Skip to main content
Microfilm

Fast Facts

Format: Indexes available with the collection.
Media: 256 reels of 35mm microfilm

Intended For

Get Started

CONTACT US

  • Download a short description
  • Share

Overview

The year 1640 in England marked the beginning of a period of tumult and change. Both the practical and the philosophical bases of the British monarchy were being challenged by determined and powerful enemies while those who defended the king shared an absolute conviction in his Divine Right to rule. The differences between these factions led to a bitter civil war and a series of experimental governments that kept England in turmoil until 1660.

This exceptional microfilm collection brings together for scholars of English history, politics, and religion nearly everything that was published in England and on the Continent during this critical period. Students and researchers today owe a debt to London publisher and bookseller George Thomason for this material. Thomason knew he was living through historical times and set about methodically collecting copies of virtually everything that was being published--from single broadsides to substantial dissertations.

Thomason Tracts includes more than 22,000 individual items representing about 80 percent of what was published during these two decades. The collection complements UMI®'s Wing series of Early English Books (STCII) , and when used in conjunction with that collection provides the research scholar with the most comprehensive resources available. Inevitably, the collection contains a great deal of political material and features:

  • speeches made in Parliament
  • tracts on the religious issues that reinforced political divisions
  • gossip from or about the court
  • sermons and political diatribes
  • news reports that provide detailed accounts of battles, negotiations, and political machinations

Thomason took precise care to record the date of each paper on the same day it came out, and his neat notations still appear clearly on the title pages of many documents. In addition, he often made marginal notes disputing or ridiculing the opinions of writers he thought in error.

Especially valuable are 97 previously unpublished manuscripts, most written in Thomason's own hand, which were considered too dangerous to be circulated in their own time. In fact, Thomason was required to move the growing collection several times during these years to keep it safe, hiding these important records in the homes of friends or concealing them under false tops in library tables.

The collection Thomason left remained intact for a century, largely through luck. In 1761, King George III bought it from Thomason's descendants and presented it to the new British Museum. Thomason tracts have been used by scholars of mid-17th-century England for generations and represent an almost inexhaustible supply of material for studying military, constitutional, political, literary, and social life in England during this volatile period in world history.

Index to the Microfilm Edition of the Thomason Collection of the British Library: Part I: Thomason Tract Index, Part II: Wing Cross Index. Free with collection. Catalogue of the Pamphlets, Books, Newspapers and Manuscripts, collected by George Thomason, 1640-1661 (4 vols.).  Free with collection

Our Products

ProQuest Dissertation and Theses Dissemination

ProQuest Dissertation and Theses Dissemination takes responsibility for preserving and disseminating graduate research for our university and college partners.

Learn More

Intota™

Intota -- Discovery, Management and Assessment for a Transformed Library.

Learn More

Ebook Products & Services

Ebooks

With EBL,ebrary and MyiLibrary, libraries can provide the quality content and research tools users need to succeed, leveraging flexible models and integrated technologies that make acquisition and management cost-effective and efficient.

Learn More

Blog

Warren Wilson College Students and Librarians Prefer Summon

“Warren Wilson selected Summon because we believe that the search and retrieval algorithms are the best of all of the discovery systems that we reviewed.”

Learn More

Using DNA to Reveal Sham Sushi

Next time you check out a sushi menu, the “crab meat” could be a fake. Fortunately, aquatic food technology has elevated both the preparation and identification of sushi.

Learn More