Archives are collections of documents or “records” that have been selected for permanent preservation because of their value as evidence or as a source for historical or other research. Records are created by the activities of organisations and people; they serve an active purpose whilst in current use and some of them are later selected and preserved as part of an archival collection. (Definition from the National Archives)
From resource’s own description: “allows scholars to discover the migrations, communities, and ideologies of the African Diaspora through the voices of people of African descent. With a focus on communities in the Caribbean, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, and France, the collection includes never-before digitised primary source documents, including personal papers, organisational papers, journals, newsletters, court documents, letters, and ephemera.”
Over a million pages of archival material on sexuality and gender with material on sexual, political, social and legal issues in pamphlets, posters, newsletters, manuscripts, monographs representing LGBTQ communities internationally.
This Yale University Law School project gives free and open access to a full text collection of documents relating to world history. It has a US focus (including relations with other nations) with some non-US documents. Most documents date from 18th century to present, but some pre-18th century documents are included. It also includes a section on 20th century history.
This collection of documents covers 1830–1865, and presents the international impact of African American activism against slavery, via the writings of the activists themselves during the Pre-US Civil War period.
This resource comprises around 100,000 pages of non-fiction material by leading figures in last 250 years of African-American arts, politics, religion, entertainment, sport and culture. This collection includes writings by Paul Robeson, Booker T. Washington, Audre Lorde, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, W.E.B. Du Bois and Zora Neale Hurston among many others. Topics covered include black nationalism, segregation and the Jim Crow laws, The Black Panthers, the Civil Rights movement. A subscription resource from ProQuest.
A collection of documents, videos and images representing personal and institutional perspectives relevant to the growing areas of border and migration studies. Over 30 worldwide border areas are covered, notably the US/Mexico border, the European Union and Israel.
Letters and diaries spanning over 400 years, many by renowned women writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, Fanny Burney, Queen Victoria and George Eliot. Includes 4,000 facsimile pages of previously unpublished manuscripts.
Compiled by the Parliamentary Labour Party this collection of minutes of minutes of party meetings, Liaison Committee meetings, and Parliamentary Committee (Shadow Cabinet) meetings documents Labour in power (Wilson and Callaghan governments) as well as the post-1979 years in opposition.
Statistical records, arranged by year, for the Caribbean under British colonial rule, the core of which covers the period 1839-1938. In addition to population returns, the material covers education reports, prison records, land grants, imports and exports.
Following the 19th century “Scramble for Africa”, Britain came to exercise colonial rule over the largest portion of the continent. Subsequently, each of the thirteen British colonies was required to compile and submit to the Colonial Office an Annual Blue Book report primarily covering economic development as well as demographic, ecclesiastical, and public records. The standardisation of reporting across all territories allows cross-database comparisons to be made on a range of topics including the slave trade.
Based upon the British Naval Office shipping lists for 1678–1825, this collection illustrates how both commodity and human cargo was moved in a triangular fashion around the three points of Empire: Britain, its colonies and the profitable markets in Europe and the Americas. The lists include, amongst other details, the name of the vessel, where it was built, the name of its home port and colony, details of the vessel’s construction, the name of the owner(s).
William Davenport was a Liverpool merchant and slave trader. Prominent in this collection held by Keele University are his company’s trading invoices and accounts for each of its ships. These papers record the cargoes carried and thereby show what the colonies involved were trading and what their commodities were worth.
Over the course of the 18th century, Liverpool became Britain’s most profitable slave-trading port. Immense fortunes were made from trading slaves to the Americas prior to abolition in 1807. This resource presents documents such as slave ships' logs, financial documents, order papers, and private correspondence from leading figures involved in the industry.
A large collection of papers on the British Special Operations Executive and its US counterpart the Office of Strategic Services featuring British and American security services intelligence used to mount covert and resistance-style operations in Axis occupied countries. Covers the period of sabotage and guerrilla warfare activities under Operation Jedburgh from its inception in June 1944 to the end of the war in Europe.
From the provider’s description: “The Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) was an Anglican missionary society established in the late 1850s. In 1965, the UMCA merged with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) to form the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG). This collection contains documents relating to the UMCA’s activities in Tanzania and Malawi during the period 1857–1965. The papers provide an insight into the spread of Christianity in Central Africa.”
This collection contains material from nine archives at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the British Library and covers events from the earliest English embassy in China to the birth and early years of the People’s Republic. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
Colonial Missionaries’ archives
The British Online Archives contain primary material from the United Society Partners in Gospel (USPG) colonial missionaries. The USPG is a UK-based Anglican missionary organisation that operates around the world. During the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, the USPG went by the name of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG).
- America in Records from Colonial Missionaries, 1635–1928
These records provide a unique insight into the evolution of Christianity in the American colonies, the United States, and Canada. They contain letters and supplementary material compiled by the North American branch of the USPG.
- Colonial Missionaries' Papers from America and the West Indies, 1701–1870
This resource contains the USPG’s founding documents, in-house journal, annual sermons and reports, providing insights into the relationship between colonisers and those colonised.
- The West Indies in Records from Colonial Missionaries, 1704–1950
This archive offers reports covering both sides of the USPG’s legacy as it moved from owning slaves to educating the emancipated.
This resource contains reports and other records compiled by the Communist Party of Great Britain's International Department between 1944 and 1986. This period begins immediately after the dissolution of the Communist International (Comintern) and ends shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. A subscription resource from British Online Archives.
This advice literature from the mid-15th to early 20th century covers social conduct, power distribution within the family, consumption and leisure, ideas surrounding traditional gender roles, education of men and women and gendered perceptions of the body. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
A collection of primary and secondary source material documenting the disabled community’s history and contributions to society throughout the 20th century. Material includes contemporary periodicals, photographs, government documents, memoirs and diaries, advertisements, poetry. The publisher is working towards including around 125 hours of video material. This resource supports disability studies from the perspectives of, amongst other themes, gender, sexuality, employment, veterans of military service, class, race, legislation, campaigns and social activism. A subscription resource from ProQuest.
The India Office Records from the British Library contain royal charters, correspondence, trading diaries, minutes of council meetings and reports of expeditions, among other document types. These chart the history of British trade and rule in the Indian subcontinent and beyond from 1599 to 1947. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
Empire Online charts the rise and fall of European empires over five centuries, from European and non-European perspectives, starting with the voyages of Columbus. The material covers ‘empire’ from the British, French, Portuguese, and German viewpoints, as well as those of the indigenous peoples of Africa, India and North America. This resource is useful for research into colonial history, politics, culture and society. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
A multimedia resource containing material from the 20th and 21st centuries covering environmental challenges, including climate change, water and air pollution, biodiversity, conservation, agriculture, deforestation.
EuroDocs offers access to a large range of European primary source documents (digitised manuscripts, literary texts, historical documents, newspapers, journals, legal and government documents) which are freely available online. Material can be browsed by country and then period.
Documents from national and other archives, including the British Library and Cambridge University Library, highlighting the voices and experiences of men and women who served in the First World War. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
History Vault: American Politics and Society
- American Politics and Society from JFK to Watergate
- Students for a Democratic Society, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement
Archives of material from the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidencies as well as records from federal agencies. Covers a wide spectrum of issues of the time including civil rights, poverty, women’s rights, space exploration, the Watergate trials, the anti-Vietnam War movement.
This History Vault collection contains digitised letters, papers, photographs, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries, and other primary source materials taken from the University Publications of America (UPA) Collections. It includes records of major civil rights organisations and personal papers of leaders and observers of the 20th century Black Freedom Struggle.
Our subscription includes the following:
- African American Police League Records (1961–1988)
- Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century: Organizational Records and Personal Papers, Parts 1 and 2
- The NAACP's Major Campaigns—Education, Voting, Housing, Employment, Armed Forces
- The NAACP's Major Campaigns—Scottsboro, Anti-Lynching, Criminal Justice, Peonage, Labor, and Segregation and Discrimination Complaints and Responses
- NAACP papers: Board of Directors, annual conferences, major speeches, national staff files
- NAACP papers: Branch department, branch files and Youth Department files
- Black freedom struggle in the 20th century: Federal government records with Supplement
In addition, Black Freedom Struggle in the United States is an open resource containing free to access primary source materials documenting the US abolitionist and Civil Rights movements; the Jim Crow era of race discrimination legislation; African Americans and the US Civil War; contemporary documents and records on race and equality in the US. A free resource from ProQuest.
History Vault: International Relations and Military Conflicts
History Vault: Southern Life, Slavery, and the Civil War
A collection of contemporaneous records covering a significant part of the history of the American South. The Library currently offers the following parts:
- Slavery and the law
- Slavery in Antebellum Southern Industries
- Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Law and Order in 19th century America, 1636–1880
History Vault: Women’s Studies
History Vault: Workers, Labor Unions, Progressives and Radicals
- Socialist Party of America records, 1897–1976
- Workers, Labor Unions and the American Left in the 20th Century: Federal Records
These are ProQuest subscription resources.
These National Library of Scotland manuscript collections document the East India Company from foundation in 1615 to independence for India and Pakistan in 1947. Agriculture and trade, society travel and leisure, and the Raj as British administration in India are amongst the topics covered by the documents in this resource. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
The Berg Collection's Victorian holdings is a source for the textual analysis of Victorian literature. It includes unpublished poems, working notebooks, holograph manuscripts and drawings. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
This collection of digitised literary manuscripts of 17th and 18th century poetry from the Brotherton Library Special Collections includes early modern verse and source materials for both literary scholars and historians. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
From provider’s website: “An important resources for understanding the workings of the early book trade, the printing and publishing community, the establishment of legal requirements for copyright provisions and the history of bookbinding”. Documents cover the Tudor period to the 21st century. An Adam Matthew Digital resource.
Contains documents – official and unofficial – for US trials over more than 300 years reflecting issues concerning the administration of justice, race, gender, and journalism. A GALE subscription resource.
This resource is sourced from the Goldsmiths'-Kress Library of Economic Literature 1450–1850 and provides digital facsimile images of 61,000 works on economics, business and trade. Covers the history of Western trade, the coal, iron, and steel industries, the railway industry, the cotton industry, banking and finance, and the emergence of the modern corporation. It also covers the rise of the modern labour movement, the evolving status of slavery, the condition and making of the working class, colonisation, the Atlantic world, Latin American and Caribbean studies. A subscription resource from GALE.
Mass Observation Online makes the Mass Observation Archive available in its entirety. Useful for social research this archive presents a record of everyday life in Britan as documented in diaries, surveys, questionnaires and photographs by those living it. Covers the original project, 1937–1950 and newer material collected since 1981. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
Archives covering medical advances across conflicts, including documents from the Crimean War, the second Boer War, the American Civil War, the First World War and inter- and post-war periods. Of use to medical historians, it includes hospital records, medical reports and first-hand accounts which illustrate how warfare has shaped medical practice. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
These collections contain large amounts of digitised material from a variety of original formats. Our subscription to GALE covers:
- British politics and society
- European literature, 1790–1840: The Corvey Collection
- British theatre, music, and literature: High and popular culture
- Asia and the West: Diplomacy and cultural exchange
- Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, civilisation, and conquest.
Comprising 150,000 pages of letters and diaries, of which 7,000 are previously unpublished.
This resource highlights American popular medicine as represented by advertisements and popular texts. It offers visual primary source material, together with supplementary features designed to aid research and teaching. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
A fully searchable body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people relating to 197,745 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
Drawn from the National Archives (UK) and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum this collection contains information regarding the British government’s efforts to investigate and prosecute Nazi crimes during the period 1944–1949. A subscription resource from British Online Archives.
An open resource of searchable scans of the original journal pages alongside a transcript.
Features key material from the UK National Archives, The British Library, US National Archives and World Jewish Relief to create a record of refugee and displaced persons experiences, 1935-1950. A GALE subscription resource.
Assembled from archives and collections at the National Archives; University of London; Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University; and the WGBH Educational Foundation, this resource presents a wealth of documents with analysis and interpretation of political processes as part of revolutions, protests, resistance and social movements – from the 18th century to the present day.
A collection of the working notebooks, verse manuscripts and correspondence of William Wordsworth and his fellow writers, digitised in full colour. Includes the annotated full manuscripts of Wordsworth’s The Prelude and Michael, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Dejection: An Ode. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.
This archive contains an eclectic range of 14th to 19th century medical manuscripts. Personal papers of past fellows from the 16th to the 20th century provide glimpses into the personal lives and social concerns of many distinguished physicians. A subscription resource from Wiley.
A collection of primary and secondary documents from archives and libraries across the Atlantic world on themes such as urban and rural slavery; slave testimony; sprituality and religion; the Underground Railroad; freed slaves; the present day legacy of slavery. An Adam Matthew Digital resource.
Slavery and Anti-Slavery
This collection of company records, personal papers, newspapers and government records looks at slavery in terms of women and children, legal aspects, abolition movements and resistance to slavery. Emphasis is on slavery on both sides of the Atlantic; Emacipation movements and abolitionist debates; Institutional attitudes to emancipated former slaves. A GALE subscription resource.
- Slavery and Anti-Slavery, part I: Debates over slavery and abolition
- Slavery and Anti-Slavery, part II: Slave trade in the Atlantic world
- Slavery and Anti-Slavery, part III: The institution of slavery
- Slavery and Anti-Slavery, part IV: The age of emancipation
An extensive collection of primary sources for US women’s history including 130 document projects and document archives that present and interpret primary source documents. A subscription resource from Alexander Street.