Recent Acquistion: Historical studies of Roma Travellers in Britain

Here is a recent aquisition to York University's Special Collections: a 1831 publication by James Crabb regarding the Roma and Traveller communities of Britain. The Gipsies' advocate  is an excellent example of a body of literature dedicated to the 'problem' of itinerant groups in nineteenth century Britain and efforts to reintegrate these communities into an orthodox social order.

The full title of the work betrays the author's preoccupation with the liminality of his subjects, noting the inclusion in the text of "many interesting anecdotes on the plans of several benevolent individuals who anxiously desire their conversion to God."

This publication may be of interest to researchers studying nineteenth century England, social reform movements, antiquarianism in the nineteenth century, and, in particular, those studying Roma and Traveller history and itinerancy issues.   

This publication complements a number of existing holdings in the Special Collections related to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, including George Henry Borrow's 1874 book on Romani language Romano lavo-lil (see here) as well as his autobiographical travelogue memoir Lavengro (see here and here), a 1832 Spanish historical treatise, Historis de los Gitanos  (see here) and a collection of Welsh gypsy folk-tales from 1933 (see here).

The Gipsies' advocate can be accessed in the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections Reading Room. The call number is: 13196.

Online catalogue record available here:


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