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History databases wishlist & trials: Modern history wishlist

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China and the Modern World: Records of the Maritime Customs Service of China, 1854–1949

China and the Modern World: Records of the Maritime Customs Service of China, 1854–1949 provides an excellent primary source collection, mainly in English, for the study of China and its relations with the Imperial West in the late Qing and Republican periods. The records included in this collection– official correspondence, despatches, reports, memoranda, and private and confidential letters– constitute invaluable and often unique evidence of Chinese life, the economy and politics through the Taiping Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion, the Revolution of 1911, the May 30 Movement, the two Sino-Japanese Wars, and the Chinese Civil War.

Trialled 19 Oct - 30 Nov 2021

East View e-book collection

This resource gives you access to the East View Essential Classics Collection, the Dostoevsky Research series: Dostoevskii materialy i issledovaniia as well as East View’s Slavonic and Judaica collection. In addition it offers, reference works including encyclopedias and atlases as well as e-books from a wide range of different subject areas including linguistics, philosophy science, social science, history, business, economics.

It also includes biographical works. Some of the e-books in the collection are in Russian and others are in English.

Trialled 4 - 31 May 2020

ProQuest History Vault (Trial until 31 May 2020)

Oxford researchers are now invited to trial ProQuest's History Vault. This resource provides access to themed collections which comprise curated source materials such as letters, diaries, official records. Most themes related to US history so check out the VHL Blog for those. Collections of interest to British and West European historians include.

  • World War I: British Foreign Office Political Correspondence (1914-1920)
  • Creation of Israel: British Foreign Office Correspondence on Palestine and Transjordan, 1940-1948
  • Nazi Looted Art and Assets: Records on the Post-World War II Restitution Process (1942-1998)

Please send any feedback to by 31 May 2020.

Border and Migration Studies Online (Alexander Street)

This resource provides historical context and resources, representing both personal and institutional perspectives, for the growing fields of border(land) studies and migration studies, as well as history, law, politics, diplomacy, area and global studies, anthropology, medicine, the arts, and more. At completion, the collection will include 100,000 pages of text, 175 hours of video, and 1,000 images. In collaboration with an international board of scholars, materials have been selected and organized around fundamental themes such as: Border Identities, enforcement and control; human trafficking; Undocumented migration; and Global Governance of migration. This database covers the 19th to the 21st centuries.

The geographical coverage includes borders in the North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Access is via SOLO.

Please direct feedback to by the end of January 2020.

Trialled Jan 2020

Immigrations, Migrations and Refugees: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996 (Readex)

For wide-ranging perspectives on human migration that stretch far beyond the borders of the United States, Immigrations, Migrations and Refugees: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996, is an unparalleled new resource. This fully searchable digital archive includes first-hand accounts from reputable sources around the world, covering such important events as post-World War II Jewish resettlement, South African apartheid, Latin American migrations to the United States and much more. The news and analysis is based on daily FBIS reports gathered between the early 1940s to the mid-1990s by a U.S. government organization that became part of the CIA, and also includes radio and television broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals and government documents.

Access is via SOLO.

Please direct feedback to by the end of January 2020.

Trialled Jan 2020.

Alexander III and the Policy of "Russification," 1883-1886

A collection of documents from the British Foreign Office consisting of the bound volumes of correspondence for the 1883-1886 period under the title “Alexander III and the policy of Russification".

The trialled Nov 2019. Please send comments to and

Wiley Digital Archive

Oxford researchers are now invited to trial the Wiley Digital Archive. The trial of this major resource contains the digital collections for Royal College of Physicians, The New York Academy of Sciences, Royal Anthropological Institute and The Royal Geographical Society. For more details about these, see the HFL Blog post.

Trialled 22 Aug until 30 September 2019.

Royal Geographical Society - Wiley Digital Archives available in Oxford

Making of the Modern World; Part 2, 1851-1900 [Cengage]

Following on from The Making of the Modern World, this takes the series to the end of the 19th century with approx. 5,000 additional titles. Comprising mainly monographs, reports, correspondence, speeches and surveys, MOMW Part II: 1851-1914 is available as a stand-alone collection or can be cross-searched with the original MOMW through an enhanced user interface. It allows historians to explore a range of material including, but not limited to, local reports, broad overviews, abstract analyses, reports on the financing of railways, economic textbooks, social polemics and political speeches on subjects ranging from 19th century banking history and economic systems to social reform, debates over currency format, the increased interest in theories of valuation and the emerging issue of foreign exchange rates. Of interest to Modern Historians and researchers in Economic History.

Trialled in July 2012.

British Online Archives: British Records on the Atlantic World, 1700-1900

Microform Academic Publishers offers scholars and academics access to a range of primary sources relevant for modern history. The many collections include some relevant to Anglo-American history, 20th century political history and history of science and medicine from the 18th to the 20th century.

British Records on the Atlantic World, 1700-1900: This series brings together a wealth of collections spanning two centuries of Britain's colonisation, commercial, missionary and even literary relations with Africa and the Americas. Alongside the records of Liverpool merchants involved in the infamous Triangular Trade, there are those of slave plantation owners, of early Anglican missionaries, of naval and customs officials, and of a group of socialists from Lancashire, who maintained a lengthy correspondence over many years with the father of American poetry.

  • Records relating to the slave trade at the Liverpool Record Office
  • The papers of William Davenport & Co., 1745-1797 - Now available to Oxford users via SOLO or Databases A-Z.
  • Jamaican material in the Slebech papers - Now available to Oxford users via SOLO or Databases A-Z
  • Papers relating to the Jamaican estates of the Goulburn family of Betchworth House
  • Papers of the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, 1694-1709
  • Early colonial and missionary records from West Africa
  • The Canadian papers of the 4th Earl of Minto - Now available to Oxford users via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

These can be selectively purchased.

Trialled in July 2012.

Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration and Cultural Exchange

Trial ended.

Includes wide-ranging sources:

  • Records of individual traders, showing patterns of consumption for a range of commodities over time.
  • Business Accounts and Records of both small and large companies from an early fur trapper to a major chocolate manufacturer.
  • Dock Accounts describing the development of a major port from 1755 to 1960.
  • Bills of Entry for major ports which show changing patterns of trade between 1820 and 1939.
  • 17th and 18th century Trade Returns and Prices Current for key markets.
  • Material on the discovery and exploitation of commodities in Asia, Africa and the Americas from 1492 to 2000.
  • Government records concerning taxation, economic development and colonial business schemes.
  • Exhibition Catalogues.
  • Statistical sources documenting world trade; and a vast range of visual material including advertising and packaging, photographs, paintings and prints.

For each commodity there is a vast array of historical material documenting their origins, transportation, consumption and impact on society. Also, each commodity is documented through a wide range of manuscript materials, maps, posters, paintings, photographs, ephemera, objects and rare books so that the student can explore the origins of the commodity, their first uses, the trade that developed and the ways in which these items were marketed.

Relevant for world history, economic and trade history, social history, discovery and exploration, history of consumption and life style, etc.

Covers early modern to 20th century.

Available in the British Library.

Journaux de la Révolution de 1848 (Archives Unbound) [Cengage]

This database concerns texts relating to the 1848 Revolution in France. The revolution toppled the July Monarchy of Louis Philippe, briefly reinstated the republic, and, ultimately, led to the restoration of the Second Empire under Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte. This resource includes newspapers and other periodicals which record these political and social upheavals from 1848 to 1852.

These sources originated in the British Library in London. They include daily and weekly periodicals which offer extensive coverage of the revolution by experienced journalists. Others periodicals are partisan views of the events, including those of George Sand. The collection includes women's magazines, literary criticism, medical and business titles, regional newspapers, newsletters, pamphlets, and satirical works. These sources may be of interest to scholars and students of French social and political history during the nineteenth century.

Trialled in July 2012.

Available in the British Library.

L’Affaire Dreyfus et la Création de la France modern (Archives Unbound) [Cengage]

These documents relate to the Dreyfus Affair of 1894. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer, was accused of treason and condemned for life despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. The Dreyfus Affair became the most prominent political scandal of the time, dividing France and revealing virulent anti-Semitism in Europe.

These documents include 83,820 digital images from the Houghton Library, Harvard. It also includes archival material relating to Emile Zola, who defended Dreyfus in his famous 1898 article, ‘J’accuse’. Written records include French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish sources including newspaper accounts, court transcripts, case studies, pamphlets, clippings, and drawings.

Trialled in July 2012.

Available in the British Library.

La Guerra Civil Española (The Spanish Civil War) (Archives Unbound) [Cengage]

The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 was marked by an outpouring of literary energies engaging the interest of the poet, the novelist, the pamphleteer and the historian. Unfortunately, very little material from this fascinating period survived the wartime conditions in Spain and the ravages of World War II. This collection presents approximately 3,000 rare pamphlets from Spain, Portugal, Latin America and the Philippines, as well as more than 100 German pamphlets published in Spanish. The pamphlets in this collection represent the opinions and philosophies of the insurgents, anarchists, socialists and communists. Here lies a wealth of information on Spanish and international history, ideology, political science, church and state conflicts, nationalism, socialism, fascism and communism.

Trialled in July 2012.

Testaments to the Holocaust [Cengage]

Documents and Rare Printed Materials from the Wiener Library, London, the World’s oldest Holocaust museum. The collection offers fully searchable personal accounts of life in Nazi Germany, along with photographs, propaganda materials such as school text books, limited circulation publications and rare serials in a uniquely flexible format, enabling detailed research into the domestic policies of Nazi Germany, Jewish life in Germany from 1933 to after the war, propaganda, life in the concentration camps, in hiding, emigration and refugee life. Of interest to Modern Historians on the subjects of Jewish history, Nazi Germany, WWII studies, Holocaust studies. Please note that the collection contains images which some may find disturbing.

Trialled in July 2012.

La France pendant la guerre 1939-1945 : journaux de la Résistance et de Vichy (Archives Unbound) [Cengage]

This database comprises documents from the British Library and other universities pertaining to the war and occupation of France: 1939-1945. The British Library has a number of titles relating to this subject which are not contained in the Bibliothèque Nationale. The Journals of the Résistance were produced by resistance fighters in the countryside and published clandestinely in Great Britain to be used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All the titles which are not available via l’Association pour la Conservation et la Reproduction Photographique de la Presse in their 1964 edition will be published here.

This collection may be useful to anyone interested in the sentiments and mentalities of the French and the Resistance during the Second World War.

Trialled in July 2012.

Available in the British Library.

Conditions & Politics in Occupied Western Europe, 1940-1945 [Cengage]

Offers fully text-searchable images of the British Foreign Office information files gathered from across German-occupied territories following the collapse of the peacetime diplomacy. The collection offers more than 22,000 records in nearly 1,000 files selected by Dr Michael Stenton, University of Cambridge. There are also newly commissioned thematic essays by leading scholars in the field with links directly to relevant documents, a World War II Chronology, a picture gallery of SOE plans and equipment and clips from the SOE film, Now it can be told (1946). Of use to Modern Historians.

Trialled in July 2012.

British Online Archives: Communist Party of Great Britain archive

Microform Academic Publishers offers scholars and academics access to a range of primary sources relevant for modern history. The many collections include some relevant to Anglo-American history, 20th century political history and history of science and medicine from the 18th to the 20th century.

Communist Party of Great Britain archive: For decades, the party's archives were a closed book to researchers, and the full story of its activities proved impossible to tell. With the dissolution of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1991, however, the decision was taken to deposit the archives alongside those of the Labour Party in Manchester's People's History Museum. Catalogued in 1993-1994, these turned out to be one of the outstanding national collections for the political history of the British left and have since aroused considerable scholarly interest. For the period from the 1940s, records of the party's central leading bodies have been meticulously preserved and include notes taken at meetings by leading party officials. In addition there are extensive records of central departments like the industrial department, which dealt with the trade union activities which were the most visible and controversial sign of the party's influence, and the international department, which maintained links with communist parties overseas.

Trialled in July 2012.

Available in the British Library.

Daily Reports of the Gestapo HQ in Vienna 1938-1945

Trial ended 14 Dec 2012.

From 1934 on, the Regional Gestapo Headquarters throughout the entire German Reich had to report all political incidents of the previous 24 hours to Berlin. The purpose of these reports was to outline the mood, the political situation and security measures. This regulation was later applied to Austria, following its annexation. Shortly before the beginning of the war, the Nazi Regime issued a decree with new instructions for the dispatch of the so-called "Tagesrapporte" or daily reports. Henceforth, they were to be kept shorter and report, above all, on the communist and Marxist movements in the country.

The daily reports of the Gestapo regional headquarters in Vienna are now published for the first time and thus available for historical research. For no other Gestapo regional headquarters is such a concentration of source material available. The first daily report on record from the Gestapo regional headquarters in Vienna dates from September 2nd 1938. Until the demise of the Nazi regime some 810 reports were sent from Vienna to the central headquarters in Berlin.

The Chamberlain Papers 1836-1940

The Chamberlain Papers is a three-part collection covering the political careers of three men who belonged to the most powerful political dynasty in late 19th and early 20th century Britain. Sourced from the collection of papers at the University of Birmingham Library, they are an invaluable research tool for researchers and students of:

  • Politics and International Relations
  • 19th and 20th Century History
  • War Studies

The Papers of Joseph Chamberlain (1836 – 1914)

Highlight his political career as Mayor of Birmingham to Secretary of State for the Colonies and the fight over tariff reforms with which he ended his career. This collection demonstrates the rapid change in politics, particularly the constantly changing allegiances between politicians and Chamberlain’s own development as a politician. Newspaper clippings of his early speeches, the only record still existing of them, can also be found in this collection, recording his political career from start to finish.

Key documents found in this collection include:

  • Personal Letters and diaries, family scrap albums, photographs and cartoons.
  • Newspaper clippings of his speeches collected by his second wife, reviews of his career and accounts of his funeral.
  • Political papers on domestic politics, focussing on the work of party organisation, fighting of elections and the formation of national policy.
  • Letters regarding the campaign for imperial preference and tariff reform.
  • Irish correspondence regarding the issue of Home Rule in the 1880s.
  • Minutes, notebooks and semi-official diaries on his career as Colonial Secretary.

The Papers of Sir Austen Chamberlain (1863 – 1937)

Sir Austen Chamberlain, Joseph’s eldest son, was Britain’s most capable Foreign Secretary of the interwar period, earning the Nobel Peace Prize for the signing of the Locarno Treaties in 1925. As a career politician, he held a variety of government offices.

Key documents found in this collection include:

  • Letters between Austen and his family, including 1,358 letters from Austen to his stepmother, Mary, forming the most important correspondence covering his whole lifetime in politics.
  • Assortment of papers and correspondence from 1902-1911 on the military estimates, reform of the army and tariff reform.
  • Papers from the Committee of Imperial Defence, often relating to India, during the war and post-war coalition ministries.
  • Letters of congratulations, including the Nobel Peace Prize, in response to his achievement at Locarno.

The Papers of Neville Chamberlain Date Range: 1869 – 1940

Neville Chamberlain, Joseph’s younger son, remains the best-known of the Chamberlain family due to his controversial policy of “appeasement” towards Hitler. The Papers of Neville Chamberlain contain political papers documenting his policies as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister, but also highlight his personal correspondence with his family. These provide insight into the intentions behind his policies, his concerns at the development of the Second World War, as well as letters covering his life together with his wife Annie and his sisters, particularly Hilda and Ida.

Key documents found in this collection include:

  • Drafts and final copies of a number of his political speeches and broadcasts.
  • Papers of Neville Chamberlain as the Director General of National Service, including strained correspondence with Lloyd George.
  • Letters on internal intrigues of the Conservative party in the early 1930s.
  • Papers outlining the meetings with Hitler at Berchtesgaden, on the early months of the resumed war, on his preparation for the debate that precipitated his fall as Prime Minister and on his subsequent responsibilities as Lord President.
  • Papers of Mrs Neville Chamberlain following her husband’s death.
  • Photographs, including some of his trips to meet Mussolini and then Hitler in 1938.

U.S. Intelligence on Europe, 1945-1995 [Brill Primary Sources]

This unique collection of over 4,000 formerly classified U.S. government documents provides a comprehensive survey of the U.S. intelligence community’s activities in Europe, including Eastern Europe, Turkey and Cyprus, covering the time period from the end of World War II to the fall of the Iron Curtain and beyond.

U.S. Intelligence operations in Western Europe
U.S. Intelligence operations in Eastern Europe
U.S. Intelligence gathering on Western European communist parties
Economic intelligence gathering
Monitoring European anti-nuclear groups in the 1980s
Intelligence gathering on terrorist groups
Analyses of European socio-economic developments

Number of documents: 4,023

Sourcing archives:
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland
- CIA-CREST database
- Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas
- George H.W. Bush Library, Houston, Texas
- John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts
- Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas
- Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda, California
- Gerald R. Ford Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Atlanta, Georgia
- Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California
- Hoover Institution Archives, Palo Alto, California
- Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.

- National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew, England

Collection Highlights

  • Security of Turkey 1945-1947
  • Greek civil war 1946-1949
  •  Elections in Italy (November 1947)
  • Berlin Crisis (1948-1949)
  • Spying on the French war in Algeria (1954-1962)
  • Austrian independence (August 1955)
  • Food riots and political discontent in Poland (1956)
  • Soviet military intervention in Hungary (October 1956)
  • The role of Western European intelligence services in Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
  • Diplomatic/military crisis between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus (January - August 1964)
  • Soviet/Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia (August 1968)
  • Impact of Arab oil embargo in Europe (1973-1974)
  • Cyprus coup d’etat and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (July - August 1974)
  • Rise of the Solidarity trade union and the Polish crisis (1980-1981)

Foreign Broadcast Information Services (FBIS)

The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Report has been the United States' principal record of political and historical open source intelligence for nearly 70 years.

The original mission of the FBIS was to monitor, record, transcribe, and translate intercepted radio broadcasts from foreign governments, official news services, and clandestine broadcasts from occupied territories. FBIS Daily Reports constitutes a unique archive of transcripts of foreign broadcasts and news that provides insight into the second half of the 20th century; many of these materials are firsthand reports of events as they occurred. They consist of translated broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspapers, periodicals, and government statements from nations around the globe. These media sources were monitored in their languages of origin, translated into English, and issued by an agency of the US government.

Oxford has access is to the following geographical collections:

Middle East and North Africa, 1974–1987
Near East and South Asia, 1987–1996
South Asia, 1980–1987
Sub-Saharan Africa, 1974–1980 and Africa, 1987–1996
Eastern Europe, 1974–1996
Latin America, 1974-1996
Soviet Union, 1974-1991
Central Eurasia, 1992-1996
Western Europe, 1974-1996

but is missing: FBIS Global Archive, 1941-1974; and FBIS Regional Modules, 1974-1996: Part 3: China (CHI) & Part 4: Asia, Pacific and East Asia (APA, EAS).


Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War

Provides access to British government secret intelligence and foreign policy files from 1873 to 1953. Sourced from The National Archives, the range of documents – from signals intelligence reports to government-directed policy and strategy – is relevant from the period of Appeasement right through to the early Cold War. The content of the material is international in its breadth and scope. At the heart of this resource are the files of the Permanent Undersecretary’s Department (PUSD) which was the point of liaison between the Foreign Office and the British intelligence establishment.

Trialed 18 April - 20 May 2016.

America and Great Britain : diplomatic relations, 1775-1815

The archive is a valuable tool in understanding an era of modernization in diplomatic practises. With the expansion of the British Foreign Office, there was a movement away from the era of the aristocratic amateur towards a more tightly controlled process, where professionalised servants of the British Crown filed regular despatches from across the world to a rigid procedure. The collection also provides an insight into European politics during this period. Conflicts between America, France and Britain arising over trade, defence and diplomacy are explored and increase our understanding of this complex trans-Atlantic triumvirate.

Trialled 9 May to 8 June 2016.

Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture - the History of Tourism

This resource provides access to a highly diverse collection of material on well-known, little-known and far-flung travel destinations.

Collections come from multiple archives, including Thomas Cook, provide a multi-national perspective on the evolution of affordable tourism between 1850 and the 1980s. It offers researchers an interesting insight into social and cultural history, such as the growth and expansion of travel agents and transport companies and the integral role they played in the accessibility of destinations across Britain, Europe, North America and around the World.

Trialled 25 March - 24 April 2017.

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ZEDHIA - historical business information from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy

This resource provides historical business information from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and its successor and partly neighbouring states. This includes the areas of modern Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and many more until 1945 and more complete information restricted to Austria afterwards. Currently it covers 1812 to 2003. The backbone of the database are the Compass yearbooks and the Zentralblatt für die Eintragungen ins Handelsregister (commercial register entries). It gives access to depth-structured, digitised, full-text resources in the fields of Central European economic history and genealogy.

Trialled spring 2018.

Public petitions 1813-1918

Public Petitions to Parliament, 1833-1918 is an online module within the UK Parliamentary Papers database covering the records of the Select Committee on Public Petitions, 1833-1918. It includes individually rekeyed metadata records for every one of the >900,000 petitions accepted by Parliament and includes the full text of each petition that the Committee transcribed. This collection shows how “the people” during the 19th C influenced Parliament on political, ecclesiastical, colonial, taxation, and many other topics relevant to the study of Britain and the British Empire within a range of different disciplines within the historical and social studies. Go to ‘advanced search’ and select only ‘Public Petitions’ to search within this collection

Trialled 14 January to 13 February 2019

House of Lords Papers 1800-1910

House of Lords Papers 1800-1900: ProQuest has partnered with the National Library of Scotland to create the very first digitised collection of 19th Century House of Lords Parliamentary Papers, providing online access to previously unseen and valuable historical documents. This new collection improves research outcomes for scholars of British History, British Government, Political Science, History and more.

Trialled 14 January to 13 February 2019.