Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO): Religion, Spirituality, Reform, and Society

The National Archives: Selected Maps Representing the Long 19th Century Klier, Philip Adolphe. "Burmese priests (Poongees)." Photographs from the India Collection at the British Library. Primary Source Media, 1890. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
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Examine the impact of faith, skepticism, philosophy, and intellectualism on nineteenth-century society

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Religion, Spirituality, Reform, and Society examines the influence of both faith and skepticism on the shaping of many aspects of society, including politics, law, economics, and social and radical reform movements. In the nineteenth century, the intellectual work of Comte, Marx, Weber, Darwin, Freud, and others unleashed secularizing impulses that gave rise to both new humanist religious projects and new faith-based social reform movements. The heightened interest in the perfection of man, the power of science, and the confidence in social progress also had an impact. Alongside Comte’s positivist "religion of humanity," utopian collectives, and settlement houses, there grew a new fascination with alternative spiritual and mystical practices.

This archive provides essential documentary materials that explore religious and philosophical movements in reaction to dramatic changes in culture and society wrought by the industrial revolution and modernity. Topics covered include positivism and anti-positivism, freethinking, the cooperative movement, alternative Christianities, and the application of the social principles of Christianity to everyday life by a variety of denominations. Nineteenth Century Collections Online is the most ambitious electronic archive of its kind ever undertaken, providing full-text, searchable content from a broad range of sources and offering never-before-possible research opportunities for one of the most studied historical periods.

Religion, Spirituality, Reform and Society includes collections in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, including manuscripts, monographs, periodicals, and photographs. The collection is especially recommended for academic institutions with programs in history, politics, law, religion, and social movements.

Collections include:

  • Literature in Theology and Church History in the United States and Canada
  • Literature of Theology and Church History: British Theology
  • Charles Bradlaugh Pamphlets
  • Christliches Kunstblatt, 1859-1905
  • Papers of George Ripley, 1802-1880
  • Caroline Wells Healey Dall Papers, 1811-1917
  • Theodore Parker Papers, 1826-1865
  • Corban Society Records, 1811-1850

Popular research topics include Christian socialism; secularism and materialism; relations between church and state; mysticism and symbolism; the philosophies of Kant, Hegel, and Comte; and more. Religion, Spirituality, Reform, and Society is available on Gale’s cutting-edge research platform. This state-of-the-art technology was developed using our flexible Agile approach, incorporating user testing and feedback throughout the process to ensure that we are providing the features that scholars require—such as detailed subject indexing and metadata, textual analysis tools, personalized user accounts, and more—for research in the digital age.

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Subjects Covered
  • Black Studies
  • African American Studies
  • African Studies
  • European Studies
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Philosophy
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Studies
  • Liberal Studies
  • Humanities/Humanistic Studies
  • Social Sciences
  • Sociology
  • U.S. History
  • American Indian/Native American Studies
  • American/United States Studies/Civilization
Term Frequency

Researchers can now easily see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, events, and ideas interacted and developed over time.

Term Clusters

By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections to search terms — helping scholars shape their research and integrate diverse content with relevant information.


Integrate content from complementary primary source products in one intuitive environment to enable users to make never-before-possible research connections.

Reviews & Testimonials

“The ranges of sources of all this material boggled my mind. Yes, some of it is from mainstream publications, but so much of it was from rare, hard-to-find sources that I gained an appreciation for the time and effort it's taken to assemble these vast digitized collections.”

Library Journal

“The scope of this digitization project makes it a significant research resource for both scholars and undergraduates. There are several benefits to this scope: the sheer size of the collections; the geographic range including comparative materials from various cultures; and the variety of types of documents including a significant amount of unpublished material . . . . The new platform tools developed for NCCO are impressive and should be useful to scholars as well as students. These include the browse features for 'Exploring Collections,' the search within results features, text analysis tools, and sophisticated image viewing tools.”

eDesiderata, Center for Research Libraries

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