British Parliamentary Papers Finding Guide
A Guide to British Parliamentary Papers at the Boston Public Library
John Hooper, Reference Librarian
An Introduction to British Parliamentary Papers
A monument both to an intellectual awakening to the importance of historical sources in the Eighteenth century, when large sums of money were expended to preserve the Parliamentary historical record, and also to the later virtues of Victorian bureaucracy and scholarly assiduity, the British Parliamentary papers are an historiographer’s treasure trove. They offer an important primary resource for the student of history, both British and by virtue of the extent of its imperial enterprise and its diplomatic ubiquity, of the world. This is especially true of the 19th and early 20th century after which can be traced the decline of colonialism and the end of Empire. British history from medieval times onwards is recorded in these pages under every conceivable subject of interest to the Realm- Agriculture, Crime and the Penal System, Education , the Poor, the Slave Trade, Emigration, Famine, Industrialization, Disease, Employment, Finance, Transportation and many other of those profoundly important even existential societal questions which are common to all developed and developing countries. Short of the Recording Angel’s no more exhaustive compilation of official records likely exists and the unique window they open toBritainand the world may be very profitably used by any interested inquirer to gain a perspective on those issues common to all countries through the lens of one of the other great English speaking nations.
The term “Parliamentary Papers” is a generic term for various types of Government publications relating to the business of Parliament. Broadly they can be divided into 4 parts:
(1) The Votes and Proceedings compiled from the daily records of parliament which are distilled in
(2) The Journals of the House of Commons and Lords: the record of what was done
(3) The Debates (Hansard or the “Official Record”) for both Houses: the record of what was said
(4) The “Sessional Papers” which include the text of Public Bills, Reports from Committees and Joint Committees, Minutes of Proceedings of Standing Committees on the subject of the bills, Reports from Commissioners (non-parliamentary) often issued as “Command Papers” q.v.; and the Accounts and Papers i.e. everything else-finance, security, defense, civil estimates, trade and navigation accounts, state papers including Treaties etc.
For the researcher more familiar with the published output of the United States Congress a somewhat crude comparison can be made to theirU.S.Congressional counterparts. The Journals to the Journals and Calendars of the House and Senate. The Debates to the Congressional Record and its antecedents. The Sessional Papers to the Serial Set, though a Serial Set on steroids –including as they do bills, reports, minutes of evidence (hearings) departmental accounts and many State papers.
In somewhat the same way as with the Serial Set the volume of papers was much greater in the Nineteenth century than it is today. Budgetary constraints led to the winnowing of the minutes of evidence and most of the Executive Department reports, and their migration to the non-parliamentary report literature. Since the contents of the Sessional Papers have varied so much over time some commentary on important changes may be opportune.
Before 1801 those papers of the House of Commons which were printed were largely included in the House Journals, those not so included can be found in the “Reports from Committees of the House of Commons which are not inserted in the Journals” The most comprehensive coverage can be found in Sheila Lambert’s “Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century” which surveyed the contents of libraries/repositories around the nation which had copies of individual papers and reprinted them in a 145 volume set which is available in the Library. Another 60 volume reprint set of the “Sessional Papers printed by order of the House of Lords” 1714-1805 can also be accessed ( it also has a microfilm extension to 1859). The Rare Books Department of the Boston Public Library has many rare original examples whose call numbers can be accessed through the old card catalogue. Another rich bibliographic resource is the “English Short Title Catalogue” available through the Library’s electronic resources link and “Early English Books” for pre-eighteenth century titles available on microfilm as is also the microfiche set of the “Eighteenth Century” held by the library’s Microtext Department. Bibliographic records for the latter collection have been incorporated into the Library’s Horizon Catalogue.
From 1833 onwards Command Papers q.v. are numbered as a separate series and include most of the reports of Commissioners as well as many of the Accounts and Papers and the Treaty series.
The First World War reduced the bulk of the Sessional papers and after the war economic considerations led to the severe pruning of papers included in the set; departmental annual reports were dropped as were many other serial publications such as the volumes of the Census; also the minutes of evidence which had traditionally accompanied the Royal Commission reports were no longer always included in the Parliamentary set, much to its impoverishment. The old BPL catalogue should be consulted for possible access to some of the items dropped from the compilation after 1921.
After 1972 the statutory requirement for annual reports from nationalized industries (post World War II) was abandoned and many other agencies’ reports disappeared into the murky bibliographical mist. UKOP electronically and HMSO’s (later TSO’s) Annual Catalogue and the Chadwyck Healey annual “Catalogue of British Official Publications Not Published By HMSO” are among the bibliographical tools which may help identify the Non-Parliamentary output.
From 1801 to 1968/9 the format of the Sessional papers was a division into 5 parts: (1) Public Bills. (2) Reports from Committees. (3) Reports of Commissioners. (4) Accounts and Papers (i.e. all other papers including Finance, Defence, Trade, Treaties and Agreements) (5) Sessional Index
Between 1969/70 and 1978/79 the format became simpler: (1) Bills along with their minutes alphabetically by title. (2) Reports, Accounts and papers alphabetically by subject. (3) Sessional Index. Nonetheless bibliographic access to the papers continued to require session dates and volume numbers.
From 1979/80 onwards Bills are in one sequence HC papers in another and Command papers in another, all numerically ordered. A Sessional Index is also issued some years after the session; in the interim the HMSO and TSO catalogues can be used to identify papers; additionally the Government Documents Department has access to a Newsbank/Readex CD-ROM which may help identify papers from 1990-2003.
Some details of the Journals and Debates can be found under their individual headings in this guide.
The Journals of the House of Commons and The House of Lords at the Boston Public Library
As the diary of Parliament the Journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords are the authoritative record of the proceedings of both houses. Though perhaps more of interest to the specialized researcher and useful within Parliament as a guide to precedent, they nonetheless provide the official record of what was done, and are particularly important prior to the nineteenth century since at that time they included some of the papers printed for Parliament which were later organized into the Sessional Papers. Moreover, as the most ancient records they provide sometimes the only source recording Parliament’s deliberations. Daily notes and minute books are the sources used to compile the delayed printed volumes of the Journals which are what the Library holds.
The most comprehensive account of the extant records, concentrating largely on original manuscript records, but also providing an in depth history of the printed records will be found in Bond’s “Guide to the Records of Parliament” q.v. Though the focus as befits the librarian of the House of Lords is on the Lords papers, coverage of the House of Commons is exemplary. As befits the librarian of the House of Commons, Menhennet’s “Journal of the House of Commons: a Bibliographical and Historical Guide” is the nonpareil for that House.
Perhaps the most accessible bibliography of the printed sources for early Parliamentary proceedings are the introductory pages of “Debates and Proceedings of the British Parliament: a Guide to Printed Sources” by David Lewis Jones.
“The effort to master this continuous and reasonably accessible printed source is well worthwhile. For the Journal remains the authoritative record of the proceedings of the Commons: it is a mine of information for individual scholars and for historical, political and legal research generally.” Menhennet, p.51.
An overview of the holdings of the Boston Public Library’s collection of the Journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and their antecedents (following the bibliography at the beginning of the “Debates and Proceedings of the British Parliaments: A Guide to Printed Sources”) is as follows (the annotated edition on Gov Doc Ref should be consulted for more exhaustive coverage.)
Proceedings prior to 1509 (mainly petitions to Parliament rather than a daily journal of activities) were entered in the Rolls of Parliament.
Rotuli Parliamentorum ut et petitiones, et placita in Parliamento. London : 1767-1777. 6 volumes. Call number: NEDL 7090.1 vols. 1-6.
(Microfilm also available “The Eighteenth Century” Reels 3467-3469.)
Index to the Rolls of Parliament, Comprising the Petitions, Pleas and Proceedings of Parliament from Ann1.6 Edw. I to Ann. 19 Hen. VII (AD 1278-AD1503.) London : 1832. Call number: NEDL 7090.7.
As might be guessed from the title these records are largely in Latin or Angevin French. The availability of some translations is referenced in the annotated bibliography.
Rotuli Parliamentorum Anglie Hactenus Inediti MCCLXXIX-MCCCLXXIII Camden Third Series 51. London : Offices of the Society, 1935. Call number: 2416B.51.
This covers the rolls for Edward I-III which are not included in the previous source or in the following two supplements.
“Petitiones in Parliamento – De Anno Regni Regis Edwardi XVIII” in Documents Illustrative of English History in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: Selected from the Records of the Department of the Queen’s Remembrancer of the Exchequer.2nd edition by Henry Cole. Eyre & Spottiswoode:London, 1844.
Call number: NEDL 7070.8.
Records of the Parliament Holden at Westminster on the Twenty-eighth Day of February, in the Thirty-third Year of the Reign of King Edward the First (AD1305.) Edited by Frederic William Maitland. London : HMSO, 1893. Call number: NEDL 7020A.65.
Other sources for early records are referenced in the bibliography by David Lewis Jones which has been annotated with BPL call numbers and is kept in the Government Documents Department.
Journals of the House of Lords, Volume 1 (1510-1577) – 234 (2001.) London , 1767-2001. Call number: NEDL *F. volume #. Volumes 201-233 are on call number: Norwood J301.J3 (Volumes 207, 209, 211, and 232 appear to be missing.)
Also, since journals for some sessions between 1513-53 did not survive an edition of the Rolls of Parliament, Rolls of Parliament, to Supply the Deficiencies in the Journals of the House of Lords was published and is included in the first volume of the Journal.
Volumes of the Journals are being added to “British History Online”
Indexes to the Journals of the House of Lords
General Index to the Journals of the House of Lords 1 Hen VIII – 24 Carl I, 1509-1649, volumes I-X  f. Compiled by direction of the Lords Committees for the Journals. Call number: GOV REF (no call number.)
General Index to the Journals of the House of Lords 12 Carl II – 13 Ann, 1660-1714, volumes XI – XIX . Call number: GOV REF (no call number.)
Indexes to volumes 1-52 [1509-1819] London1817-36. 4 volumes folio. Call number: NEDL*F vol. no.
Since 1820 there is an index in each volume. Decennial indexes were issued regularly after volume 85. Two other cumulative indexes to volumes 53-64 [1820-1833] and 65-85 [1833-1853] exist, although they do not appear to be in the Library’s collection.
A classified index for 1833-63 is available. Call number: NEDL *F.272.1
Calendars of the Journals of the House of Lords, volume I [1510-1808] and volume II [1808-1826]. Call number: NEDL *F vol. no.
Reference to other fragments available in printed sources can be found in the annotated bibliography.
The Fane Fragment of the 1461 Lords’ Journal by William Huse Dunham, Jr. New Haven : Yale University Press. London : Oxford University Press, 1935. Call number: RL JN623.1461.A4.
Journals of the House of Commons. Printed by order of the House of Commons. 1547-
Volume 1 (1547-1628) – Volume 155 (1900)
New York: Readex Microprint Corporation. Call number: Microtext J301.K3
Volume 1 (1547-1628) – Volumes 169, 195-210
Call number: NEDL*F vol. no.
Volume 223 (1967-68) – Volume 254 (1997)
Incomplete, lacks volumes 229, 231-233, 237, 247, 249. Call number: Norwood J301.K3
Volumes of the Journals are being added to “British History Online”
Indexes to the Journals of the House of Commons
General Index to the Journals of the House of Commons.
Volumes 1-155 (1547-1900)
New York: Readex Microprint Corporation, 1973.
1 box, 163 microcards. Call number: J301.K3, box numbered F12
Index to volumes 1-145, 156-165, 186-205. Call number: NEDL*F vol. no.
Index to volumes 216-225 (1960/61-1969/70) Call number: Gov Ref J301.K3 folio
Index to volumes 226-236 (1970/71 – 1979/80) Call number: Gov Ref J301.K3 folio
(This index volume also available on Readex fiche.)
Electronic access to full text of early Journals of both Houses is becoming accessible through “British History Online,” an adjunct of the Royal Historical Society’s online bibliography which is highly recommended.
Ford, Grace. A Select List of Reports and Other Papers in Journals of the House of Commons 1688-1800. Nendeln: KTO Press, 1976. Call number: Gov Ref (no number)
Menhennet, David. The Journal of the House of Commons: A Bibliographical and Historical Guide. London : HMSO, 1971. Call number: Gov Ref JN673.M45
General Index to the Reports from Committees of the House of Commons 1715 – 1801 Printed but not inserted in the Journals of the House. Volume 16 on call number: NEDL 7040.12. The first 15 volumes contain the reports.
Parliamentary Debates also known as Hansard or the Official Report
The publishing record of the Parliamentary Debates has a long and chequered history. It was not until 1909 that a substantially verbatim report (with repetitions, redundancies and obvious mistakes omitted) of Parliament’s proceedings became available. Prior to that as Maurice Bond reports in his “Guide to the Records of Parliament” :
”..it was customary for Clerks at the Table on occasion to note down speeches made in the House. The practice came to an end in the Lords c.1714, and in the Commons it was forbidden in 1628. Even when Clerks noted speeches in their Minute Books or Journals, however, publication was considered a breach of privilege. The Lords S.O. 92 of 1698 declared it a breach of privilege ‘to publish in print anything relating to the proceedings of this House without the leave of this House” and the Commons by various resolutions between 1642 and 1738 also condemned publication as a breach of privilege. In spite of this, debates in the Houses were sometimes published unofficially during the 17th and 18th c. From 1768 there was systematic newspaper reporting of debates and from 1771 no effective ban on parliamentary reporting was exercised. In spite of this relative freedom to report, the content of the speeches in the longer accounts in the 18th c. may be in part imaginary, the points made by the speakers were frequently marshalled in the wrong order, and the exact wording was seldom captured. In 1803 newspaper reporters obtained the right to sit in a specific part of the Commons Gallery and in 1831 they were assigned a section of the Lords Gallery. From 1878 Treasury grants were made in aid of publication, and from 1909 onwards each House published their own official verbatim report of Debates…”
In consequence the spoken record of Parliament until virtually the nineteenth century is pulled together with varying reliability into various sets of collected debates themselves derived from a variety of sources, and from the diaries, jottings, journals or selections of participants, or from newspaper and magazine accounts acquired through clandestine reporting. Collections of the debates as described hereafter, and such items as, for example, Byron’s speeches (Rare Books *A.1295.37), selections of the “best speeches” edited by Hazlitt (4560.38 or 4563.42) and ‘remarkable speeches, debates and conferences of the most eminent statesmen…” in the Works of George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (4579A.111) are just a few of the titles to be found in the Library’s Catalogue.
Very useful finding aids for a multiplicity of sources can be found in both John A. Woods’ “Bibliography of Parliamentary Debates of Great Britain” and David Lewis Jones’ “ Debates and Proceedings of the British Parliaments a guide to printed sources” Annotated copies of both these bibliographies are available in the Government Documents Department. Many of the resources mentioned there and many others are available in microformat through the English Short Title Catalogue or the Eighteenth Century microfilm collections; indexes to both of which are searchable electronically through the library’s Electronic Resources link or the Horizon catalogue. Recently launched (March 2007) has been the 18th Century British Official Parliamentary Publications portal 1688-1834. http:www.bopcris.ac.uk/18c/ although this is not at present available to the BPL.
Some interesting books and articles have been written about the collection and publication of the debates at various times. Samuel Johnson, for example, gets excellent treatment in Benjamin Beard Hoover’s “Samuel Johnson’s Parliamentary Reporting” (call number: PR 3531.D43H6) and also in Thomas Kaminski’s “The Early Career of Samuel Johnson” pp. 123-143 (call number: PR3533.K36 1987). An enlightening article by A. Aspinall entitled “The Reporting and Publishing of the House of Commons Debates,1771-1834 appears in “Essays presented to Sir Lewis Namier” pp. 227-257 (call number: D6.P28). For a later period H. DonaldsonJordanhas an interesting account in “The reports of Parliamentary Debates, 1803-1908” Economica, no.34 (Nov,1931) pp.437-449 (available on JSTOR). Frank Rogers in his “Guide to British Government Publications” pp.82-94 (call number: GOVREF Z2009.R62) has a good overview of the history of Parliamentary reporting with a bibliography citing the above references among others. Photocopies of these items may be had in the Government Documents department.
British Parliamentary Debates available at the Boston Public Library
The Parliamentary or Constitutional History of England from the Earliest Times, to the Restoration of King Charles II, Collected from the Records, the Rolls of Parliament, the Journals of Both Houses, the Public Libraries, Original Manuscripts , Scarce Speeches, and Tracts: All Compared with the Several Contemporary Writers, and Connected, Throughout, with the History of the Times. (By several hands.)
The Old Parliamentary History. Second edition.London, 1760-1763. 24 volumes.
Call Number: NEDL 7079A.50
The Parliamentary History ofEngland: From the Earliest Period to the Year 1803 from which Last-Mentioned Epoch it is Continued Downward in the Work Entitled “Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates”
Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England.London, 1806-20. 36 volumes.
Call Number: NEDL 7088.1.
Microcard, 2 boxes, unnumbered.
D’Ewes, Simonds, Sir.
The Journals of All the Parliaments During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth: Both the House of Lords and House of Commons Collected by Sir Simonds D’Ewes. 1682 Rev. and Published by Paul Bowles,London. Printed for John Starkey at the Mitre in Fleet Street near Temple Bar.
Call Number: Rare Books J301.H14/1682
Reprint: J301.H14/1974 (Book Delivery)
Also available full text from “British History Online” www.british-history.ac.uk/
Historical Collections, or an Exact Account of the Proceedings of the Four Last Parliaments of Queen Elizabeth of Famous Memory. Wherein is Contained the Compleat Journals of Both of Lords and Commons, Taken from the Original Records of their Houses: As Also the More Particular Behaviours of the Worthy Members During All the Last Notable Sessions, Comprehending the Motions, Speeches, and Arguments of the Renowned and Learned Secretary Cecill, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Rawleigh, Sir Edw. Hobby and Divers Other Eminent Gentlemen: Together with the Most Considerable Passages of the History of Those Times.
Townshend’s Collections.London, 1680. Printed for T. Basset,W. Crooke , andW. Cademan .
Call Number: Microtext Dept. on microfilm: Early English Books 1641-1700, entry 1644:11.
The History and Proceedings of the House of Lords: From the Restoration in 1660, to the Present Time: Containing the Most Remarkable Motions, Speeches, Debates, Orders and Resolutions, Together with all the Protests During that Period and the Numbers Pro and Con Upon Each Division: with an Account of the Promotions of the Several Peers, and the State of the Peerage in Every Reign; Connected with the Transactions of the Commons and History of the Times: Illustrated with Historical Notes and Observations, Together with the Debates in the Parliament of Scotland Relating to the Union: To Each Volume are Added Proper Indexes.
Timberland’s Debates.London, 1742-1743. Printed for E. Timberland. 8 volumes.
Call Number: Research Library J301.T5
The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons from the Restoration to the Present Time: Containing the Most Remarkable Motions, Speeches, Resolves, Reports and Conferences to be met with in that Interval: As Also the Most Exact Estimates of the Charge of Government, State of the Public Revenue, the Rise and Growth of the National Debt, Expence of the War, Proceedings on Ways and Means, Speeches and Message from the Throne, Addresses and Remonstrances, Also the Numbers Pro and Con Upon Every Division, Etc. Many of Which Curious Particulars Were Never Before Printed: Collected From the Best Authorities, Compared with the Journals of the House, and Illustrated with a Great Variety of Historical and Explanatory Notes: Together with a Large Appendix Containing Exact Lists of Every Parliament, the Names of the Speakers, their Several Posts Under the Government, and Other Valuable, Supplemental Pieces.
Chandler’s Debates.London, 1742-1744. Printed for Richard Chandler. 14 volumes.
Call Number: NEDL 7078.51
Also available full text from “British History Online” www.british-history.ac.uk/
Debates of the House of Commons From the Year 1667 to the Year 1694.London, 1763. Printed for D. Henry and R. Cave… and J. Emerson. 10 volumes
Call Number: NEDL 7079.50
Also available full text from “British History Online” www.british-history.ac.uk/
Collection of the Parliamentary Debates inEnglandfrom 1668 to 1742.Dublin. Print.LondonReprint, 1739-1742. 21 volumes.
Call Number: NEDL 7088.50
Debates in Parliament. Being volumes 12 and 13 of The Works of Samuel Johnson.
London: J. Stockdale, 1787.
Call Number: Microtext microfilm “The 18th Century” reel 4331, no. 02 and reel 1769, no. 01.
An Impartial History of the Proceedings and Debates in Both Houses of Parliament, Beginning With… Dec. 1, 1741and … Continued to the 15th Day of July 1742.
London, 1743. Printed for B. Cowse.
Not owned by the BPL
The Debates and Proceedings of the British House of Commons.London, 1775-1776. Printed for J. Almon and others. 11 volumes
Call Number: NEDL 7078.52
The History of Debates and Proceedings of Both Houses of Parliament of Great Britain From the Year 1743 to the Year 1774 Containing the Most Interesting Motions, Speeches, Resolutions, Reports, Petitions, Evidence, Protests, and Papers Laid Before Either House. Together With the Supplies and Ways and Means of Each Session; Also Lists of Each Parliament, and of the Divisions Upon the Most Important Questions; In Seven Volumes.
Call Number: NEDL 7088.55
13. 1774-1780 – Series 1
The Parliamentary Register; Or History of the Proceedings and Debates of the House of Commons (House of Lords) An Account of the Most Interesting Speeches and Motions; Accurate Copies of the Most Remarkable Letters and Papers; Of the Most Material Evidence, Petitions, Etc. Laid Before , and Offered to the House During the First-Sixth Session of the Fourteenth Parliament of Great Britain.
Call Number: NEDL 7078.1
1780-1796 – Series 2
15th -17th Parliament Sessions 1-6
Call number: NEDL 7078.2 (Volumes 1-16)
NEDL 7077.1 (Volumes 17-45)
1797-1803 – Series 3 *BPL has through 1800 only.
Almon and Debrett’s Debates
Call Number NEDL 7076.1
The Debates and Proceedings of the House of Commons.London, 1787-8. 15 volumes.
Call Number: BPL has 1784-1787 in 10 volumes in Rare Books Dept. **Adams162.3
The Senator; Or Clarendon’s Parliamentary Chronicle. Containing an impartial register; recording’ with the utmost accuracy, the proceedings and debates of the House Of Lords and Commons
Call Number: NEDL 7078.4 *BPL has only 1790-1796 in 16 volumes
An Impartial Report of the Debates Which Occur in the Two Houses of Parliament
Not owned by the Boston Public Library.
The Parliamentary Register; Or an Impartial Report of the Debates Which Have Occurred in the Two Houses of Parliament.
Not owned by the Boston Public Library
The Parliamentary Debates from the Year 1803 to the Present Time.
Call Number: NEDL 7098.2 (also Readex microprint)
The Parliamentary Debates/ Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates
Hansard “New Series”
Call Number: NEDL 7098.2 (also Readex microprint)
The Mirror of Parliament. 2d session of the 8th parliament, in the ninth year of the reign of George IV 3rd session of the 12th parliament, in the seventh year of the reign of king William IV. Edited by John Henry Barrow.London,Winchesterand Varnham 1828 -1837 36 vol. Folio
Call Number: *G.310a.1 Rare Books Department
Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates
Hansard “Third Series”
Call Number: NEDL 7098.2 (also on Readex microprint J301.H22)
The Parliamentary Debates
Hansard “Fourth Series”
Call Number: NEDL 7098.2 (also on Readex microprint J301.H22)
From 1909 the Parliamentary Debates for the House of Commons and the House of Lords were issued in separate series, prior to that year they were issued together.
House of Commons. The Parliamentary Debates.
“Fifth Series” House of Commons
Call Number: NEDL 7098.4 and Norwood J301.K22 (also on Readex microprint J301.H5)
24. 1909-1997 paper, 1909-1999/2000 microcard or fiche
House of Lords. The Parliamentary Debates
“Fifth Series” House of Lords
Call Number: NEDL 7098.3 and Norwood J301.J22 (also on Readex Microprint/fiche J301.J22
The Parliamentary Debates
“Sixth Series” House of Commons
Call Number: NorwoodJ301.K22 ( also on Readex microfiche J301.H5)
Of Special Interest are the Collection of Debates Respecting North America
Proceedings and Debates of the British Parliaments Respecting North America edited by Leo Francis Stock.Washington,DC: Carnegie Institute ofWashington, 1924-41. 5 volumes.
Call Number: NEDL 7910.438
Proceedings and Debates of the British Parliament Respecting North America edited by R.C. Simmons and P.D.G. Thomas Millwood.New York: Kraus International Publications.
Not owned by the Boston Public Library.
British Parliamentary Debates (Official Report): Basic Overview of the Holdings of the Boston Public Library
Please Note: Before 1909 Commons and Lords Debates were issued together.
After 1909 Commons and Lords were issued in separate series.
|Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England 1066-1803 (36 volumes)||Call Number 7088.1 (NEDL) Reprint (1966) J301.H5/1966||Readex microcards, 2 boxes, unnumbered|
|Cobbett’s Parliamentary Debates 1803-1820, 1st series (41 volumes)||Call Number 7098.2 (NEDL)||Readex microcards, 2 boxes, unnumbered|
|Cobbett’s Parliamentary Debates 1820-1830, 2nd series (25 volumes) and General Index 1803-1830||Call Number 7098.2 (NEDL)||Readex microcard, 1 box, unnumbered|
|Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates 1830-1891, 3rd series (356 volumes)||Call Number 7098.2 (NEDL)||Readex microcard, 17 boxes, Call Number J301.H22|
|*For finding aid to indexes see Coolidge. Brief Guide.||Call Number Gov Ref Z2009.C69|
|Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates 1892-1908, 4th series (199 volumes)||Call Number 7098.2 (NEDL)||Readex microcard, 9 boxes, Call Number J301.H22|
|House of Commons -Paper||House of Commons -Microcard/Microfiche|
|Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates 1909-2000, 5th series, (volumes 1-1000) Call Number J301.K22 and 7098.4 (Norwoodand NEDL)||5th Series:1909-1918 (volumes 1-111) Readex Microcard, 6 boxes, Call Number J301.K22|
|5th Series: 1919-1966 (Volumes 112-726) Readex Microcard, 45 boxes, Call Number J301.H5|
|5th Series: 1966-1980 (volumes 727-993) Readex Microcard boxes G1-G19, Call Number J301.H5|
|5th Series: 1980/81 (volumes (994-1000) Readex Microfiche, Call Number J301.H5|
|6th Series: 1981-(1999) (volumes 1-328) Call Number J301.K22||6th Series: 1981-(1999/2000) (volumes 1-357) Readex Microfiche Call Number J301.H5|
|Debates of the Commons, Oct. 1996- are available on the internet at: http://www.parliament.uk|
|House of Lords – Paper||House of Lords – Microcard/Microfiche|
|Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates 1909-1997, 5th series (volumes 1-579) Call Numbers 7098.3 or J301.J22 (J301.K16)?||5th Series: 1909-1918 (volumes 1-32) Readex Microcard, 1 box, Call Number J301.J22|
|5th Series: 1919-1979/80 (volumes 33-164) Readex Microcard boxes H1-H15, Call Number J301.J22|
|5th Series: 1980/81-1999/2000 (volumes 165-619) Readex Microfiche, Call number J301.J22|
|Debates of the Lords, June 1996- are available on the internet at: http://www.parliament.uk|
An overview of the Sessional Papers available in the Boston Public Library.
(Request assistance on their indexing, retrieval and use in the Government Documents Department.)
A. House of Commons
1. “First Series” 1715-1800.
“Reports from Committees of the House of Commons which have been printed by order of the House, and are not inserted in the journals, reprinted by order of the House.” London, 1803-1806. Folio in 16 volumes, volume 16 being the index. Call number: NEDL 7040.12
2. “Second Series” “The Abbot Collection 1731-1800. (Named for the Speaker of the House.)
“Papers printed by order of the House of Commons from the year 1731 to 1800 in the custody of the Clerk of the Journal.” New York: Readex Microprint Corporation. 4 boxes of cards. Call number: Readex Microcard J301. K613, Boxes D1-D4.
BoxD1: 1731-1800. Catalogue and Index, Accounts and Papers, Volumes I-XXVIII.
BoxD2: 1731-1800. Accounts and Papers, Volumes XXIX-LII.
BoxD3: 1731-1800. Bills, Volumes I-XXX.
BoxD4: 1731-1800. Reports, Volumes I-XXVIII.
In fact, the Reports are largely from 1771-1800 and the Accounts and Papers are mainly from 1780-1800. See Bond, q.v. p. 234. A facsimile of the index to the collection is kept on Gov Doc Ref. Call number 9016.3542A13
3. House of Commons Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century. 1715-1800 facsimile. Ed. Sheila Lambert. Wilmington , DE : Scholarly Resources, 1975. 147 volumes. The first two volumes are finding list and indexes and are kept on Gov Ref. Call number: J301.K62 (stack 6.)
This is the most comprehensive source for 18th century papers of the House of Commons. Her earlier publication List of House of Commons Sessional Papers 1701-1750 q.v. gives references for some earlier papers.
4. Parliamentary Papers Printed by Order of the House of Commons, from the Years 1731-1800… and 1801-1978/79. New York : Readex Microprint Corporation. 439 boxes of microcards. Call number: J301.K613 (Microtext stack 7.)
Continues the Abbot collection in boxes numbered D5 through D439. One of the most prodigious feats of 20th century microreproduction.
5. Great Britain. House of Commons. Sessional Papers. London. 1807-1979/80 c.10,000 volumes with some gaps. Call number: NEDL *F.yr.vol and Norwood J301.K6.
6. House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, Bills, Command Papers, Sessional Papers.New Canaan ,CT : Readex Corporation, 1979/80- circa 2000. Call number: Readex Microfiche J301.K613 (Cage, stack 1.)
7. The nineteenth century papers are also extensively, though selectively covered in reprint by the “Irish University Press Series of British Parliamentary Papers.” Shannon, Ireland: IrishUniversityPress, 1969-. Call number: Folio (Stack 6) 1,000 volumes on various call numbers. These are arranged either by subject or geography. Each section of the collection has a unique call number as follows:
Agriculture, General, 1820-1897. (32 vols.) Folio HD1450.1820.G7x
Animal Health, 1866-1898. (4 vols.) Folio SF53.G7x
Aborigines, 1834-1837. (3 vols.) Folio HV3176.G7x
Colonies, General, 1830-1899. (37 vols.) Folio JV1043.A3x
Africa, 1801-1899. (70 vols.) Folio DT32.G7x
Australia, 1816-1899. (34 vols.) Folio DU115.G7x
Canada, 1802-1899. (33 vols.) Folio F1029.5.G7G7x
Canadian Boundary, 1831-1894. (3 vols.) Folio F1027.5.G7x
East India, 1805-1874. (22 vols.) Folio DS463.G7
New Zealand, 1835-1896. (17 vols.) Folio DU421.5.G7x
West Indies, 1806-1899. (10 vols.) Folio F1622.5.G7x
Crime and Punishment
Civil Disorder, 1835-1895. (8 vols.) Folio JC328.G6x
Juvenile Offenders, 1847-1897. (6 vols.) Folio HV9145.G7x
Penal Servitude, 1878-1879. (2 vols.) Folio HV893.G7G7x
Police, 1812-1892. (10 vols.) Folio HV7728.A8/1817x
Prisons, 1809-1899. (21 vols.) Folio HV8523.A6/1819x
Transportation, 1810-1869. (16 vols.) Folio HV8949.A1x
Education, General, 1847-1896. (46 vols.) Folio LA632.G7x
BritishMuseum, 1835-1899. (4 vols.) Folio Z792.B863G7x
Fine Arts, 1841-1897. (6 vols.) Fine Arts Folio N21.G7x
Poorer Classes, 1816-1896. (9 vols.) Folio LC5056.G7G7x
Public Libraries, 1849-1852. (2 vols.) Folio Z791.A1G7x
Scientific and Technical, 1867-1884. (8 vols.) Folio Q181.G6x
Emigration, 1826-1899. (28 vols.) Folio JV7614.G7x
Famine,Ireland, 1846-1853. (8 vols.) Folio HV249.I2G7x
Fisheries, 1805-1894. (7 vols.) Folio SH261.G7x
Fuel and Power
Coal Trade, 1830-1873. (5 vols.) Folio TP326.G7G7x
Gas, 1809-1899. (6 vols.) Folio TP345.G7x
Mining Accidents, 1835-1899. (12 vols.) Folio TN311.G7x
Mining Districts, 1839-1859. (2 vols.) Folio HD8039.M62G7x
Mining Royalties, 1887-1894. (3 vols.) Folio HJ4169.G7x
Civil Service, 1837-1892. (12 vols.) Folio JN425.G7x
Diplomatic Service, 1835-1872. (4 vols.) Folio JX1784.A3/1870x
Elections, 1834-1898. (5 vols.) Folio JN1088.1835.G7x
Municipal Corporations, 1833-1839. (9 vols.) Folio JS3068.G7x
Health, General, 1839-1899. (17 vols.) Folio RA485.G7x
Food and Drugs, 1852-1895. (5 vols.) Folio HD9000.9.G7G7x
Infectious Diseases, 1847-1897. (13 vols.) Folio RA 643.G7x
Medical Profession, 1822-1880. (5 vols.) Folio R690.G7x
Mental, 1807-1897. (7 vols.) Folio RA790.7.G7G7x
Industrial Relations, 1824-1899. (44 vols.) Folio HD8381.C2/1825x
Children’s Employment, 1816-1867. (15 vols.) Folio HD6250.G7A1x
Design, 1835-1852. (4 vols.) Fine Arts Folio NC703.G7x
Factories, 1835-1899. (31 vols.) Folio HD6974.G7x
Textiles, 1802-1841. (10 vols.) Folio HD9681.6.G7x
Trade, 1820-1833. (5 vols.) Folio HF3505.8.G7x
Insurance, Friendly Societies, 1825-1899. (10 vols.) Folio HS1505.G7G7x
Inventions, 1829-1872. (2 vols.) Folio T257.S3/1968x
Legal Administration, General, 1829-1887. (16 vols.) Folio JN817.G7x
Criminal Law, 1819-1879. (6 vols.) Folio HV6941.A1x
Marriage and Divorce
Marriage and Divorce, 1830-1896. (3 vols.) Folio HQ1019.G7G7x
Military and Naval
Military and Naval, 1809-1900. (6 vols.) Folio UA648.G7x
Monetary policy, General, 1807-1898. (12 vols.) Folio HG933.A1x
Commercial Distress, 1847-1858. (4 vols.) Folio HG933.A12x
Currency, 1837-1899. (8 vols.) Folio HG935.G7x
Decimal Coinage, 1852-1860. (2 vols.) Folio HG939.G7x
Joint Stock Banks, 1836-1838. (1 vol.) Folio HG2011.G7x
Savings Banks, 1849-1894. (4 vols.) Folio HG1926. G7x
National Finance, General, 1840-1898. (8 vols.) Folio HJ1015.G7x
Income Tax, 1851-1861. (2 vols.) Folio HJ4707.A2G7x
Newspapers, 1814-1888. (2 vols.) Folio PN5112.G7x
Poor Law, 1834-1900. (30 vols.) Folio HV241.G7x
Population, 1831-1894. (25 vols.) Folio HA1127.G7x
Posts and Telegraphs
Posts and Telegraphs, 1837-1898. (8 vols.) Folio HE6931.G7x
Religion, 1851-1870. (3 vols.) Folio BX1793.G7x
Shipping, Safety, 1802-1899. Folio HE565.G7G7x
Slave Trade, 1801-1899. (95 vols.) Folio HT1161.G7x
Drunkenness, 1834-1879. (4 vols.) Folio HV5446.G7x
Gambling, 1808-1895. (2 vols.) Folio HV6722.G7A2x
Sunday Observance, 1831-1890. (3 vols.) Folio HD5114.G7x
Stage and Theatre
Stage and Theatre, 1831-1892. (3 vols.) Folio PN2044.G6G7x
Trade and Industry
Depression, 1884-1886. (3 vols.) Folio HB3716.G7x
Explosives, 1802-1894. (2 vols.) Folio TX291.G7x
Navigation Laws, 1847-1848. (2 vols.) Folio JX6311.G7x
Silver and Gold Wares, 1817-1894. (2 vols.) Folio TN580.S5G7x
Tobacco, 1806-1884. (2 vols.) Folio HD9141.G7x
Transport, 1817-1899. (22 vols.) Folio HE243.A1x
Housing, 1881-1885. (3 vols.) Folio HD7333.A3G7x
Planning, 1833-1894. (10vols.) Fine Arts Folio NA9185.G7G7x
Sanitation, 1823-1891. (7 vols.) Folio RA485.A1x
Water Supply, 1821-1900. (9 vols.) Folio TD257.G7x
Or see the checklist inGov Docs Refwhich has been annotated.
We ask that you always consult the IUP checklist before ordering original volumes which may be too fragile to photocopy. They are also much simpler and more attractive to use than the microcard edition. It should be noted that though extensive and concentrating on the most important papers they represent at most 25% of the full collection.
8. Current electronic access:
http://www.parliament.uk/ See parliamentary publications and archives section.
B. House of Lords. Available largely in reprint editions.
1. Torrington, F. William. Great Britain . Parliament. House of Lords Sessional Papers, 1714-1805. Dobbs Ferry , NY : Oceana. Call number: Norwood J301.J62 (60 volumes.) Index in Gov Docs q.v.
2. Great Britain . Parliament. House of Lords Sessional Papers, 1806-1859. Dobbs Ferry , NY : Oceana. Volumes 1-327 in 546 reels on call number: Microfilm J301.J63 (48 boxes on stack 3.) Index in Gov Docs q.v.
3. Unknown number of official volumes ? Call number: Norwood J301.J62. The BPL has not extensively collected the Lords series since it was, perhaps erroneously, thought that they were largely duplicated in the Commons Set. For a discussion of the amount of duplication see “The House of Lords Sessional Papers” by Kenneth A. Mallaber (J. Librarianship 4 (2) April 1972.) A copy of this article is available in Gov Doc Ref.
4. British Sessional Papers. House of Lords. Volume 1 1940/41-1975/76. New Canaan , CT : Readex. Call number: Microcard J301.K613 (9 boxes on stack 7.)
5. British Sessional Papers. House of Lords. 1976/7-current? New Canaan , CT : Readex. Call number: Microfiche J301.K613 (stack 1.)
6. Electronic Access:
CHECKLIST OF SESSIONAL PAPERS OWNED BY THEBOSTONPUBLIC LIBRARY
|House of Commons*|
|1715-1801||16 volumes||NEDL||7040.12paper copy||Official|
|1715-1799/1800||145 volumes||Stack 6||J301.K62paper copy||Scholarly Resources|
|1807-1979/80||c. 10,000 volumes||NEDL/Norwood||*F or J301.K6paper copy||Official|
|Selectively 1801-1899||1,000 volumes||Stack 6 above the cabinets||Various call numbers||IrishUniversityPress|
*Some earlier papers can be found in the Journals, q.v.
|House of Lords|
|1714-1805||60 volumes||Norwood||J301.J62paper copy||Oceana|
|1806-1859||327 volumes in 546 reels||Microtext||J301.J63microfilm||Oceana|
Many and various are the indexes to the Sessional Papers. Not all of these are available in the Government Documents Department, but for the interested, excellent overviews of the indexing available at the time they were published may be found in Bibliographical Aids to Research II, British Parliamentary Papers: Catalogues and Indexes Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research Vol. XI, Number 31, June 1933. A copy of this aid is available in the Government Documents Department.
Government Publications. Official Indexes Lists Guides Catalogues. London: HMSO, 1955. This is also available in the Government Documents Department.
“Special Collections of Papers and the Story of the Indexes” together with a “List of Collections of Papers, Indexes and Catalogues” covered those issued up to 1950 and appear as Appendix 1 of Ford’s Guide to Parliamentary Papers. q.v.
The holdings of the Government Documents Department of the Boston Public Library are as follows:
Indexes to the Sessional Papers of the House of Commons
1. 1696-1834. Hansard, Luke Graves 1783-1841. Catalogue of Parliamentary Reports, and a Breviate of their Contents: Arranged Under Heads According to the Subjects 1696-1834. London : The House, 1836. Call number: 7100.6 Also available in the Readex microprint edition on call number:*F.index Box C.1
Reprint: Hansard’s Catalogue and Breviate, 1953. J301.K62/1953
Reprint: Hansard’s Catalogue and Breviate of Parliamentary Papers with an Introduction by P. Ford, Professor Emeritus and G. Ford, University of Southampton . Index. Shannon . Ireland : Irish University Press, [1968.] Call number: Gov Ref JN591.A2x vol. 1 * This is the one on reference which we currently use, it covers both houses.
2. 1715-1800. Lambert, Sheila (ed.) House of Commons Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century: Introduction and List. 2 vols. Wilmington , DE : Scholarly Resources. 1975. Call number: J301.K62 Offers the most complete coverage of known parliamentary documents of the eighteenth century, expands on coverage offered in the “Abbot Collection” 1731-1800 q.v. Introduction is of great interest. Lists are arranged chronologically and numerically. Volume 1 contains 1715-1760 and an alphabetical index by title. Volume 2 contains 1761-1800, and a subject index to both volumes. It accompanies a 145 volume reprint set to be found on the same call number housed on stack 6. A previous list by the same author, List of House of Commons Sessional Papers 1701-1750: List and Index Society Special Series Volume 1.Swift (P&D) Ltd, 1968, though largely superseded by this collection remains useful for earlier coverage. Gov Ref.
3. 1715-1801. Reports from Committees of the House of Commons which have been printed by order of the House and are not inserted in the Journals [1715-1801] London . 1803-1806. Volume 16 is the index. Call Number NEDL 7040.12
4. 1731-1800. Catalogue of Papers Printed by Order of the House of Commons from the Year 1731-1800 in the Custody of the Clerk of the Journals. London , 1807. Popularly known as the “Abbot Collection.” Facsimile edition on call number Gov Ref 9016.3542A13. Also available in the Readex microprint set on call number: *F.index Box D.1.
5. 1801-1900. Jones, Hilda V. ed. “Kings List” (covers both Houses.) Catalogue of Parliamentary Papers, 1801-1900 with Supplements 1901-1910 and 1911-1920. P.S. King & Son, 1904. According to Percy Ford, since this is more a booksellers’ catalogue than a true index, and does not provide volume number for the papers, its usefulness is limited. James Olle is more unkind, saying:”This bibliography does not cite the sessional numbers of the House of Commons Papers, or the serial numbers of Command Papers, neither does it provide references to the sets of the House of Commons Sessional Papers. Some of the titles listed cannot be identified in the official bibliographies. This catalogue is not worth knowing and its use should be discouraged. Apparently, however, it is still being used in some libraries.” Pemberton, however, considers it useful for discovering publication year. The Boston Public Library has three volumes on call number 9016.3542 and a reprint edition (in one volume) on call number Z2009.K55/1972.
6. 1801-1852. General Index to the Accounts and Papers, Reports of Commissioners, Estimates, Etc. Printed by Order of the House of Commons or Presented by Command1801-1852. London : HMSO, 1938. On call number 9016.3542A6. A 1968 Irish University Press (IUP) reprint is on Gov Ref JN591.A2x. It is also available on Readex microprint. This set is divided into three parts: (1) Titled as above (2) General Index to the Reports of Select Committees (3) General Index to the Bills…
7. 1852-1899. General Alphabetical Index to the Bills, Reports, Estimates, Accounts and Papers, Printed by Order of the House of Commons, and to the Papers Presented by the Command 1852-1899. London : HMSO, 1909. 3 Vols. This index is not owned by the Boston Public Library, however more detailed coverage is available in the 1968 Irish University Press reprints of 19th century indexes which are on Gov Ref JN 591.A2x. Coverage is also available on Readex microprint. A very useful guide to these Readex indexes is on Gov Ref Z2009.C69 It is titled: A Brief Guide to the Use of the Government Documents of Great Britain and the United States .
8. 1801-1900. Subject Catalogue of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1801-1900. Cambridge , England , Alexandria , VA : 1988, reprinted 2004. 5 vols. This index can be said to complement the above official indexes, as it simplifies them into 19 subject groups, each with more detailed sub-groups. This avoids much of the tedious cross referencing and inconsistent indexing found in the originals. Call number: Gov Ref Z2019.C63 1988
9. 1900-1949. General Index to the Bills, Reports and Papers, Printed by Order of the House of Commons, and to the Reports and Papers Presented by Command 1900-1948/49. London : HMSO, 1960. On Gov Ref 9016.3542A20.
10. 1950-1958/59. General Alphabetical Index to the Bills, Reports, and Papers Printed by Order of the House of Commons and the Reports and Papers Presented by Command 1950-1958/59. London : HMSO, 1963. On Gov Ref J301.J62? In Volume 39 of 1962/3 Session.
11. 1959/60-1968/69. General Alphabetical Index to the Bills, Reports and Papers Printed by Order of the House of Commons and the Reports and Papers Presented by Command, 1959/60 to 1968/69. London : HMSO, 1975. On Gov Ref J301.J62.
12. 1969/70-1978/79. General Alphabetical Index to the Bills, Reports and Papers Printed by Order of the House of Commons and the Reports and Papers Presented by Command, 1969/70-1978/79. London : HMSO, 1995. Readex microfiche, see reference desk. It is unlikely that there will be another 50 year index.
13. 1900-1979/80. Annual Sessional Indexes. These are the final volumes of the sessions extracted from the set. They are kept on the Gov Bib Ref shelves. 1800-1900 are also available on Readex microprint or can be ordered from NEDL.
14. 1980/81-current. British Parliamentary Papers. House of Commons. Index is the final volume of the session, however it typically does not appear until about 5 years after the end of the session. Available on Readex microfiche kept at Gov Ref. Inquire of librarians for special binder.
15. The Boston Public Library discontinued its subscription to the paper copy of the sessional papers of the House of Commons with the 1979/80 session. Subsequent sessions are available only on Readex microfiche in the Microtext Department on call number J301.K613. After 1979/80 volume numbering was abandoned in favor of document numbers. This means that annual HMSO/SO catalogues after this date provide enough information to identify the documents, although more than one year of the index will need to be consulted to cover a parliamentary session. These indexes can be found on Gov Ref 9016.3542A10 or Z2009.G822 and cover both Houses. They are more timely than the official indexes at no.14 above.
16. While the 50 year and 10 year cumulative indexes are the most convenient to use, the annual indexes offer more detail. Annual indexes from 1900-1979/80 are available on Gov Ref **F and J301.J62. Subsequent indexes as noted above are available on Readex microfiche, inquire at the Government Documents reference desk. Earlier annual indexes, 1801-1900, are available in the Microtext Department on Readex microcard. See A Brief Guide to the Use of the Government Documents of Great Britain and the United States on Gov Ref Z2009.C69 for a detailed list of indexes available and how to use the microcards. Some of these older indexes may also be requested from NEDL on **F numbers. Allow 2 days for delivery. Annual indexes typically include a table of contents, a numerical list of bills, reports, estimates, accounts, papers and command papers and a general alphabetical index.
17. 1990/91-2003. British Parliamentary Papers Index by Readex/Newsbank Inc. on CD-ROM. Accessible on workstations in the Government Documents Department. Indexes both House of Lords and House of Commons sessional papers and to some extent Hansard’s debates.
18. 1997-current. Parliament website: http://www.polis.parliament.uk/
Selective indexes to sessional papers and breviates of their contents
1688-1800. Ford, Grace. Select List of Reports and Other Papers in Journals of the House of Commons, 1688-1800. Nedeln , Liechtenstein : KTO, 1976. A copy is available on Gov Ref.
1696-1834. Hansard, James Luke Graves. Catalogue of Parliamentary Reports and a Breviate of their Contents Arranged Under Heads According to their Subjects, 1696-1834. London : The House, 1836. Call number: 7100.6 Also available in the Readex microprint edition on call number:*F.index Box C.1
Reprint: Hansard’s Catalogue and Breviate, 1953. J301.K62/1953
Reprint: Hansard’s Catalogue and Breviate of Parliamentary Papers with an Introduction by P. Ford, Professor Emeritus and G. Ford, University of Southampton . Index. Shannon . Ireland : Irish University Press, [1968.] Call number: Gov Ref JN591.A2x vol. 1. This indexes the parliamentary papers of both houses which were included in the early journals and subsequently in the Sessional Papers after 1801.
1833-1899. Ford, Percy and G. Ford. Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1833-1899. Oxford : Basil Blackwell, 1953. On Gov Ref J301.M3/1953 (warped.) This is a subject/title list and offers no synopsis.
1900-1916. Ford, Percy, and G. Ford. A Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1900-1916: the Foundation of the Welfare State. Oxford : Basil Blackwell, 1957. On Gov Ref JN549.F59/1969. The breviates provide a précis of the contents of the reports.
1917-1939. Ford, Percy and G. Ford. A Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1917-1939. Oxford : Basil Blackwell, 1961. On Gov Ref JN549.F6/1969.
1940-1954. Ford, Percy and G. Ford. A Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1940-1954: War and Reconstruction. Oxford : Basil Blackwell, 1961. On Gov Ref 9016.3542A32.
1955-1964. Ford, Percy, G. Ford and Diana Marshallsay. Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1955-1964. Shannon , Ireland : Irish University Press, 1970. Not owned by the BPL, but see BOPCRIS below.
1965-1974. Ford, Percy. Ford Lists?s of British Parliamentary Papers, 1965-1974, Together with Special Commentaries. Edited by Diana Marshallsay and J.H. Smith. Nendeln , Liechtenstein : KTO Press, 1979. Not owned by the BPL, but see BOPCRIS below.
1974-1983. Ford, Percy, Diana Marshallsay and Peter G. Richards, eds. Ford List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1974-1983, Together with Specialist Commentaries. Cambridge : Chadwick Healey, 1989. Not owned by the BPL, but see BOPCRIS below.
N.B. The Ford Breviates do not cover colonial or foreign policy papers, military or naval matters, ecclesiastical affairs or statistical and technical reports.. These are covered by other breviates and specialized indexes. q.v.
A remarkable scholarly endeavor has recently provided online access to detailed bibliographic records of the contents of the various Ford Lists. This bibliography, known as BOPCRIS, provides a searchable database of the more important selected documents, and in a few cases full text of the documents themselves. It effectively supersedes and updates the printed breviates, and is of exceptional scholarly utility. Coverage is from 1688 to the present. It covers, however, less than a tenth of the papers printed. http://www.bopcris.ac.uk/
The magnificent 1000 volume Irish University Press reprint of a selection of important nineteenth century papers is accompanied by a checklist, Checklist of British Parliamentary Papers in the Irish University Press 1000-volume Series 1801-1899. Shannon , Ireland : Irish University Press, 1972. It is important to remember that this is a selection, and despite its size does not offer a comprehensive account of the 19th century papers. Our copy of the Checklist is annotated with the call numbers for the many subject series in the collection. The general indexes which accompany this set are reprints of the various officially compiled multi-year indexes referenced above. Gov Ref JN591.A2x.
A useful checklist for the librarian is:
Parson, K.A.C. A Checklist of the British Parliamentary Papers (Bound Set) 1801-1950. Cambridge : University Library, 1958. 9016.3542A18.
which lists the number of volumes in the bound sets for each parliament. It can be augmented after 1950 by the lists in the front of the annual indexes.
Another useful numerical list can help locate Command Papers:
Di Roma, E. and Rosenthal. A Numerical Finding List of British Command Papers Published 1833-1961/62. New York : New York Public Library, 1967. Gov Ref Z2009.D58. This is supplemented by McBride, Elizabeth A. British Command Papers: A Numerical Finding List 1962/63 – 1976/77. Atlanta , GA : Emory General Libraries, 1982. A copy is available on Gov Ref.
Should any benefactor feel the generous urge, there are cumulative indexes, available from Proquest. Peter Cockton’s Subject Catalogue of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1801-1900 has been digitized and expanded to cover the 20th century as Index to the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers on CD-ROM, 1801-1999.
A Japanese company, Bunsei Shoin, produces a CD-ROM index which covers the House of Commons 1801-1944/5 and House of Lords 1801-1922. Any of these would be welcome additions to our collection.
Subsequent to the appearance of these electronic indexes Proquest has digitized (2007) the complete collection of both the 19th and 20th Century House of Commons Parliamentary Papers. They are searchable full text and have a detailed index. In current budgetary circumstances these are out of reach for the BPL.
UKOP http://www.ukop.co.uk/ is an online subscription service which provides comprehensive indexing to allUK government publications including the Parliamentary back to 1980. BPL does not currently subscribe to this service.
Indexes to the Sessional papers of the House of Lords
Reference to the Lords’ papers, printed and manuscript can be found in the Lords’ Journals q.v.
The Calendars q.v. provide reference to all papers and often reproduce them in extensive transcripts.
A General Index to the Sessional Papers Printed by order of the House of Lords or presented by Special Command 1714-1805 Oceana Publications Inc. Dobbs Ferry New York 1986
Call number Gov Doc Ref. J0001.J6 1714-1805
This index accompanies the 60 volume Oceana reprint set housed in Norwood on call number J301.J62
1801-1859 (Session 1.)
A General Index to the Sessional Papers Printed by order of the House of Lords or presented by Special Command 1801-1859 Oceana Publications Inc. Dobbs FerryNew York1976
Call number Gov Doc Ref. J301.J6
This Index accompanies the 546 reels of microfilm in 48 boxes kept in the Microtext Department
A copy of the official edition (1938) is also available Stack 7 Call number 9016.3542A7 however the Oceana reprint has some additional material : (a) A checklist to House of Lords papers 1801-59 (b) A reel guide to the microfilm edition. (c) A supplementary index for papers found only in the microfilm edition.
A General Index to the Sessional Papers Printed by order of the House of Lords or presented by Special Command 1859-1870 Oceana Publications Inc. Dobbs FerryNew York1976
Call number Gov Doc Ref. J301.J6
This includes a checklist of volumes.
A general Index to the Sessional Papers Printed by order of the House of Lords or presented by Special Command 1871 to 1884-5 Oceana Publications Inc. Dobbs FerryNew York1976
Call number Gov Doc Ref J301.J6
This includes a checklist of volumes.
A separate index was issued for each session numbered among the sessional papers of the year.
1921 to date
No separate indexes, but a general table of contents is provided in the first volume of each session’s papers.
House of Lords (and Commons) papers have also been listed in HMSO’s and TSO’s “Catalogue of Government Publications” since 1837 (variant titles “ Annual Lists of Publications” and “Government Publications”. The Boston Public Library has these indexes from 1920 to date kept on the Reference shelves in Government Documents on various call numbers. These and their monthly counterpart are the most current lists other than electronic.
Readex/Newsbank British Parliamentary Papers 1990-2003 CD-ROM available in the Government Documents Department
House of Lords homepage http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldsess.htm has Sessional lists from 29th October 2002 to date
Comprehensive indexing and much full text 1980 to date is available on a subscription basis from UKOP http://www.ukop.co.uk/ Boston Public Library does not currently subscribe to this service.
The Ford lists q.v. and BOPCRIS q.v. also very selectively index Lords’ Papers.
Specialized Indexes to the British Sessional Papers
1. Morgan, A. Mary. British Government Publications: An Index to Chairmen and Authors, 1941-1966. London : The Library Association, 1969. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.M64.
This source is superseded and augmented by:
2. Richard, Stephen. British Government Publications: An Index to Chairmen of Committees and Commissions of Inquiry, Volume 1: 1800-1899.London: The Library Association, 1982.
—, British Government Publications; An Index to Chairmen and Authors Volume II: 1900-1940.London: The Library Association, 1974.
—, British Government Publications: An Index to Chairmen and Authors, Volume III: 1941-1978.London: The Library Association, 1982.
Call Number: Gov Ref Z2009.R53 1974 Volumes 1-3.
3. Cole, Arthur Harrison. A Finding List of British Royal Commission Reports: 1860-1935. Cambridge , MA : Harvard University Press, 1935. Call number: Gov Ref 9016.3542A3 (Another copy is available on Z2009.C68 at Norwood .)
4. Pemberton, John. “Alphabetical List of Royal Commissions” pages 76-86 in British Official Publications, 2nd Edition. Oxford : Pergamon Press, 1973. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009 .P45 1973.
5. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office Sectional List 59 Royal Commissions 1937-1983. London : HMSO, 1983. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.G823x no. 59/1983.
Not comprehensive since it lists only those with parts in print at the time of publication. Useful in that it includes references to minutes of evidence, research and background papers not typically included in the Sessional Papers at this time.
6. DiRoma, Edward and Joseph A. Rosenthal. A Numerical Finding List of British Command Papers Published 1833-1961/62. New York : New York Public Library, 1967. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.D5.
7. McBride, Elizabeth A. British Command Papers: A Numerical Finding List 1962/63-1976/77.Atlanta ,GA : Emory General Libraries, 1982. Call number: Gov Ref (with DiRoma above.)
Some subject specific finding aids include the following:
8. Irish University Press Series of the British Parliamentary Papers Subject Set on Agriculture. (32 volumes.) Shannon , Ireland : Irish University Press, 1969. Call number: Gov Ref – uncatalogued.
This booklet analyzes the content of each of the 32 volumes in the 19th century series on agriculture. .
9. Index to British Parliamentary Papers on Children’s Employment. Dublin , Ireland : Irish University Press, 1973. Call number: Gov Ref HD6250.G7Z13/1973x
An index to the papers covered in the 19th century series.
10. Vaughan, J.E. and Michael Argles. British Government Publications Concerning Education: An Introductory Guide. Liverpool : University of Liverpool School of Education , 1969. Call number: Gov Ref Z5815.G5V This provides no specific references. It is an overview of the current (at the time of publication) field of government agencies’ publications relating to education. The Appendix lists “some reports with their popular names and official designations” and covers reports issued from the 1920s to the 1960s.
11. Parkes, Susan M. Irish Education in the British Parliamentary Papers in the Nineteenth Century and After 1801-1920. Cork : Cork University Press for the History of Education Society, 1978. Call number: Gov Ref Z5815.I73P3 This provides an excellent overview arranged under six headings. 1. Primary Education 2. Intermediate Education 3. Technical Education 4. Universities 5. Reformatory and Industrials Schools 6. Census These are divided under the headings Bills, Reports, Annual Reports, Accounts and Papers. “The purpose of this guide is not to provide a comprehensive list of all the material available on Irish education in Parliamentary Papers but rather to indicate some of the major sources and to illustrate the range and breadth of the material available.”
12. Index to British Parliamentary Papers on Australia and New Zealand , 1800-1899. (Volume 1 A-M, Volume 2 N-Z.) Dublin : Irish University Press, 1974. Call number: Gov Ref DU115.I75 supplement volume 1 and 2.
13. Annual Lists and General Index of the Parliamentary Papers Relating to the East Indies published during the years 1800 to 1907 inclusive. London : His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1909. Call number: Gov Ref JN591.A22x. volume 1.
14. Willer, Thomas F. Southeast Asian References in the British Parliamentary Papers 1801-1972/3 an index. Athens , OH : Ohio University Center for International Studies, Southeast Asia Program, 1978. Call number: Gov Ref Z3221.W54.
15. Campbell, Francis Bunbury Fitzgerald. Catalogue of Official Reports Relating to India issued as English Parliamentary Papers (and in connection with the India Office.) during the year 1892. London : Truslove and Bray, 1893. Call number: Gov Ref 6187.27.
Covers one year only.
15a. Sever,Adrian. British Parliamentary papers relating toIndia1662-1947.DelhiB.R. Pub. Corp. 1992. 3 vols. BPL does not own this set. (It is owned locally by B.C. and Harvard)
15b. Sims J. M. A list and index of parliamentary papers relating toIndia, 1908-1947.London.IndiaOffice Library and Records. 1981. BPL does not own this publication. It is owned by Harvard and UMass Amherst
15c. Barrier, N. Gerald.PunjabHistory in Printed British Documents. A Bibliographic Guide to Parliamentary Papers and Select, Nonserial Publications, 1843-1947.(UniversityofMissouriStudies Volume L.)Columbia,MO.UniversityofMissouriPress. 1969. Call number: Gov Ref Z3207.P8B36
16. Lowell, Joseph Ragatz. A Checklist of House of Commons Sessional Papers Relating to the British West Indies and to the West Indian Slave Trade and Slavery 1763-1834. 2nd edition. London : The Bryan Edwards Press, 1928. Call number: Gov Ref Z152.B5R2.
17. Index to British Parliamentary Papers on Canada and Canadian Boundary, 1800-1899. Dublin : Irish University Press, 1974. Call number: Gov Ref F1026.I742/1974.
18. Bishop, Olga Bernice. Publications of the Province of Upper Canada and of Great Britain Relating to Upper Canada , 1791-1840. Toronto Canada : Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, 1984. Call number: Gov Ref Z1392.O6B57/1984.
19. Maltby, Arthur. The Government of Northern Ireland 1922-72. A Catalogue and Breviate of Parliamentary Papers. New York : Barnes and Noble Books, 1974. Call number: Gov Ref Z2035 .M34 /1974. This covers papers of the Northern Ireland Parliament only.
20. Adam, Margaret I., John Ewing and James Munro. Guide to the Principal Parliamentary Papers Relating to the Dominions, 1812-1911. Edinburgh : Oliver and Boyd, 1913. Call number: Gov Ref – uncatalogued.
21. Temperley, Harold and Lillian M. Penson. A Century of Diplomatic Blue Books, 1814-1914; Lists Edited with Historical Introductions. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1938. Call number: Gov Ref 9016.3542A8. “The list of Blue Books is based on the bound set of Parliamentary papers laid before the House of Commons. Where however Blue Books of importance were laid before the House of Lords alone their names have been added and references made to the House of Lords set.”
“In the early part of the century some entries have been added from the British Foreign and State Papers.” (introduction p. xiii.)
22. Vogel, Robert. A Breviate of British Diplomatic Blue Books, 1919-1939. Montreal : McGill University Press, 1963. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.V6 = 9016.3542A9
“The general purpose of this work is to continue the task undertaken by Temperley and Penson…. The papers listed in this work may all be found in the bound sets of Parliamentary Papers.” (introduction p.xi and xxxi.)
23. Parry, Olive and Charity Hopkins. An Index of British Treaties.1101-1968. London : Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1970. Volume 1: Index of Multilateral Treaties by Subject, Index of Bilateral Treaties by Country, Index of Bilateral Treaties by Subject. Volume 2: Chronological List of Treaties 1101-1925. Volume 3: Chronological List of Treaties 1926-1968. Call number: Gov Ref JX636 .1892 Index 1101-1968.
24. Publications of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (Sectional List 17.) Rev. 1 January 1984 . London : H.M.S.O., 1984. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.G823 no. 17. The product of immense scholarly patience and erudition, the publications of the Royal Commission provide the gist and sometimes extensive quotation from the collections of archival sources found throughout the nation both officially and privately held, in its collection of calendars. The paleographic expertise renders accessible a wealth of historical records otherwise the province of only the expert or the sabbatically favored traveler. Through 1921 these were issued in the Parliamentary Papers; for these and for subsequent volumes which the library owns a finding aid is available in the Government Documents Department. See the annotated bibliography on Gov Ref. Two sets of general indexes have so far been published, as follows:
25. Bickley, Francis, Ed. Guide to the Reports of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1870-1911. Part 1: “A Guide to the Reports and Collections of Manuscripts of Private Families, Corporations and Institutions in Great Britain and Ireland Issued by the Royal Commissioners for Historical Manuscripts.” London : HMSO, 1914. Topographical Index. Part 2: Index of Persons. First section A-Lever. Second section Lever-Z. 2 volumes. London : HMSO, 1935. Call number: Gov Ref DA25.M25 pt. 1 and 2.
26. Hall, A.C.S. Ed. Guide to the Reports of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1911-1957.
Part 1: Index of Places. (HMSO, 1973.) Not owned by BPL.
Part 2: Index of Persons. Volume 1: A-Foullon. Volume 2: Foulwyll-Orme. Volume 3: Ormesby-Z. (HMSO, 1966.) Call number: Gov Ref DA25.M252 vol. 2.
27. Upton, Eleanor Stuart and George P. Winship, Jr. Guide to Sources of English History from 1630-1660 in Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. Washington , D.C. : Scarecrow Press, 1952. Call number: Gov Ref DA 25. M1 U6
28. Jones, Robert Huhn. The American Civil War in the British Sessional Papers: Catalog and Commentary Reprinted from ‘Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Vol. 107, No. 5, Oct. 1963.’ New York : Readex Microprint Corp., [1964?] Call number: Gov Ref – uncatalogued.
29. Bulkley, M. E. Bibliographical Survey of Contemporary Sources for the Economic and Social History of the War.Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1922. Call Number: NEDL 7571.186 (Includes Many references to Official Sources for World War I)
30. Dertilis, George B. Consular Reports and International Statistics in the British Parliamentary Papers (1830-1914.) Journal of European Economic History v.19 no.2 (1990)p.311 et seq.
A very useful article on the research value of the reports included in the Sessional Papers as Diplomatic and Consular Trade Reports. It also values the papers as a source for international statistics for the time period as follows “As a comprehensive source of international statistics in uninterrupted chronological series the Parliamentary Papers are unique for the period before theLeague of Nationsand its own statistical series.”(p.317). A list of statistical abstracts in parliamentary papers 1854-1914 is included in the appendix to the article p. 325-328, this provides volume and page references. A copy of this article is available in the Government Documents Department.
31. Great Britain, Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. General Register Office, Edinburgh. Guide to Census Reports Great Britain , 1801-1966. London : HMSO, 1977. Includes references to the volumes of the Parliamentary Papers 1801-1911 when Census reports were issued in the set, later publications were non-parliamentary. Call number: Gov Ref HA1125.A585.
32. Rodgers, Frank. Serial Publications in the British Parliamentary Papers, 1900-1968; A Bibliography. Chicago : American Library Association, 1971. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.R63.
A Bibliography of General Guides to British Government Publications Both Parliamentary and Non-Parliamentary in the Government Documents Department of the Boston Public Library
1. Bond, Maurice F. Guide to the Records of Parliament.London: HMSO, 1971.
A very thorough guide which focuses primarily on the manuscript collections of both Houses, but also includes detailed descriptions of the published records such as the Sessional Papers, Journals and Debates. Written by the Clerk of the Records of the House of Lords Record Office. Call number: Gov Ref CD1063.B63.
2. Bond, Maurice. The Records of Parliament: A Guide for Genealogists and Local Historians.Canterbury: Phillimore & Co., 1964.
Again concentrates on the original records housed in the Record Office and describes their value to the genealogist and local historian. Covers Acts, Private Bills, Parliamentary Papers, Judicial Records, Records of Debate, and their usefulness for these kinds of inquiries. Call number: Gov Ref CD1063.B65.
3. Butcher, David. Official Publications in Britain . London : Clive Bingley, 1983.
“This book examines the nature and organization of official publishing in Britain, the adequacy of bibliographic control and the treatment of these publications in libraries,” with special emphasis on local government publishing, and emphasis on (then) current publications. Chapter 2 is on Parliamentary publications. It has a good section on bibliographic control with some advice on retrospective searching. Call number: Gov Ref Z20009.B93/1983. A later 1991 edition was published, but is not owned by the BPL.
4. Coolidge, John E. et al. A Brief Guide to the Use of the Government Documents of Great Britain and the United States . Typescript. Copyright William P. Petrowski, 1968.
“designed for use with the Readex Microprint Corporation’s Microprint edition of …proceedings and debates…and…the sessional papers.” Indispensable when using the microprint indexes since it explains what and where they are which would otherwise be practically undiscoverable. Covers debates 1830-1918 and sessional papers through 1900. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.C69.
5. Cowell, F. R. Brief Guide to Government Publications.London: HMSO, 1938?
Largely a popular guide to non-parliamentary publications arranged in broad thematic subject groups. Provides a succinct overview of Parliamentary papers. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.A1C8.
6. Ford, Percy and Grace Ford. A Guide to Parliamentary Papers, What They Are, How to Find Them, How to Use Them, 3rd Edition.Totowa ,NJ : Rowman & Littlefield, 1972.
The standard guide by the late doyen of the field. “…our aim has been to assist those whose main interest is in the contents of the papers to understand and make effective use of them.” (Preface to second edition.) Includes list of indices, dates of sessions 1801-1950, and a bibliography. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.A1F6/1972. The Library also has earlier editions.
7. His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1786-1925. (Title on cover: Brief Guide to Government Publications, British Empire Exhibition, 1925.)
An interesting and enthusiastic short overview exploring in broad subject areas the wealth of material available from official sources. Call number: Gov Ref (no call number.)
8. Lees-Smith, Hastings Bertrand. A Guide to Parliamentary and Official Papers by H.B. Lees-Smith.London ,New York:OxfordUniversity Press, 1924.
Unexamined (not on shelf.) Call number: Z2009.A114.
9. Marshallsay, Diana. British Government Publications.SouthhamptonUniversity Library Occasional Paper, No. 2.
Though designed for students at Southampton University Library which has one of the largest collections of British government publications, this source gives a useful overview of materials and finding aids. Call number: Gov Ref Z674.S63 no. 2
A current helping aid from this library, “British Official Publications” is a useful update.
10. Ollé, James G. An Introduction to British Government Publications.London: Association of Assistant Librarians, 1965.
Written for student librarians as a “general guide which I hope will aid and encourage the exploration of British Government Publications, and the bibliographies of them, with a view to learning something about their characteristics and importance…” (preface.)
A good, if dated, general overview of both parliamentary and non-parliamentary publications. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.04 A second edition, not owned by the BPL, was issued in 1973.
11. Pemberton, John E. British Official Publications, 2nd rev. edition.Oxford ,New York : Pergamom Press, 1973.
Includes many useful tables and illustrative examples, also several bibliographies. Particularly good on command papers for which he provides a concordance 1833-1972, and Royal commissions for which there is an alphabetical list 1900-1972. Other useful lists include a table of regnal years useful for finding acts and a select alphabetical list of departmental committees, working parties, tribunals of inquiry, etc. Also finding aid to calendars of House of Lords manuscripts. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.P45 1973.
12. Rodgers, Frank. A Guide to British Government Publications.New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1980.
The “Boyd and Rips” of British Publications, this volume offers a thorough exploration of the universe of documents both past and near present (though of course it does not cover the electronic dissemination of documents.) It is organized to describe the publishing activities of government departments, and gives very detailed and informative treatment of both Parliamentary and Executive department publications. If you consult no other guide this would be the one to use. Call number: Gov Ref Z2009.R62
Specialized guides to journals and debates, specialized indexes and finding aids are listed separately or with their subject area.