Pamphlets

Pamphlets are important sources for the history of contemporary views on subjects touching upon law and society. Both governments and individuals used and use pamphlets as a medium. Following a definition created by the UNESCO a pamphlet is a printed publication with upto 48 pages, but sometimes the length is much greater. Judging by their form one can look at ordinances and government announcements as a form of pamphlets. During the last decades a number of pamphlet collections has been digitized separatedly. This page gives an overview organized by country in alphabetical order. Some collections contain other materials as well. Whenever possible a further chronological order has been applied. This overview is surely not complete or exhaustive. Any information about more digitized collections with pamphlets concerning law and justice is welcome.

Many digital libraries contain pamphlets, too. Digitized pamphlets can be found also using large international portals such as Europeana and the European Library. The portal European History Primary Sources, too, leads you to a number of collections with pamphlets. Generally subscribers-only collections have been excluded here, with some clearly indicated exceptions. On the other hand, there is special attention for broadside ballads and chapbooks.

A number of collections with digitized pamphlets from the First World War are presented at my blog Digital1418.

Europe

Festival books is the generic term for occasional publications, often no longer than a pamphlet, published around the crowning of kings, the Joyous Entries into cities, marriages and funerals. These works convey representations of power and images of justice and law. They are a source for legal iconography because they are often wonderfully illustrated.

  • Early Modern Festival Books, Oxford University – a repertory for five libraries and a digital library based on and expanded from the study Festivals and Ceremonies. A Bibliography of Works Relating to Court, Civic and Religious Festivals in Europe 1500-1800 by Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly and Anne Simon (London 2000) with 3000 books in twelve languages
  • Renaissance Festival Books, British Library and University of Warwick – some 250 of the 2,000 books at the BL documenting festivals and ceremonies in Europe between 1475 and 1700
  • Festival books, Special Collections, The Getty Research Institute – with some 1,300 digitized works
  • Festkultur Online, Herzog-August-Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel – 314 digitized works and much background information; thematic research in and for illustrations with Iconclass
  • Celebrating Italian Festivals, Beinecke Library, Yale University – 231 digitized Early Modern works

Some collections have different European dimensions:

Latin America

Argentina

Australia

Austria

Belgium

  • Digitized prints, Royal Library, Brussels – some 19,000 ephemeral prints from the Ancien Régime and the nineteenth century

Bolivia

Brasil

Chili

Canada

China

  • Chinese Pamphlets, Center for Research Libraries – pamphlets from China and Hongkong published between 1947 and 1954

Colombia

  • The J. Léon Helguera Collection of Colombiana, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee – mainly pamphlets and broadsides, some of them pertaining to law and government
  • Folletos, Patrimonio Documental, Repositiorio Institucional, Universidad EAFIT, Medellin – 320 pamphlets

Cuba

Denmark

Estonia

France

Currently a NEH-project has started for an overview of digitized French pamphlets with a project website hosted by the University of Florida Libraries, with also quick access to digitized items. You can consult online the summary catalogue by Laura Monti (Gainesville, FL, 1971) and in a database for 2,800 pamphlets.

Germany

For the bibliographical projects VD17 and VD18 many pamphlets have been digitized. The 800 Lutherflugschriften at Eisenach, digitized by the Thüringische Staats- und Landesbibliothek Jena, also avalable at this library and in the Reformationsportal, are also included in VD16, but they are more easily found here. The Katalog der Wolfenbütteler Lutherdrucke 1513 bis 1546, Herzog-August-Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, is the tool for searching and finding early editions of Luther’s works.

Haiti

Ireland

Italy

Mexico

Netherlands

  • The Early Modern Pamphlets Online – Brill – digitized pamphlets from three collections: the Knuttel collection in the Dutch Royal Library, the Van Alphen collection at Groningen, and the Flugschriften des 16. Jahrhunderts, pamphlets from the German Holy Roman Empire; at least 400 pamphlets concern law (search with subject Law); full access only for subscribing libraries, but you can search the catalogue
  • Early European Books – Chadwyck – within the Netherlands one can freely access in this subscribing collection books from the Dutch Royal Library, including also pamphlets
  • Early Dutch Books Online, Royal Library, The Hague – a collection with 10,000 books from the period 1780-1800; some pamphlets have been included, and a few hundred ordinances
  • England and the Netherlands: The ties between two nations, The Memory of the Netherlands – in this digital collection with items from the Dutch Royal Library and the British Library many pamphlets are present
  • Tulipomania, Wageningen University Library – a digital collection with in particular pamphlets concerning the first large scale speculation (“bubble”) in tulips during the first quarter of the seventeenth century
  • Ursicula: Pamfletten, Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde and Bibliotheca Thysiana, Leiden – a nice selection of some fourty pamphlets, many of them concern law or politics from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries
  • Sammlung Alff, Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek, Cologne – some 600 pamphlets on the revolutions in Brabant and Liège around 1800 (1781-1825)
  • Pamfletten rond de herinvoering van de bisschoppelijke hiërarchie in Nederland, 1853 – Katholiek Documentatiecentrum, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen – some 300 pamphlets concerning the return of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands in 1853
  • Pamphlets and offprints from the Multatuli Museum, Amsterdam, The Memory of the Netherlands – some 600 pamphlets by and on Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887), himself a very productive author and pamphleteer
  • Illegal pamphlets and brochures – NIOD, Amsterdam, The Memory of the Netherlands – some 1,200 pamphlets published illegally during the Second World War
  • Broadsheet collection: government publications, maps, prints and occasional poetry, The Memory of the Netherlands – 2600 broadsides (plano’s) from the collection of the Dutch Royal Library, many of them color prints

Philippines

  • Folletos, Digital Library, Miguel de Benavides Library, University of Santo Tomas, Manila – a collection with some 200 pamphlets from the seventeenth to the twentieth century

Poland

Russia and Soviet-Union

  • Soviet Pamphlets, University of Texas at Austin – three thematic collections, around education, women and rural life; there are also 600 pamphlets in the Tobenkin Collection

Spain

Switzerland

  • Wickiana, Zentralbibliothek Zürich – 430 popular prints with (illustrated) news from the sixteenth century collected by Johann Jacob Wick
  • Feuilles volantes, Universitätsbibliothek Bern and e-rara – a subset at the Swiss platform e-rara for digitized rare books with some 750 Early Modern pamphlets; multilingual interface
  • Sachdokumentation, Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv – digital access to some 160,000 items with all kinds of grey literature, and some 1,2 million newspaper clippings

United Kingdom

The project 19th Century Briitish Pamphlets Online gives access at subscribing libraries, and through JSTOR, to some 23,000 pamphlets

United States of America

In the digital collection Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law (HeinOnline) you can access after registration among other things a digitized version of the series Slavery, Race and the American Legal System, 1700-1872: The Pamphlet Literature, edited by Paul Finkelman (16 vol., Clark, NJ, 2007).

Other collections and subjects

A number digital collection is solely or largely devoted to broadside ballads, ballads printed as broadsides, often with telling illustrations:

You can find some 900 digitized British ballads in the digital collections of Trinity College, Dublin.

There is a number of digital collections for chapbooks, another genre showing often popular perspectives on law and justice:

The Lilly Library, Indiana University, has created a special catalogue for 1,900 chapbooks.