sites on the history of science, technology, and industry. The database includes over 5,000 web sites, and can be browsed by topic, time period, publisher or content.  Lower left of home page allows browsing by historical period.

Eighteenth-Century Studies

This collection archives works of the eighteenth century from the perspectives of literary and cultural studies. Novels, plays, memoirs, treatises and poems of the period are kept here (in some cases, influential texts from before 1700 or after 1800 as well), along with modern criticism.

[Eighteenth Century Studies Guide]

A guide to doing research in 18th-century studies produced by University of Michigan, similar to this one.

English Broadside Ballad Archive

About 8,000 English broadside ballads of the entire seventeenth century survive. To capture the genre’s arch of development, EBBA seeks to archive all these printed ballads—with priority given to the black-letter ornamental broadside of the genre’s heyday—as well as all surviving sixteenth-century broadside ballads (about 250) and a representative sampling of broadside ballads of the early eighteenth century.

English Weights and Measures

The system of weights and measures in use in England has been developed over a period of more than a thousand years, and is a defining part of British culture, uniting the English-speaking nations. Detailed information on the following: weights, lengths & areas, volumes, conversion factors to the dreaded metric system, wire gauges, pictures, money, history, links to other relevant sites, temperature scales and collecting weights. 

Eurodocs: Primary Historical Documents from Western Europe

These links connect to Western European (mainly primary) historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated. They shed light on key historical happenings within the respective countries (and within the broadest sense of political, economic, social, and cultural history). Covers medieval and Renaissance, Europe as a supranational region, as well as documents of individual countries. From Brigham Young University.

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project

Michigan State University Library and the MSU Museum presents this online collection of the most important and influential 19th and early 20th century American cookbooks.  There are just a few published before 1815 here.

Food in the West: a Timeline, 1700-2001

Learn about major culinary trends, food drink, feasts, and agriculture, from the ancien regime to present.

Food Timeline

To research what people ate, when.  Recipes.  Links to individual ingredients, complete dishes, historically important cookbooks. 

Gardens and People

Has links to articles and other sites in garden history.

Gathering the Jewels: The Website for Welsh Cultural History

Features over 30,000 images of objects, books, letters, aerial photographs and other items from museums, archives and libraries throughout Wales. Approach is by browsing by broad topic.  There is a search box; entering 18th century works.

Gazetteer of British Place Names

From the Association of British Counties. Exhaustive Place Name Index to Great Britain, containing over 50,000 entries. It lists the historic county and the main administrative areas in which each place lies.

Gazettes Online

The gazettes, the official journals of U.K., Scotland, and Northern Ireland, containing both historical and current editions. These provide a mixture of state intelligence, government notices, and trade/business news. London Gazette has official war dispatches, including 1914-20 and 1939-48. It is the world's oldest, continuously published newspaper, published with the authority of the British government, and dating back to 1665.


Developing access to women's history sources in the British Isles.  The website has a of database with descriptions of women's history collections from museums, libraries and archives in the United Kingdom and a guide to sources that provides access to a wide range of international web resources on women's history. It was developed with funding from the U.K. Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP) and is currently maintained by the staff of The Women's Library at London Metropolitan University.

Grub Street Project

The goal of the Grub Street Project is to visualize the literary and cultural history of London. This includes mapping the city's print trades, its (imagined) literary representations, and its (real) histories in order to understand their evolution and their influence upon other networks of trade, knowledge, and literature. Data to be integrated with the maps includes: *A Dictionary of London, by Henry Harben (1918) * a bibliography of books published in London from the years 1660 to 1830 * tradesmen and addresses, compiled from various sources including both the bibliographical details of publication information, and Kent's London business directories published annually from 1732 until 1828 * full text of online editions. As data is added to the database, we can begin to imagine early modern networks of communications and interactions, visualize how ideas were transferred, shared, and stolen, and see how the city was represented by its citizens and its visitors. We will be able to see how the dissemination of ideas created networks of trade and commerce; we will also be able to see how the urban landscape was imagined in the eighteenth century. (from the website)

Historical Directories (U.K.)

Historical Directories is a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It is not comprehensive.

Historical Research in Europe

Attempts "to unite both web-based and printed resources about [Western] European libraries and archives in a single interactive database." Search by keyword, country, any one of 25 pre-defined subject groupings (such as World War II or immigration), subject terms, historical periods, type of archive (such as church or diplomatic), personal or family name, or broad historical topic. Search results lead either to guides to archival materials held in University of Wisconsin's library system (which M.S.U. Libraries may also own; check our online catalog) or to web sites of particular archival institutions.

History of Parliament

The History of Parliament is a research project creating a comprehensive account of parliamentary politics in England, then Britain, from their origins in the thirteenth century. It consists of detailed studies of elections and electoral politics in each constituency, and of closely researched accounts of the lives of everyone who was elected to Parliament in the period, together with surveys drawing out the themes and discoveries of the research and adding information on the operation of Parliament as an institution.

History Online (U.K.)

History On-line is being developed by the British Institute of Historical Research to provide a gateway resource to high quality resources for teaching and learning history in the U.K. Approach is by search or browse. It is browsable by type of history (ecclesiastical, cultural, economic, gender, imperial/commonwealth, social, intellectual, etc.), geographic area, time period, or type of resource (archives, bibliographies, datasets, journals, museums/galleries, organizations/research centres, primary sources, subject gateways). The project works jointly with Humbul Humanities Hub to enhance the history content there.

Huntington Library

The greatest concentration is in the English Renaissance, about 1500 to 1641; other strengths include medieval manuscripts, incunabula (books printed before 1501), maps, travel literature, British and American history and literature, the American Southwest, and the history of science, medicine and technology.

Images of England

From English Heritage and National Monuments Record.  Images of England is a ‘point in time’ photographic library of England’s listed buildings, recorded at the turn of the 21st century.You can view over 300,000 images of England’s built heritage from lamp posts to lavatories, phone boxes to toll booths, mile stones to gravestones, as well as thousands of bridges, historic houses and churches.

Indexes and Guides to Western European Periodicals

American Library Association, ACRL, Western European Studies Section created and maintains this guide. Its purpose is to list print and electronic indexes to European periodicals from the 17th Century to the mid-20th Century. This includes indexes to specific titles, periods, subjects, and geographic areas. In addition, it lists descriptive guides and online web sites that may contain useful information in the absence of an index.

Intoxicants and Early Modernity: England, 1580-1740

Project explores significance of intoxicants such as tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and opium to "the economic, social, political, material, and culture life of England from 16th-18th centuries."   Showcases 5 themes.  Link to beta version of their database where readers can browse sources.  Collaboration between University of Sheffield and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  PI is Phil Withington, Prof. Univ. of Sheffield.

NOT FREE!  IPA Source contains International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions and literal translations of opera arias and art song texts to promote comprehension and accurate pronunciation of foreign language texts in art song and opera.  Translations into English from multiple languages.

IPL Online Literary Criticism

The IPL Online Literary Criticism Collection contains 4745 critical and biographical websites about authors and their works that can be browsed by author, by title, or by nationality and literary period.

Jane Austen Society of North America

Dedicated to the enjoyment and appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing.  JASNA is a nonprofit organization staffed by volunteers, with approximately 4,000 members and more than 65 regional groups in the United States and Canada.  Its members, who are of all ages and from diverse walks of life, share an enjoyment of Austen’s fiction and the company of like-minded readers. Students, teachers, members, and visitors are invited to use the resources of this site to learn more about Jane Austen.  The Publications section offers dozens of articles and book reviews on her writing, life, and times, all of which can be searched online.

Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts

Gathers together in the virtual space of the web some 1100 pages of fiction written in Jane Austen’s own hand. Through digital reunification, it is now possible to access, read, and compare high quality images of original manuscripts whose material forms are scattered around the world in libraries and private collections. Unlike the famous printed novels, all published in a short span between 1811 and 1818, these manuscripts trace Jane Austen’s development as a writer from childhood to the year of her death; that is, from 1787 (aged 11 or 12) to 1817 (aged 41). Not only do they provide a unique visual record of her imagination from her teenage experiments to her last unfinished writings, these pages represent one of the earliest collections of creative writings in the author’s hand to survive for a British novelist.

Jane Johnson Manuscript Nursery Library, ca. 1740-1759

The Johnson, J. mss. at Indiana University Lilly Library consists of materials devised by Jane (Russell) Johnson primarily for the instruction of her son, George William Johnson. The materials consist of 438 items and are arranged in 24 groups. Included are alphabet cards, religious and secular lesson cards, all hand-made. Some contain colored illustrations and are decorated with multi-colored Dutch paper. The materials, arranged in 24 groups, consist of 438 pieces. Present are six sets of alphabet cards, many with vowel sounds, syllables, words and short lines or verses (which could serve as modern flash cards); three sets of word cards, also with vowel sounds, syllables and lines; two booklets; three sets of lesson cards in verse and anecdotal form on religious and secular topics; five card sets, largely secular and contemporary in nature with some traditional story-verses; and three card sets of religious and moral instruction, along with a set of word chips.

John Johnson Collection: Trades and Professions

The John Johnson Collection is a collection of printed ephemera, formed by John de Monins Johnson (1882-1956). There are in excess of 1million items and c.700 subject headings. The Collection documents Advertising; Art; Authors; Booktrade; Entertainment; Political, Religious, Social and Economic History; Printing; Private Presses; Transport and Travel. Further sections are kept by form: Bill Headings, Bookmarkers, Trade Cards, Valentines, etc. The Collection is retrospective and spans the years 1508 to 1939, with some ephemera of the 1940s and 1950s and a separate collection of post-1960 additions. The Collection is strongest in 19th and early 20th century ephemera, with significant holdings in the 18th century. The original collection was assembled by John de Monins Johnson (1882-1956) who was inspired by his work as a papyrologist in Egypt to rescue Britain's immediate paper heritage. Johnson subsequently worked at the Oxford University Press, becoming Printer to the University from 1925 to 1946. The Collection was transferred to the Bodleian Library from OUP in 1968; since that time both old and modern ephemera have been added to it.

Jonathan Swift: Journal to Stella

Designed with a dual purpose in mind. In the first place, it is a diversion for curious readers and for lovers of Jonathan Swift's more famous works. But it is also intended as a scholarly resource for students and teachers of Swift's writings, and for literary historians of the eighteenth century more generally. The biographies, booklists and chronologies that support the Journal have been prepared to a high academic standard

Jonathan Swift Archives

Collaborative effort between University of Keele, University of Oxford, and Centre for Computing and Humanities at King's College.  Digitized collection of Swift's writings, transcribed from their original print editions. Over 300 texts.  Organization is chronological with browsability by short title, printer/publisher, date.  Full texts of most of his fiction and prose.  You can view multiple editions alongside each other.

Local History internet sites, British perspective]

See Jacquelene Fillmore, "Local History Internet Sites an Update for 2008." Local Historian. 38#3 (2008), pp. 216-223. and Jacquelene Fillmore, "Annotated List of Internet Sites for Local Historians." Local Historian. 37#3 (2007), pp. 193-203.

Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

The Lewis Walpole Library is a research library for eighteenth-century studies and the prime source for the study of Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill. Its collections include significant holdings of eighteenth-century British books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, and paintings, as well as important examples of the decorative arts.

Locating London's Past

"Provides an intuitive GIS interface enabling researchers to map and visualize textual and artefactual data relating to 17th and 18th-century London against John Rocque's 1746 map of London and the first accurate modern Ordnance Survey map.  Records of crime, poor relief, taxation, elections, local administration, plague deaths, and archaeological finds can all be searched and mapped on this site."

London Lives 1690 to 1800

London Lives makes available, in a fully digitised and searchable form, a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebeian Londoners. This resource includes over 240,000 manuscript and printed pages from eight London archives and is supplemented by fifteen datasets created by other projects. It provides access to historical records containing over 3.35 million name instances. Facilities are provided to allow users to link together records relating to the same individual, and to compile biographies of the best documented individuals.

London's Past Online

Is accessible within the Bibliography of  British and Irish History.

London Time Machine

On Sunday the 2nd of September 1666, the Great Fire of London began reducing most of the capital to ashes. Among the devastation and the losses were many maps of the city itself. The Morgan Map of 1682 was the first to show the whole of the City of London after the fire. Produced by William Morgan and his dedicated team of Surveyors and Cartographers it took 6 years to produce.

Mapping the Republic of Letters

This is a digital humanites project from Stanford University's Humanities Center in collaboration with international partners (including Oxford University and CNRS in France) that sheds light on how historical scientific networks contributed to the spread of knowledge from the age of Erasmus through the time of Benjamin Franklin.  Through letters, sociability, and travel people traded information, thought, books, criticism, ideas in the early modern period.

Medical Heritage Library

The Medical Heritage Library is a "digital curation collaborative" between numerous leading medical libraries, including the August C. Long Health Science Library at Columbia University, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Wellcome Library, to name just a few. These libraries are working together on this remarkable collection that provides insight into the history of medicine in the United States and Great Britain. Through the website's Content tab, visitors can browse hundreds of medical journals, pamphlets, and books dating back to the sixteenth century. Researchers can also conduct a keyword Search in order to find relevant material within this extensive (and still growing) collection.

Michigan Early Modern English Materials

Michigan Early Modern English Materials (MEMEM) was compiled by Richard W. Bailey, Jay L. Robinson, James W. Downer, with Patricia V. Lehman. Here are citations collected for the modal verbs and certain other English words for the Early Modern English Dictionary. The work included here was prepared electronically over a period of several years ending in 1975.

MONK Project Metadata Offer New Knowledge

MONK is a digital environment designed to help humanities scholars discover and analyze patterns in the texts they study; the site is developed and hosted by University of Illinois.  The texts you can work on come from some of the major full text projects offered by major university libraries in the U.S., such as EEBO and ECCO (which are not free to all at this time), but also from some free sources: Early American Fiction, DocSouth, and Shakespeare.

Mundus: Gateway to Missionary Collections in the United Kingdom

Web-based guide to more than four hundred collections of overseas missionary materials held in the United Kingdom. These materials, comprising the archives of British missionary societies, collections of personal papers, printed matter, photographs, other visual materials and artefacts, are held in a large number of libraries, record offices and other institutions in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Mundus Gateway makes it easier for researchers to locate these collections and obtain sufficient information about their contents to enable effective planning of research visits.

National Archives (U.K.)

The National Archives of England, Wales, and the United Kingdom is one of the largest archival collections in the world, spanning 1000 years of British history, from the 11th century to the present. This government agency was formed in 2003 by bringing together the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission. This web site offers online catalogs of primary source materials and some online texts.

National Archives of Scotland

Main archive for sources of the history of Scotland as a separate kingdom, her role in the British Isles, and the links between Scotland and other countries over the centuries.

National Monuments Record

National Monuments Record (NMR), the public archive of English Heritage with photographs, documents and plans showing architecture, archaeology, listed buildings, aerial photography and social history throughout England.  In advanced search, browse historic photographs (taken 1850s onward) of historic sites and buildings from all periods of English history.  Resources for teachers.  Database of archaeological and architectural records. More.

National Portrait Gallery (U.K.)

The Gallery was founded in 1856 to collect portraits of famous British men and women. Explore 120,000 portraits from the 16th Century to the present day.

National Portrait Gallery (U.S.)

Search more than 80,000 portrait records from the Catalog of American Portraits (CAP). New material is added regularly, and this information is automatically published to the website after it is cataloged and validated.

Newberry Library, Chicago

The Newberry Library collects books, manuscripts, maps, and other printed materials related to the history and culture of Western Europe and the Americas. The collections span many centuries. Since its early years, the Newberry has focused on the humanities, which is a broad category of academic disciplines that includes history, literature, art, foreign languages and cultures, music, philosophy, and religion. Today, the Library's evolving collections include more than 1.5 million books, 5 million manuscript pages, and 500,000 historic maps.

Newton Papers

Isaac Newton, 1642-1727, was a noted chair of mathematics at Cambridge University, which holds many of his papers.  The Cambridge Digital Library project has made what they have available online. 

Parks and Gardens U.K.

Website dedicated to historic designed landscapes and will include records of over 7,000 historic gardens in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as well as articles and features on historical styles and designs.  Browse by period.  Summary, description, references, some images for individual properties.

Parliament and the British Slave Trade, 1600-1807

Online exhibit from the Parliamentary archives explores some of the issues through primary documents and other records.

Parliamentary Archives of the U.K.

Parliamentary Archives of the United Kingdom holds several million historical records relating to Parliament. This Archive web sites offers access to Portcullis, an online catalog describing 3 million items. These include records of the Houses of Lords and Commons: acts of Parliament, committee papers, Hansard, journals, judicial records, peerage claim records, etc. A fire in 1834 burned down the Houses of Parliament; consequently, this archive has no House of Commons records prior to this date, except for manuscript journals and minutes and printed journals of this House. They also do not have records of government departments; these are at the National Archives/Public Records Office.

Perry Casteneda Map Collection

At the University of Texas Austin.  A large map collection with digitized historical maps of Europe.

Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects (1773)

The University of South Carolina has acquired a first edition of Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773), the first book published by an African-American author, and has made it available online and fully searchable. This freely accessible facsimile is provided as both a research tool and a resource for teachers and students worldwide....

Portsmouth and Macclesfield Collections

The Macclesfield Collection documents Sir Isaac Newton's writings and ideas, in letters and manuscripts, on gravitation, calculus, the Principia mathematica, optics, chemistry, comets and other subjects. It consists primarily of holograph letters to and from 17th and 18th century scientists, including Collins, Oughtred, Cavendish, Briggs, Fermat, Oldenburg, Halley, Boyle, Wallis and others. There are also some copy letters and other scientific papers. The Portsmouth Collection documents Sir Isaac Newton's writings and ideas, in letters and manuscripts, on gravitation, calculus, the Principia mathematica, optics, chemistry, comets and other subjects. Although widely known for his discovery of universal gravitation, Newton's scientific and intellectual interests were vast, and this range of creative thinking is reflected in these papers.

Proceedings of the Old Bailey London 1674-1834

"This is a fully searchable online edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court." Also includes historical background information and a bibliography (contains citations on: publishing history; associated records; crime, criminal justice and punishment; Old Bailey Courthouse; London and hinterlands; community histories; gender and the proceedings; and general and useful web sites.)

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History

"An online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading."  A thematically based open-access collection of texts and other digitized materials produced under auspices of Harvard University Library and selected from its collections.  Focus is Western Europe and U.S. from the 16th-early 20th centuries.  Historical textbooks, library records from early Harvard U., records of missions to native North Americans, lists of recommended books, memoirs of collectors, commonplace books, diaries and scrapbooks, and books annotated by some famous authors, altogether some 800 published books and 400 manuscript collections.  Search by catalog record or OCR generated text (for printed books) or browse by topic or genre, by one of 14 languages, or by century.

Reading Experience Database

A ‘reading experience’ means a recorded engagement with a written or printed text - beyond the mere fact of possession. A database containing as much information as possible about what British people read, where and when they read it and what they thought of it will form an invaluable resource for researchers of book history, cultural studies, sociology and family history, to name but a few. The mission is to accumulate as much data as possible about the reading experiences of British subjects from 1450 to 1945. 

 Repton Flip Book

Humphry Repton was a famous English landscape designer of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  We have his works in Special Collections.  His famous "red books" showed customers how to improve the looks of their estates with building and planting alterations.  This web site shows "before and after" views, digitizing some of the images from his famous Red Books. A project done at University of New South Wales in Australia. 

Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States

The six-volume set entitled The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, from House Miscellaneous Document No. 603 of the U.S. Serial Set, was compiled by Dr. Francis Wharton and promulgated on August 13, 1888, by both houses of Congress. The preface to volume 1 explains the usefulness of these documents for comprehending: (1) our revolutionary history and (2) the treaties executed during and at the close of the Revolution, which form in a large measure the basis of our international law (p. iii). Other editions of the correspondence include those edited by Jared Sparks and Francis Preston Blair.

Royal College of Physicians Museum and Archive Collections

Search RCP collections to uncover a wealth of information on the history of medicine and the RCP.   Near complete records of the RCP's activities for 500 years. Manuscripts and personal papers of eminent physicians. 300 oil and sculptural portraits of physicians and over 5,000 prints and drawing. Silver and decorative art collection. Rare medical instruments and artefacts.

Royal Society Library and Archives

"We welcome researchers in the scholarly use of the Royal Society's collections, which are of international importance in the history of science. Our resources include manuscripts, printed books and paintings amassed to provide a record of scientific achievements over almost 350 years." 

Royal Society Publishing

The Royal Historical Society's Journal Archive, including the world's first peer reviewed scientific journal, contains ca. 60,000 historical scientific papers. The Society's journal Philosophical Transactionsbegan publication in 1665. Use this material to locate primary sources in the history of science.

Runaway Slaves in Britain: Bondage, Freedom, and Race in the Eighteenth Century

Little is known about slavery in 18th-Century Britain. This project at University of Glasgow will create a database of searchable information about those who sought to escape bondage. Not all of the the people who ran away from their masters in Georgian Britain were of African descent, and a small number were Native Americans or were from the Indian sub-continent. While some were not slaves, many were described by their masters in terms of slavery. 

Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825

Website based on an exhibition at the New York Public Library tracing Russia’s movement from relative isolation to global empire through its contacts with Europe, Asia, and the Americas.  Brief summaries.  Selected images.  Essays on historical background, excerpts from documents, brief biographies, explications of salient themes, a bibliography, related links, chronology of events, glossary.

Sea and Ships:  Explore Online

Site of the English National Maritime Museum.  Material on explorers, naval warfare, seamen, life at sea, ships, time, stars, maritime history. 


From University of Iowa.  A social network analysis of publishers, writers, manuscripts, and booksellers in the late-fifteenth through eighteenth century England. Created by a team of English scholars and librarians, along with a computer scientist, this project allows English and history scholars to explore metadata compiled from the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) - a catalogue of [most] every book printed in England between 1473 and 1800. Visitors can explore this data in three ways. In Social Network Analytics, visitors can explore a network map between two specific dates (e.g. 1473-1500) and search for specific individuals within a graph. Alternatively, visitors may explore publications by decade or conduct a text search of the catalogue.

Sir John Soane's Museum

Famous architect who died in 1837 and had a museum in his house. Contains 30,000 architectural, topographical, and ornamental drawings. Especially relevant for London.  Site has a catalog of the drawings.

Site for Research on William Hogarth (1697-1764)

Biographies, online essays, image gallery, links to other Hogarth sites.  He's a famous 18th c. English artist.

Society for the History of Children and Youth

Supports research about the history of childhood, youth cultures, and the experience of young people across diverse times and places.  Offers links to resources and websites in this subject.

Spectator Project: a Hypermedia Research Archive of Eighteenth-Century Periodicals

The Spectator Project is an interactive hypermedia environment for the study of The Tatler (1709-1711), The Spectator (1711-14), and the eighteenth-century periodical in general.

Sunk in Lucre's Sordid Charms: South Sea Bubble Resources in the Kress Collection at Baker Library

The South Sea Bubble Collection is a group of specialized research resources within the Kress Collection at Baker Library, Harvard Business School. The collection focuses on the South Sea Bubble stock market crisis in the early part of the eighteenth century and the speculative mania surrounding it. The collection includes more than 300 books, broadsides, pamphlets, Parliamentary documents, manuscripts, prints, and ephemera.

Super-Enlightenment, a Digital Collection of the Stanford University Libraries

Contains thirty-six texts, written in French between 1716 and 1835 (for a full list, click on texts in any menu). Some of these were widely read in their time; others are more emblematic of the shadowy demi-monde of eighteenth-century intellectual intrigue. Taken as a corpus, they offer a fair representation of the disparate and unorthodox interests of the age.

Survey of Scottish Witcraft 1563-1736

Database contains all people known to have been accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland, nearly 4,000, where, when accused, how tried, what their fate was, and info on a wide range of themese relating to social and cultural history.  Supporting material with introduction to the topic, further reading section, links to other sites.


The acronym stands for Text Analysis Portal for Research.  This site offers over 50 different gools for text mining, comparing texts electronically, finding word frequencies in texts, finding how many times particular topics are mentioned in a piece, etc.

*Timelines: Sources from History

Several hundred images from the British Library's collections arranged by decade in this interactive resource.  One to 10 images per decade from 1215-2008.  Thumbnails enlarge and have introductions that describe images briefly and place them in historical context.  Five thematic timelines, in addition: politics/power/rebellion; literature/music/entertainment; everyday life; sacred texts; medicine/science/technology.  Can select two time lines at once and compare them.  Create your own customized timelines. 

Trans  Atlantic Slave Trade Database

From Emory University, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, this offers both quantitative and qualitative information about the slave trade in Spain, Uruguay, Portugal, Brazil, Great Britain, the Netherlands, the United States, Denmark, and the Baltic, from the 16th through the 19th centuries.  Three sections:  searchable database of voyages, statistics/estimates of the slave trade by nation and ports of em and disembarkation, and African names database.  Bibliography of documentary sources and archival materials.  Overview essays on the Atlantic slave trade, racial/ethnic fallout, abolition movement.  Lesson plans and educational resources.  Images from 19th c. archival materials.  Maps.  Timeline/chronology.  Searchable in both English and Portuguese.

Three Years Travels through the Interior Parts of North America, by Jonathan Carver (1796)

Description of lakeside Michigan,  Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Detroit.

U.K. Centre for the History of Nursing and Midwifery

Based in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, at the University of Manchester. This school has a strong tradition of research and education and hosts an experienced team of researchers who are leading a number of projects in nursing and midwifery history. Links here to many websites to do with history of nursing and midwifery.

Visiting Bethlem in the Long Eighteenth Century
1247 Bethlem Royal Hospital was founded.  It is one of the oldest institutions designed for treating mental illness.  Their Museum of the Mind preserves information and material on how mental illness has been perceived and treated throughout  British history.  Interactive timeline covers 1676-1815 and can be explored by six categories: the hospital, attitudes to mental health, visitors, staff, patients, outside events.  Within each category find primary documents and short videos in which scholars answer frequently asked questions about the history of Bethlem.

Vive la Difference: the English and French Stereotype in Satirical Prints, 1720-1815

Online exhbition from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Voyages: the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Sponsored by Emory University, covers the slave trade on five continents.  Includes traditional bibliographies, maps, images, lesson plans, and a database of African names.  Search by material type or geographical region.

Wellcome Library

"Through its collections and services, the Wellcome Library [United Kingdom] provides insight and information to anyone seeking to understand medicine and its role in society, past and present. With over 600 000 books and journals, an extensive range of manuscripts, archives and films, and more than 100 000 pictures, we are one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history. This is one of the world's greatest collections of books, manuscripts, archives, films and paintings on the history of medicine from the earliest times to the present day."  See especially Welcome Images.

Witchcraft in Early Modern England

Is a project that "designs and deploys strategically intersecting, innovative, and experimental digital tools to allow for robust searching and pattern finding within the corpus of texts relating to early modern witchcraft."

Witchcraft Collection

"Cornell's [University] Witchcraft Collection contains over 3,000 titles documenting the history of the Inquisition and the persecution of witchcraft." The collection "...documents the earliest and the latest manifestations of the belief in witchcraft as well as its geographical boundaries, and elaborates this history with works on canon law, the Inquisition, torture, demonology, trial testimony, and narratives. Most importantly, the collection focuses on witchcraft not as folklore or anthropology, but as theology and as religious heresy."  15th-19th centuries.


Site by Peter Higginbotham. Over 200 web pages, 5000 photos and illustrations, and 1500 maps and plans for workhouses in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.  Aims to tell the story of the workhouse in social history, politics, economics and architecture.

Working Class Movement Library

The Working Class Movement Library records over 200 years of organising and campaigning by ordinary men and women. Our collection provides a rich insight into working people's daily lives as well as their thoughts, hopes, fears and the roles they played in the significant events of their time.  Earliest documents are from the 1760s.



Michigan State University