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As an amateur historian who lacks both the resources that come with academic affiliation and ready access to the major repositories of relevant primary source material, I’ve really come appreciate the value of websites that offer free access to online archives. I think it’s fair to say that such material has become essential to the business of blogging and without the huge digital archives of the British Museum, the Internet Archive, Google Books and all the other sites I’ve referenced over the years, it would have been impossible for me to blog for so long or at such regular intervals.

In recognising my own dependence on data sources while writing about the Ackermann ledgers last year, I decided to create an online space in which to share documents and data that underpinned some of the original pieces of research which have appeared on the blog. The grandly titled ‘Research Archive’ was in fact just an open-access Dropbox folder into which I uploaded data on the London, provincial and Irish print trades, the Ackermann ledgers and copies of the wills of a number of noted satirical printsellers. This information is there for anyone to access and download and I hope someone out there is able to make good use of it.

I’ve now decided to take my commitment to open data a step further by digitising my own collection of illustrated satirical pamphlets and making them freely available through the blog. I must admit that the collector in me feels a little uncomfortable with the idea of giving away images of so many rare items, scarcity after all is the commercial lifeblood of the collectors market, but then I also understand that we do little to advance our understanding and appreciation of these materials by limiting them to an audience of just one. At the moment the archive contains images of around 25 woodcut illustrated satirical pamphlets published in London between 1817 and 1821, with more being added as and when new items are acquired. I have not included pictures of some of the more well-known publications by William Hone and George Cruikshank, such as The Political House that Jack Built, as copies of many of these can already be found online (see the excellent William Hone Bio Text archive). I was also keen to ensure that this collection of images focus on the plethora of lesser works that appeared in the wake of Hone’s first publications.

At the time of writing the archive includes:

The Dorchester Guide or, A House that Jack Built, 4th ed., Dean & Munday, c.1819.
The Loyalists House that Jack Built, 8th ed., S. Knight, c.1819.
The Queen in the Moon, Grove & Co, 1820.
The Queen that Jack Found, J. Fairburn, 1820.
The Loyal Man in the Moon, C. Chapple & J. Johnston, 1820.
The Real or Constitutional House that Jack Built, W. Sims, J. Asperne & J. Johnston, 1819
The True Political House that Jack Built, Dean & Munday, 1820
A Political Christmas Carol, W. Hone, 1819.
The Royal House that Jack Built; or, 1820, W. Wright, 1820.
The Old Black Cock and Dunghill Advisors in Jeopardy; or, The Palace that Jack Built, E. Wilson, 1820.
The R—l Fowls; or, The Old Black Cock’s Attempt to Crow Over his Illustrious Mate, E. Wilson, 1820.
Doll Tear Sheet, Alias the Countess ‘Je ne me rappelle pas,’ a Match for “Non mi Ricordo”. J. Fairburn, 1820
Official Account of the Noble Lord’s Bite!, W. Hone, 1817.
Jack the Giant Queller; or Prince Juan, 10th ed., J. Grove, 1820.
A Frown from the Crown, J. Fairburn, 1820.
Bounapartephobia, The Origins of Dr Slop’s Name, 2nd ed., W. Hone, 1820.
The Queen and Magna Carta; or, The Thing that John Signed., 2nd ed., T. Dolby, 1820.
The New Pilgrims Progress, or, A Journey to Jerusalem, 5th ed., W. Wright, 1820.
The White Cat, with the Earl of Grosvenor’s Ass, W. Wright, 1820
Radical State Papers, W. Wright, 1820.
Anne Boleyn and Caroline of Brunswick, Compared; in an address to the People of England, W. Wright, 1820.

The archive can be accessed here, and via the Research Archive link on the sidebar. If anyone else has a collection of similar items that they would like to share then please get in touch. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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