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Finding British government documents at Princeton

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British colonies and dominions (guide from the UK National Archives)

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."

Colonial Office records: World

CO 733: British Colonial Office Palestine Correspondence [microform]
Microfilm 04419
[164] reels
Printed guide: Z3014.H55xB74.
"This file contains all the communications between the Colonial Office, which supervised the Mandate, and British officials and high commissions in Palestine." Covers 1927-1934.

CO 879: Confidential print: Africa. [microform]
1456.114.41
101 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Colonial Office (CO 879). Covers Africa 1642-1916.

CO 882: Confidential print: Eastern. [Microform]
Covers period 1847-1913.

CO 883: Confidential print: Mediterranean [Microform]
1456.627.41
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 883. Covers Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, and the Ionian Islands, 1848-1915.

CO 886: Confidential print: Dominions [Microform]
1456.406.3
6 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 886. Covers the Dominions, 1907-1925.

CO 881: Confidential print Australia [microform]
1456.136.41
14 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 CO881. Covers Australia, 1833-1923.

CO 935: Confidential Print, Middle East, 1839-1969
Reproduces records relating to the countries of the Arabian peninsula, the Levant, Iraq, Turkey and many of the former Ottoman lands in Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt and Sudan from the British Foreign and Colonial Offices in the UK National Archives.

CO 1048 (files on South Africa:)

DO: Dominions Office

DO 116/1-8: Union of South Africa and High Commission Territories, 1913-1944

DO 114/1-140: Dominions general (1924-1947) (in part)

DO 201/1-53: Commonwealth Relations Office (1949-1966) (in part)

in Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966