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Michigan State University

Eighteenth-Century Studies: Online Resources: Introduction

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. Last updated 06-05-2023


This guide offers suggestions of, and links to, online resources useful for researching topics about the 18th century in the West. It is a work in progress, originally created for a conference presentation.  It offers links to the expensive, electronic resources available to the Michigan State University community of users and also links to a wide range of free electronic resources/websites created by scholars that are available to the world at large on the internet.  Resources not available remotely to non-M.S.U. patrons are accessible if you come in to our Main Library; use them on the Selected Resources computers beside the Reference Desk on the first floor in the lobby area.

If you find this research guide by Googling, live elsewhere than the mid-Michigan area, and are not at a large institution offering these expensive resources, consider e-mailing/going to the largest university library in your region and asking if the electronic resources may be used on site by regional scholars.  Find that library's website on the internet, look for the subject specialist(s) who handle history, literature, etc., e-mail and introduce yourself and ask.

The guide has several sections.  Notice the gray tabs across the top of the guide, above here: Primary Sources, Indexes to Secondary Periodical Literature, Media, Historical Statistics, and Texts and Links.  Mousing over some of these tabs shows sub-parts of some of the these sections.

Primary Sources contains several sub-sections.  The first, Multidisciplinary, offers access to large databases containing many different types of publications printed from the 1470s through 1800 in England, North America, and other English-speaking places.  In prior eras, scholars either had to travel to famous libraries in the United States or England to use these rare books/materials or read the materials in microformat.  Periodicals as a publication format developed in the 18th century.  The second sub-section offers access to this early periodical literature.  We offer access to newspapers for the 18th century also, in the sub-section Newspapers.  The other sub-sections contain full-texts from or about France, North American history, women, slavery, Afro-Americans, and British history.  There are also full-texts of American and British literature and U.S. and British government documents. Most all the resources in this section are open only to M.S.U. community users or if you travel to our Library, or to another large academic library, as described above.

The tab called Indexes to Secondary Periodical Literature contains access to the indexes scholars commonly use to find journal articles, books, conference papers, etc. in a variety of disciplines:  history, literature, religion, philosophy, art, music, women's studies, history of science.  The bibliographic databases WorldCat(OCLC) and ESTC may be accessed here, too. 

The Media tab provides links to streaming music and art history images.

The Historical Statistics tab provides links historical statistical material.

The Texts and Links tab offers access to both M.S.U. Libraries' electronic books useful for research about the 18th century and a great many freely available, scholar-developed websites of interest to 18th century scholars.  Mousing over the tab shows the sub-sections:  Electronic books, Gateway/Portal Websites, and Scholarly Websites.  The last sub-section is huge and the sites are listed alphabetically.

Each entry contains a short description of the resource.  Kindly report problems and additional sites to consider for inclusion to the author. Use the author information tab to find contact information.