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Collection Spotlight: Archives for 19th Century Research
Issue No. 96, Apr 2015
Collection Spotlight: Archives for 19th Century Research
Three archive databases were recently added to the Library collection.
Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange
Asia and the West features rare primary source collections related to international relations between Asian countries and the West during the 19th century.  Some highlights include the Boxer Rebellion, missionary activity in Asia and the Philippine Insurrection.  These unique documents range from government reports, diplomatic correspondences, periodicals and newspapers to treaties, trade agreements and NGO papers. Documents are sourced from the National Archives at Kew, London and the National Archives, United States.
China: Trade, Politics and Culture 1793-1980
This archive collects a wide variety of original source material detailing China's interaction with the West from the Macartney Embassy to China in 1793, through to the Nixon/Heath visits to China in 1972-74.  It provides multiple perspectives – from politicians, diplomats, missionaries, business people and tourists, and documents many of the key events that spanned across these two centuries.  It also collects over 400 color paintings, maps and drawings, as well as photographs and ephemeral items, depicting Chinese people, places and customs.  Sources are mainly drawn from the British Library and the Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
Mapping the World: Maps and Travel Literature
Mapping the World is a select collection of historical atlases, maps, gazetteers and travel narratives, drawn from the British Library, National Archives at Kew, American Antiquarian Society, and University of Alberta. The materials focus on travel and exploration during the 19th century, and cover Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Polar Regions, providing valuable insights to the Age of Imperialism and the rise of leisure travel among the middle classes.  This archive provides ample evidence of how the world was shrinking by distance, and how societal values and interests evolved.
This database complements these two special collections: Antique Maps of China ( and Travelogs of China by Westerners before 1949 (
Explore these databases via Library home page -> Databases -> Alphabetical List.