The Dalhousie Libraries have recently obtained a subscription to The Churchill Archive. This remarkable resource about Winston Churchill provides the Dalhousie community with instant access to high-quality digital copies of Churchill’s entire collection of personal papers.
This is a virtual treasure trove for historians. The Churchill Archive contains nearly 800,000 documents, including private letters, speeches, telegrams, manuscripts, and a wide variety of government papers. Every scrap of paper that Churchill kept in his lifetime is there.
Dr. Christopher Bell, an associate professor of history at Dal, teaches courses on British and global history and he finds this collection an indispensable tool for his research. The original documents, he notes, are housed at the Churchill College Archives Centre in Cambridge, England. “Over the last twenty years I have made numerous journeys to Cambridge and spent countless hours searching through the original documents and microfilm copies. Churchill has always been a major figure in my own work, and he is the focal point of my latest book, Churchill & Sea Power (Oxford University Press, 2012). I am also embarking on a new Churchill project, which will look at the 1915 Dardanelles campaign, and this subscription will save me a huge amount of time and trouble,” says Dr. Bell.
The Churchill Archive is also a fantastic resource for students. “Every year I teach a seminar on Winston Churchill for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students. This year I will be able to give these students hands-on experience with archival research – something that is virtually impossible when the archives are located (as they usually are for the subjects I teach) on the other side of theAtlantic. Students in the seminar will now have to navigate through this massive collection to find documents relevant to their research topics,” says Dr. Bell.
If you have an interest specifically in Winston Churchill or in twentieth century history in general, make sure you check out The Churchill Archive. You’re sure to uncover something fascinating.