State Papers go online next week

The article from the Telegraph focuses on Henry VIII’s letters to Anne Boleyn, but I’m sure a lot of you know what other treasures are in those papers. Being able to search them in this way is going to be wonderful. (Not to mention the book versions are darn heavy!)

From the article:

King Henry VIII’s passionate love letters to Anne Boleyn are to be made available to the public online for the first time.

The letters, penned by the King in 1527 when he was still married to Catherine of Aragon, reveal him to be besotted with the woman who would eventually become his second wife.

The private correspondence is among tens of thousands of Tudor documents which will be made available on the internet this week.

The documents, which are known as the State Papers and which were collected by the all-powerful Secretaries of State, provide a unique insight into key historical events such as the Reformation, the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the execution of Anne Boleyn.

Visitors to the site, which goes live on Tuesday 18 November, can draw up material by typing any word into its search engine. Key royal documents include those relating to the funeral of Henry VII and the succession of Henry VIII, love letters from Henry VIII, and the Dispensation by Archbishop Cranmer which allowed Henry VIII to marry Jane Seymour, who became his third wife.

State Papers Online, which is launched on Tuesday, contains thousands of original documents as well as summaries and translations known as calendars which were compiled in the nineteenth century.

At the moment only the papers for the period 1509 to 1603 are available. But by 2010 the site will be expanded to cover the years leading up to 1714.

Full article

State Papers Online site

The “request a free trial” implies that this will be a subscription service (presumably along the lines of the OED and ODNB), so I hope my university subscribes!


  1. Well, I know what I’m doing this Tuesday!

  2. This is the Galenet site. They’ve been working on this for quite a while and it’s going to be incredibly helpful. Unfortunately, also very expensive. Last time I checked, it was outside the University of Nottingham’s library’s budget. And they subscribe to all sorts of wonderful stuff. So I was pretty disappointed to find out that a – the papers would be published after I submitted my thesis/dissertation and b- that I still wouldn’t be able to access them through the university.

    It is possible that Gale/Cengage has changed the pricing structure since last year… I’ve been using the IHR site British History online which has several chunks of state papers available. Yearly individual subscription around $50. I’m not that happy about how the searching and the referencing works but it’s been very useful nevertheless.

  3. If anyone can download and look at the brochure from the State Papers site linked in Lara’s message there might be some pricing information. I just tried and my mac couldn’t find an application to open the downloaded file.

  4. I looked at the brochure last night (which did work on my Mac – very strange) but with regards to cost, it just had the ‘request a free trial’ info again. My university has subscription to other Gale publications, so we’ll see.

  5. I’m a bit wary, but this looks interesting. I may have to log on tomorrow and run through whatever I can get before they start charging for it. BTW, I have a reader’s card at the Library of Congress and can get there easily enough (about a half hour train ride). The next time I’m there, I’ll check and see if they subscribe to this. If so, I may be able to help people out with research. No promises yet though.

  6. Just to let you guys know, it turns out that I do have access to the papers through my university library. So I can help look up things from time to time.

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