What are themes?

The Oxford DNB offers many different theme articles that are your reference companion to British history:

  • Reference groups cover the groups, clubs, factions, and movements that shaped our past.
  • Reference lists of people from all walks of British history, from kings and queens to captains of the England cricket team.
  • Feature essays on topical anniversaries and interesting slices through the Oxford DNB.

Reference groups

These are regularly published public essays on well-known historical groups that make connections between individuals in the Oxford DNB.

More than 320 group essays are now available. Recent additions include the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the Erasmus Circle, participants in the Northern Rising of 1569-70, and the interwar Group Theatre of London. Who were they? How did they work together? What did they achieve?

> See all reference groups 

Reference lists

 The ODNB reference lists include:

> See all reference lists

Feature essays

The ODNB feature essays include:

> See all feature essays

Sample features

Military networks        

Scottish themes


Desert Rats

Sealed Knot

Wolseley Ring

Battle of Agincourt


Kailyard School

Pentland Rising

Secretaries of State

Scottish Literary Renaissance