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Advanced research in literary studies may require you to consult early editions of works, or to find materials not recently reprinted. The library has a number of resources to help you identify these, and in many cases they are available in full text at Queen's on microfiche or online. In addition, Special Collections in Douglas Library has extensive manuscript and early imprint collections.

The Internet is now home to many open repositories of digitized early editions and manuscripts. See Websites for selected resources.

For more information about what primary sources are and why you might want to consult them, check the general Primary Sources guide.

Early Imprints

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Publication coverage: Pre-1925
A database of 485,000 citations, this is a core resource for researching nineteenth-century topics focusing on cultural and intellectual life. Other periodical indexes are also searchable at this site. Citations only.

The CIHM provides access to early printed Canadian materials on microfiche and through Early Canadiana Online. The collection contains more than 65 thousand titles from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

The fiche collection is shelved in the W.D. Jordan Library (Special Collections). To find out what is in the collection, search QCAT with keywords and add CIHM to your search:

CIHM and "red river settlement"
Publication coverage: 1473 - 1700
From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, contains about 100,000 of over 125,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640), Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700), the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661) collection, and the Early English Books Tract Supplement.
Publication coverage: 1701-1800
Digital reproductions of nearly 150,000 English-language titles and editions published during the 18th century and representing every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of important works from the Americas.
Publication coverage: 1473 - 1800
Includes a comprehensive bibliography of the printed output of the hand-press era, lists the whereabouts of surviving copies, and notes the existence of facsimiles. The holdings of over 1,500 libraries around the world are represented. Geographically, the ESTC includes:
  1. All relevant items printed in the British Isles
  2. All relevant items printed in Colonial America, the United States (1776-1800) and Canada
  3. All relevant items printed in territories governed by Britain during any period up to 1800
  4. All relevant items, printed wholly or partly in English, or other British vernaculars, in any other part of the world
Publication coverage: 1830 - 1898
Intended to entertain, inform and educate American women; today considered to be one of the most important resources for 19th-century American life and culture.
The Internet Library of Early Journals
Journals include: Gentleman's Magazine, The Annual Register, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Notes and Queries, The Builder, and Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.
Publication coverage: 19th century - present
Includes fiction, poetry and plays written by Latin American writers with Hispanic background working in the United States.
Publication coverage: 1892 - present (some primary texts date from 600 AD)
Access restricted to the Queen's community (4 user limit)
Searchable database of English and American poetry, drama, and prose.
Nineteenth Century Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature
REF AP3.R496 (1890-1899)
Publication coverage: 1801 - 1919
NSTC aims to provide listings of British books printed between 1801 and 1919. "British books" are defined as "all books published in Britain, its colonies, and the United States of America; all books in English wherever published; and all translations from English."
The MacIsaac Memorial Fund and the K. Phyllis Wilson Library Endowment Fund
Full-text primary resources (monographs, newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts, ephemera, maps, statistics, and more) of Photography: The World Through the Lens; Science, Technology and Medicine, 1780-1925; Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest; and Women: Transnational Networks.
Publication coverage: 1790 - 1905
Publication coverage: varies; see individual titles
PEP Web provides access to the PEP Web archive, which contains both books and journal articles. The book archive includes the full text of the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Freud's letters to his major collaborators and the full text of the major works by Wilfred Bion, Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott along with other major psychoanalytic authors. The journals in the archive presently include the full text many premier English-language journals in psychoanalysis.
Provides e-text editions of public domain novels and historical documents.
Indexes and abstracts Canadian and U.S. journals, magazines, and newspapers.


The Edith and Lorne Pierce Canadiana Collection is the centrepiece of the W.D. Jordan Library. The resources available at Queen's for Canadian historical and literary studies pre- and post-Confederation are outstanding. The collection of early North American travel and exploration literature is extensive. Supplementing this collection is the Library's complete holdings of microform and online reproductions produced by CIHM.

Queen's University Archives preserves records and manuscripts in two areas: University Records and Literary Manuscripts.

A Guide to the Holdings of Queen's University Archives
REF CD3649.K5Q46 1986t

Detailed List of Canadian Literary Manuscripts Acquired to Dec. 1980
REF Z1375.Q43 1980at (WD Jordan Special Collections)

Other resources include:

Index of English Literary Manuscripts
REF Z6611.L7I5

Location and other details on manuscript collections for major British authors for the period 450-1900 in four volumes. Also provides useful summaries of scholarship and notes about special problems associated with manuscript studies for each author covered.

Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
REF Z6611.L7L629 1995t

Location Register of Twentieth-Century English Literary Manuscripts and Letters: A Union List of Papers of Modern English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh Authors in the British Isles
Z6611.L7L63 1988t (Stauffer Library books)

Identifies manuscripts (including proofs, sound recordings, and electronic documents) by British writers, which are available for public consultation at libraries throughout the British Isles. Coverage is for 20th-century authors, including those who died after December 31, 1899.

Literary Archives Guide
CA1 AK 88L31 (Government Documents)

Provides brief descriptions of major Canadian literary collections acquired by the Manuscript Division of National Archives before September 30, 1987.

Last Updated: 22 August 2013