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Some favourite archives and resources

Have just learnt about this useful international resource: radical online collections and archives

By region:



Canada and USA



The National Archives Discovery: 'Discovery holds more than 32 million descriptions of records held by The National Archives and more than 2,500 archives across the country.' There are also thematic sources guides
An essential first resort to find out where UK archives are held.
TNA itself is an often overlooked or underestimated resource for just about anything.

Wellcome Library
(previously the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine). Not just for medical historians.
Thematic Archives and Manuscripts Sources Guides: no longer being updated in this format but may still be found helpful
also two databases of material elsewhere, The Hospital Records Database and the Medical Archives and Manuscripts Survey (scroll down to link to downloadable pdf of survey) which provides information on relevant material, 1600-1945, in over 100 repositories in Greater London. This is rather outdated but may still be of some use

Useful subject gateway site: Mundus: missionary-related research resources

The Feminist Archive South/Feminist Archive North/Feminist Archive (East Midlands)

Mass Observation Archive
An enormously rich and sometimes quirky resource

The British Library Archives and Manuscripts
Havelock Ellis's papers, a significant group of Marie Stopes's papers,
the Lord Chamberlain's papers on theatre censorship, correspondence of
radical suffragist Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy...
And in the book collections, of course, the famous 'Cupboard' holdings.

London School of Economics Archives and Special Collections
now includes The Women's Library, formerly the Fawcett Library, Major UK source for women's/gender history
Holds the Hall-Carpenter archives relating to gay activism in the UK, - see also The Hall-Carpenter Archives -
material on the Malthusian League, early birth control ephemera, etc.
A selection of their digitised and born-digital collections

London Metropolitan Archives
Rich resource for all kinds of social history.

Institute of Education (University of London)

Archif Menywod Cymru / Women's Archive of Wales

Portcullis, gateway to the archives of Parliament

Bishopsgate Institute: Feminist and Women's History and LGBTQ History


Global Archives Online, based at Linnaeus University Sweden, is a directory of open digital collections for the study of colonial and global history designed to identify and locate open resources for the study of and research on colonial and global history. Aimed primarily at students and researchers interested in imperial, colonial, and global history, the directory gives users around the world an overview of major digital collections containing a variety of primary sources, including digitised manuscripts, newspapers, books, pamphlets, maps, images, and audio-visual material.

Swedish Labour Movement Archives and Library
(Arbetarrörelsens arkiv och bibliotek, Stockholm)
Holds the papers of Max Hodann, German left-wing sex reformer,
Elise Ottesen-Jensen, birth control advocate and sex reformer, and Swedish sex reform societies.

International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam
A terrific resource (papers of Dora Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, to name only two).
Also, wonderful views over the harbour.

Berlin's joint archival center for lesbian-queer, feminist, and sexological history: bringing together the feminist archive FFBIZ, ­the Magnus Hirschfeld Society and the Spinnboden Lesbian Archive & Library (and seeking support).

Canada and USA

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Texas
Well-known for its collections of literary manuscripts,
it also has some important collections from the point of view of
the historian of sexuality
I spent a very enjoyable 4 weeks there in 1992 working on the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology, the George Ives papers, and various significant groups of correspondence of Havelock Ellis, Edward Carpenter and their circle,and a shorter but still fruitful visit in 1995
Also maintains, jointly with the University of Reading, the extremely useful

WATCH: Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders database

The Margaret Sanger Papers Project
Sanger's copious papers are a goldmine, because of her extensive international contacts
as well as her work in making birth control acceptable in the USA.

The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Papers of Mary Ware Dennett, birth control advocate and sex educator, among much else of relevance

The Countway Center for the History of Medicine
Holds the papers of Norman Himes, historian of birth control, including correspondence and reports relating to his extensive international contacts in the area, also those of Robert Latou Dickinson, interwar sex researcher, and of Abraham Stone, birth control campaigner and writer of marriage advive.

The Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College
Includes a substantial collection of Sanger papers (the rest are in the Library of Congress) and papers of other US birth controllers, sex reformers, etc.

The Kinsey Institute

Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Toronto
Masses of material, including information on over 7000 lesbian and gay periodical titles.

Lavender Legacies: Guide to Sources in North America
by the Lesbian and Gay Archives Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists

The Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University

Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria


The Australian Queer Archives: 'the largest collection of material relating to Australian LGBTIQ+ life, and the largest collection of non-Australian LGBTIQ+ material in Australia'.

Norman Haire papers in the Fisher Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Sydney


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History of Sexuality


History of Sexuality Women's History Stella Browne Archival matters
Interwar Progressives Science Fiction and Fantasy Random Links of Interest
Victoriana Books Quirky Stuff