Other projects from the John Johnson Collection

In addition to the ProQuest project, records and images from the John Johnson collection are also available through other digital projects. These often provide enhanced functionality and/or cross-searchability with other collections. This page provides details about existing project websites.

The John Johnson Collection online catalogue includes records from all projects except Toyota and Ballads.

Our list of catalogued and digitised sections gives the cataloguing status of each section and where to find any digitised images.

Digital Bodleian

18th century entertainment

Digital Bodleian has all 18th century entertainment ephemera in the collection. It includes playbills, handbills, news cuttings and prints taken from the following sections: Theatre, London Play Places, Animals on Show, Circuses, Concerts, Dioramas, Entertainment folders, Exhibitions, Humans, Magic and Mystery, Museums and Waxworks.

Writing blanks and board games

All 18th and 19th century board games in the John Johnson Collection (mostly single sheets) and all educational writing blanks from the Johnson, Opie and Harding Collections have been digitised, together with other games of the same period, selected for their educational content.

Writing blanks (also known as school pieces) were usually given to children at Christmas. They filled the space within the printed, and often hand-coloured, borders with a sample of their handwriting. The completed school piece would then be given to parents, relations or friends.

Subjects represented in the games and writing blanks include Arithmetic, Art, Astronomy, Geography, History, Literature, Spelling, and Religion.


Zegami is an interactive, image-based way of searching and viewing the trade cards in the John Johnson Collection (except Oxford trade and booktrade), with geomapping.

Toyota Project

The Toyota Project (sponsored by Toyota City) was the Bodleian’s first digital project. It covers motor car ephemera and sample transport images. The site has been archived, and can still be accessed via the Wayback Machine.

Broadside Ballads Online

Broadside Ballads Online is a stand-alone catalogue: the records and images are not included in the Johnson online catalogue. The Ballads database includes all 30,000 ballads in the Bodleian, including those in the John Johnson Collection. It includes image searching and matching.

Visual Arts Data Service (VADS)

The Visual Arts and Humanities Data Service database enables cross-searching of the Political Cartoons and Trades and Professions prints in the John Johnson Collection with other collections.

The VADS site provides:

  • cross-searching of these sections of the John Johnson Collection with other collections.
  • browsing by image (click on 'Collections' and then 'images' under the name of the collection)

This data is unrevised. Much of the metadata has been edited in the Johnson online catalogue, with enhanced subject, name and iconographic indexing.

Culture Grid enables cross-searching of VADS with other institutional collections, including European.

Defining Gender, 1450 – 1910

Defining Gender, 1450 – 1910 is an Adam Matthew resource (available by subscription), which includes images from the Consumption and Leisure section. The Defining Gender site has selected ephemera from the following sections of the collection:

  • Actors and Actresses
  • Bill Headings*
  • Boxing*
  • Cinema*
  • Circuses
  • Concerts: Royal Albert Hall only*
  • Dance Programmes*
  • Entertainment
  • Fairs and Festivals*
  • London Play Places
  • London Playbills
  • Magic and Mystery
  • Pageants*
  • Playbills, Saloons and Taverns*
  • Provincial Theatre
  • Seaside, Lakes and Spas*
  • Sport*
  • Tea and Coffee
  • Waxworks

Sections marked with an asterisk are not on ProQuest.

First World War Digital Poetry Archive

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive features some images from the collections' Great War section to provide context for the literary texts.


For many years we collaborated on projects with the National Valentine Collectors Association (USA), focussing on different themes associated with our collection of valentines. The result is a substantial corpus of images on Pinterest and accompanying posts on our blog.