New Adam Matthew database content: Primary source materials for British and world history

September 20, 2022
Benjamin Lee Stone
Screenshot of Colonial Caribbean

Stanford Libraries have acquired eight new databases published by Adam Matthew and sourced from material from the National Archives UK and the British Library: 

Colonial Caribbean: CO Files from The National Archives, UK 

East India Company: India Office Records from the British Library, 1599-1947 [three new modules listed below]

Module III: Series G. Factory Records for China, Japan and the Middle East, 1596-1870

Module IV: Series E. Correspondence: Early Voyages, Formation and Conflict

Module V: Series E: Correspondence: Domestic Life, Governance and Territorial Expansion

Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan 1834 - 1922: From Silk Road to Soviet Rule

Colonial America, Module V. Growth, Trade and Development 

Foreign Office Files for South East Asia 1963 - 1980, Module I. Cold War in the Pacific, Trade Relations, and the Post-Independence Period, 1963-1966

These eight databases contain a wealth of digitized primary source material relating to the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth in the Caribbean, South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, North America and the Pacific. They contain thousands of pages of digitized manuscript material, which until now, has only been available to researchers in person in the UK.  

As the editors for the Colonial Caribbean database have noted:

"Stretching from Jamaica and the Bahamas to Trinidad and Tobago, Colonial Caribbean makes available materials from 27 Colonial Office file classes from The National Archives, UK and covers British governance of 25 territories in the Caribbean from 1624-1872, addressing a wide variety of themes, from settlement and colonial rivalries in the region, to the economics of the plantation systems and the impact of slavery, to crime and punishment and the everyday lives of the people that called the islands home.  This extensive resource includes administrative documentation, trade and shipping records, minutes of council meetings, and details of plantation life, colonial settlement, imperial rivalries across the region, and the growing concern of absentee landlords."

For the East India Company: India Office Records from the British Library, Stanford Libraries acquired the first two modules of this essential set several years ago and they have been extensively used by a broad range of researchers. These additional modules complete the published holdings for this essential suite of resources.  

The India Office Records digitization project also includes the vitally important Class G Factory Records. The Factory Records are some of the richest sources available on the East India Company, detailing its establishment as Britain’s largest commercial enterprise by 1800 and its competition with two other major trading powers in the East – the Portuguese and the Dutch.

Additional databases in this acquisition focus on the British empire (and its dissolution) and influence in North America, Central Asia, and South Asia, and the Pacific, including the 20th century and Cold War. 

Adam Matthew has long been recognized as a leader in the digitization (and earlier, in microfilming) of historical primary source material, especially key government documents, in the UK.  Furthermore, they are pioneers in a number of innovative digital searching techniques, including Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR), which strives to make manuscript content open to keyword searching.