Planning a Research Trip to England

  ~Planning the Trip~  

1) Get a passport if you don't already have one. Be sure to allow for processing time. For more information, consult the U.S. Postal Service's Passport Application Information Page.

2) Read through the following guides for advice on accommodation and such:

3) Do research on the English libraries and collections you intend to work in (see the Research Section below)

4) Apply for the Kirkland Travel Grant (see the Funding Section below)

5) Get a faculty member to write you a letter of introduction (make a lot of copies of the letter to bring with you). I also recommend having one specifically for the British Library and the Bodleian.


  • The Kirkland Travel Grant: As a graduate student working in Victorian Studies, you can apply for a Kirkland Travel grant for any research trip you need for your dissertation. Of course, this money is especially useful when planning a long term stay in a foreign country. This money awarded independent of Kirkland Fellowship (i.e. you can get both or only one of them). During Spring Semester, a call for applications will be made via the grad listserv. The awards vary amount and can be as large as $4,500.

    If you get the award, be sure to save your reciepts from your book purchases throughout the year and BL copying because you can deduct them from the grant money (and any other fellowship money you may recieve that year) on your taxes. You can deduct this money for your research because the classes you are technically taking as a Ph.D. student are directed research (i.e. these materials are required for your classes). For more information, consult IRS Publication 520: Scholarships and Fellowships.

    When you apply for the grant, you will need to submit your dissertation prospectus, a letter of support from your director, a letter explaining why you need to travel (i.e. your research plans), and a budget explaining why you need the amount of money you have requested. Remember to take into account the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound (I found this online currency converter very helpful: Below are the letter and budget I submitted, so you can get an idea of what you need do:
    *Lisa Hager's Kirkland Travel Grant Letter
    *Lisa Hager's Kirkland Travel Grant Budget

  • CLAS Graduate Travel Grants: These grants of $250 are awarded every semester. The department graduate coordinator announces them on the grad list, so keep an eye out for the email. The application form is available on the web at

  • Graduate Student Council Travel Grants: These grants of $250 are awarded throughout the year. To ensure that you get one, apply early in the term.

  • English Department Travel Funds: As a Ph.D. student you can use your departmental travel money to fund research trips. This is a great way to pay for your airfare and get a little money towards your everyday expenses. You apply by filling out the standard departmental travel form.

  • Center for European Studies Graduate Student Travel Grant: The grants of up to $1,000 each are designed to assist UF graduate students with travel to Europe to pursue intensive language study, dissertation research, or to present a work at a scholarly conference or workshop. Grantees should be advised that they will be reimbursed for costs incurred during the trip (within the amount of the award) upon their return, with the exception of trans-Atlantic plane tickets which must be purchased directly by the CES. These grants are offered bi-annually. (qtd. from their website)


Manuscript Union Lists:
The location registers tell you the location of a particular author's manuscript materials, which includes everything from agreements with publishers to literary manuscripts, and the call numbers of the items .

  • Location register of English literary manuscripts and letters, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ed. David C. Sutton. London: British Library, 1995. PR441 .L621 1995.

  • Location register of twentieth-century English literary manuscripts and letters: a union list of papers of modern English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh authors in the British Isles. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1988. PR471 .L621 1988.

  • The National Archives --- The National Archives, which covers England, Wales and the United Kingdom, was formed in April 2003 by bringing together the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission. It is responsible for looking after the records of central government and the courts of law, and making sure everyone can look at them. The collection is one of the largest in the world and spans an unbroken period from the 11th century to the present day. (qtd. from their website)

  • COPAC -- This British union list will tell you the location of particular works, like novels and newspapers. The server can be slow during peak usage hours.

With all of these libraries (except for the BL), you should always contact the appropriate librarian well in advance of visit to reserve both the materials you want to look at and space for yourself in the library.

  • The Bodleian Library at Oxford University -- The Bodleian's catalogs are online and relatively easy use. For most Victorian manuscripts, search the On-line Catalogues of Western Manuscripts.

  • The British Library -- You want to start first with the Integrated Catalog. However, the Manuscripts and Newspaper Catalogs are still separate, so you will have search them individually. Pay special attention to the "Getting a Reader's Pass" page so that you don't have any problems when you arrive at the library.

  • The National Art Library -- The National Art Library is a major public reference library, as well as being the Victoria and Albert Museum's curatorial department for the art, craft and design of the book. The library's strength lies in the range and depth of its holdings of documentary material concerning the fine and decorative arts of many countries and periods. (qtd. from their website)

  • The University of Cambridge Libraries -- Although the main university library does have a vast collection, most of the really interesting archive materials are housed in the libraries of the individual colleges that make up the University. You will need to contact the librarians of each of these colleges to make an appointment to do research. However, Cambridge does have a union catalog, called Janus, that allows you to search all the colleges' manuscript collections at once. It can be found on the library website.

  • Women's Library -- The Women's Library houses the most extensive collection of women's history in the UK. To search their collections, use the online catalog on their website.


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