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John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera and Women's Studies: Social History

A guide to finding the easiest ways to accessing ephemera of interest to Women's Studies in the John Johnson Collection

Social History and the John Johnson Collection

Advertisement for Domestic servants cotton washing dresses showing servant and little girl


The entire John Johnson Collection is a major source of Social History and historians can uncover surprising facts about our past in unexpected places. Do note that much is uncatalogued.

The main boxes relating to Social History are listed online, often with indexes. If the index is missing, please contact us. It may well exist but not (yet) in pdf form. 

The Johnson online catalogue provides access by subject (of text and image), keyword, name, place, etc to all items which have been catalogued at item level. This table lists catalogued and digitised sections.

The ProQuest project (now available easily throughout the UK) goes beyond this in sophisticated search screens, tailored to each of the five sections it covers: Advertising, Booktrade, 19th century Entertainment, Popular Prints, and Crime, Murders and Executions. Crucially, it also provides full-text searching (through Optical Character Recognition) to letterpress text. Results are hit-highighted within the metadata (where present) and within the image.  Try a Quick Search for Servants, for example. The 2506 results can be refined by sub-collection (Advertising, Crime, Entertainment, Booktrade, Popular Prints), Document type, date, production method, etc.

Employment boxes 6 & 7 are dedicated to the Employment of Women.

JJ Coll: Women's Clothes and Millinery 7 (17)



Crime broadside for execution of Harriet Parker, 1848

The Crime, Murders and Executions section contains a wealth of information about women as victims and perpetrators and is digitised through the ProQuest project, with an add-on project Mapping Crime, which links to other crime resources in the Bodleian and elsewhere, at item level.

Tailored search screens enable researchers to search by the Crime (e.g. rape), and its punishment, as well as by name.

See also Broadside Ballads Online.

Crime broadside for Harriet Parker, 1848. JJ Coll: Broadsides: Murder and Executions folder 7 (20)


Oxford Female Penitentiary

Handbill issued by the Oxford Female Penitentiary appealing for funds