Gender, Class, and Crime: The Victorian Underworld

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-432  |  History, as HIST-432

Moodle site: Course   |    Ellen R. Boucher (Section 01)

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Class Activities & Slides

2/21 Class: Finding, using, and analyzing primary sources

2/7 Class: Developing your topic & secondary sources


    You might start with the following sources to get background information or to contextualize primary sources:


      When searching for books in the 5 Colleges Catalog, use the following Subject Keywords to get started:

      Great Britain  History  Victoria, 1837-1901
      Great Britain  History  19th Century
      Great Britain  Social Conditions  19th Century

      From there, you can narrow your search with additional relevant keywords.

      See, for example, a slightly more complicated search: 



        Primary Sources

        • British Periodicals
          Searchable full text of hundreds of British periodicals from the late 17th century to the early 20th, with high-resolution facsimile page images.
        • British Library Newspapers
          Searchable archive of regional and local British newspapers published between the mid-eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.
        • Documents on British Policy Overseas
          Documents on British Policy Overseas provides users with access to a wide range of primary source documents from Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, shedding light on diplomatic history throughout the twentieth century
        • Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) (1780-1925)
          Full-text, searchable content from a broad range of 19th-century sources in literature, politics, theater, music, religion, maps, science, and childhood
        • Making of the Modern World (1450-1914)
          Primary source materials (including broadsides and pamphlets, serials, and monographs) tracing British and US economic history from 1450-1914
        • Crime, Punishment and Popular Culture (1790-1920)
          Composed of over two million pages of trial transcripts, police and forensic reports, detective novels, newspaper accounts, true crime literature, and related ephemera, focusing on nineteenth-century criminal history, law, literature, and justice.
        • Caribbean Newspapers (1718-1876)
          Fully searchable digitized collection of 18th- and 19th-century Caribbean newspapers, including 66 titles from 22 islands
        • Hathi Trust Digital Library
          A preservation repository of full text books & journals which allows the searching and downloading of public-domain books and Specialized services for text mining projects. Only public domain volumes are fully viewable online and allow partial downloading. Click "log In" and choose Amherst College from the list of institutions to get access to additional features and tools.
        • ARTstor
          Image database including architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design as well as many other forms of visual culture.
        • Historical Hansard: 1803-2005
          Historical Hansard provides access to digitised editions of Commons and Lords Hansard, the Official Report of debates in Parliament. There's the Hansard text itself by volume, Lords sittings, Commons sittings and Westminster Hall sittings as well as Written Answers, Written Statements, Lords reports and Grand Committee reports. This site also includes extracted lists of People who are recorded as having spoken, Constituencies, Offices, Acts, Bills and Divisions.
        • Institute of Historical Research, British History Online
          British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, it aims to support academic and personal users around the world in their learning, teaching and research.
        • The National Archives, Online Collections
          Over 5% of The National Archives' records have so far been digitised and we are continuing to put records online. Browse this section to view some of our most popular online collections.
        • British Library - Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians
          Discover a wealth of original sources spanning the Romantic and Victorian periods, including literary treasures such as original manuscripts, first editions and rare illustrations, alongside historical material such as newspapers, diaries, letters, photographs, and maps.
        • The Times Digital Archive
          The Times Digital Archive is an online, full-text facsimile of more than 200 years of the Times, with every page of every issue from 1785 to 2012.

        Print collections

        As the Primary Source Research Guide notes, you can use the 5 Colleges Catalog or WorldCat to identify collections of primary source material. Specific subjects include:

        Great Britain  History  Victoria, 1837-1901  Sources
        Great Britain  History  19th Century  Sources

        You might also go to the Advanced Search and start with keywords related to your topic in one search box, and narrow down your search to primary source material by copying and pasting the following into another search box (just make sure the AND option is selected in the drop-down menu between search boxes): 

        "archival resources" or archives or correspondence or diaries or interviews or notebooks or sketchbooks or "personal narratives" or photographs or sources or speeches