ANU Library invests in major collections for Early Modern Studies research

06 Nov 2023

The ANU Library has recently added a huge and exciting range of new resources to our collection!

Following requests from researchers in the Centre of Early Modern Studies (CEMS) and College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), the ANU Library has added an extensive number of resources from GALE’s Primary Sources collections as part of the Chifley Flood Replacement project.

The new additions represent a significant investment in the Library’s collection of British historical materials from the sixteenth through to the eighteenth century. What is especially exciting is that these collections bring together millions of digitised original documents from some of the most transformative, turbulent and enduringly significant periods in British history.

Professor Rosalind Smith, Director of CEMS has said of the recent investment “This is absolutely amazing news and I am so grateful for your help in securing these resources for early modern scholars here at ANU”. 

Thanks to this latest purchase, ANU Early Modern scholars will now be able to comb through millions of pages of digitised original materials, including letters, manuscripts, and intelligence and diplomatic reports dating as far back as 1509. Primary resources are of particular value because they present contemporary information and perspectives about the world in which they were written, providing powerful insights to researchers. These digital materials are literally pieces of history which researches can now explore online!

Significant new acquisitions include:

Eighteenth Century Collections Online Parts 1 and 2 (ECCO)

This collection contains every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom between 1701 and 1800. Part I alone includes 135,000 printed works, comprising more than 26 million scanned pages of original materials dating back as far as 1701. Researchers will also find rare works from women writers of the eighteenth century, collections on the French Revolution, and numerous editions of the works of Shakespeare.

State Papers Online: 1509 – 1714 (Parts 1-4)

Part I: The Tudors: Henry VIII to Elizabeth I, 1509–1603: State Papers Domestic 

Part I delivers the complete series of State Papers Domestic for the Tudor era, encompassing every facet of early modern government, including social and economic affairs, law and order, religious policy, crown possessions, and intelligence. The collection is of immense value to researchers of religious history, chronicling social unrest in England as it pitched back and forth between the religious positions of its rulers: from the boy-king Edward VI's promotion of the Reformation, to Mary I's bloody reassertion of Catholicism and Elizabeth's loyalty to Protestantism and enduring suspicion of Catholic plots. 

Part II: The Tudors: Henry VIII to Elizabeth I, 1509–1603: State Papers Foreign, Ireland, Scotland, Borders and Registers of the Privy Council 

Part II reunites the Foreign, Scotland, Borders and Ireland papers with the Registers (‘Minutes’) of the Privy Council for the whole of the Tudor period. Together they give comprehensive coverage of international diplomacy, colonial policy, commercial and maritime law, trade and industry and naval and military policy. These documents offer detailed and exciting insights into the inner workings of the Tudor court but also those of its foreign allies and enemies. 

Part III: The Stuarts: James I to Anne, 1603–1714: State Papers Domestic 

Part III covers the Stuarts' internal struggles through a wealth of primary source documents from one of the most compelling and turbulent eras in Britain's social, political, and religious history. Among the more than one million pages of manuscripts, researchers will find original, first-hand accounts of the English Civil War, the execution of Charles I, and the invasion of William of Orange. 

Part IV: The Stuarts: James I to Anne, 1603–1714: State Papers Foreign, Ireland and Registers of the Privy Council 

The Stuart era was witness to great changes, civil war, and transformation, particularly affecting matters of religion and politics that are still influential today. State Papers Online, Part IV charts international affairs throughout periods of revolution and upheaval in Britain and Europe's history.

State Papers Online: 18th Century 1714 – 1782 (part 1-4)

Part I: State Papers Domestic, Military and Naval and the Registers of the Privy Council 

This collection focuses research on British domestic politics and society in an age punctuated by plots, rebellions, uprisings, and financial crises. Part I offers researchers online access to approximately 300,000 folios from the reigns of King George I, King George II, and part of the reign of King George III, plus military, naval, and plantation registers, sheriffs' lists, and State Papers of Scotland and Ireland. 

Part II: State Papers Foreign - Low Countries and Germany 

This rich archive includes correspondence with English diplomats abroad and foreign diplomats in England, original and draft treaties, letters between heads of state, intercepted dispatches and other intelligence, working papers of the secretaries, and material relating to military, naval, and colonial policy. The collection’s detailed coverage of international diplomacy offers eighteenth-century scholars fresh insights into the workings of the Hanoverian court and those of its allies and enemies in Europe. 

Part III: State Papers Foreign: Western Europe 

Part III includes reports and correspondence from wars and alliances across Europe, alongside other events with wide international repercussions. Additionally, the minutiae of the correspondence of British agents with Whitehall also casts light on aspects of social history such as public health, the status of merchants abroad, and the personal relationships between political figures or Royal families of Europe. 

Part IV: State Papers Foreign: Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey 

The letters and papers of this collection cover the great northern rivalry of Russia and Sweden, as well as Britain’s relations with Prussia, a heavy-weight in European politics, particularly under Frederick the Great. The Foreign Ministers (in England) series contains mainly original in-letters and memorials to the Secretary of State from foreign envoys and ministers accredited to the Court of St James.

State Papers Online: The Stuart and Cumberland Papers from the Royal Archives, Windsor Castle

Digitised for the first time, the Stuart papers represent the correspondence and personal documents of the exiled members of the Stuart dynasty after 1688. Available here alongside the Cumberland papers of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and second surviving son of George II, they provide a unique window into the world of the Stuarts and their Jacobite followers, as well as to the incumbent Hanoverian monarchy during a time of continental wars, domestic conspiracies and rival claims to the throne.

GALE Digital Scholar Lab

The Gale Digital Scholar Lab is designed to transform the way scholars and students access and analyse Gale primary source materials by offering solutions to some of the most common challenges facing researchers in the digital humanities today. The Digital Scholar Lab equips researchers with text and data mining resources, visualisation tools, and methodology suggestions to make extracting information easier and faster.

Is the Library missing an important resource for your research? You can submit a purchase request via our online form.