Part II of the State Papers Online launches

I blogged about the first part of the papers going online back in November. Libraries (particularly at universities) might have subscriptions where you can access the content. They still haven’t set up a method for individual subscriptions, but if you think you might be interested in one, please send an email to their contact listed on

Here is the press release:

Jul 10, 2009 – The second of a four-part digital collection, State Papers Online Part II is among the most valuable and reliable resources for understanding Tudor and Stuart government and society. Included in this collection are the sixteenth-century Foreign, Scotland, Borders and Ireland Papers, as well as the Registers (‘minutes’) of the Privy Council, the monarch’s closest advisors. The great international themes – marriage contracts, wars and treaties, trade and commerce and, crucially, religion – play out in document after document.

Facsimile images of the correspondence written and received by the ruling monarchs, as well as those of their courtiers, administrators, judges and clergy, bring to life the politics, diplomacy, culture and society of Tudor times. Researchers and students can now read in Elizabeth I’s own hand, her efforts to appease the Ottoman Sultan Murad III (“We beg that you will not … lose your respect for our good faith”). Also revealed in this collection are Elizabeth’s views on her on/off engagement to the Duke of Anjou (“…if we only regarded our love to him we should readily assent to it”) and on Mary, Queen of Scots’ trial and execution “which cannot but be grievous to me”.

Dr. Natalie Mears at the University of Durham comments, “State Papers Online Part I has been an invaluable asset. I’ve been able to search, download and print a range of orders, letters, and drafts of prayers for the early period without having to travel to London. I’m looking forward to the release of Part II as I’ll be able to access all the material on the Spanish Armada in the Foreign Series. Its going to be wonderful to show undergraduate and graduate students authentic documents: there will be so much more for them to work on for dissertations, as well as seeing what the originals look like of the modern printed letters we analyse in class.”

Caroline Kimbell, Head of Licensing at The National Archives, says, “The State Papers are The National Archives’ bedrock early modern collection, and represent the authentic, original workings of government at the birth of the modern state. Cengage Learning is to be congratulated for building such an innovative online environment in which to read, search, share and collaborate in research not just on the well-known domestic records, but on this further set of more challenging foreign material. We are proud to have facilitated the project”.

By reuniting the State Papers together online and linking them to the calendars of the Papers themselves, Gale and The National Archives have created a completely new resource for understanding the two hundred years from the time of Cardinal Wolsey to the Age of Enlightenment. Gale’s specially developed platform links the original historical manuscripts to fully searchable calendar entries, simplifying the process of research and interpretation of these key historical materials. Users can carry out searches with limiters, view illustrations and maps, magnify or rotate documents and view two manuscripts or calendar entries side-by-side to draw comparisons.

The transcription of long, handwritten prose typical of the Tudor era can be both time-consuming and complex. To help historians transcribe more quickly and accurately, Cengage Learning has introduced a notepad-style tool which allows individuals to prepare their notes alongside the historical document without the need to toggle between different screens and applications.

Mark Holland, Publisher at Cengage Learning, comments: “With Part II, we are publishing the enormously important ‘Foreign’ section of the State Papers: the letters between the English government and European powers at a time when England was at the centre of international affairs, and events here had repercussions across Europe”.

Due to be released in four stages, Parts I and II of State Papers Online are now live and cover the complete collection of Tudor State Papers Domestic and State Papers Foreign, Ireland, Scotland, Borders and Registers of the Privy Council as well as State Papers in the British Library’s Cotton, Harley and Yelverton Collections. Parts III and IV containing the Seventeenth Century State Papers Domestic, Foreign, Ireland, Registers of the Privy Council will follow in 2010 and 2011.

For further information about State Papers Online, please contact Nicholas Berg at Gale, part of Cengage Learning, Tel: +44 (0) 1264 342 785, E-mail: or visit the web site at

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About Cengage Learning and Gale

Cengage Learning delivers highly customized learning solutions for colleges, universities, professors, students, libraries, government agencies, corporations and professionals around the world. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, serves the world’s information and education needs through its vast and dynamic content pools, which are used by students and consumers in their libraries, schools and on the Internet. It is best known for the accuracy, breadth and convenience of its data, addressing all types of information needs – from homework help to health questions to business profiles – in a variety of formats. For more information, visit or


  1. Just to add to the discussion about access to this product . . . I tired to get access all through April and May of this year to no avail. There used to be a contact link for individual access but the rep just kept telling me there was no such thing. I pointed him to his own web site and they had a marketing meeting and pulled that particular link. I agree with Lara that we should continue to pepper the publisher with requests so they understand the market better.

    At the time I was affiliated with a quite large UK research university but they did not have the budget for the product.

    I also contacted most everyone who provided ‘brag’ quotes for the product’s web site and none of their universities had subscribed/purchased the product yet. The rep also refused to tell me of ANY university that had bought the product making me wonder if they had a single customer.

    In June I heard a rumor that Oxford may have bought in. I suspect the pricing – also not publicly available and therefore likely to be negotiable – was misjudged and too high.

    I would be interested to hear of anyone who knows anyone who has access to this.

  2. I’ve been able to access it through my university library’s site, although I think it is just because we have full access to all of the Gale/Cengage databases. I don’t know how that sort of thing is handled, so I’m not sure if UT just gets access to everything they have or if they have to specifically pay for new additions. Either way, I’m glad I’ve had access since it has come in handy a few times!

  3. I used the link on their site to email them regarding individual subscriptions. I told them that many scholars and period enthusiasts do not have access to this site and would benefit from the availability of individual subscriptions. Hopefully more people send similar messagesd and they will consider it! I don’t see why not… they should try to bring in as much revenue as possible for such a large product.

  4. OK – Filled with envy now!

    Interesting that they wouldn’t tell me that UT had access. Know anyone in the history faculty that would trade temporary access for some seminar presentations? Or? I’m now in Santa Fe so this is not as unrealistic as it may seems at first.


  5. Unfortunately I don’t really know anyone over in History very well. I took my Tudor History class from Brian Levack, who at the time was the only one specializing in that era at UT as far as I recall. His main interest is witchcraft though, which was interesting!

    If you ever need a few things looked up in the papers, let me know and I can get them (at least the text transcripts, I can’t remember if it is possible to save the images). Our access is tied to our UT electronic ID which we use for EVERYTHING, so we can’t give it out. 🙁

  6. Yep – Filtering on IP address is the preferred access control method and I don’t want to circumnavigate that. It’s as fair as any method for protecting digital properties.

    thanks for the offer. I’ll try not to bother you too much and I’m now going over to the UT web site to check out the faculty.

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