Primary Sources for the Humanities: Europe & UK

Check the A-Z list of Primary Sources for additional resources. 

If you need help, please contact Rebecca Dowson, Liaison Librarian: English Literature and History at 778.782.4304 or rda26@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.

 

 

General Resources

An extensive online collection of British and Commonwealth History primary sources from the Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources (SULAIR).
 
This digital library contains some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles.
 
A collection of links to European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated.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.
 
Europeana
A collection of approximately 6 million digitized items including books, paintings, films, sound recordings, museum objects and archival records.
 
European History Primary Sources (EHPS)
An index of scholarly websites that offer access to digitized primary sources on the history of Europe, and categorized according to country, language, period, subject, and type of source.
 
Gallica - Bibliotheque nationale de France
A vast collection of digitized documents, books, manuscripts, maps, images, periodicals, sound recordings, and scores.
 
This resource is comprised of 117 full-text humanities databases that make available cohesive collections of editions, in both original language and in English translation, of seminal figures in the humanities and social sciences.
 
Internet History Sourcebooks Project
A collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts divided into three main areas:

London Lives 1690 to 1800 - Crime, Poverty and Social Policy in the Metropolis
A collection that features a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebian Londoners.

Perseus Digital Library - Tufts
A collection of digitized primary sources in the humanities that includes Greek and Roman, Arabic, Germanic, 19th-Century American, and Renaissance materials.

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Book & Pamphlet Collections

18th Century Collections Online (ECCO)
Significant English-language and foreign-language titles printed in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of important works from the Americas. Includes books, broadsides, Bibles, tract books, sermons, and printed ephemera.
 
The Avalon Project
An excellent resource managed by Yale Law Library. Contains digitized historical documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government.
 
A collection of 20 different versions of the English Bible from the tenth to the twentieth century, including 12 full Bibles, 5 New Testament texts, 2 versions of the Gospels only, and William Tyndale's translations of the Pentateuch, Jonah and the New Testament. 
 
British Literary Manuscripts Online presents facsimile images of literary manuscripts, including letters and diaries, drafts of poems, plays, novels, and other literary works, and similar materials. Two parts: (1) c.1660-1900 and (2) Medieval & Renaissance.
 
A centralized site designed to enable users to find fully digitized medieval manuscripts currently available on the web. Basic information about the manuscripts is fully searchable, and users can also browse the complete contents of the database by location, shelfmark, author, title or language.
 
A searchable digital collection covering advice literature to women, 1450-1910. Includes ephemeral material such as ballads, cartoons and pamphlets along with diaries, advice literature, medical journals, conduct books and periodicals.
 
This collection includes over 1,200 works from the Reformation and post-Reformation eras, including the theological writings of more than 300 Protestant authors, as well as confessional documents, biblical commentaries, polemical treatises, and Bible translations.
 
This collection contains over 450,000 pages of primary-source material from the 16th and 17th Centuries, including all the key catechisms, scholarly treatises, papal documents, devotional works, and theological volumes.
 
Early English Books Online (EEBO)
Digital library of more than 125,000 individual titles from 1475-1700. Online digital images are available for every page.
 
The John Johnson Collection is the product of a unique partnership between the Bodleian Library and ProQuest to conserve, catalogue and digitize more than 65,000 items drawn from the Bodleian's John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera.
 
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring The French Revolution
A collection of some of the most important documentary evidence from the French Revolution, including 338 texts, 245 images, and a number of maps and songs.

The papers of the Mass Observations organization. It offers an unparalleled insight into everyday British life in the 1930s and 1940s.
 
The Patrologia Latina Database is an electronic version of the first edition of Jacques-Paul Migne's Patrologia Latina, published between 1844 and 1855, and the four volumes of indexes published between 1862 and 1865. The Patrologia Latina comprises the works of the Church Fathers from Tertullian in 200 AD to the death of Pope Innocent III in 1216.
 
The electronic version of Migne's Patrologiae Graecae. PG contains more than 160 volumes of Greek material (with Latin translations) relevant to the study of the history of the Christian Church from its beginnings through the Council of Florence in 1439.

A collection of manuscripts written or compiled by women in the British Isles during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Perdita Project is based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University.
 
An online resource for the study of Early Modern Britain and Europe. It reproduces original historical manuscripts in facsimile, linking each manuscript to its corresponding fully-searchable Calendar entry.
 
Digital library of most literary texts written in Greek from Homer (8th century B.C.) to the fall of Byzantium in AD 1453. This database currently provides access to more than 3,800 authors and 12,000 full-text works.
 
Women, War and Society, 1914-1918
Documents and interpretive essays on women's involvement in World War I, primarily in Britain.
 
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News Sources

The newspapers, pamphlets, and books gathered by the Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817) represent the largest and most comprehensive collection of early English news media. The digital collection totals almost 1 million pages and contains approximately 1,270 titles.
 
Rare printed journals, periodicals and newspapers published between 1693 and 1799 illuminating all aspects of eighteenth-century social, political and literary life.
 
This collection contains full runs of 60 national and regional newspapers, specially selected by the British Library to best represent nineteenth century Britain.
 
Index to 19th Century periodicals, books, newspapers and government documents.
 
This collection contains nearly 600 UK periodicals from 1800-1900.
 
American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection
Digital access to the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) collection of American periodicals published between 1691 and 1852.
 
BBC Archive
This resource features themed collections of radio and TV programmes, documents and photographs from the British Broadcasting Corporation.
 
Search the 17th-18th Century Burney Collection and the 19th Century British Library Newspapers together. 
 
An electronic archive of hundreds of digitized journals forming a record of more than two centuries of British culture.
 
Complete archive of the The Financial Times from 1888 with a 4 year embargo on current content.
 
Cross search Gale newspaper archives, covering over 400 years of content, using a single interface.
 
Illustrated London News Historical Archive (1842-2003)
This collection provides online access to the entire run of the Illustrated London News from 1842-2003.
 
Full-text and full-image articles from the Times of London for the years 1785-1985.
 
Victorian British literature, culture, history, religion, politics, & society. Includes 45 of the most important monthly and quarterly periodicals, most of which are not indexed in any other bibliographic reference work.
 
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Oral Histories, Diaries, Letters, Narratives, etc.

The 1956 Hungarian Memorial Oral History Project celebrates the refugees of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 by digitizing 400 hours of oral testimonies collected by second and third generation Hungarian-Canadians.
 
This collection of British and Irish women's diaries and correspondence includes approximately 100,000 pages of published letters and diaries from individuals writing from the 1500 to 1900, plus several thousand pages of previously unpublished materials.
 
This collection offers a unique perspective on the 19th century, through the words of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Browse over 10,000 of their collected letters by date, by recipient, by subject, and by volume.
 
An online resource which links correspondence among writers from the early modern period.
 
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Government Information

Produced by the British Government, this collection of papers from the Foreign and Colonial Offices covers a broad sweep of history from c.1839-1969, taking in the countries of the Arabian peninsula, the Levant, Iraq, Turkey and many of the former Ottoman lands in Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt and Sudan.
 
Produced by the British Government, this collection includes important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices since c.1820.
 
A digital collection of core records of the British Cabinet from 1915-1980, including Conclusions of cabinet meetings, Cabinet memoranda, Cabinet Secretary's notebooks, and Cabinet Office precedent books.
 
A collection of publicly available XML files generated from information from Hansard, the Official Report of debates in the British Parliament.
 
All of the papers issued by the British House of Commons between 1801-1900 in all formats. More than 184,000 searchable full text documents.
 
The National Archives
The National Archives is the UK government's official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. The collection of over 11 million historical government and public records is one of the largest in the world. From Domesday Book to modern government papers and digital files, the collection includes paper and parchment, electronic records and websites, photographs, posters, maps, drawings and paintings.
 
Contains the texts of over 158,000 records of bilateral and multilateral treaties and subsequent treaty actions.
 
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Images

ARTstor
The ARTstor Collection currently contains over one million images. The Collection documents artistic traditions across many times and cultures and embraces architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design as well as many other forms of visual culture.

Digital Image Collections - Cambridge University Library
Digitized images of several important Cambridge University Library collections.

 

Music and Film Sources

Classical Music Library
A fully searchable, comprehensive database of distinguished classical recordings. It includes tens of thousands of licensed recordings that users can listen to over the Internet. This resource includes music from Medieval to contemporary, from choral works to symphonies, operas, and the avant-garde.

Smithsonian Global Sound
Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is an online encyclopedia of the world's musical and aural traditions. The collection includes over 35,000 recordings owned by the non-profit Smithsonian Folkways Recordings label and the archival audio collections of the legendary Folkways Records, Cook, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, Monitor, Paredon and other labels.

Victorian Popular Culture: Music Hall, Theatre and Popular Entertainment
An essential resource for the study of popular entertainment in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Video Active
A collection of television programmes and stills from audiovisual archives across Europe.

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