Chawton MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies
University of Southampton

Resources for Eighteenth-Century Research

Research groups at Southampton: Archaeology Centre for the History of Textiles and Dress  English  History Music Philosophy

Staff:     Stephen Bending  Bill Brooks   Stephen Bygrave   Emma Clery  Jonathan Conlin Gillian Dow Julie Gammon  Thomas Irvine Matthew Johnson  Alex Neill  John Oldfield  

The Chawton MA

Local Libraries & ArchivesJane Austen's pelisse from the Hampshire CC collection
The combination of the University of Southampton, Chawton House Library, Hampshire Record Office and other local archives provides a unique range of resources for the study of eighteenth-century culture; the Southern Region of the National Trust includes the Vyne, Petworth and Uppark, some of the most important country houses of Hampshire; there is the wealth of Hampshire County Council's Historic Textiles and Dress Collection, which includes Jane Austen's pelisse; and also close by is the Royal Naval Museum's archives at Portsmouth, which contain a wealth of material not only about the navy, but also letters and journals of naval wives, travel diaries, &c. London, Oxford and Bath are all within easy reach of Southampton (around an hour and a quarter by train), giving access to many of the major eighteenth-century collections in the country.

For information on more local galleries, houses (such as the eighteenth-century naturalist,Gilbert White's House at Selborne), what's going on in Hampshire, &c, try Hants Web

Hartley LibraryTriumphs of Temper
Southampton's  Hartley Library is the largest university library in southern England, with extensive holdings of printed books and journals. It holds more than 1.5 million books and subscribes to around 6,500 current periodicals. It has an excellent paper and microform collection of eighteenth-century periodicals including not only major publications such as The Gentleman's Magazine, The Lady's Magazine, The World and The Covent Garden Journal but also many of the short-lived but culturally significant journals of the time. The Hartley's Archives also contain manuscript sources of value to those who study the long eighteenth century, including the Palmerston Papers, the Wellington Papers, the Cope Collection on the history of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the Perkins Collection on the agricultural history of Britain, and the Montse Stanley knitting collection which contains a wide range of material culture from the early nineteenth century including books of instruction, purses, &c.

You can access the Hartley Library catalogue WebCat here.

The most important resource at the Hartley, however, is ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online), a fully searchable digital archive of c.135,000 books, accessed via Athens password [the link takes you to the Athens Authentication page]. If you work on the eighteenth century, it will change your life.

For works produced before this, you also have access to Early English Books Online (EEBO); and for works post-1800 an increasing number are now appearing care of Google, so it's worth typing in a title to see if it's available on the web.

Chawton House LibraryChawton House Library
Chawton House Library is a specialist library and study centre which focuses on women's writing in English from 1600 to 1830. The main collection consists of early, and in many cases, rare editions of works from this period. Novels, poetry and drama are all included, and the collection is particularly strong in novels from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. There is also a diverse collection of factual material of the period, covering subjects such as female conduct and education, cookery, housekeeping and travel. The library is open to the public for reference use, on an appointment basis.

The Chawton House Library website hosts the Novels Online project, which provides full-text transcripts of some of the rarer books in the Library's collection.

General Resources

Major UK LibrariesMurphy's Circulating Library bookplate
Bodleian Library Oxford
British Library London
British Museum London
Cambridge University Library

London Guildhall Library
National Art Library (at the V&A) London
The Women's Library
RIBA Architecture Library

For combined library catalogues:

Copac (access to combined catalogues of major UK research libraries)
OCLC (which runs WorldCat) combines a vast number of library catalogues of manuscripts, primary & secondary material from the UK, USA and beyond)

Museums & Galleries: Major Eighteenth-Century CollectionsSketch by William Gilpin
Ashmolean Museum Oxford
British Museum & its Department of Prints & Drawings London
Guildhall Library London
Museum of Costume Bath
Museum of London
National Gallery  (the permanent collection is available online) London
National Portrait Gallery London
Sir John Soane Museum, London
Tate Britain & The Oppé Collection London
Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) London  [and the excellent V&A British Galleries 1500-1900 online]
The Wallace Collection London

Art e-resources
Hartley Library's History of Art Links
Jack Lynch C18th Art page
The Mother of All Art and Art History Websites (from Michigan) & further resources
The World Wide Web Virtual Library: History of Art
Motco UK directory and image database  (an excellent, searchable, source of C18th maps and topographical images for London and the UK)
The Lewis Walpole Library digital collection (which holds the world's largest collection of eighteenth-century visual satires outside the British Museum).

Archaeology e-resources

Manuscriptspassage from 'Othello' in an C18th hand

A word on manuscripts and how to find them

Try all of the resources below and don't give up if you don't find what you're looking for in one of them (each has its limitations and much material will not be recorded online). Also bear in mind that local record offices have a lot of specialist knowledge and a good archivist is better than any kind of electronic resource.

National Archives (Manuscripts portal) with access to Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts: National Register of Archives (information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records that relate to British history)
A2A Access to Archives  (for local record offices and libraries, universities, museums and national and specialist institutions across England)
Archives Hub (A national gateway to descriptions of archives in UK universities and colleges)
British Library Ms catalogue (acquisitions 1753-)
Brotherton Collection Manuscript Verse (for 17th and 18th-century manuscripts in the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds)
Research Libraries Group RLG Union Catalogue (includes Mss, from c.160 libraries) access via Eureka (password required)
GENUKI: The UK & Ireland Genealogical Information Service (a vast amount of primary historical material here and not just for genealogists)
The Society of Antiquaries also has important manuscript collections (you can find details in, Catalogue of the manuscripts in the Society of Antiquaries of London by Pamela J. Willetts (Brewer, 2000)

Also try the manuscript catalogues of the major research libraries, some of which have printed catalogues. Good places to start include: BL, Bodleian, Cambridge (Janus), Princeton, Yale (Beinecke), Harvard, the Huntington, the Newbery, Lewis Walpole, &c. [NB, most of these libraries have fellowship programmes open to graduate students which allow you to travel to work with the collections for short periods of time]

A basic paper resource for literary Mss is: Index of English literary manuscripts. The C18th vol. is ed. by Margaret M. Smith.
A more general resource is, British archives: a guide to archive resources in the United Kingdom , ed. Janet Foster & Julia Sheppard (London, 1995); and for architecture try, Architecture in manuscript, 1601-1996. Guide to the British Architectural Library manuscripts and archives collection, compiled by Angela Mace (London, 1998).

BibliographiesOwner's signature in Letters of Elizabeth Carter
MLA Bibliography (available via the Hartley's electronic resources page)

English Short Title Catalogue (a fundamental resource for primary material up to 1800)

Eighteenth-Century Resources:

GeneralThomas Gray's Bard
Eighteenth-Century Resources The largest eighteenth-century resources site on the web with links to e-texts, call for papers and just about everything
The Voice of the Shuttle
The British Academy Portal describes key sites and includes some useful C18th links:
Early Modern History  Early Modern Language and Literature  History of Art

For a useful chronology of the eighteenth century click here (c/o Jack Lynch); and also try A Web of English History (lots of useful basic information about wars, ministries, ministers, Acts of Parliament, and other things that we should all know but probably don't quite remember).

Bibliographical Tools for Eighteenth Century Studies
BOPCRIS: British Official Publications Guide 1688 –1995
c-18 bibliographies online
IDZ - Index Deutschsprachiger Zeitschriften 1750 - 1815
RILM (Repertoire Internationale de Litterature Musicale)
The Royal Historical Society Bibliography of British and Irish History
Bibliographies and brief notes on some 17th / 18th century women philosophers

C18th Newspapers & Journals
The Hartley holds a good collection of eighteenth-century periodicals on microform, a varied collection of original eighteenth- and nineteenth-century periodicals, and, as part of the Cope collection, a range of local newspapersfrom the eighteenth century, including The Hampshire Chronicle (1772-1830) and the Salisbury Journal (1738/9 - 1801); beyond Hampshire the Hartley also provides access to London and national newspapers from the eighteenth century onwards.

Internet Library of Early Journals  (Bodleian)
Early Eighteenth Century Newspapers (articles arranged by theme)
The Spectator and Tatler Project

C18th Microfilms, Facsimiles &cfrontispiece to Sandford and Merton
As well as the newspapers and periodicals (above), the Hartley also holds a number of microfilm and microform collections of particular importance for those studying the eighteenth century, including:

Chadwyck-Healey Nineteenth Century Microfiche Collection. This is a growing collection that aims to republish, on microfiche, English Language books and pamphlets of research interest - except those published in North America.  We subscribe to the General Collection:  Society and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. To find out what is in the collection use the electronic Index (see the library subject web pages). Limited printed indexes are also available. The microfiche are arranged in number order (e.g. 1.2791) and this number can be found in both the electronic and, to a lesser extent, the printed indexes.

Colonial Discourses is a microfilm series detailing aspects of women's experience in the colonial context. Series One, Women, Travel and Empire, includes:- Part 1: Early travel accounts by women and women's experiences in India, Africa, Australasia and Canada (printed guide available); and  Part 2: Accounts of Women and the Orient. Colonial Discourses is stored in accession number order (00175033-00175057).

Eighteenth Century Journals from the Hope Collection at the Bodleian Library is a  20 reel microfilm collection containing extracts from 76 journal titles. The collection includes "Anti-Theatre", “The Covent Garden Chronicle"; "Pig's Meat" and "The Spy at Oxford and Cambridge". Eighteenth Century Journals is stored in accession number order (00141344-00141363) and comes with a listing and Guide (detailed contents listing and journals by category) to the collection.

Women advising Women: Advice Books, Manuals and Journals for Women, 1450-1837 is an extensive microfilm collection of which we have Parts 2-4 (20 reels). Contents include "The Lady's Magazine" 1770-1832 and many other interesting journals and advice books. Women advising Women microfilm reels are stored in accession number order (00121187-00121206) and a printed Guide is available.

Women's Autobiographies from Cambridge University Library is a microfilm in two parts and constitutes rare printed autobiographies covering 55 women’s lives from 1713-1889. It is stored in accession number order (00121175-00121186).

The Early Women Authors microfilm includes poems, populist short fiction and letters from 34 women authors including Penelope Aubin, Jane Barker, Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood. The films are stored in accession number order (00136309-00140401).

Women Writers of the Eighteenth Century is a 26 microfilm reel collection of all eighteenth century editions of 128 titles by Fanny Burney, Elizabeth Inchbald, Sarah Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, Ann Radcliffe, Clara Reeve, Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Smith and Anne Finch. The reels are stored in reel number order (not accession number order) and there is a printed index.

Another important resource in the Hartley is: B. S. Travitsky, A. Prescott and P. Cullen, eds, The Early Modern Englishwoman: A Facsimile Library of Essential Works (Ashgate 1996-2002). The series is designed to make available a comprehensive and focused collection of writings from 1500-1700, both by women and for and about them. The volumes reproduce carefully chosen copies of texts (including Life Writings, Advice Books, Medicine, Education and Vocational Books, Almanacs, Plays and authors such as Elizabeth Evelinge and Catharine Bentley), incorporating a short introduction providing an overview of the life and work of a writer along with a survey of important scholarship.

E-journals, E-texts, etc.Fame
JSTOR and Project Muse available via the Hartley Library's Electronic Resources page provide links to many online journals related to eighteenth-century studies, including Eighteenth-Century Life, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Eighteenth-Century Theory and Interpretation

Romanticism on the Net
Women's Writing
History Journals Guide
The Age of Johnson

Jack Lynch's list of E-texts (probably the best place to start)
C18th Studies (e-texts)
Oxford Text Archive
University of Virginia Electronic Text Center
BUBL Link (some E-texts and many other literature resources)

Letters of Jane Austen
Jane Austen e-texts
The Complete Newgate Calendar(5 vols)
Fully searchable proceedings of the Old Bailey

Women's WritingTriumphs of Temper
The Bluestocking Archive
Chawton House Library Centre for the Study of Early English Women's Writing (1600-1830)
The Corvey Project Romantic Women's Writing Project at Sheffield Hallam. Includes biographical and bibliographic information.
Women Romantic Era WritersAdriana Craciun, Birkbeck.
Project Electra Kathryn Sutherland, Oxford
Perdita Project Early Modern Women's Manuscript Compilations. Nottingham Trent/ Warwick.
Victorian Women Writers ProjectElectronic editions of texts by a wide range of nineteenth-century women writers.
Women and Eighteenth Century Literature
Genesis  women's history resources

Related Projects, Institutions, SocietiesSandford and Merton: The reconciliation
American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies
American Handel Society
British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies (BSECS)
UCLA Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies
Warwick Eighteenth Century Centre
The Corvey Project
International Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, c18
British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS)
Voltaire Foundation
The Orlando Project University of Alberta
The Brown Women's Writers Project A long-term research project devoted to early modern women's writing and electronic text encoding.
Institute of Historical Research (a useful website for historical material)
  Centre for the History of Textiles and DressSouthampton

Local Record Offices
(remember that you can search all local record offices via A2A Access to Archives)
West Sussex

Slavery and Abolitionfrontispiece to Sandford & Merton vol.2
Ignatius Sancho Brycchan Carey
Olaudah Equiano Brycchan Carey
A narrative of the most remarkable particulars in the life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African prince, written by himself

Hero (official gateway site to the UK's universities, colleges and research organisations)
Intute Arts and Humanities
Google  AltaVista (both very useful search engines: it's always worth using advanced search and quotation marks in Google or AltaVista to find quotations, incuding what may seem like obscure bits of Latin)

In addition...

The old-fashioned stuff: books on books &c

Bibliographies:At the Leasowes

New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 5 vols. (I, to 1660; ii, 1660-1800; iii, 1800-1900; iv, from 1900; v, index)

This remains an important first point of information (along with the MLA Bibliography) on both primary and secondary texts.

You can also try:

Annals of English Literature 1475-1950: the Principal Publications of Each Year together with an Alphabetical Index of Authors with their Works, 2nd edn., Oxford, 1961.

Eighteenth-Century Short-Title Catalogue [see above under electronic resources]

Donald Wing, A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales … 1641-1700

A.W. Pollard & G.R. Redgrave, A Short title Catalogue … 1475-1640

For the Romantic period novel, the best place to start is probably:

The English Novel 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles. Vol 1, 1770-1799, Vol 2, 1800-1829, general editors, Peter Garside, James Raven and Rainer Showerling, Oxford, 2000

Annual Bibliographies:

Modern Language Association of American Bibliography [See above under electronic resources]

Modern Humanities Research Association Bibliography of English Language and Literature. Annually since 1921

And for a usefully discursive approach, and a quick way of getting up to date on recent scholarship:

English Association: The Year’s Work in English Studies. Since 1921

Chronological periods:

Studies in Philology  Annual Renaissance bibliography
Philological Quarterly Annual Restoration & C18th bibliography
Philological Quarterly Annual Romantics bibliography
Modern Philology Annual Victorian bibliography to 1956, continued from 1957 in Victorian Studies

Library Catalogues (in the absence of the net):

British Museum, Department of Printed Books. General Catalogue of Printed Books (to 1965). 263 vols, 1959-66, and supplements

National Union Catalogue: A Cumulative Author List Representing Library  of Congress Printed Cards and Titles reported by other American Libraries (up to 1956)

Guides to Periodical Literature

NCBEL and the BL catalogue have sections devoted to periodical literature; major C18th journals frequently have their own indexes, but there’s also:

R.S. Crane & F.B. Kaye, A Census of British Newspapers and Periodicals, 1620-1800, 1927; rpt. New York, 1963

W. J. Graham, English Literary Periodicals, New York, 1930


The standard dictionary is of course the Oxford English Dictionary. Don’t forget that this is a valuable historical resource in itself, giving you access to changing word use in all periods. It’s now available in searchable electronic form.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is invaluable for basic information not only about individual lives but also about publications. It has recently been updated: both old and new versions are worth consulting. Papers copies are available in the Hartley: the new one can be accessed here.

This page by Stephen BendingAnd rest
last updated 4.x.07