New in Oxford: 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection

[originally blogged on the HFL Oxford blog.]

I am pleased to report that Oxford researchers now have access to the online 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection via SOLO or OxLIP+.

A collection of late 16th and early 17th century newspapers, pamphlets and broadsheets, the Nichols newspaper collection is held at the Bodleian Library and was bought by the library from the Nichols family in 1865. It comprises 296 volumes of bound material. In partnership with the Bodleian Library, Gale scanned the original physical copies to produce this online resource.

Burney and Nichols

The two biggest collections of 17th- and 18th-century newspapers were owned by Dr. Charles Burney and his fellow collector, John Nichols. The Nichols Newspaper Collection contains titles that are not in the Burney Collection and fill gaps from title runs in Burney. Having access, therefore, to both the 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers and the 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection is wonderful news for early modernists studying British history, politics, society, culture and also international relations in this period.

Using Gale Primary Sources you can search across both Burney and Nichols newspaper collections simultaneously.

Content of the Nichols Newspapers Collection

The resource, covering the period 1672 to 1737, includes approximately 300 primary titles of newspapers and periodicals and 300 pamphlets and broadsheets.

Examples of some interesting newspapers include Athenian Mercury (1691-1697), The Flying Post (1695-1733), The Post Boy (1695-1728) and many more. It also includes all four issues of The Ladies Mercury, an early example of a periodical aimed at women, and The Female Tatler, the first known periodical with a female editor.

How to use and search the Nichols Newspapers Collection

Advanced searches include limiting to type of content, year, etc. As ever when searching full-text in early modern newspaper resources, the use of language has to be carefully considered. The resource does allow you to search for variations in spelling. Reading the Help > Search section is highly recommended. Proximity searching doesn’t seem to be available, to the best my knowledge. Researchers can browse by publication title or date.

The resource comes with introductory essays and resources:

  • ‘A Copious Collection of Newspapers’: John Nichols and his Collection of Newspapers, Pamphlets and News Sheets, 1760–1865 (Julian Pooley, University of Leicester)
  • The English Press in the Long Eighteenth Century: An Introduction, Change Amidst Continuity (Professor Jeremy Black, University of Exeter)
  • London Newspapers and Domestic Politics in the Early Eighteenth Century (Professor Hannah Barker, University of Manchester)
  • Advertising Novels in the Early Eighteenth-century Newspaper: Some examples from the Bodleian’s Nichols collection. (Dr Siv Gøril Brandtzæg, University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim)
  • Dealing with the ‘Fair Sex’: Women and the Periodical Press in the Nichols Collection (Claire Boulard Jouslin, Université Paris3-Sorbonne Nouvelle)
  • The Nichols Collection, 1666–1737: Religion, Regulation and the Development of the Metropolitan Press (Daniel Reed, Oxford Brookes University)

Finally, it also includes a tool which analyses the frequency or popularly of terms in the digitised documents (Term Frequency). While the visualisation of term frequency is exciting and linking relevant documents is incredibly useful, any post-1737 results should be ignored as, of course, there are no Nichols newspapers after that year:

John Nichols (1745-1826)

John Nichols was a writer, printer, former Master of the Stationers’ Company and biographer of Hogarth (Biographical anecdotes of William Hogarth, 1781) and local history enthusiast (The history and antiquities of the county of Leicester, 4 vols., 1795-1815) . An enthusiastic collector and antiquarian, he began collecting newspapers from c 1778, when in June that year he purchased a share in the Gentleman’s Magazine, becoming sole printer from 1780.

Learn more about him and his family:

More early modern resources


Posted in New Resources | Tagged

‘The Unnatural Life at the Writing-Desk’: Women’s Writing across the Long Eighteenth Century – BLOG POST

Here is Joanna Raisbeck’s blog post (for the Taylorian’s website) about the exhibition she co-curated with Kelsey Rubin-Detlev and Ben Shears: The Unnatural Life at the Writing-Desk’: Women’s Writing across the Long Eighteenth Century.

The exhibition was organised in conjunction with RECSO’s annual conference 2017: ‘Women, Authorship, and Identity in the Long Eighteenth Century: New Methodologies’ (held on Saturday, 17th June, at the Taylor Institution and TORCH)

You can read all about it here:

Posted in Conferences, Exhibitions, RECSO, TORCH

Art of Power: The 3rd Earl of Bute, Politics and Collecting in Enlightenment Britain Symposium (2-4 October 2017)


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Now available in Oxford: The Grand Tour

I am pleased to report that Oxford researchers now have access to The Grand Tour (Adam Matthew Digital). Use your SSO for remote access.

As thousands of British tourists are currently enjoying their holidays in Europe, no doubt Facebooking and Instagramming their experiences and sights, it is worth reflecting back how travel accounts used to be written and at a time when European travel was reserved to the aristocratic and wealthy young men of the eighteenth century and seen as part of their education.

The Grand Tour, a term first used by J. Gailhard, The compleat gentleman, or, Directions for the education of youth as to their breeding at home and travelling abroad (1678)*, was a phenomenon which shaped the creative and intellectual sensibilities of some of the eighteenth century’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers. Now researchers have access to digitised accounts of the English abroad in Europe c1550-1850.

The source materials in The Grand Tour highlight the influence of continental travel on British art, architecture, urban planning, literature and philosophy. They are also useful for the study of daily life in the eighteenth century, whether it be on transportation, communications, money, social norms, health, sex or food and drink. Furthermore, the material covers European political and religious life, British diplomacy; life at court, and social customs on the Continent, and is an excellent resource for the study of Europe’s urban spaces. This resource will be useful for those studying history, history of art and architecture, British and European literature.


There is a wealth of detail about cities such as Paris, Rome, Florence and Geneva, including written accounts and visual representations of street life, architecture and urban planning.

What is included?

The Grand Tour provides full-text access to a curated collection of manuscripts, printed works and visual resources. The materials draw on collections held in a number of libraries and archives, including many in private or neglected collections. Assembling these in a single resource will allow researchers for the first time to better compare the sources.

In particular the scanned and indexed materials include letters; diaries and journals; account books; printed guidebooks; published travel writing; but also visual resources such as paintings and sketches; architectural drawings and maps. Palaeographical skills are needed to decipher manuscript letters. Some images of scanned manuscripts are challenging to read.

Using an interactive map, researchers can also locate any sources related to a town or city:


Also included is an online version of John Ingamells (comp.), Dictionary and Archive of Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 (New Haven, 1997). This well-known publication lists over 6,000 individual Grand Tourists, provides biographical details and details of their tours.

For those needing an introductory and historiographical account of Grand Tour research, there are essays by Professors Jeremy Black, Edward Chaney and Rosemary Sweet.

Other supplementary aids include a chronology of 18th century European events, a political chronology of Italy, and a list of Italian rulers, as well as a selected bibliography for further reading.

The Grand Tour is accessible to Oxford researchers and Bodleian-registered readers via SOLO or OxLIP+.

Also useful

*Oxford English Dictionary,, accessed 17 August 2017

Posted in New Resources, The Bodleian

CFP: Molds as Cultural and Material Mediators

College Art Association Annual Conference, 21 February to 24 February, Los Angeles Convention Center, USA

Molds, used in a variety of artistic and artisanal practices, are understood as a means of creating an exact likeness. Through the use of the mold the maker is able to pull forth an (supposedly) unmediated image of a subject that already exists — the wrinkled face of a deceased person, the scales of a lizard, or the ornament of an ancient monument. But beyond the transmission of the form mediated by the mold, the touch of the mold to the subject it imprints has been seen in different historical moments as having particularly potent social power in not only capturing the subject’s likeness, but also its interior qualities. In the case of death masks, for instance, the mold that imprinted the face was also seen to facilitate the transfer of their essence into the cast positive, thereby making the absent person present. By freezing the fleeting subject, the mold thus creates temporal stasis. It is due to molds that we are able to study plaster casts of ancient monuments that have since been destroyed or worn away by time. Considering molds’ social, and not simply practical, function therefore opens up broader questions about mimesis, temporality, memory, and presence, as well as the influence of likeness and creativity upon them. This session seeks papers that explore the mold as more than a tool, but instead a means of making that is integral to the way in which the objects that result from it functioned and were understood.

Deadling for proposals is 14 August 2017 by email to Hannah Wirta Kinney, University of Oxford ( and Emily Knight, University of Oxford (

Full instructions on the submission process can be found here:

Posted in Call for Papers, Conferences

RECSO Poster Session/2017-18 Launch Evening

RECSO are looking for graduate students from all Faculties, working on any aspect of the long eighteenth-century, to produce a research poster and give a five-minute presentation for our RECSO 2017/18 launch event on Thursday of 3rd week (26th October) at 7pm (Venue TBC). If you would like to submit a poster, please contact by the 19th October.

Please note, that it is not necessary to present anything in order to attend. This will be an ideal event for those new to Oxford – as well as those returning – who are keen to meet others working on the same period in an informal setting.

RECSO warmly invites graduate students and staff of all faculties, working on any aspect of the long eighteenth-century to join us. Wine and cheese will be provided, and throughout the evening, several students representing the faculties of English, History, Music, and Art History.

Posted in Events, Opportunities, RECSO

Reminder: Submit proposals for RECSO’s Instruments of the Eighteenth Century seminar series

See below for the Call for Papers for RECSO’s Michaelmas 2017 seminar series — send in proposals to by 30 July 2017.


Instruments of... CFP A5

Posted in Call for Papers, RECSO, Seminars

Women’s Study Group (1558-1837) 2017/18: CFP and Meeting Schedule

The Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 is a small, informal, multidisciplinary group formed to promote women’s studies in the early modern period and the long eighteenth century.  Since it was established in the early 1980s, the group has enabled those interested in women’s and gender studies to keep in touch, to hear about one another’s research and publications, and to meet regularly to discuss relevant topics. We organize regular meetings and an annual workshop (see membership application form) where members can meet and discuss women’s studies topics. We can also offer advice and opportunities to engage in activities that increase opportunities for publication, or enhance professional profiles in other ways. The group meets at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ. We will be allowed into the room at 12.30 pm., to give us time to sort out paperwork and technology, but sessions will run from 1.00-4.00 pm. So please arrive a little early if you can. The WSG is open to men, women, and non-binary people, students, faculty, and independent scholars, all of whom are invited to join our group and to give papers.

Topics can be related to any aspect of women’s studies: not only women writers, but any activity of a woman or women in the period of our concern, or anything that affects or is affected by women in this period, such as the law, religion, etc. Male writers writing about women or male historical figures relevant to the condition of women in this period are also a potential topic. Papers tackling aspects of women’s studies within or alongside the wider histories of gender and sexuality are particularly welcome; so are topics from the early part of our period. We would also welcome how-to presentations for discussion: examples of suitable topics would include, but are not limited to, applying for grants, setting up research networks, becoming a curator, co-authorship, and writing about images.


Venue: Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ.

Meetings are at weekends: in the 2017-2018 sessions, the dates are as follows:

Saturday 23rd September, 2017

Saturday 18th November, 2017

Sunday 14th  January, 2018

Sunday 11th March, 2018 (work in progress or how-to presentations particularly welcome at this session).

Any questions should be directed to:

Find out more about us on

Posted in Call for Papers, Seminars

Correspondance de Pierre Bayle

The Voltaire Foundation has just published the final volume of the fifteen-volume Correspondance de Pierre Bayle. To celebrate this achievement, Cultures of Knowledge, in association with the Voltaire Foundation, are hosting a talk by the editor, Professor Antony McKenna, followed by a drinks reception. It will take place at the Faculty of History, University of Oxford, on Monday, 19 June 2017, at 4 p.m.

All welcome!


Posted in Events