Victorian Social Reform: A Bibliography of the Published Papers of the Social Science Association 1857-86

The National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, known as the Social Science Association, was an influential forum for the development of social policy between the 1850s and 1880s to which many notable Victorians gave papers and addresses. Leading politicians, intellectuals, bureaucrats, churchmen and businessmen were among its members. It was influential in many different areas - legal reform, penal policy, education, public health and commercial relations – and provides vivid insight into Victorian social and institutional development. This project has produced an exhaustive bibliography of all contributions to the Association over three decades. Nearly 4,500 of these, given by over two thousand contributors, have been traced and entered on a database accessible via the internet. This will give scholars access to sources which will assist many different projects studying the development of British social policy. Until now scholars have had difficulty forming a view of the work of the Social Science Association, and tracing contributions to it by many different Victorians, women as well as men. The bibliography now produced is a guide to specific contributions by named individuals, and to groups of papers and discussions on major and minor social questions of the era.

Principal investigator
Dr Lawrence Goldman
Principal project staff
Dr Lawrence Goldman
Start date
Monday, September 1, 2003
Completion date
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Source material
The bibliography has been produced from the published proceedings of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science which was active between 1857 and 1886. The key sources were the Association's Transactions, published annually in 29 volumes, and its 17 volumes of Sessional Proceedings, which began in 1866. Other publications associated with the Association have also been used and included in the database. Each paper, address or contribution has been examined and assigned to a subject area in the bibliography. These sources are held in various research libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as in the United States and Europe. The bibliography will now make it possible for scholars to locate relevant publications in hitherto impenetrable and little-known sources and go to read them in libraries across the country. The database includes a convenient list of all the holdings of the Association's publications in the different research libraries in Britain.

‘Victorian Social Science: From Singular to Plural’ in Martin Daunton (ed.), The Organisation of Knowledge in Victorian Britain (Oxford University Press, 2005, forthcoming)