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John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera for Historians: Home

A general guide to the John Johnson Collection for Historians

Games: too trivial for research?

Games can show how history was perceived and how it was presented to the young. As well as the games in the John Johnson Collection, we have recently acquired a major additional collection of (mainly) board games: the Ballam Collection. A Games for Research LibGuide is in preparation.


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The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera is a treasure trove for those interested in British History from 1800 to 1939. Ephemera are uninterpreted documents of the past. Redolent of their period, they give glimpses of what it was like to live at a given time through fascinating details which have often escaped formal history books.

The aim of this guide is to introduce the many finding aids to the Collection and to explain how to use them most efficiently to find subjects, names, places, images, etc.  It is not intended to replace the John Johnson Collection website.

Please note that many major sections of relevance to Historians remain uncatalogued at an item level. There are many reasons for this. Funded digital projects have tended to focus on illustrated rather than purely textual material, and even late 19th/early 20th century events such as the South African War, the Great War and Women's Suffrage contain much which is still in copyright.

You can discover a lot about the content of the Collection from the indexes, especially those specifically relating to Political, Religious, Social and Economic History.

Many indexes exist but are not yet online, so please ask:

If you are an historian of the long 18th century, please see our separate LibGuide: The Long Eighteenth Century in the John Johnson Collection



Key web sites

John Johnson Collection website:

The John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera (ProQuest). You can access this through your SSO:

or from anywhere in the UK with the following url:

Visual Arts Data Service (VADS):

Connected Histories

JJ Coll LibGuides landing page (with links to guides):

Subject Guide

Julie Anne Lambert's picture
Julie Anne Lambert
John Johnson Collection
Bodleian Libraries
Broad Street
+44 (0)1865 277047

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