Eighteenth Century Journals

A Portal to Newspapers and Periodicals, c1685-1835

Bringing together rare journals printed between c1685 and 1835, this resource illuminates all aspects of eighteenth-century social, political and literary life.

Eighteenth Century Journals draws together material from some of the finest archives across the UK and the US, with the aim of representing the rich variety of the eighteenth century press. It is the first resource of its kind to make available unique and extremely rare eighteenth century periodicals online, each chosen to convey the eclecticism and evolution of the publishing world between 1685 and 1835.

From political journals circulated in London coffee houses to colonial newspapers, and from poetic reviews to magazines for ladies of fashion, Eighteenth Century Journals illuminates all aspects of social, political and literary life, providing an opportunity to examine a variety of topical issues, and to compare a range of perspectives on the debates of the day.

The vast material will be of interest to those studying a range of topics, including literature, theatre, the origins and rise of Romanticism, politics, revolution and rebellion, social issues, gender, society, religion and the influence of the Press.

Periodicals and newspapers were a characteristic form of expression for eighteenth-century writers and all students of the period will surely profit from reading them.
Professor Brian Cowan, McGill University

Modules include:

Module I: Newspapers and Periodicals, 1693-1793

Sourced from the Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Hope Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, is one of the finest surviving collections of eighteenth-century periodicals. These journals provide an invaluable insight into the eighteenth-century world. The views represented within these texts are often in opposition to those of the government or other established bodies; indeed, they are often in opposition with one another.

Authors represented include Joseph Addison, Henry Fielding, Horace Walpole, Richard Steele, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Chatterton. Topics covered include law and policing, British colonial possessions, the South Sea Bubble, religion, female dress and the American and French revolutions.

Module II: Newspapers and Periodicals, 1699-1812

Sourced from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre, University of Texas at Austin

This module is based on the holdings of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre at the University of Texas, Austin, which contains one of the finest collections of rare 17th and 18th century British periodicals in the world. Over 70 newspapers and periodicals have been drawn from these, all extremely rare or unique, and many of which are not held by The British Library. 

The content of newspapers was dictated by the editor’s sense of what was desired by the general readership. This desire can be summed up in a single word: variety. Themes covered by the periodicals featured in this digital collection are highly diverse, including literature, the theatre, fashion, politics, revolution, agriculture, social issues and society life. There is a wide selection from across every decade, including many short-run items. Material is drawn from London, Dublin and Edinburgh as well as many local and provincial publications.

Module III: Newspapers and Periodicals, 1680-1816

Sourced from British Library Newspapers, Colindale and Cambridge University Library

Module III celebrates the variety and diversity of eighteenth-century publishing with a range of newspapers and magazines covering a variety of subjects. This module focuses largely on material published outside of London, including newspapers from across the British Empire, Ireland, Scotland and provincial England as well as Canadian, Caribbean and Indian journals.

Colonial newspapers, included in this collection, were aimed at the British population across the globe and focused on current affairs, offering both local news and the ‘latest’ news from Britain and Europe. Although, acquired through the frequent arrivals of ships from home, they were frequently nine or ten months out of date by the time they arrived. However, they are an invaluable source of information about the political dealings, practical struggles and military skirmishes. In addition to newspapers, Eighteenth Century Journals III also contains several journals and magazines from the UK which offered satire, poetry and opinion.

Module IV: Newspapers and Periodicals, 1708-1820

Sourced from Chetham's Library, Manchester and the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

In the eighteenth century, London’s economic and political influence receded as the importance of towns and cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow rose. Eighteenth Century Journals, Module IV, contains key material published in Manchester during this time of rapid industrial change and political turmoil.

Newspapers were also integral to the rise of advertising in the eighteenth century. As the circulation and readership of regional newspapers widened, businesses became more aware of the potential for advertising and selling their products via printed advertisements on a nation-wide scale. By the end of the eighteenth century, advertisements made up a large part of the content of newspapers.

Module V: The Lady's Magazine and other titles, 1712-1835

Sourced from Birmingham Central Library, British Library, Cambridge University Library and Liverpool John Moores University Library


This module includes the full run of The Lady’s Magazine, or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, a periodical which ran for sixty-two years from 1770 to 1832, before merging with its rival The Ladies Museum in 1832. The Ladies Museum was launched in 1798 as The Lady’s Monthly Museum, the first two volumes of which are also included in this section.

It is a major source for scholars of literary and gender studies. Topics covered include education, fashion, poetry, literature, art, music, the theatre, the body, disease, health, vaccination, religion, world events, gardening, poverty, hunting, gambling and food, as well as commentaries on other aspects of the social and domestic scenes.

Key Data

Period Covered

  • Mid-17th to early 19th century

Highlights

  • Theatrical journals, including The Theatre, The Anti-Theatre, The Comedian, The Rhapsodist and The Theatrical Monitor
  • Periodicals ranging from political journals such as Joseph Addison’s Freeholder to local newspapers such as the York Chronicle and literary reviews including The Present State of the Republick of Letters
  • A strong selection of colonial newspapers from Canada, the Caribbean and India, demonstrating how news spread throughout the Empire. 
  • Manchester newspapers covering the growth of industry, urbanisation and radical politics. 
  • A complete run of The Lady’s Magazine, 1770-1832, and other relevant titles including The Lady’s Monthly Museum, The Lady’s Philosopher, The Minerva Magazine and The New Novelist’s Magazine. It is the perfect guide to the sensibilities of both genders in the age of Jane Austen.

Source Archives

  • Birmingham Central Library
  • Cambridge University Library
  • Chetham’s Library, Manchester
  • Liverpool John Moores Library
  • The British Library
  • The Brotherton Library, University of Leeds
  • The Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas
  • The Hope Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Material Types

  • Rare printed journals, periodicals and newspapers of the long eighteenth century not covered in EEBO, ECCO or Early English Newspapers. Eighteenth Century Journals features many short run items and very rare materials making it an excellent complement to other resources already available in this area.

Editorial Board

  • Jennie Batchelor, University of Kent (Module V)
  • Jeremy Black, University of Exeter (Modules I, II and III)
  • Brian Cowan, McGill University (Modules III and IV)
  • Laura Mandell, Texas A&M University (Module IV)
  • Kevin O’Neill, Boston College (Module IV)

Subjects

  • Class and Social Structure
  • Current Affairs: Domestic and Foreign
  • Colonialism and Empire
  • Drama, Theatre and Music
  • Economics and the Industrial Revolution
  • The Enlightenment, Science and Discovery
  • Fashion, Taste and Consumption
  • The French and American Revolutions
  • Poetry and Literature
  • Politics and Radicalism
  • Religion
  • Slavery and the Anti-Slavery Movement

Key Features

  • Unique and extremely rare eighteenth century periodicals.
  • Materials have been carefully chosen to convey the eclecticism and evolution of publishing between 1685 and 1835.
  • All titles have been carefully screened against other eighteenth century academic resources (EEBO, ‘19th Century British Library Newspapers’, ECCO, etc.) to ensure minimal overlap.
  • All transcriptions have been double-keyed (and not OCR’d) providing a greater accuracy (99%) in search results.
  • Many documents digitised in full colour.

Supporting Material

Usage Case Studies

Going to the Source: Understanding Usage of Primary Source Materials Worldwide

Read the white paper written by Michael Levine-Clark, Dean, University of Denver Libraries: The project, which was developed by Batchelor, the lead investigator, grew out of her desire to write a ...... View full case study