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History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Reference Works - A Place to Begin


The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) - eBook

Encyclopedia of Africa (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010-) - eBook

Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa: Archaeology, history, languages, cultures, and environments (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, c1997) – print

New Encyclopedia of Africa (Detroit: Thomson/Gale, 2008) - print

(The) Book

The Oxford Companion to the Book (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, print) - the first reference work of its kind covering the broad concept of the book throughout the world from ancient to modern times. This two-volume work is organized into two parts: Part I is a series of over forty introductory essays offer generic histories of the subject as well as surveys of the history of the book around the world, including the Muslim world, Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Part II comprises an A-Z section of over 5,000 entries on every aspect of this subject, ranging from brief definitions and biographical entries to more extensive treatments.


The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011) - eBook

Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2011) - print

Encyclopedia of Communication Theory (Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2009) - eBook

International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003) - eBook

Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics (Amsterdam; New York: Elsevier, 2001) - print

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2012-) - eBook

Computer/Information Science

Encyclopedia of Computer Science, 4th ed. (Chichester, West Sussex, England; Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley, 2003) - print

Stockwell, Foster. A History of Information Storage and Retrieval (Jefferson, NC; London: McFarland, 2001)  - print

Encyclopedia of Computer Science, 3rd ed. (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993) - print

Encyclopedia of Information Systems (San Diego, CA: Harcourt Academic; Oxford: Elsevier Science, 2002) - print

Encyclopedia of Information Systems and Technology (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2016) - eBook

Software Studies: A lexicon (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008) – eBook or print

Cyberculture: The key concepts (London; New York: Routledge, 2004) – eBook

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

The McGraw-Hill Illustrated Encyclopedia of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books, 1994) - print

Encyclopedia of Artificial Intelligence, 2nd ed. (New York: Wiley, 1992) – print


Eileen Moore Trauth, ed. Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology 2 vols. (Idea GroUniversity Press Publishing, 2006) - print

Women and Dictionary-Making: Gender, genre, and English language lexicography (Cambridge, UK; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2018) – print

Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History (Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2019) - eBook

The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies (Chichester, West Sussex; Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2016) - print


Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450 (Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007) - eBook

Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism (New York: Greenwood Press, 1991) - print


Encyclopedia of Library History (New York: Garland Pub., 1994) - print

Psychological Sciences

Cognitive (Neuro)science

The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Neuroscience (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2014) – print

Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (Chichester, West Sussex; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2005) – eBook or print (2003)

The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999) - print


The Oxford Companion to the Mind, 2nd ed. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) – print

Encyclopedia of Behavior Modification and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, 2005) - eBook

Scientific Illustration

Database of Scientific Illustrators 1450-1950 - includes illustrators of scientific publications of all genres (especially atlases, articles, textbooks) who were active between 1450 and 1950, thus excluding illuminators of medieval manuscripts as well as illustrators still active.

Science & Religion

Science, Religion, and Society: An encyclopedia of history, culture, and controversy (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2007) – eBook

Encyclopedia of Science and Religion (New York: Macmillan Reference; Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, 2003) - print


Typography: An encyclopedic survey of type design and techniques throughout history (NY: Black Dog & Leventhal: Distributed by Workman Pub. Co., 1998) – print

Further Reading

Week 1: What is Information?

James Gleick, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (New York: Pantheon, 2011) - print

Ann Blair et al. (eds), Information: A Historical Companion (Princeton University Press, [forthcoming, 1/19/21])

Jack Chen et al. (eds), Literary Information in China: A History (C University Press, [forthcoming])

Eric Hayot et al. (eds), Information: A Reader (Columbia University Press, [forthcoming, 2/21])

Ann Blair, Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010) - MOBIUS

     Subject headings - Information science -- History

Week 2: Writing, Paperwork, and Power

Bernal, Martin. Cadmean Letters : The Transmission of the Alphabet to the Aegean and Further West before 1400 B.C. (Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990) - MOBIUS

Brandist, Craig, Katya Chown. Politics and the Theory of Language in the USSR, 1917-1938 the Birth of Sociological Linguistics  (London; New York: Anthem Press, 2010) - print

Coulmas, Florian. Writing Systems: an Introduction to Their Linguistic Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. - eBook

Eco, Umberto. The Search for the Perfect Language. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 1997 (or. 1993) - print

Gelb, Ignace J. A Study of Writing; the Foundations of Grammatology.  Chicago,: University of Chicago Press, 1952) - print

Houston, Stephen D., ed. The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process (Cambridge University Press, 2004) - MOBIUS

Houston, Stephen D., ed. The Shape of Script: How and Why Writing Systems Change (School for Advanced Research Press, 2012) - print

Lurie, David Barnett. Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing Harvard East Asian Monographs.  (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011) - print

     Subject headings - Communication in learning and scholarship -- [nation-state or region] -- History -- 1Xth century.
                                    [nation-state or region] -- Intellectual life -- 1Xth century
                                    Alphabet -- History
                                    Writing -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                    Sociolinguistics -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                    Linguistics -- [nation-state or region] -- Philosophy -- History
                                    Linguistics -- Social aspects -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                    Linguistics -- Political aspects -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                    [name of] language -- Social aspects -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                    [name of] language -- Political aspects -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                    [name of] language -- Writing -- History
                                   Written communication -- [nation-state or region] -- History

Week 3: Typographic Minds, Alphabetic Empires

Goody, Jack. The Interface Between the Written and the Oral (Cambridge University Press, 1987) - print

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983) –1991 revised print ed. or 2006 rev. ed as eBook or in print

Luria, Alexander. Cognitive Development, Its Cultural and Social Foundations (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976 [1932]) - print

Olson, David R. The World on Paper: The Conceptual and Cognitive Implications of Writing and Reading (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) - print

Cynthia J. Brokaw and Christopher A. Reed, eds., From Woodblocks to the Internet: Chinese Publishing and Print Culture in Transition (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010) - eBook

Elizabeth Berry, Japan in Print: Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006) – print or eBook

Collins, James, and Richard Blot. Literacy and Literacies: Texts, Power, and Identity. 1st ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2003) - eBook

Nathan Shockey, The Typographic Imagination: Reading and Writing in Japan’s Age of Modern Print Media (Columbia University Press, 2019) – InterLibrary Loan (include OCLC# in this record for faster borrowing)

Erturk, Nergis. Grammatology and Literary Modernity in Turkey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) - print

Yurou Zhong, Chinese Grammatology: Script Revolution and Literary Modernity, 1916–1958 (NY: Columbia University Press, 2019) - print

Tsu, Jing. Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010) – print or eBook

Rodney Koeneke, Empires of the Mind: I. A. Richards and Basic English in China, 1929-1979 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004) – print

     subject headings - Nationalism -- History
                                   Publishers and publishing -- [nation-state or region] -- History -- XXth century
                                   Printing -- [nation-state or region] -- History -- XXth century
                                   Printing -- [nation-state or region] -- History -- XXth century
                                   Books and reading -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                   Literature publishing -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                  Periodicals -- Publishing -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                  Internet publishing -- [nation-state or region]
                                  Publishers and publishing -- Social aspects -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                  Publishers and publishing -- Political aspects -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                  Book industries and trade -- [nation-state or region] -- History -- 1Xth century
                                  [nationality] literature -- XXth century -- History and criticism
                                  Language and culture -- [nation-state or region] -- History
                                  [name of] language -- Reform -- History -- XXth century
                                  [name of] language -- Writing -- History -- XXth century
                                  [name of] language -- Study and teaching -- [name of language] speakers
                                  [name of language] philology -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- [nation-state or region]

Week 4: Types––Wooden, Metal, Digital

Hala Auji, Printing Arab Modernity: Book Culture and the American Press in Nineteenth-century Beirut (Leiden: Brill, 2016) – print or eBook

Werner Heine and Annette Haxton, “'Futura' without a Future: Kurt Schwitters' Typography for Hanover Town Council, 1929-1934,” Journal of Design History, 1994, Vol. 7, No. 2 (1994), pp. 127-140.

Joseph Moxon, Mechanick Exercises on the Whole Art of Printing (1683–84) (Dover Pub, 1978) – 1st (1958), 2nd (1962), or 1978 reprint ed.

Steven Heller and A. M. Cassandre, “The Meanings of Type,” Eye Magazine 50/13 (2003) – online open access

Haley, Allan. Typography, Referenced: A comprehensive visual guide to the language, history, and practice of typography (Beverly, MA: Rockport, 2012) - eBook

Thomas, S. Designing Obama: A chronicle of art & design from the 2008 presidential campaign (Chicago: Post Press, 2010) - print

Christina Kiaer, Imagine No Possessions: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism (MIT, 2005) - print

Simon Garfield, Just My Type: A Book About Fonts (London: Profile Books, 2010) - MOBIUS

Simon Loxley, Type: The Secret History of Letters (2006) - print

Heller and P. B. Meggs, eds. Texts on Type: Critical Writings on Typography (NY: Allworth Press, 2001) - print

Bain and and P. Shaw, eds. Blackletter: Type and National Identity (NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998) - print

     subject headings - Type and type-founding -- History
                                     Graphic design (Typography) -- History
                                     Type and type-founding -- Social aspects
                                     Type and type-founding -- Psychological aspects

Week 5: Cybernetics and Cold War Computers

Paul Edwards, The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in the Cold War (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997) – print or eBook

Paul Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing (Cambridge, MA, 1998) – 1998 print ed. or 2nd ed. (2003) print or eBook eds.

Shannon, Claude E. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. University of Illinois Press, 1998) – 1949, 1962, 1964 print eds.

Eden Medina, Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile (MIT, 2014) – print and eBook

Herman Goldstine, The Computer from Pascal to Von Neumann (Princeton, 1973) – print or eBook

Martin Davis, The Universal Computer:  The Road from Leibniz to Turing (New York, 2000) – print or eBook

Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma (NY, 1983) - print

      subject headings - Computers -- History
                                       Electronic data processing -- History
                                       Cybernetics -- Political aspects -- {nation-state or region]
                                       Electronic digital computers -- History

Week 6: Cyborg Phenomenology

Jean Pierre DUniversity Pressuy, The Mechanization of the Mind: On the Origins of Cognitive Science (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000) - print

McCulloch, Warren. Embodiments of the Mind (MIT Press, 1965) - print

Dennett, Daniel. Consciousness Explained (Back Bay Books, 1992) – Little, Brown print ed. (1991)

Malabou, Christine. What Should We Do With Our Brain? (Fordham University Press, 2008) – print or eBook

Varela, Francisco, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (MIT Press, 1993) – 1991 or 2016 print ed.

Bush, Vannevar, James M. Nyce, and Paul Kahn. From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine (Boston: Academic Press, 1991) - print

Boden, Margaret A. Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science 2 vols (Oxford University Press, 2006) - print

Dyson, George. Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (Vintage, 2012) – ILL (include OCLC# in this record for faster borrowing)

Liu, Lydia He. The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010) - eBook

Robert Epstein, “The Empty Brain,” AEON (2016) – Open Access online

     subject headings - Cognitive science -- History
                                      Knowledge, Theory of
                                     Mind and body
                                     Philosophy of mind
                                     Brain -- Philosophy
                                     Cognitive neuroscience -- Philosophy
                                     Adaptability (Psychology)
                                     Cognitive science
                                     Experiential learning
                                     Cognitive science -- History
                                     Conscious automata -- Moral and ethical aspects
                                     Cybernetics -- Moral and ethical aspects
                                     Robotics -- Moral and ethical aspects
                                     Robotics -- Human factors

Week 8: Race and Code

Lisa Nakamura and Peter Chow-White, eds. Race After the Internet (Routledge, 2011) - print

Lisa Nakamura, ed. Digitizing Race (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007) - print

Ruha Benjamin, Race after Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Polity, 2019) - eBook

Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU, 2018) - print

Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (Pantheon Books, 1971) - print

Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, “Chapter 6: The Case of Race Classification and Reclassification Under Apartheid” in Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999), pp. 195-225 – print or eBook

Francine Hirsch, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Cornell University Press, 2005) – print or eBook

Andre Brock, Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures (NYU Press, 2020) - print

     subject headings - Internet -- Social aspects
                                     Digital divide -- [nation-state or region] -- XXst century
                                     Information technology -- Social aspects -- [nation-state or region] -- XXst century
                                     Search engines -- Sociological aspects
                                     Knowledge, Sociology of
                                     Ethnology -- [nation-state or region]
                                     Minorities -- Government policy -- [nation-state or region]
                                     Online social networks -- [nation-state or region]

Week 9: Gender and Code

Eileen Moore Trauth, ed. Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology 2 vols. (Idea GroUniversity Press Publishing, 2006) - MOBIUS

Nina Lerman et al. Gender and Technology: A Reader (JHP, 2003) - MOBIUS

Jacqueline Ryan Vickery and Tracy Everbach, eds. Mediating Misogyny: Gender, Technology, and Harassment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) - MOBIUS

Gill Kirk, et al. The Gendered Cyborg: A Reader (Routledge, 1999) - MOBIUS

     subject headings - Women in computer science -- Encyclopedias
                                      Sex role
                                      Sexual division of labor
                                      Technology -- Social aspects
                                      Feminism and science
                                      Human reproduction -- Social aspects
                                      Artificial intelligence -- Social aspects

Week 10: City and Code

Christine Boyer, CyberCities: Visual Perception in the Age of Electronic Communication (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996) - MOBIUS

Manuel Castells, The Informational City: Information Technology, Economic Restructuring, and the Urban-Regional Process (Oxford: Basel Blackwell, 1989) - print

William J. Mitchell, City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995) – print or eBook

Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin, Telecommunications and the City: Electronic Spaces, Urban Places (New York: Routledge, 1996) - MOBIUS

Marcus Foth, ed. Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: The Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City (Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2009) - MOBIUS

Laura Kurgan and Dare Brawley, eds. Ways of Knowing Cities (Columbia University Press, 2019) – ILL (include OCLC# in this record for faster borrowing)

Jennifer Gabrys, Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (Ann Arbor: UM Press, 2011) - eBook

     subject headings - Computers and civilization
                                      Virtual reality 
                                      High technology industries -- [location]    
                                      Cities and towns -- Effect of technological innovations on -- Case studies
                                      City and town life
                                      Smart cities
                                      Electronic waste
                                      Electronic apparatus and appliances -- History

Week 11: Typing and Thinking


Week 12: Aurality and Vocality

Jonathan Sterne, ed. The Sound Studies Reader (Routledge, 2012) - print

––––––––, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke University Press, 2003) - print

     subject headings - Sound -- Recording and reproducing -- History
                                     Sound -- Recording and reproducing -- Social aspects
                                     Sound in mass media
                                     Sound recordings -- social aspects

Week 13: Haptic Epistemologies


Week 14: Big Data and the Future of Information

Shoshana Zuboff. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (PublicAffairs, 2019) - print

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000) – print or eBook

Massimo Mazzotti, “Algorithmic Life,” LARB, 2017.

Alan Liu, The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004) – print or eBook

Terranova, Tiziana. “Communication Beyond Meaning: On the Cultural Politics of Information,” Social Text 80 (2004): 51-73.

     subject headings - Consumer behavior -- Data processing
                                      Consumer profiling -- Data processing
                                      Information technology -- Social aspects
                                      Information technology -- Economic aspects
                                      Consumer behavior -- Forecasting
                                      Behavior modification -- Economic aspects
                                      Big data -- Economic aspects
                                      Information society
                                      Knowledge workers
                                      Humanities -- Social aspects
                                      Education, Higher -- Aims and objectives

A Note on Subject Headings

A keyword search ("Word(s)") in the Washington University Libraries' catalog is similar to a search in any Web-based search engine in that the words you enter could be anywhere in the Web page. For a Web page writ large, this means in the metadata or the text. For a catalog record, your keyword(s) could be in the title, subject, chapter titles, contents, summary, etc.). If you do not know the Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) for the topic you are researching, then a keyword search is a good way to start. However, if you want to find EVERYTHING the library owns on a subject, you will want to discover the proper subject headings and peruse the available titles therein. When you see a title and say to yourself: "Hey, that sounds exactly like what I'm looking for!," click on that item record, then click on the LCSH (labelled as "Subject(s)")for all titles in the library under that subject heading. Keep in mind that the process of creating and assigning subject headings is a human endeavor and prone to error; some subject headings may seem redundant, but a title assigned to one may not be assigned to what appears to be the exact same subject matter. 

Peer-Reviewed, Academic Journal Articles


JSTOR - multidisciplinary, a lot of full text articles, but subject headings are too broad
Academic Search Complete (1975-present) - multidisciplinary; subject headings may or may not be LCSH; made by EBSCO, so allows the broadening to all EBSCO databases or narrowing to subject-specific databases like America: HIstory & Life
JSTOR v. Academic Search Complete
Project MUSE - consists of peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journals from leading university presses, not-for-profit publishers and prestigious scholarly societies.
Scopus - The world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. Contains over 46 million records, 70% with abstracts, and also includes over 4.6 million conference papers.
Google Scholar - articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. While Google Scholar itself is free on the web, many of the citations it references are not. Accessing Google Scholar via the proxied link will enable you to get full text for all articles for which to WashU community has access  
Primo - is the Washington University Libraries' new search tool. It provides one-stop access to the Libraries’ collections by searching across hundreds of catalogs, indexes, and databases. Primo is a great place to begin your research because it searches multiple library resources through one interface.
Google Scholar v. Primo


Historical Abstracts (1955- )  contents include world history journals from 1450 to the present

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (1975-) describes journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of science, technology, and medicine and allied historical fields

Islamic World

Index Islamicus a comprehensive index to publications on Islamic subjects throughout the world. Records cover almost 100 years, from 1906 to the present. The scope includes the Middle East, the Muslim areas of Asia and Africa, plus Muslim minorities elsewhere in the world. Over 3,000 journals are monitored for inclusion, together with conference proceedings, monographs, multi-authored works and book reviews. 

Primary Sources

Proprietary Databases

Trial database

ResearchSource - available only through October 31, 2020

Username: GWLA
Password: ResearchSource

India - papers of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, 1898-1905; colonial literature in India and travel writing from Indians travelling to the West, 1712-1933, and printed weekly abstracts summarising both English- and Indian-language newspapers from British India

Japan - medieval manuscripts relating to Japan, incl. Marco Polo; the logbook of William Adams/Miura Anjin (1564-1620), the first Englishman known to have visited Japan; the journals, printed articles and other papers of William Elliot Griffis (1843-1928), American author, teacher and educational reformer in Japan

China and Southeast Asia - British government records covering economic development in China and its neighbours, 1950-80; correspondence from the Macartney Embassy, the first British diplomatic mission to China, 1792-94; the diaries, notebooks and published writings of Rewi Alley (1897-1987), New Zealand educator and industrial organiser in communist China

Church Missionary Society Archive - central records of the CMS and papers of key individuals associated with it; records of the Loochoo Naval Mission (1843-1864), the first recorded Anglican and Protestant mission in Japan' archive of the Society for Promoting Female Education in China, India and the East; and the records of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society

Empire - letterbooks and personal papers of Duncan Campbell, a key figure in the founding of the Sydney colony in New South Wales; manuscript sources on the condition of indigenous women and the extension of suffrage to women within the British Empire; the personal papers of Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales from 1810-1821; correspondence and papers relating to Jamaican plantation life in the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries 

Medieval and Early Modern - The papers of Hans Sloane, a leading figure in the international scientific community in the late 17th and early 18th centuries; household and domestic works, shedding light on the role of women during this period, covering diet, cookery, celebrations, illness, childbirth, and gardening; the books and manuscripts of John Dee, leading Renaissance scholar and tutor/advisor to Elizabeth I; letters and papers of a host of important figures from the period, including Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey, John Foxe, Elizabeth I, Charles I, John Aubrey, Benjamin Franklin, Carl Linnaeus, John Locke, Isaac Newton, Alexander Orme, Samuel Pepys, Alexander Pope, Horace Walpole and Robert Walpole.

Missionary records - papers of Reverend George Brown (1835-1917), Methodist missionary and ethnographer who recorded of Polynesian and Oceanic indigenous cultures; records of female missionaries and women’s missionary organizations

Women's Studies - papers and rare printed works of important female writers and thinkers; life writing and autobiographies of a range of 18th and 19th century women; the papers of Sylvia Pankhurst, suffragette, political activist and campaigner; diaries and correspondence of 18th and 19th century aristocratic women, and, women's travel writing - missionaries, tourists and women living across the British Empire

World War Two - papers of the Special Operations Executive, the secret British organization whose mission was to conduct espionage, sabotage and subversion behind enemy lines in Europe; private papers of General Robert L Eichelberger, second in command to General Douglas MacArthur; diaries of James V. Forrestal, US Secretary of the Navy, 1944-1947, and first Secretary of Defense, 1947-1949

Business, Economic and Labour History - a complete run of the London Stock Exchange Official Yearbook for 1875-1945; all the working papers of John Maynard Keynes, 1940-1946; the papers of David A. Morse, 1948-1970, Director-General of the International Labour Office in Geneva; the complete manuscript diaries of the British Labour politician Hugh Dalton, 1916-1960; a complete run of The Mechanical Engineer for 1897-1917, featuring authoritative articles and reports, along with excellent diagrams and illustrations concerning the rapid scientific and technical advances of the period.


European Colonialism in early 20th c. Africa

Italian Colonies in North Africa and Aggression in East Africa, 1930-1939 This collection comprises correspondence, studies and reports, cables, maps, and other kinds of documents related to U.S. consular activities. U.S. Consulates were listening posts reporting on the activities of the Italian colonial governments and later the mandate authorities, and the activities of the native peoples.

French Colonialism in Africa: from Algeria to Madagascar, 1910-1930 - this collection comprises correspondence, studies and reports, cables, maps, and other kinds of documents related to U.S. consular activities. U.S. Consulates were listening posts reporting on the activities of the French colonial government and the activities of the native peoples. Highlights include the beginning of an anti-colonial movement and problems along the Moroccan-Algerian border.

German Colonies to League of Nations Mandates in Africa, 1910-1929 - this collection comprises correspondence, studies and reports, cables, maps, and other kinds of documents related to U.S. consular activities. U.S. Consulates were listening posts reporting on the activities of the German colonial governments and later the mandate authorities, and the activities of the native peoples.

Political and Economic Consolidation of Portuguese Colonies in Africa, 1910-1929 - this collection comprises correspondence, studies and reports, cables, maps, and other kinds of documents related to U.S. consular activities. U.S. Consulates were listening posts reporting on the activities of the Portuguese colonial government and the activities of the native peoples. Highlights include the beginning of an anti-colonial movement and the industrialization and economic exploitation of Portugal’s African colonies.

Evangelism in Africa: Correspondence of the Board of Foreign Missions, 1835-1910  - the records of the Board of Foreign Missions (BFM) of the Presbyterian Church provide valuable information on social conditions in developing nations and on efforts to spread the gospel during the nineteenth century. Among the missions’ responsibilities was the establishment of indigenous churches, educational facilities, hospitals, orphanages, and seminaries. The majority of the material in this collection consists of incoming correspondence from the mission field and outgoing correspondence from the Board headquarters. Other primary sources include diary accounts, sermon manuscripts, receipts of sale, and field accounts.

Liberia and the U.S.: Nation-building in Africa, 1864-1918 - this series consists of correspondence and telegrams received and sent by the United States’ diplomatic post in Liberia. The topics covered by these records include all aspects of relations with Liberia, and interactions of American citizens with the Liberian government and people.

Governing Africa -this electronic archive includes 13 collections, 131 volumes, 2,680 documents and 1,105,477 pages in the form of reports to the British government by their governors in the African colonies. The statistical reports cover 13 colonies, with some data that pre-dates the abolition of the slave trade. These reports reveal how colonial laws were used to control citizens during wars, uprisings, and everyday life, and notices of land sales reveal how land changed hands between 1808 and 1966. The colonial reports for each colony explain how the statistics in the Blue Books were intended to be interpreted by colonial readers.

A Guide to African Studies primary sources


Chinese language databases - includes China Academic Journals Full-text Database (English interface) (CNKI) or 中国期刊全文数据库 (Chinese interface) (中国知网); China National Social Science Database 国家哲学社会科学学术期刊数据库; Duxiu 读秀中文学术搜索; Taiwan Electronic Periodical Services database (TEPS)/Airiti Library: Chinese Periodical Services (CEPS) 臺灣電子期刊服務網; ​National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations in Taiwan  臺灣博碩士論文知識加值系統; Late Qing Republican-Era Chinese Newspapers; Shen Bao (申報) Newspaper Digital Archive (1872-1949); Zhongguo fang zhi ku (中国方志库); Database of Chinese Local Records, and Zhongguo ji ben gu ji ku (中国基本古籍库),  Database of Chinese Classic Ancient Books . 

Japanese language databasesAsahi Shimbun Kikuzo II; Zasshikiji Sakuin Shusei Database (ざっさくプラス: 雑誌記事索引集成データベース); Nikkei Telecom 21; Asahi Shinbun Dejitaru (digital), and Maruzen eBook Library

European Colonialism in early 20th c. Asia

Colonialism and Nationalism in the Dutch East Indies, 1910-1930 This collection comprises correspondence, studies and reports, cables, maps, and other kinds of documents related to U.S. consular activities. U.S. Consulates were listening posts reporting on the activities of the Dutch colonial government and the activities of the native peoples.

German Colonies in Asia and the Pacific: from Colonialism to Japanese Mandates, 1910-1929 - this collection comprises correspondence, studies and reports, cables, maps, and other kinds of documents related to U.S. consular activities. U.S. Consulates were listening posts reporting on the activities of the German colonial governments and later the Japanese mandate authorities, and the activities of the native peoples.


Early English Books Online (EEBO) (1470 - 1700) - fully digitized facsimile of the Early English Books microfilm collection contains over 125,000 titles Learn more about this database

Early European Books Collection, series 1-4 - drawn from major repositories in Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Great Britain, this database offers a diverse array of printed sources from the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Learn more about this database

Eighteenth Century Journals - brings together rare journals printed between 1685 and 1815, illuminating all aspects of eighteenth-century social, political and literary life. The Libraries have purchased Section I, Section II and Section IV.

Electronic Enlightenment - collection of edited correspondence of the early modern period, linking people across Europe, the Americas and Asia from the early 17th to the mid-19th century — reconstructing one of the world's great historical "conversations".

The Super Enlightenment: A digital collection - contains 36 texts, written in French between 1716 and 1835 (for a full list, click on texts in any menu). Some of these, such as Antoine Court de Gébelin's nine-volume Monde primitif, were widely read in their time; others, such as the abbé Larudan's Les francs-maçons écrasés, are more emblematic of the shadowy demi-monde of 18th-century intellectual intrigue. Together, they represent the disparate and unorthodox interests of the age. Mesmer's memoir on animal magnetism, Bailly's letters on the myth of Atlantis, Morelly's blueprint for a natural utopia, and Pernety's alchemical interpretation of Egyptian mythology all shed light on obscured corners of philosophical inquiry during the Enlightenment. 

Nineteenth Century Collections Online - a multi-year global digitization and publishing program focused on primary source collections of the long nineteenth century. Collections for this program are sourced through partnerships with major world libraries as well as specialist libraries, and content includes monographs, newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts, ephemera, maps, statistics, and more. Includes 9,500 English, French and German literature titles of the Romantic era. Includes relevant collections such as: Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange; Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest; Mapping the World: Maps and Travel Literature; Photography: The World through the Lens; Religion, Society, Spirituality, and Reform; and Science, Technology, and Medicine 1780-1925.

C19: Nineteenth Century Index indexes over 1.7 million books and official publications, 70,000 archival collections and 22.7 million articles published in over 2,500 journals, magazines and newspapers. 

Empire Online Material in the collection spans five centuries, charting the story of the rise and fall of empires; from the explorations of Columbus, Captain Cook, and others, right through to decolonization in the second half of the twentieth century and debates over American Imperialism. The images are sourced from libraries and archives around the world, including a strong core of document images from the British Library. The main document types in the resource are: exploration journals and logs; letter books and correspondence, periodicals' official government documents; missionary papers; travel writing; slave papers; memoirs; fiction; children’s adventure stories; traditional; folk tales; exhibition catalogues and guides; maps, and marketing posters

the Americas

Sabin Americana - works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, Native Americans, military actions and much more. Over 6 million pages from 29,000 works. 

MENA/Islamic World

International Medieval Bibliography - interdisciplinary bibliography of the Middle Ages, covering Europe, the Middle East and North Africa from the period 400-1500. The database comprises over 300,000 articles from over 4500 periodicals and 5000 miscellany.

King and the People in Morocco, 1950-1959: U.S. State Department Records on the Internal Affairs of Morocco - After gaining independence in 1956, Morocco made great strides toward economic and political liberalization. The sultan Muhammad V, ruling his newly independent nation, proclaimed his intention of turning it into a constitutional monarchy. His first act was to transform himself into a monarch and assume the title of king. The Moroccan government undertook a number of economic, social, and political reforms, including the drafting of a constitution.

Arabic Newspapers - Kuwaiti, Omani, Lebanese, Qatari, Emarati, Saudi, Ottoman and Palestinian newspapers

Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers (1870-2019, but mostly mid-20th c.) content in the Middle Eastern & North African Newspapers collection is predominantly in Arabic, but also includes key titles in English and French. Titles from Algeria, Morocco, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

Other Primary Source Databases - including Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library, 1475-1900; Confidential Print: Middle East, 1839-1969; Early Western Korans (on BRC); RAND Voices of Jihad; Arab Israeli relations, 1917-1970; Afghanistan and the US, 1945-1963, and U. S. and Iraqi Relations: U. S. Technical Aid, 1950-1958

Bound (Print) Collections

Use subheadings like "Sources," "Personal narratives" "Correspondence," "Manuscripts, "Maps," "Literary collections," "Biography," etc.