Contact Information
  • Librarian: Celestina Savonius-Wroth
  • Location: Herman B Wells Library E560
  • Phone: (812) 855-1336
Libraries & Subjects
last updated: 10/1/2012

Researching the 19th Century

Selected Resources for Researching the 19th Century

(print as a word document)

Angela Courtney, Librarian for English ( and
Celestina Savonius-Wroth, Librarian for History (


On this page:

 I. Bibliography and Historiography  VI. Government/legal
 II. Periodicals and Newspapers  VII. 19th-c Collections 
 III. Literature in Periodicals  VIII. Other Collections
 IV. Literary Criticism   IX. Web portals
 V. Subject indexes  X. Other useful links


I. Bibliography and Historiography

  • C19: The Nineteenth Century Index: A growing all-inclusive bibliographic "spine" for English-language 19th-century research. C19 is a one-stop finding tool covering multiple content types, providing records for more than 11 million documents ranging from books and newspapers to government documents and periodicals at the article level.

  • Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalog: An attempt to list every book published in Great Britain and its colonies, or published in English anywhere in the world, in the 19th century. See printed bibliographies in Reference Collection for equivalent listings for other countries and languages.

  • IUCAT, the IU Libraries online catalog, and WorldCat, the combined catalogs of majority of US libraries: Tips: In IUCAT, use Advanced Keyword search, include 19th century and/or bibliography and/or sources as subject terms. (WorldCat uses the same subject terms.) To find 19th-century publications, limit your search by date of publication.

    Also: The British Library Catalogue, COPAC, combined online catalog for major UK research libraries,  and The European Library (Gateway to Europe's National Libraries)

  • Historical Abstracts and America: History & Life: Electronic indexes to scholarly publications in history (HA is world history, AHL is North American history). Use the Time Period Index to focus search on the 19th century, or even individual decades.

  • NINES (Nineteenth-Century Scholarship Online: Search engine for peer-reviewed digital objects (both primary and secondary sources) relating to the long 19th century.

  • MLA International Bibliography: bibliography of research on modern European languages and literatures. Note that the MLA does not use 19th century as a subject term/descriptor. Use 1800-1899 instead.

  • Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL): to search for 19th-century material, use Nineteenth Century as a keyword, eg English literature Nineteenth Century.

  • British Fiction, 1800-1829: A Database of Production, Circulation, and Reception: Bibliographical records of 2,272 works of fiction written by approximately 900 author, along with a large number of contemporary materials (including anecdotal records, circulating-library catalogues, newspaper advertisements, reviews, and subscription lists).

  • The British Empire in the Victorian Press, 1832-1867: A Bibliography. (Herman B Wells Library - Research Coll. - Stacks Z2021.C7 P32 1987)

  • Victorian Studies Bibliography: indexes over 400 journals in Victorian Studies. The online bibliography covers journals from 1991-2003

II. General Interest Periodicals and Newspapers

  • See the Library's "Old News" page for a comprehensive list of historical archives of newspapers

  • Nineteenth Century Masterfile: Includes several indexes to 19th-century periodical literature, including Poole's Index to Periodical Literature (major US and British publications, 1802-1907) and Index to Legal Periodical Literature (1786-1922). (See C19: The Nineteenth Century Index, described above, for other periodical indexes such as the Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900.)

  • American Periodicals Series Online: American magazines and journals, 1740-1900. Contains searchable full text of all extant issues of over 1000 titles, ranging from children's magazines to professional journals. Can be cross-searched with historical newspaper archives.

  • 19th Century UK Periodicals: two large collections of digitized searchable British periodicals.

  • Readers Guide Retrospective 1890-1982: Index to popular U.S. magazines, with coverage back to 1889

  • Times Digital Archive (The Times, London): Digital archive of the London Times, 1785-1985. Includes both searchable text and page images.

  • Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003: Digital archive based on the British Library's 19th-century British newspapers(Beautifully digitized from original copies, not microfilm.)

  • New York Times and other digitized newspapers: Digital archive of the New York Times, 1851-2001, Chicago Tribune(1890--), Los Angeles Times (1881--), and Washington Post (1877--). For the earlier 19th Century, see Early American Newspapers(coverages varies, from 1690-1876) and 19th Century Historical United States Newspapers.


  • Periodicals Index Online: Index to thousands of scholarly journals in English and other western European languages, with coverage back to first issue of journal. Includes links to digitized fulltext in Periodicals Archive Online (digital archive of a selection of core journals)

  • Making of America Project ( and Digitized selections from 19th-century American periodicals.

  • Godey's Lady's Book: Digital archive of a 19th-century American women's magazine. Includes searchable text and illustrations but not full page images.

  • African-American Newspapers: The 19th Century: Searchable text of key 19th-century African American newspapers.

  • JSTOR: Searchable digital archive of core scholarly journals, with coverage going back to first issue of each journal. Good for primary sources for 19th-century science, as well as for literary criticism and historiography.

  • III. Indexes to Fiction and Literature in Periodicals

    • Index to Early American Periodical Literature, 1728-1870. (Herman B Wells Library - Research Coll. - Stacks Z6951 .U5)

    • The Literary Index to American Magazines, 1815-1865; 1850-1900. (Herman B Wells Library - Research Coll. - Stacks Z1225 .W38 1996)

    • Indexes to Fiction in...: a series of guides for specific journals useful for lesser known writers between 1860-1910. In IUCAT, use the "Browse" search to browse on the title Indexes to Fiction in to retrieve a list of journals covered.

    IV. Literary Reviews and Criticism

    • Literature Resource Center: Contains many important reference works, including the entire Dictionary of Literary Biography series, which covers 19th-century writers (both literary and non-literary) of many nationalities. Note near the end of DLB entries, information on where the personal papers of the writer are held.

    • Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism: includes contemporary reviews of 19th-century literature (available online in Literature Criticism Online)

    • American Literary and Drama Reviews: An Index to Late 19th Century Periodicals (Herman B Wells Library - Research Coll. - Reference Dept. PN2256 .M37 1984)

    • Literary Reviews in British Periodicals, 1789-1797; 1798-1820 (2 v.); 1821-1826. (Herman B Wells Library - Research Coll. - Reference Dept. Z2013 .W36)

    • New York Times Theater Reviews. (1870-present) (Herman B Wells Library - Research Coll. - Reference Dept.PN1581 .N4)

    • The Romantics Reviewed; Contemporary Reviews of British Romantic Writers (Herman B Wells Library - Research Coll. Stacks PR590 .R415)

    V. Subject-Specific bibliographies/indexes with 19th-century coverage

    VI. Government Publications and Legal Documents

    VII. Selected 19th-Century Collections

    • Complete Works of Jane Austen

    • Early American Fiction, 1789-1875: full text of the first editions of American novels and short stories by authors of significance. 

    • English Literary Periodicals (Microform): Titles and series are in IUCAT.

    • English Poetry Database: Electronic texts of the complete works of English poets to 1900. Wonderful for identifying the bits of poetry 19th-century writers are so fond of sprinkling through their works.

    • Rhodes House Library, Oxford, anti-slavery collection (Microform): Correspondence, minutes, and other papers of the British and Foreign Anti-slavery Society, the Anti-slavery Society, the Aborigines Protection Society, and other similar societies and committees, 1795-1880. (Herman B Wells Library - GIMSS - Microforms - Microfilm - HT857 .R48)

    • Southern women and their families in the 19th century, papers and diaries (Microform): Archival materials from a number of libraries in the southern U.S. (Herman B Wells Library - GIMSS - Microforms - Microfilm -HQ1438.S63 S687)

    • Victorian Popular Culture: documents popular entertainment in America, Britain and Europe from 1779 to 1930, including stage magic, spirit writing and ghost hunting.

    • Victorian Women Writers Project: Highly accurate online editions of literary works by British women writers of the late 19th century, encoded using the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). Includes anthologies, novels, political pamphlets, and volumes of poetry and verse drama.

    • Wright American Fiction (1851-1875): Digitized collection of nearly 3000 American novels.

    VIII. Additional Collections with significant 19th-century content

    IX. 19th-century studies web portals

    • Victoria Research Web: valuable information about archives, authorship attribution, finding images, planning research trips to the UK, etc. Don't miss the amazing bibliography of periodical literature resources.

    • The Victorian Web: A web encyclopedia of eminent Victorians, key issues, etc.


    • NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship): Search engine for peer-reviewed digital objects (both primary and secondary sources) relating to the long 19th century.


    X. Other useful links

    last updated September 24, 2009

last updated: 10/1/2012