Mass Observation Online

For access to a breadth of rich primary documents related to British social history, we encourage you to explore Mass Observation Online. This resource comprises original manuscripts, typescript papers, printed publications, photographs and interactive features created and collected by the Mass-Observation organization. Founded in 1937 by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, filmmaker Humphrey Jennings and poet Charles Madge, the Mass-Observation organization comprised a team of observers studying the everyday lives of ordinary British people from 1937 until the mid-1950s.

The collection includes:

  • A complete set of the File Reports, 1937-1951, with full text searching ability
  • Access to all of the Day Surveys 1937-1938, Directives 1939-1955 and Diaries, 1939-1967
  • Topic Collections 1937-1965, with full text searchability
  • The ‘Worktown Collection’
  • Mass-Observation Publications
  • Eighteen contextual essays by leading scholars describing the archive and suggesting research and teaching strategies, and four occasional papers
  • Photographs by Humphrey Spender, an interactive map and chronology, and much valuable supporting material

Take a tour of the collection here or  sample some contents:


For more information about the Mass-Observation organization, check out these excellent library resources:

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