British Historical Studies Colloquium

at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies

Links To Research Sites

A number of research institutions in North America are rich in resources for the study of Britain. These institutions not only have extensive collections, but often have small research grants available to scholars.

The Beinecke Library here at Yale and the Lewis Walpole Library both have excellent collections, and are especially strong in 18th-century manuscripts. Several small fellowships are available for Yale students. Farther afield, the Houghton Library at Harvard have extensive collections as well as small research grants. The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington has a strong Renaissance collection as well as an active seminar series that provides fellowships for graduate students wishing to attend. The Huntington Library in San Marino, California has an especially rich collection of British manuscripts and pamphlets and has a very generous fellowship program. The Newberry Library in Chicago has collections of pamphlet and manuscript material covering an array of topics. The William Clements Library at Michigan has a very strong eighteenth century collection. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has strong collections in Colonial American and British Imperial History.

Of course, the major resources for the study of Britain are in the British Isles themselves. The first stop for any scholar planning a research trip to Britain should be the manuscript catalogs of the major research libraries. Yale’s library system holds manuscript catalogues from the British Library, Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the Cambridge University Library, Trinity College’s Library, the National Library of Scotland and many smaller collections. The Historical Manuscripts Commission’s website makes it possible to locate manuscript collections of individuals, families and corporate bodies. While the listings are most reliable for record offices in the United Kingdom, it does provide listings for continental European and North American archives as well.

The central governmental archives are crucial to most research projects, and are increasingly accessible online. While the National Archives Catalogue has been a mainstay of researchers for close to a decade, the Parliamentary Archives has recently launched its online catalog, Portcullis. The ARCHON website provides information about the holdings in the local record offices of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Many major British Libraries and archives have their own websites. Particularly well-developed websites exist for the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the Cambridge University Library, the Trinity College Library, Dublin, the National Library of Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland, and the National Library of Ireland.