Contact Information
  • Librarian: Celestina Savonius-Wroth
  • Location: Herman B Wells Library E560
  • Phone: (812) 855-1336
Libraries & Subjects
last updated: 10/3/2012

Researching the 18th Century

print as a word document

Collections of digitized books (mostly anglophone)

Google Books has quite a bit of 18th-century material. Although their bibliographic data is not always reliable (even basic information like date of publication and name of author), their advanced book search does make it possible to combine a catalog search with a full-text search.


HathiTrust, the online digital library of research materials from several academic libraries, has better bibliographic information than Google, though their search options, even in the advanced catalog search, are rudimentary.


Early English Books Online claims to contain every book published in the English-speaking world from 1475-1700, as well as a lengthy list of 17th-century English periodicals. The collection mostly consists of page images, without full text. To access only the full-text portion of the EEBO, use the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership (EEBO TCP) site.


Early American Imprints contains materials printed in the North American colonies/ early United States, 1639-1800.


Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). Searchable electronic versions of (almost) every book published in Great Britain in the 18th century. Use advanced search to combine full-text searching with catalog searching. 



Digitized anglophone periodicals

17th and 18th Century Burney Collection contains newspapers from the British Library, including some important 18th-century titles. 


American Periodicals Series Online contains about a hundred 18th-century North American periodicals.


British Periodicals. Searchable full text of British periodicals from the late seventeenth century to the early twentieth.


Eighteenth Century Journals. Digitized collection of British journals. 


Times Digital Archive  for the London Times, 1785--.



Anglophone literary collections

Anna Laetitia Barbauld Web Site. Hypertext editions of Barbauld's poetry and prose, together with supporting secondary materials.


Early American Fiction 1789-1875. Full text of first editions of American novels and short stories by major authors.


Eighteenth-Century Fiction. Full text of around 100 works of English prose by British writers.


William Blake Archive. Provides access to some of Blake's major works that are widely dispersed around the world, and which may not be readily accessible owing to their rarity.


English Broadside Ballad Archive. Page images of early English broadside ballads, based on the collection of Samuel Pepys.


English Drama and American Drama include British and American drama through the end of the nineteenth century.


Thomas Gray Archive. From the University of Oxford. Includes primary sources and supporting textual and contextual materials.


Irish Women Poets of the Romantic Period.  Poetry by approximately 50 Irish women writing between 1768 and 1842.


Scottish Women Poets of the Romantic Period.  Includes 60 volumes of poetry from 47 women poets, predominantly Scottish, of the Romantic period.



Topical Collections

American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series I, 1760-1900. Full-color digital facsimiles of 18th- and 19th-century American ephemeral publications (broadsides, ballads, programs, sermons, libretti, etc).


British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries.  Collection of British and Irish women's personal writings spanning over 400 years.


Early Encounters in North America.  Searchable text of letters, diaries, memoirs and other accounts of early contacts between Europeans and Native Americans in North America.


Electronic Enlightenment.  Online collection of edited correspondence of the early modern period.


In the First Person is an index to several biographical collections, some with 18th-century content.


Making of Modern Law: Trials 1600-1926 Digital Archive. Books and pamphlets covering trials for a wide variety of crimes, including adultery, land, libel, slavery and theft, among others.


Making of the Modern World. (based on the Goldsmith-Kress Library of Economic Literature). Materials on early economics, commerce, trade, transportation, industry, manufacturing, political systems and social history.


Past Masters Philosophers contains the works of several canonical 18th-century philosophers.


Proceedings of the Old Bailey is a searchable version of the complete records of London's central criminal court, 1674-1913, along with the Ordinary of Newgate's Accounts (narratives of lives and deaths of executed convicts, 1676-1772).


Streetprint: Revolution and Romanticism. Database of British street literature (popular ballads, chapbooks, political pamphlets, etc.) published between 1790 and 1840.


House of Commons Parliamentary Papers. Indexing and full text of the British House of Commons Parliamentary Papers from the 18th to the 20th centuries.


Digitized collections in languages other than English

The European Library. Growing digital repository for Europe's national libraries.


French and Italian

ARTFL Encyclopédie. Digital version of the encyclopedia of arts and sciences compiled by Diderot and D'Alembert.


ARTFL.  Project providing access to a large collection of digitized French resources. Unites several subscription and public access full-text databases, many of particular interest to 18th-century researchers.


Biblioteca Italiana. Digital library of literary and cultural texts from the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza."


Clandestine E-Texts from the Eighteenth Century. Electronic versions of pre-revolutionary French clandestine philosophical manuscripts.


Gallica. Digital library of the French National Library, providing access to over 900,000 documents.


Deutsche Biographie. Digital versions of the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie and Neue Deutsche Biographie, the standard biographical reference works in the German language.


Retrospektive Digitalisierung wissenschaftlicher Rezensionsorgane und Literaturzeitschriften des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem deutschen Sprachraum. Page images from the most important literary and cultural journals of the Enlightenment in the German language.


Zedler. Digital version of Johann Heinrich Zedler's huge German-language encyclopedia, originally published between 1731 and 1754.


Digitale Bibliothek, Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum. Growing collection, now contains close to 200,000 items.



Selected microform collections with significant 18th-century content

The Fulham papers at Lambeth Palace library. (Wells Library Microforms BX 47). Correspondence and other papers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century from the American branches of the Church of England to the Bishop of London.


German Baroque Literature, Harold Jantz Collection. (Wells Library Microforms PT1100 .G477). More than 3000 rare German books published between 1500 and 1800. A printed guide is available; see also online title and author lists.


Opie Collection of Children’s Literature. (Wells Library Microforms PZ5 .O653 1991). Very large collection of children’s books (mostly British), including many 18th-century works.


Landmarks of Science. (Wells Library Microforms Q111 .L2). Early works in the natural sciences, including works in several European languages. Note that the Lilly Library holds originals of some of the most important works.


History of Science and Technology, Series one. The papers of Sir Hans Sloane, 1660-1753(Wells Library Microforms, Q125 .S67). Guide is partly available online: Parts 2 & 3, Parts 4 & 5, Parts 6 & 7, Part 8.


History of Science and Technology, Series two, The papers of Sir Joseph Banks, 1743-1820. (Wells Library Microforms, Q125 .B253). Guide is partly available online: Parts 1-3, Part 4.



Research tools and useful web sites

18thConnect. Currently a work in progress, this aims to evolve into a searchable database of peer-reviewed digital objects relating to the 18th century.


Dictionary of Sensibility. Project exploring key terms connected with the cult of Sensibility.


Eighteenth-Century Resources. Links page compiled by Jack Lynch of Rutgers.


English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). Union catalog of items printed in English-speaking countries between 1473 and 1800.


European Enlightenment. Introductory site on Enlightenment concepts and culture.


NINES. Nineteenth-Century Scholarship Online: Search engine for peer-reviewed digital objects relating to the long 19th century.


Romantic Readings of the Gothic. Site devoted to the British Romantics' reception of Gothic literature.


Samuel Johnson. Website providing an informal introduction to Johnson's life and works.


Spectator Project. Hypermedia research archive devoted to eighteenth-century periodicals, including The Spectator and The Tatler.


Weimarer Goethe Bibliographie Online. Bibliography of Goethe scholarship from 1991 to the present.


William Hogarth and 18th-Century Print Culture. Website from Northwestern University Library, providing access to a selection of Hogarth prints.



Eighteenth Century Journals

To access the online full text journal, search by title here.  For information about the organization, publications, and submissions, visit the journal's home page.

The Eighteenth Century


Eighteenth-century Life


Journal for Eighteenth-century Studies


Studies in Eighteenth-century Culture


Eighteenth-century Studies

Societies and Organizations

Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University 


American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS)


 Besterman Centre for the Enlightenment. Research center based at the University of Oxford.


 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS)


 Centre for Early Modern Studies, University of Oxford


 C18-L. Eighteenth-century listserv. Home page includes some useful links..


 Goethe Society of North America


 International Gothic Association


 International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies


 Voltaire Foundation. Research department in the University of Oxford.



compiled by Catherine Minter, Celestina Savonius-Wroth and Laura DeLancey, October 2010
last updated: 10/3/2012