ProQuest Cecil Papers Trial access though Mar. 6, 2011

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ProQuest is making available the Cecil Papers, a newly created digital archive database of documents held by the Gascoyne-Cecil family at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. These papers are particularly significant in documenting the political history of England during the Elizabethan era, 1520-1668.

The trial runs from January 30 until March 6, 2011.

The Cecil Papers database offers full-color digital images of the original Cecil Papers manuscripts at Hatfield House Archives. The approximately 30,000 documents comprising the Cecil Papers include numerous contemporary hand-drawn maps. Also included is a digitized version of the Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquess of Salisbury, an essential bibliographic tool that provides descriptive records for each document. Many of the entries in the Calendar include full transcriptions, extracts, or summary abstracts, all of which can be searched in The Cecil Papers.

Besides the political papers, The Cecil Papers database also includes selected documents from a separate collection, the Cecil Family and Estate Papers, which shed light on the rich history of three generations of the family.

The Cecil Papers are a privately held archive of  sixteenth and seventeenth-century manuscripts, consisting principally of the correspondence of William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1520-1598) and his son Robert, the 1st Earl of Salisbury (1563-1612). These two men dominated the administration of government during the reign of Elizabeth I and the first eight years under her successor. The papers span the period 1520-1668, from the birth of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, to the death of William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury. Because of the importance of the Cecils, the materials offer crucial insights into the events of one of the most dynamic periods of history, including the marriages of Henry VIII, through the reign of Elizabeth I and the clandestine plans to facilitate James I/VI’s accession, upon her death.

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