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American history to 1900

British perspectives

European Views of the Americas
Digital versions of the bibliography European Americana: A Chronological Guide to Works Printed in Europe Relating to the Americas, 1493-1750. Guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe before 1750. Covers the history of European exploration as well as portrayals of Native American peoples.

Ferrar papers, 1590-1790 [microform]
Microfilm 08572
14 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Oversize BX5199.F47 A3 1992q
Papers of Nicholas Ferrar and his descendants from Magdalene College, Cambridge. Ferrer was involved in the Virginia Company of London, and in politics and religion in early 17th century England. See http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/9356 on Nicholas and http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/60958 on his son John. See also below:

Virginia Company Archives
Digital edition of the papers of the Virginia Company of London (Ferrar Papers), now at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

William Blathwayt papers, 1631 [1680-1700] 1722 [microform]
Microfilm 06480
10 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Z6616.B53W54
Blathwayt was an official of the British government; see http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/2626. This collection includes those papers held by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Besides the printed guide, see Lester J. Cappon," The Blathwayt Papers of Colonial Williamsburg, Inc." The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., Vol. 4, No. 3. (Jul., 1947), pp. 317-331 [JSTOR].

Governor Jonathan Belcher: letter books, 1723-1754 [microform]
Microfilm 09666
11 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms F67.B45G683
Belcher was governor of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Jersey. See Belcher, Jonathan (1682-1757)

Fulham papers [microform]
Microfilm 06110
13 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms BX5881.M26
"The Fulham Papers comprise the archive of the bishops of London transferred from Fulham Palace, the former residence of the bishops of London. The majority of the collection dates from the 18th-19th centuries. It includes correspondence on the administration of the diocese of London and on the churches (particularly in America and the West Indies) which came under the bishop's jurisdiction before the founding of separate episcopates in those countries." Material from Lambeth Palace Library. We hold only Fulham Papers Colonial, which consists of general correspondence and ordination paper and is arranged by colony.

Liverpool papers: [microform] a selection of material relating to the American colonies and the United States [1727-1828]
1080.591
3 reels
Printed guide: none
Official papers acquired by Charles Jenkinson (Baron Hawksbury, 1786, Earl of Liverpool, 1796) and by Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2d Earl of Liverpool. Microfilm of originals in the British Museum. Note: the rest of the set, The papers of Lord Liverpool [microform], is available from CRL.

American papers in the House of Lords Record Office [microform]
Microfilm 05591
39 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Oversize JV1027 .A44q
Manuscript material from the House of Lords Record Office, relating to America (including the West Indies and Canada) and dating from 1621-1920. Includes correspondence, petitions, and reports on a wide range of political and commercial matters. Arranged chronologically. See http://www.microform.co.uk/guides/R97057.pdf

Amherst papers [microform]
1080.122.41
13 reels
Printed guide: none
Selected correspondence and documents of Sir Jeffery Amherst, British commander in chief in North America, 1758-1763, from the Colonial Office Records in the Public Records Office, London. See the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Charles Townshend papers at Dalkeith: material relating to America from the Charles Townshend papers in the possession of the Duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith House, Midlothian
14463.911
3 reels
Printed guide: none
Townshend was a politician, and these papers give an insight into policies which helps to explain the American colonial reaction to imperial government. See http://www.microform.co.uk/guides/R95800.pdf and http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/27619

Colonial Office records: North America

CO 1: Colonial papers. General series [microform]
MICROFILM 12612
18 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Colonial Office (CO 1). Covers 1674-1699. "This series relates to the American and West Indian colonies and includes some records of the Board of Trade. It ends virtually in 1688, after which date most of the American papers are to be found in CO 5, and the West Indian ones in CO 318 and under the various colonies." The reader may also wish to consult:

Colonial State Papers
Digital edition of material from the British National Archives, CO1 and other collections, from 1574-1759, including images of many original manuscript documents. Also includes a digital edition of The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial: North America and the West Indies 1574-1739.

A note about CO 5:  this very large class is now being digitized by Adam Matthew Digital. The material will be released in 5 modules between 2015 and 2019. As of Fall 2016, Adam Matthew has released only Modules 1 and 2, titled "Frontier Life, Early Expansion and Rivalries" and "Towards Revolution", respectively. Module 3, The American Revolution, is scheduled to be released in 2017.

If you are in a hurry, search Worldcat to see what exists, but do not be surprised if you cannot find the parts you need. Also consult Colonial State Papers, which includes the calendar previously available in print and CDROM. In microfilm, we have:

CO 5: Records of the British Colonial Office, class 5 [microform]

Microfilm 05485
53 reels
Online Guides:

Colonial Office Records: Class 5 Files (C.O.5), Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Colonial Office Records: Class 5 Files (C.O.5), Part 4, Royal Instructions and Commissions to Colonial Officials, 1702-1771

Colonial Office Records: Class 5 Files (C.O.5), Part 5. The American Revolution, 1772-1784

Material from the British Colonial Office (CO 5). Covers 1606-1807. As described by the National Archives, "correspondence and entry books of the Board of Trade and the Secretaries of State, together with the acts, sessional papers and miscellaneous records relating to colonies in North America and the West Indies." The material is arranged topically in five parts: pt. 1. Westwood expansion, 1700-1783; pt. 2. The Board of Trade, 1660-1782; pt. 3. The French and Indian War, 1754-1763; pt. 4. Royal instructions and commissions to colonial officials, 1702-1771; pt. 5. The American Revolution, 1772-1784.

CO 5: Original correspondence: America and West Indies [microform]

Microfilm 12610
50 reels (Reels 49 and 50 are missing)
Printed guide: none

Material from the British Colonial Office (CO 5). Volume numbers are given on the ends of the microfilm boxes. Covers 1606-1807. As described by the National Archives, "correspondence and entry books of the Board of Trade and the Secretaries of State, together with the acts, sessional papers and miscellaneous records relating to colonies in North America and the West Indies."

CO 879/1-190: Africa general, 1848-1961 in Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966

CO 880: Confidential print: America North [microform]
Microfilm 12617
20 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Colonial Office, War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office: Confidential Print North America (CO 880). Covers British North America, including Canada, 1836-1913.

CO 884: Confidential print: West Indies [Microform]
Microfilm 12618
5 reels
Printed guide: none
The Foreign Office "Confidential Print" series consists of reports, memos and correspondence printed for circulation within the Foreign Office. It is therefore of great value in understanding the inner workings of British foreign relations. For more information on this class, search the UK National Archives Catalogue for CO 884. Covers the West Indies, 1787-1915.

CO 885: Confidential Print: North America, 1824-1961 and Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966
The Foreign Office "Confidential Print" series consists of reports, memos and correspondence printed for circulation within the Foreign Office. It is therefore of great value in understanding the inner workings of British foreign relations. For more information on this class, search the UK National Archives Catalogue for CO 885. Covers colonies generally, 1839-1918

CO 886/1-11: Dominions general, 1887-1926 in Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966  

Confidential print: miscellaneous [Microform]
Microfilm 12613
19 reels
Printed guide: none
The Foreign Office "Confidential Print" series consists of reports, memos and correspondence printed for circulation within the Foreign Office. It is therefore of great value in understanding the inner workings of British foreign relations. For more information on this class, search the UK National Archives Catalogue for CO 885. Covers colonies generally, 1839-1918.

CO 904: The Dublin Castle Records 1798-1926 Archives Unbound
"The Dublin Castle administration in Ireland was the government of Ireland under English and later British rule, from the twelfth century until 1922, based at Dublin Castle. Dublin Castle Records, 1798-1926 contains records of the British administration in Ireland prior to 1922, a crucial period which saw the rise of Parnell and the Land War in 1880 through to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1921. This collection comprises materials from Series CO 904, The National Archives, Kew, UK."

Spanish perspectives

Spanish historical writings about the New World 1493-1700 [microform]
Available through interlibrary loan from the Center for Research Libraries.

This project focuses on 90 significant works of history mainly written in Spanish about America before 1700 including on-the-spot narratives lives of missionaries, ethnographic studies, and natural histories. It includes writings by explorers, conquistadors, missionaries, traders, and scientists. Equally importantly there are also works by mestizos and Native American writers. 38 reels. See http://www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk/digital_guides/ spanish_historical_writing_about_the_new_world/Contents.aspx