Pamphlets are important sources for the history of contemporary views on subjects touching upon law and society. Their often colourful titles and the sometimes very inventive pseudonyms of their authors point to the urgency of the matters at stake. Pamphleteers show their vision or opposition to the views of others. 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. Apart from pamphlets I include here also one-leaf publications such as broadsides, Einblattdrucke and plano’s.

Many digital libraries contain pamphlets, too. Digitized pamphlets can be found also using large international portals such as Europeana and the Digital Library of America. The former portal European History Primary Sources (EUI, Florence), too, led you to a number of collections with pamphlets. JSTOR Collections, too contains a number of pamphlet collections in open access. Generally subscribers-only collections have been excluded here, with some clearly indicated exceptions when you can search and browse such collections. On the other hand, there is special attention for related genres such as festival books, broadside ballads and chapbooks, cheaply printed popular literature showing bias and opinion on many matters.

A number of collections with digitized pamphlets from the First World War can be found at my blog Digital1418. The main independent pamphlet collections concerning the period 1914-1918 and the collections listed here are also accessible and better searchable with tags in an overview at Zotero. The version at Zotero contains more than shown in the various lists here below.



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.

Some collections have different European dimensions:

Latin America





  • Sammlung Alff, Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek, Cologne – some 600 pamphlets on the revolutions in Brabant and Liège around 1800 (1781-1825)






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


  • 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





Currently a NEH-project runs 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 for this library online the summary catalogue by Laura Monti (Gainesville, FL, 1971) and in a database for 2,800 pamphlets.


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, are also avalable in the Reformationsportal and in VD16. 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.

For the Repertorium der Policeyordnungen der Frühen Neuzeit, a project started by the late Michael Stolleis, exists a database for searching Early Modern ordinances issued in the Holy Roman Empire.




A number of projects concerns Italian bandi, ordinances, sometimes printed both as broadsides and pamphlets:



  • 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, full access only for subscribing libraries, but you can browse and search; at least 400 pamphlets concern law (search with subject Law);
  • 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 forty 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; search with subject term “Pamfletten’
  • 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 – 2,600 broadsides (plano’s) from the collection of the Dutch Royal Library, many of them color prints
  • Bibliotheca Thysiana: Pamphlets, Leiden University Library – a selection with some 240 digitized pamphlets from this seventeenth-century library
  • Niederländische Flugschriften, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, Münster – some 820 Early Modern pamphlets; interface German and English
  • Fagel Collection, Trinity College Library, Dublin – currently a small selection from the 6,000 Early Modern pamphlets collected by membes of the Fagel family who were griffiers of the States General

New Zealand


  • 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


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



  • 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 digital 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
  • Standreden, Deutsches Seminar and Zentrum für rechtsgeschichtliche Forschung, Universität Zürich – a project with some 140 sermons around the execution of criminals, mainly from the nineteenth century
  • Fogli volanti Repubblica Elvetica, Biblioteca digitale Ticino – 340 pamphlets from the period 1798-1803 held at the Archivio di Stato, Bellinzona
  • Fogli volanti Poesie d’occasione, Biblioteca digitale Ticino – some 260 pamphlets with poems


United Kingdom

The project 19th Century British Pamphlets Online gives access at subscribing libraries, and through JSTOR, to some 23,000 pamphlets. In 2023 these pamphlets became accessible in open access at JSTOR Collections.

Pamphlets circulated also in manuscripts, a subject at the heart of the project Manuscript pamphleteering in Early Stuart England (Universities of Bristol and Birmingham).

England and the French Wars of religion. 16th century pamphlets beld at York Minster is an interesting virtual exhibition with English and French 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. For the United Kingdom the project Price One Penny: A Database of Cheap Literature 1837-1860 (Marie Léger-St. jean) provides bibliographical information, and also some examples, in particular The Mysteries of the Inquisition. The National University of Ireland, Galway is home to the international project Cheap Ephemeral Print in Translation.