Online resource unlocks restricted collections with Archives of Sexuality & Gender, Part III
Archives of Sexuality & Gender, Part III: Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuries, expands the study of gender and sexuality, with nearly one million pages of content that’s traditionally been available only through restricted access in reading rooms. This never-before-digitized collection contains more than 5,000 monographs that offer historical perspectives on sex, sexuality and gender, providing context to the resources covered in Parts I and II. Now researchers can explore different aspects of sex and sexuality with online access as well as examine how social attitudes and mores have changed over time, all in one archive. Read Gale’s blog about Part III.
Archives of Sexuality & Gender, Part III examines topics such as patterns of fertility and sexual practice; prostitution, religion and sexuality; the medical and legal construction of sexualities and the rise of sexology. It not only offers a reflection of the cultural attitudes of the past, but also provides a window into how sexuality and gender roles were viewed and how they evolved over the centuries.
The collections included in the archive cover a wide array of fields, providing students and researchers with multiple perspectives in research areas such as medicine, biology, anthropology, law, the classics, art and erotic literature.
Archives of Sexuality & Gender, Part III includes three unique collections:
- The British Library’s Private Case Collection: Comprised of printed books that were originally held separately from the Library’s main reference collection from the 1850s to 1990 on grounds of obscenity, with the earliest items dating from the 17th century. It presents an interesting study in social ethics as the definition of obscenity evolved since the mid-19th century.
- The Kinsey Institute for Sex Research Collection – Special Subjects Units from Sex Research: Early Literature from Statistics to Erotica: Dating from 1700 to 1860, this collection is a portion of Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey’s original library, which he used to study human sexual behavior from multiple perspectives.
- New York Academy of Medicine Collection: A collection of rare and unique books, consisting of more than 1,400 monographs covering a variety of topics in sex, sexuality and gender studies. From sex education to erotica, manners to medicine, the Academy collection offers a rich combination of materials from the humanities to the hard sciences.
“The British Library’s Private Case offers extraordinary insights into many facets of human sexuality over at least three centuries, from an 18th century directory of sex workers in the Covent Garden area of London, to the literary output of the Marquis de Sade and the pseudonymous authors of the Merryland Books,” said Adrian Edwards, Head of Printed Heritage at the British Library. “By digitizing this collection and making it available both to users of Archives of Sexuality & Gender, and to users of our Reading Rooms in London and Yorkshire, we hope to make this collection visible and available as never before.”
To provide a better research experience, the Archives of Sexuality & Gender series has been integrated into Gale’s new Digital Scholar Lab. This integration allows researchers to apply natural language processing tools to raw text data (OCR) from the collections or Gale Primary Sources archives and perform textual analysis on large corpora of historical texts. Now researchers can analyze and explore historical text more interactively, generating new research insights and content sets not previously possible.
Archives of Sexuality & Gender, Part III offers:
- unrestricted access to more than one million pages of unique and rare content that was previously banned, making it the largest and most comprehensive resource of its kind for the study of sex and sexuality.
- more than 5,000 monographs covering topics in sex, sexuality and gender from the sciences to the humanities.
- Cross-searching and textual analysis with Gale’s Digital Scholar Lab and Gale Primary Sources, opening new research opportunities.
“The unique collections in this remarkable new archive emphasize that the cultural norms surrounding sex and sexuality have always been in flux,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “Researchers can examine issues of censorship, gender, sexuality and more, drawing on diverse sources from both the sciences and literature.”
Unless stated otherwise, media content on the press area of our website, including images, is protected by third-party rights such as copyright or trademarks. The British Library is permitted to make the content available to you for promoting associated British Library’s exhibitions, events or activities. If you are not using images to promote a British Library activity, you must clear all rights for your use of any in-copyright material beyond uses permitted under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Title page of Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies, 1793. Image courtesy of the British Library.
Frontispiece illustration from Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies, 1793. Image courtesy of the British Library.
Notes to Editors
Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit www.gale.com.
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.