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Research Guides

19th Century Resources

Page contents

This section highlights electronic resources available on arts, literature, and popular culture in the 19th century.

Researchers might also find standard art history resources, described in the Art History LibGuide, helpful as well.

Categories of resources on page:

  • Visual arts
  • Music
  • Literature: primary sources
  • Literature: secondary sources
  • Popular culture

Visual arts

Index to 19th-Century American Art Periodicals 

  • The 42 journals indexed represent a nearly complete coverage of journals from this period, and are the only online index for this material
  • Entire journal contents are indexed (articles, art notes, illustrations, stories, poems, and advertisements), so this is a valuable source of information on popular culture and industry, as well as artists and illustrators, painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, architecture and design, exhibitions and sales, decoration, and collecting

Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 

  • World's first scholarly, refereed e-journal devoted to the study of nineteenth-century painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, architecture, and decorative arts across the globe
  • The chronological scope of the journal is the long 19th century


19th-Century Music 

  • Records the social and cultural context of music produced during the century, featuring articles on such topics as composition, theory, performance, documentary, gender/sexuality, and historiography

Grove Music Online 

  • Primary music encyclopedia
  • Includes the full text of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London, 2001), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, edited by Stanley Sadie (London, 1992)

Nineteenth century American music periodicals

  • ML1 .N56

Literature: primary sources

19th Century Fiction (Included in the 'Individual Literature Collections' in Literature Online) 

  • A collection of 250 British and Irish novels from the period 1782 to 1903, stretching from the golden age of Gothic fiction to the Decadent and New Woman novels of the 1890s

Early American Fiction (Included in the 'Individual Literature Collections' in Literature Online) 

  • Facsimile page images and keyword-searchable full text for more than four hundred works of American prose fiction published before 1850

English and American drama of the nineteenth century 

  • PR N536 Microtext Collection, Robarts Library
  • Physical description: 80 boxes of cards and 2824 fiches

Literature: secondary sources

Literature Online 

  • Fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose plus biographies, bibliographies and key secondary sources

MLA International Bibliography (Modern Language Association) 

  • The major database for world literature, covering all areas of modern literature, languages, folklore, and linguistics

Popular culture

Victorian Popular Culture: A Portal

  • Digitized collection divided into three sections:
    • Spiritualism, Sensation, and Magic
    • Circuses, Sideshows, and Freaks
    • Music Hall, Theatre, and Popular Entertainment

Taking its cue from the source material, this amazing and innovative portal interface welcomes readers into the darkened halls, small backrooms and travelling venues that hosted everything from spectacular shows and bawdy burlesque, to the world of magic and spiritualist séances.

It describes popular entertainment in America, Britain and Europe from 1779 to 1930 and shows how interconnected these worlds were.