The vast majority of articles written for Victorian periodicals were published anonymously, or under pseudonyms. The Wellesley Index is an index to the authorship of articles, and a bibliography of articles written by each contributor, and using each pseudonym. Citations of evidence are provided to support attributions of authorship, along with brief biographical and vocational details. Forty-five important monthly and quarterly titles are indexed, covering the period from the beginning of the Westminster Review in 1824 to the end of the century. The exception to this is the Edinburgh Review, which is indexed from its first issue, in 1802.

"It is a great literary age, we have great literary men - but where are their works? A moment's reflection gives us a reply to the question; we must seek them not in detached and avowed and standard publications, but in periodical miscellanies. It is in these journals that the most eminent of our recent men of letters have chiefly obtained their renown."

England and the English, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1833.

Periodical publishing in the nineteenth century was both voluminous and multifarious. Any and all aspects of contemporary thought were represented through this burgeoning medium, from which many eminent novelists and journalists emerged.

The scholarly importance of this material created an imperative to provide indexes through which it could be accessed. Poole's own subject index was created in response to this need. However, there was no author index until 1965 when the first of five volumes of The Wellesley Index, under Editor Walter Houghton, was published by the University of Toronto Press. The primary objective of Wellesley was to assist scholars in assessing the significance of periodical articles by delivering accurate information on provenance. This was a monumental undertaking, given that the vast majority of articles published in Victorian periodicals were anonymous or pseudonymous.

Integration of Indexes and Full Text

The Wellesley Index provides seamless linking between article records, contributor and pseudonym records, and periodical introductions, and includes links to article full text for selected titles available in ProQuest's Periodicals Archive Online and British Periodicals full-text resources for users with the appropriate subscriptions.

The Wellesley Index is also available within ProQuest’s C19: The Nineteenth Century Index, where it can be cross-searched alongside 17 million records from 10 other major indexes of nineteenth century content, including Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature, Periodicals Index Online, the Nineteenth Century Short-Title Catalogue, the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, and Palmer’s Index to The Times. In addition, customers of ProQuest's British Periodicals who also have access to The Wellesley Index or C19 may automatically include Wellesley author attributions in their searches of the British Periodicals database.

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