UIUC Library Gains Temporary Access to new ProQuest Databases (thru May 31)

Through May 31st, UIUC has access to three new ProQuest Databases: Queen Victoria’s Journals, The Women’s Wear Daily Archive, and Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War. These three databases are only available for a limited time, so take some time to explore each one!

Below is a brief overview of each database.

Queen Victoria’s Journals

The online database of Queen Victoria’s Journals (digitized from the Royal Archives) span a long range of her life: beginning during her time as a child, through her Accession to the Throne, her marriage to Prince Albert, and her Golden and Diamond Jubilees. Thirteen of the volumes preserved are written in Queen Victoria’s own hand, with the remaining having been transcribed by her daughter, Princess Beatrice.

Queen Victoria's Journal entry: Friday, March 17 1882 Partial transcription:

Queen Victoria’s Journal entry: Friday, March 17 1882 Partial transcription: “We breakfasted in my little sitting room, which is smaller than the one I have at the Villa Hohenlohe. The rooms are nicely, but simply…”

Queen Victoria reigned as Queen from 1837 to 1901, making her the longest serving British monarch.

This online database is remarkable, as previously Queen Victoria’s journals have never been published in their entirety. Rather, only scholars working at the Royal Archives could use these materials, and so only a small amount of this material has ever been made available to the public. The scans provided are high-resolution, allowing users to zoom-in, making reading her cursive handwriting a much easier task. All journal entries are also available as downloadable PDFs.

Queen Victoria in Bal Costumé outfit as Queen Philippa: pen and ink sketch with watercolour, by Queen Victoria (15.6 x 11.4 cm (sheet))

Queen Victoria in Bal Costumé outfit as Queen Philippa: pen and ink sketch with watercolour, by Queen Victoria (15.6 x 11.4 cm (sheet))

Events of interest include her Coronation, Marriage, and Diamond Jubillee. The archive features not only this plethora of primary source material, but also features essays by scholars and curators from varying disciplines including Art History, English, and History. Topics range from Queen Victoria’s Coronation to her connection with Scotland. Her materials overall may be valuable to those working in many disciplines including gender studies, autobiographical writing, and 19th century British scholars, and of course anyone working at the intersections of these studies.

The database features an interactive, graphic-based timeline that covers not only her personal life, but looks at developments in sports, science, military history, and culture of the time. This is probably one of my favorite features, as it allows users to easily contextualize the journal entries they are working with. It is also an excellent teaching tool.

In addition to copies of written text, the database also features Illustrations and sketches by Queen Victoria.

This project is the outcome of a partnership between the Bodleian Libraries and the Royal Archives, who have even taken the effort to re-key each journal entry, allowing for Queen Victoria’s journals to be fully searchable!

If you’ve ever wanted the inside details of what it’s like to be royalty, this database will bring you closer than any contemporary footage of the Royal Family!

The Women’s Wear Daily Archive

The Women’s Wear Daily Archive gives users access to a comprehensive list of Women’s Wear Daily magazine, from 1910 up into the past twelve months. Keep in mind, this is a weekly publication, so there is a lot of fashion history to sift through! This archive is excellent for anyone interested in print media, women’s fashion, mainstream culture, fashion history, and marketing and advertising.

The Sportswear and Leisure Living: Midi Moods, report on midi-skirts, Feb 14, 1968. Women's Wear Daily.

The Sportswear and Leisure Living: Midi Moods, report on midi-skirts, Feb 14, 1968. Women’s Wear Daily.

For those of you not familiar with Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), it is a trade publication for the fashion industry, and is referred to often as “the bible of fashion.” The publication focuses on changing trends in fashion, as well as contemporary industry news. The publication is also famous for sparring with big names in fashion, including Perry Ellis, Oscar de la Renta, and Balegencia.

Bottoms Up: Paris Fashion Verite. March 7, 1994, Women's Wear Daily

Bottoms Up: Paris Fashion Verite. March 7, 1994, Women’s Wear Daily

Admittedly, the database is pretty stripped down. There is a basic search feature, but it doesn’t appear that the archive has really been curated in anyway. It is definitely worthwhile to browse old issues, but it seems like this database might be of best use when keeping a specific designer, collection, or year in mind. Each article is scanned as a different pdf, and provides easy access citation resources, as well as a large quantity of metadata for easy organization.

This archive is excellent for the next time you’re looking for some vintage fashion inspiration. From Cher to Bjork, every major fashion icon in the past century has made an appearance in these pages.

Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War

The archive of Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War is another database of trade publications, specifically targeted to servicemen and women of all nations during the World War I. The database is comprised of over 1,500 periodicals, written and illustrated by members of the armed forces between 1914-1919. This database provides full scans of the magazines in their entirety.

More Navy Officers Needed. Army and Navy Journal: Gazette of the Regular. March 30, 1918. Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War.

More Navy Officers Needed. Army and Navy Journal: Gazette of the Regular. March 30, 1918. Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War.

Scholars working in English, French, and German literature and print media will find these resources beneficial, as these publications provide a perspective not typically seen by the general public: that of military workers communicating directly to other military workers during WWI.

The database is searchable by language of publication, location, year, and field, including: Infantry, Medical, Prisoners of War, Navy, and Training.

The texts are available to download as PDFs, and the document viewer is equipped with a great zoom-feature that allows researchers to read more easily the small text.

These are incredibly fascinating documents, and for me, they pose a lot of questions. For example, who was producing them? How widely distributed were they? and How did this practice contribute to the events that took place during WWI? A search through this archive will surely provide some answers!

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