I was recently informed of an exciting collection of nineteenth century primary content that will be made available online this spring. Gale Cenage Learning, a well known publisher of reference and research sources for businesses, schools, and libraries recently announced plans for its program of studies Nineteenth Century Collections Online. It is a global publishing and digitalization program comprised of rare nineteenth century content (primary source), and though still being developed, the first four modules will be released sometime between April and the end of May 2012.
Nineteenth Century Collections Online will remain a work in progress, with content from partner libraries such as the Bodleian Library (Oxford University), the British Library, and archives such as the UK National Archives and the US National Archives being added regularly. Such institutions and other smaller ones will in total contribute over 150 various collections this year, providing genealogists with yet another immensely important online resource.
The content to be on offer has never been digitalized, and most has never been put onto microfilm, so this is exciting unique content of a rare and valuable nature. Some of what will be available is:
- The Corvey Collection of European Literature: 1790-1840 –an original collection of essays covering an array of Romantic literature that was published in German, French and English sourced from Corvey Abbey located in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. This collection is one of the most prolific and important existing assemblages of works from this period. It specializes in rare, hard-to-find compositions by obscure female writers. It contains Dramatic Works, Gothic Novels, Poetry, Short-Form Prose, and Novels
- Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange – This collection covers topics such as U.S and British diplomacy and foreign policy, the Philippine Insurrection, Asian political, economic, and social affairs, the Opium Wars and much more.
- British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture – includes a wealth of materials, including scripts, playbills, musical scores, and operas. Many of these have never been filmed or made available in digital or other electronic format. They cover topics such as street literature, penny dreadfuls, Victorian popular culture and includes the Archive of the Royal Literary Fund.
- British Politics and Society – presenting a catalogue of primary sources that cover topics like Chartism, Owenism, radical movements, the cartographic record, political reform, and British domestic and foreign policy. It also contains working class autobiographies, British Cabinet papers, and accounts of riots and civil disturbances in nineteenth century England.
These works will be released in increments beginning in mid-2012, and will provide an exceptional resource to scholars. Family historians, and history and literature buffs. Genealogists will be able to get an even more detailed picture of how their ancestors may have lived during this period. You will come to know what sort of entertainment and literature they may have enjoyed, the civil disturbances and unrest they might have encountered, been involved in, or been affected by. You can learn what sort of domestic or foreign policy may have influenced them to immigrate, or uncover clues as to where they may have emigrated to. Such information can really help you to compile interesting and exciting Family History Reports.
So often we get bogged down in a records search that we forget just how interesting, educational, and entertaining genealogy can be. This collection will avail us of all these fringe benefits of pursuing our family history, and is a collection to be cherished. Mark your calendar for the spring of 2012, and subscribe to our Blog if you haven’t already. We’ll keep you up to date on the progress, and inform you when the collection comes online. Until then, Happy ancestor hunting, and enjoy genealogy!