Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920

This digital archive presents a broad history of crime in the long 19th Century, appealing to historians and literary scholars, as well as scholars in the areas of law and criminal justice.

Throughout the 19th century major trials were followed avidly in the courtroom, in newspaper reportage, and at public hangings. True crime literature and ephemera captured the attention of all classes, with murder ballads sold in the streets, and recent crimes quickly dramatised. While the cult of the criminal was popular, the development of the police force, particularly detectives and forensic techniques, also were subjects of wide interest. Concurrently the judicial system was reformed, and there was significant evolution of the penal system.

"There is much remarkable material here……Not only is the content extraordinary, but the navigation through these primary sources is fast and easy.

VERDICT This enthralling and straight-forward file will be well worth its purchase price to libraries supporting serious legal, historical, and criminal justice researchers."

Cheryl LaGuardia, Library Journal, April 2016

This unique archive marries fact and fiction, allowing researchers to discover essential primary documents such as trial transcripts, case notes from renowned judges, and documents from detective agencies. These primary sources provide essential insight into how the justice system evolved.

Content includes:

Trial transcriptsDocuments related to the development of forensic techniques
Detective agency recordsPrisoner photographs
Newspaper reportsTrue Crime literature
Police force recordsPrison postcards
Penny Dreadfuls, dime novels, detective fiction and MysteriesManuscript collections from well-known figures – police, criminals, detectives
Crime related broadsides and prints

Find out more about Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920

Related Resources from Gale include:

Eighteenth Century Collection Online
Nineteenth Century Collections Online
Making of Modern Law
British Newspapers 1600-1950

This collection is available on Gale Primary Sources

Gale Primary Sources provides a seamless research experience that enables scholars to search across millions of pages of primary and secondary sources in the humanities from the 15th to the 20th centuries.

Please note:
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