19th century books and monographs

Rare collections of 19th century books

The 19th century witnessed an explosion in the publication, sale and distribution of books for an ever widening and diverse market of readers. NCCO offers scholars rare collections of nineteenth century books many of which have never been available before digitally and contain, in some instances,  the only surviving copy of a title. These collections provide scholars with a barometer for the social and political aspirations and conflicts of the period.

Working class autobiographies

People's History: Working Class Autobiographies  is one of the collections of 19th century books users will find in the British Politics and Society archive. It gathers together 200 working class autobiographies that capture working people's education, childhood, and working conditions. These valuable historical sources bring the world of the 19th century working class vividly to life; from a policeman's accounts of criminal life to the memoirs of a show manager, from the spiritual conversion of a clown in prison to the tales of gypsy life.

Click here for a complete list of ineteenth century book collections in the archive>>

Romantic British and European literature

European Literature, 1790-1840: The Corvey Collection, which represents one of the most important known collections of books from the Romantic period, provides researchers with fully searchable online access to a library of 9,000 German, French and English nineteenth century book titles.

The chief strength of the collection for scholars is the numerous works  written by historically neglected or forgotten authors  - especially women authors. A number of the titles are unique to this collection and a substantial number of titles are unrecorded even in the catalogues of the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. (See Prof. Stephen C. Behrendt's headnote for a more detailed description of the collection)

The Corvey Collection of European Literature includes a rich mix of literary genres from gothic novels to poetry, plays and anthologies. Reflecting the tastes of its original collectors (Victor Amadeus and his wife at the Castle Corvey in Germany) the collection mixies “high” and "popular" literature sourced from Europe's literary centres, London, Paris, and Leipzig. The collection gives scholars of today  a sense of the scale of literary book production in Europe in the late 1700s/early 1800s. As a collection of British, French and German Romanticism and early-Victorian writing, the Corvey Collection is unsurpassed.