British & Commonwealth History
Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org on Sat, 01/03/2009 - 17:25.
I need help finding two British government documents. The first is the Local and Personal Acts 56 George III c. 99 of 1816. The second is the British Museum Act of 1963. They both concern ownership of the Elgin Marbles.
Stanford offers many ways to access British government documents and Parliamentary papers. For materials on microfiche, check out the Chadwyck-Healey collection (1801-1900)--there's a guide to it in the Social Sciences Resource Center (call# Z2019 .C62 1991). You can also look in the Law Library for the Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. (You can also access the act via Google Books: Local and Personal Acts 56 George III c. 99 of 1816.)
There is also online access for many British documents in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers database. The following documents might be particularly helpful for your research question: Select Committee on Purchase of Earl of Elgin's Collection of Sculptured Marbles. Report, Minutes of Evidence, Appendix; British Museum Act of 1963
Submitted by email@example.com on Sat, 11/29/2008 - 15:48.
I'm looking for primary sources from Parliament members, British officials, or merchants involved in the opium trade. I'm starting with Parliamentary debates leading around 1840-1842, and was wondering if there's an easier way to do this than going into the stacks and looking at the index books for those years.
Relevant databases are listed on our British and Commonwealth history databases page, including the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers database and the Times of London archive (newspapers are good for finding public records of the day). You can also try the UK National Archives, which has a good search engine and lots of public records besides the Parliamentary Papers (but the site charges, so try to find sources in the other databases first.)
One other strategy for finding primary materials is to scan the bibliographies in the secondary literature. You can also search Searchworks for the subject "China History Opium War" and you'll find lots of material (use the combined search if you want to delete titles written in Chinese).
You may also want to broaden your search terms for things like Anglo-Chinese War, British East India Company, trade, and China (within certain time frames), geographies like Canton and Macao, names like Lin Zexu (Chinese commissioner of Canton), Lord Napier, etc.
Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 14:29.
I will be in London shortly, doing research on the signal and code intercepts made by British Intelligence, both civilian and military, for the early 1950s in the Far East. Before I go, I would like to find out what are the archival classes of these materials in what was formally called the Public Record Office, and is now the British National Archives.
Our best guess would be that whatever declassified records might exist would be found in the HW class in the National Archives at Kew, which comprise the records of the Government Code and Cypher School and its successor, GCHQ. As described in the National Archives' online catalogue, the records comprise 74 series (the majority of which are not listed online). Here is a brief description of the HW series:
Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) and its successors
Richard J. Aldrich's essay, "GCHQ and Sigint in the Early Cold War, 1945-1970" (in Matthew Aid and Cees Wiebes, eds., Secrets of Signals Intelligence During the Cold War and Beyond.) notes that "the main British Sigint centre in Asia after 1945 was Hong Kong, initially staffed by RAF personnel. Here, together with help from Australia's Defence Signals Directorate, they captured Chinese and Soviet radio traffic." (p. 75).
However, I'm not at all sure which series within the HW class may be open (if indeed, the records you're seeking are there). You may be familiar with an 2000 review article by Michael Hopkins, "Britain and the Korean War after 50 years: The slow emergence of an intelligence dimension," in Intelligence and National Security, Vol 15, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), p.177. While now several years old, it concludes by noting that "the picture of British intelligence during the Korean War remains particularly fleeting. Yet one suspects that in an archive somewhere is an abundance of intercepted Chinese material from the Hong Kong listening post..." It does note that Volume II of Anthony Farrar-Hockley's official history, The British Part in the Korean War: An Honourable Discharge (London: HMSO, 1995) acknowledges sources from SIS, MI5 and GCHQ, but does not cite precise citations in footnotes.
Since it seems likely that many of the records you're seeking may be recently declassified (or remain classified), I would contact the National Archives directly.
You might also consult the Consulting Group on Security and Intelligence Records regarding the availability of British intelligence records dealing with the Korean conflict. Here is link that describes their mission; it strikes me that might be particularly helpful in determining which broad classes of British signals intelligence reports might be available for the Korean conflict.
Submitted by email@example.com on Tue, 10/28/2008 - 13:14.
I’m hoping to use the State Papers, Foreign, from the British National Archives [formerly known as the Public Record Office], for what was then known as Flanders. I’m mainly interested in the 17th Century. Does Stanford have the Calendars and Papers for this collection?
Calendars of the State Papers, both foreign and domestic, were produced as guides to the Public Record Office manuscripts, mostly in the 19th Century, with infrequent updates later. While the Calendars of State Papers, Domestic, extend through the 17th Century, the Calendars of State Papers, Foreign, cover only the years up to 1589, the time of the Armada. These calendars are also available online.
However, we have the State Papers Foreign themselves, in microfilm, going through 1603. Boxes 2 and 3 in the collection contain the reels for Flanders: SP 77/5 and SP 77/6. There is no guide, but there are pencil notations in the corners of the manuscript documents on the film, as well as dates/authors.
In WorldCat we have found a set of microfilm at the Center for Research Libraries, called: State papers, foreign. Flanders, 1585-1780.
SP 77/9: August, 1609
These can be borrowed via Inter-library Borrowing.
An overview and outline of the materials in the State Papers Foreign can be found at the British National Archives web site. A fairly detailed list of the SP 77 series for Flanders can be seen by searching the National Archives Catalogue for word Flanders and using the Department or Series code SP 77.
There is also an interesting survey article on the Calendars of State Papers as an example of historical scholarship in the history journal Clio, 2006 Vol.36, no.1, pages 1-21.