19th century manuscripts

Cross-searching on NCCO

Nineteenth Century Collection Online's sophisticated search platform enables historians to cross-search  a range of media and build a rich mosaic of the 19th century world. Searching across 19th century books, manuscripts, newspapers and maps, photographs, statistics and ephemera all in the one location - and in the one query - allows users to pursue a topic, theme, or idea across multiple types of historical sources.

Preservation and digitisation

NCCO provides researchers with a wealth of never before filmed or digitised 19th century manuscripts. Gale has scanned rare or difficult to access manuscripts from the world's great libraries and  invested in the preservation of these materials to ensure their survival for generations to come. In a digital publishing first, Gale has added detailed layers of subject indexing and metadata to the nineteenth century mansucripts to radically improve the discoverability  of this material to scholars.

Rare manuscript collections

Nineteenth century manuscripts capture a century of tremendous social, political and economic change as Britain shifted from an agricultural to industrial economy.The numerous rare manuscript collections in the British Politics and Society archive provide users with first-hand accounts of the population responding to massive social change through protests, riots and a growing demand for representational politics. From the repeal of the Corn Laws and the triumph of free trade, to the suppression of the Chartist movement and the birth of communism, these manuscripts track the origins of ideologies that defined the course of the 19th and 20th centuries.  

Click here for a complete list of manuscript collections in the archive>>

East and West: international relations

Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange archive contains 2 million pages of manuscripts that chart  the  relationship between Western powers and the East throughout the long 19th century. Through U.S. Consul despatches to British Foreign Office records and missionary files (to name but a few sources), the archive charts more than a century of  American, British and European commercial, political and cultural interests and intervention in the East - especially in China, Japan, the Philippines and Korea. With access to personal letters, diaries and secret reports, scholars can now trace the story of Western expansion into Asia in depth. 

In the Japan correspondence from  the British Foreign office scholars can find hundreds of documents relating to the conflicts between Russia and Japan in the lead up to the Russo-Japanese war (1904). In a telegram dated Nov 27, 1903, we learn that "Russia has offered £1,870,000 for Chilean warships" and that unless Japan purchases the warships first  "Russia will certainly buy and thereby obtain serious preponderance in Far Eastern waters. The sudden intervention of Russia in present circumstances seems ominous..."

In a confidential letter dated Dec 21 1894  from the Japan correspondence files we learn of the war between China and Japan,  the likely advance of the Japanese on the Chinese city of  Tientsin and the vulnerability of British officers and subjects living there. The archive also gives scholars a comprehensive overview of foreign and diplomatic activities overseas.  'Questions Arising under International Law'  in the same collection provides a list of British diplomats overseas from Ethiopia to Columbia and Montenegro to Zanzibar giving scholars a sense of the scope of British presence across the world.

Click here for a complete list of manuscript collections in the archive>>