Primary Sources and Online Archives
This page highlights the fantastic collection of digitised archives that we hold at Kent and includes newspapers, periodicals, rare books, images, letters, pamphlets, diaries, accounts, maps, drawings, and much more! You can find guidance on visiting our Special Collections and Archives, as well as the Canterbury Cathedral Library, on their own pages. Both are treasure troves for English students, and you are very welcome to visit them.
We have so many primary sources that it’s difficult to list all that could be relevant to you here. For an overview of all our digital archives, I recommend using the Digital Resources Directory or visiting one of the other Library Resource Guides that might be relevant to your topic.
- American Periodicals: Contains digitized images of the pages of American magazines and journals from colonial days to the dawn of the 20th century
- AM Explorer: Allows you to search across several databases of primary source material including:
- The American West: Documents the westward expansion from the early 18th century
- Colonial America: Correspondence between the British government and the American Colonies between 1606 and 1822
- Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966: Papers generated by the British Foreign and colonial Offices in Africa
- Defining Gender: Explores the study and analysis of Gender, leisure and consumer culture in the period 1450-1910
- Eighteenth Century Journals (I-V): Rare journals printed between c.1685 and 1835 from across the British Empire .
- Empire Online: Materials for the study of ‘Empire’ and its theories, practices, and consequences, covering the last 500 years.
- India, Raj and Empire: Covers the history of South Asia from 1615 to 1947
- London Low Life: Contains colour digital images of rare books, ephemera, maps and other materials relating to 18th, 19th and early 20th century London.
- Mass Observation Online 1937-1967 and 1981-2009: Diaries and survey’s detailing everyday experiences of everyday life in Britain.
- Migration to New Worlds: Charts the emigration experience of millions across 200 years of history.
- Perdita Manuscripts: female writers, 1500-1700: Manuscripts from the early modern period
- The Grand Tour: Explores the relationship between Britain and Europe during 1550-1850 with the Grand tour as a starting point.
- Victorian Popular Culture: A collection on popular entertainment in the 19th and early 20th centuries
- Black Thought and Culture: On-fiction writings by major American black leaders—teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, entertainers, and other figures—covering 250 years of history
- Electronic Enlightenment: Correspondence between writers and thinkers from the age of enlightenment
- Gale Primary Sources including amongst other relevant collections:
- Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO): Full text access to 150,000 titles, including all significant English language and foreign titles published in the UK and a substantial number from North America
- Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO): A primary source collection for the long nineteenth century including theatre scripts and books
- Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals: Fully searchable facsimile resource for the study of British life in the nineteenth century through mainly magazines and serials
- Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992: Full text access to all volumes of the satirical magazine Punch from 1841 to 1992
- The Listener Historical Archive, 1929-1991: Weekly BBC magazine covering reflections on politics, literature and the arts as well as contributions from literary icons as well as being a platform for new writers and poets
- The Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive (1902-2014)
- London Review of Books: Magazine archive of book reviews and essays
- Periodical Archives Online: 700 scholarly periodicals across 37 key subject areas in the humanities and social sciences. The archive spans more than two centuries of content and multiple languages.
For more historical news sources and official publications please visit the News Sources and Official Publications pages on the History Library Resource Guide.