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Secondary Material

Secondary sources are interpretive works by historians written subsequent to the events described.

Queen Mary provides access to databases that contain high-quality secondary material relevant to History. Search these databases to identify up-to-date articles and other resources related to your research topic.

Queen Mary users can also access a number of databases available through Senate House Library; we have clearly indicated these here. Note: you will need to register with Senate House Library to access these databases.

  • African Diaspora Archive: Essential for understanding Black history and culture, African Diaspora, 1860-Present allows scholars to discover the migrations, communities, and ideologies of the African Diaspora through the voices of people of African descent. With a focus on communities in the Caribbean, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, and France, the collection includes never-before digitized primary source documents, including personal papers, organizational papers, journals, newsletters, court documents, letters, and ephemera. Coverage: 1860-Present

  • America: History and Life: A complete bibliographic reference to to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present, covering 2000 journals published worldwide. [Senate House Library]

  • American Periodicals Series: This database contains periodicals published between 1740 and 1940, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically-significant periodicals.

  • Bibliography of British and Irish History: Provides bibliographic data on historical writing dealing with the British Isles, and with the British Empire and Commonwealth, during all periods for which written documentation is available - from 55BC to the present. [Senate House Library]
  • Box of Broadcasts (BOB): Innovative shared online off-air TV and radio recording service for UK higher and further education institutions. Choose and record any broadcast programme from 60+ TV and radio channels, schedule recordings in advance, edit programmes into clips, create playlists, embed clips into VLEs, share what you are watching with others and search a growing archive of material. Discover more about BoB National features by viewing their Video Tutorials.
  • Encyclopaedia of Islam: Online version of the 12-volume encyclopaedia dealing with significant persons and events in both historic and modern Islam and the Islamic World.
  • Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages: Provides 3000 articles on all aspects of the period from the fifth to the fifteenth century, exploring art, architecture, religion, law, science, language, philosophy and theology, as well as cultural, religious, intellectual, social and political history
  • Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive Collection 3: Film and Television Archive: An archival research resource containing the essential primary sources for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through to the 21st century. The core US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting and theatre are included, together with film fan magazines and music press titles. Issues have been scanned in high-resolution colour, with granular indexing of articles, covers, ads and reviews. Coverage: 1907 – 2015.
  • Guardian and Observer Archive: This historical newspaper provides genealogists, researchers and scholars with online, easily-searchable first-hand accounts and unparalleled coverage of the politics, society and events of the time. Coverage: 1791 – 2003.
  • Historical Abstracts: Articles on all aspects of world history (excluding the Canada and the US) from the fifteenth century onwards. [Senate House Library]
  • International Medieval Bibliography Online: Leading interdisciplinary bibliography of the Middle Ages. [Senate House Library]
  • JSTOR: Provides access to the full text of many core journals in the History area. It is searchable by author and subject. Tutorial on using JSTOR
  • Mass Observation Online: Makes available the complete archives of the pioneering social research organisation Mass Observation. There are original manuscript and typescript papers, printed publications and photographs, and interactive features.
  • Nexis UK: Access to regional, national and global newspapers, Global company financial , company information, market research data, and country information, including the BBC monitoring service. Video Tutorials
  • The Oxford English Dictionary: Features 600,000 words, 3 million quotations, and over 1000 years of English.
  • Oxford Reference: An Online reference that brings together 2 million digitised entries across Oxford’s Dictionaries, Companions and Encyclopedias. Best for checking a fact or finding key information on a person, concept, or term.
  • Project MUSE: Provides full-text access to a collection of more than 300 journals in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses: search for dissertations and theses from across the world. [Senate House Library]
  • SAGE Research MethodsA database dedicated to research methods across a range of subject areas. SAGE Research Methods supports research at all levels by providing material to guide users through every step of the research process, from writing a research question, conducting a literature review, choosing the best research methods, analysing data, to writing up results and thinking about publication.
  • Scopus: A multi-disciplinary database containing the citations and abstracts of peer-reviewed literature. This database lists the number of times a work has been cited in other works, and provides direct links to the abstracts of citing works. Access to full-text subscription content where available at Queen Mary Library via "library - check full text" button. Video Tutorial
  • Web of Science: A multi-disciplinary database containing the citations and abstracts of peer-reviewed literature. This database lists the number of times a work has been cited in other works, and provides direct links to the abstracts of citing works. Access to full-text subscription content where available at Queen Mary Library via "library - check full text" button. Video Tutorial

The databases listed above are only a small part of the database collections at Queen Mary and Senate House Libraries. You can find the full list of databases available at Queen Mary via the Library's A-Z List of Electronic Journals and Databases. If the topic you are studying crosses a number of different subject areas, you may find it helpful to check the other Library Subject Guide pages for useful resources, contacts and information.

Digitised Archives

Primary sources are texts of original documents, contemporary with the events they describe.

A number of archival repositories (including the College itself) have digitised some or all of their collections, thus providing ready access to original documents.

  • Queen Mary University of London Archives: Digitised highlights from the university archives include the writings of Constance Maynard, the People's Palace Journal and WW1 resources.
  • 17th-18th Century Burney Collection (newspapers): Searchable full-text access to the British Library's collection of the newspapers, pamphlets and books gathered by Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817)--the largest and most comprehensive collection of early English news media. More than 1200 titles and almost 1 million pages are included.
  • 19th Century British Newspapers: This database features 48 British newspapers from the 19th century selected by the British Library's editorial board. Many of the newspapers are available in complete runs, and all are fully searchable.
  • 19th Century British Pamphlets: Online access to [over 25,000] of the most significant British pamphlets from the 19th century held in UK research libraries. Selected by RLUK, the pamphlets provide users with a wide focus on the political, social and economic issues of 19th-century Britain. [Senate House Library]
  • 19th Century Collections Online: British theatre, music and literature : a wide range of primary sources related to the arts in the long 19th century, from playbills and scripts to operas and complete scores. [Senate House Library]
  • 19th Century UK Periodicals: This database contains 1.2 million pages of periodicals published in Great Britain from 1800-1900. It includes publications on women, children, leisure and sport and humour. 
  • Bank of England Archive: The Bank has digitised some of its important collections such as the governing Court minutes 1694-1795 and the diaries of Montagu Norman (governor of the Bank from 1920 to 1944).
  • Black Cultural Archive: A national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.
  • The British Union of Fascists: Newspapers and secret files: 1933-1951: These papers cover the growth of the British Union of Fascists and the impact of WW2 upon them. 
  • Cabinet Papers 1915-1986: Downloadable documents (e.g. agendas, minutes (actually called 'conclusions') and memoranda) created by the Cabinet and arranged thematically.
  • The Cecil Papers: Digital version of the Hatfield House Archives, comprising a collection of almost 30,000 documents gathered by William Cecil (1520-1598), Lord Burghley and his son Robert Cecil (1563-1612), First Earl of Salisbury. Includes many 16th- and 17th-century state papers, grants from the Crown, legal documents, treaties, correspondences and political memoranda.
  • Charles Booth's London: Provides access to the original notebooks and papers of Charles Booth's survey of life and labour in London 1886-1903.
  • Colonial State Papers: Digital version of The National Archives collections documenting British trade, history and overseas expansion between the 16th and 18th centuries. Includes papers presented to the Privy Council and the Board of Trade between 1574 and 1757 that relate to the governance of, and activities in, the American, Canadian and West Indian colonies.
  • Connected Histories. British History Sources, 1500-1900Brings together a range of digital resources related to early modern and 19th-century Britain with a single federated search that allows sophisticated searching of names, places and dates, as well as the ability to save, connect and share resources within a personal workspace.
  • EuroDocs: Provides links to selected transcriptions, facsimiles and translations of documents relating to European history from antiquity through to the present day.
  • Findmypast is a British genealogy service. It makes original historical documents available to search online, so that people can explore a collection of over two billion records to find their ancestors and trace their family tree from worldwide.
  • Gale Primary Sources is a humanities and social sciences digital primary sources archive that allows you to use a single cross- search interface to access 500 years of world history in multiple collections. For tutorials and training, please click here.
  • The John Johnson Collection: An Archive of Printed EphemeraProvides access to 67,754 scanned items (a total of 174,196 images), including more than 20,700 pieces of theatrical and non-theatrical ephemera from the Nineteenth-Century Entertainment category and more than 11,700 items from the Booktrade category. Over 11,200 Popular Prints are available in facsimile form, along with more than 22,400 items from Advertising and over 1,500 from Crimes, Murders and Executions.
  • Historical Texts: Brings together three historically significant collections: Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and 65,000 texts from the British Library 19th Century collection.
  • Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913: A fully searchable collection of almost 200,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. Other useful websites that document the history of crime and London are London Lives 1690-1800 and Locating London's Past.
  • Telegraph Historical Archive, 1855-2000 which includes the Sunday edition - allows you to search historical data on any number of topics, and offers insight into domestic and international affairs and culture over a timespan of almost 150 years.  For tutorials and training, please click here.
  • The Times Digital Archive: 1785-2011 (and rolling) provides access to a library of back issues of the newspaper online plus searchable images from the microfilm collection of The Times.
  • The Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive1902-2014 offers insight, criticism, and commentary on literature and the arts from over a century. 
  • The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade DatabaseContains data on more than 35,000 slaving voyages completed between the 16th and 19th centuries.
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