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About The Wellesley to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900

‘It is a great literary age, we have great literary men - but where are their works? A moment's reflection gives us a reply to the question; we must seek them not in detached and avowed and standard publications, but in periodical miscellanies. It is in these journals that the most eminent of our recent men of letters have chiefly obtained their renown.’
England and the English, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1833.

Periodical publishing in the 19th century was both voluminous and multifarious. Any and all aspects of contemporary thought were represented through this burgeoning medium, from which many eminent novelists and journalists emerged.

The scholarly importance of this material created an imperative to provide indexes through which it could be accessed. Poole's own subject index was created in response to this need. However, until 1965 and Wellesley, there was no author index. The primary objective of Wellesley was to assist scholars in assessing the significance of periodical articles by delivering accurate information on provenance. This was a monumental undertaking, given that the vast majority of articles published in Victorian periodicals were anonymous or pseudonymous.

Wellesley then, is an index to the authorship of articles, and a bibliography of articles written by each contributor, and using each pseudonym. Citations of evidence are provided to support attributions of authorship, along with brief biographical and vocational details. 45 important monthly and quarterly titles are included, covering the period from the beginning of the Westminster Review in 1824 to the end of the century. The exception to this is the Edinburgh Review, which is indexed from first issue, in 1802. Wellesley does not index poetry.

Titles indexed:

The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals was originally published by the University of Toronto Press, in 5 volumes between 1965 and 1988. Editor Walter Houghton was assisted by a staff team, a board of editors, and by librarians and scholars from around the world. A CD-ROM edition of Wellesley was published by Routledge in 1999, incorporating corrections and additions to the index published in the Victorian Periodicals Review up to the end of 1997. It is this CD-ROM version on which The Wellesley Index online is based, with data reproduced under licence from Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.

Corrections and additions to Wellesley published in Victorian Periodicals Review and elsewhere have been indexed by Eileen Curran and made available through the Victorian Research Web ( The Curran Index continues to be updated, and includes information on some additional periodicals not covered in the original Wellesley. Curran is essential for keeping up to date with recent research into the authorship of Victorian periodical articles, and it has now been integrated with the online Wellesley Index. Additions and corrections from Curran have been appended to the relevant article, contributor and periodical records from Wellesley, while new records have been created for Curran entries without a corresponding Wellesley record. The full Curran Index can be viewed using the Browse screen.

The Wellesley Index provides seamless linking between article records, contributor and pseudonym records, and periodical introductions, and includes links to article full text for selected titles in Periodicals Archive Online and British Periodicals for users with the appropriate subscriptions. Click here for more information on British Periodicals

The Wellesley Index is also available within ProQuest’s C19: The Nineteenth Century Index, where it can be cross-searched alongside 19 million records from 10 other major indexes of 19th century content, including Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature, Periodicals Index Online, the Nineteenth Century Short-Title Catalogue, the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, and Palmer’s Index to The Times. Click here for more information on C19: Index.

[Original introductions and acknowledgements]

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