The Editor's Choice

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The Editor's Choice is the blog of the editorial team at Adam Matthew. Here we hope to bring you snippets from the fascinating collections that we have the privilege of handling on a daily basis, as well as posts about our travels to various archives and conferences across the world. The Editor’s Choice also features special guest blogs by leading academics on their personal collection highlights. Please subscribe and share!


The Magnetic Mountain: Building Socialism in Magnitogorsk

The Magnetic Mountain: Building Socialism in Magnitogorsk

The famed Soviet city of Magnitogorsk was founded in 1929 and built upon an expanse of iron rich land towards the southern edge of the Urals. The city, which was modelled after its American counterpart in Gary, Indiana, became the largest steel plant in the world. Magnitogorsk came to embody the guiding principles of the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary experiment in Russia; namely through ideas pinched from the European Enlightenment and subsequent French Revolution of both a rational social order and the power of political mobilisation. The result of which was the realisation that science and politics could be used to landscape and engineer the perfect society, a socialist utopia.

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“Is it possible to build up one’s own discotheque?” Disco hits East Germany in 1972 with some love tagged on.

“Is it possible to build up one’s own discotheque?” Disco hits East Germany in 1972 with some love tagged on.

In the imagination, the iron curtain between East and West during the Cold War era seems to be something impermeable. Especially in terms of cultural exchange and particularly in terms of popular culture. The mind may conjure up a picture of drab, dour and joyless scenes in the East versus a liberated and fun West. Not fair at all it seems - the documentaries and cinemagazines from Socialism on Film give a quick put down to this assumption. In this case the cultural export in question is disco music and the place is East Germany (the German Democratic Republic). It turns out we weren't so different after all.

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‘See America First’: International Expositions, Nationalism, and Local Competition

‘See America First’: International Expositions, Nationalism, and Local Competition

Enumerating the reasons why San Francisco rather than New Orleans should receive federal sanctioning for the 1915 exposition celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal, this illustrated pamphlet urged readers to acquaint themselves with the wonders of the Pacific Coast and to “See America First”. As the first global gatherings of mass audiences, expositions – or world’s fairs – assembled the world in a single site. Designed to showcase the host nation’s progress and achievements, world’s fairs also played an important nationalising function; a task of particular significance for a nation of relative youth like the United States.

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Curiosities and Remedies

Curiosities and Remedies

Adam Matthew's newest collection 'Trade Catalogues and the American Home' contains hundreds of catalogues and leaflets related to home remedies, ‘quack’ cures, and items for at-home personal care. These documents provide a fascinating insight into domestic remedies before the days where most people had access to a certified doctor.

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A Declaration of Independence, or a declaration of love?

A Declaration of Independence, or a declaration of love?

Centuries before America could lay claim to saving France in the Second World War, the French nation entered the American Revolutionary War and potentially changed the trajectory of the bitter conflict with its mother country. But how was this facilitated? Was the Declaration of Independence more of a declaration of love, a wooing of a nation with a common enemy in the form of Britain?

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A Reluctant Declaration

A Reluctant Declaration

Here at Adam Matthew HQ we spend our days jumping from one patch of history to another. This week I travelled to Tokyo, 1941, via the Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1919-1952 collection. It was the 8th December 1941 and like a ghostly time traveller I found myself in the offices of the British ambassador to Japan.

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FILM, SOCIALISM, ESPIONAGE AND THE SECRET STATE: A SPECIAL GUEST BLOG BY ALAN BURTON

FILM, SOCIALISM, ESPIONAGE AND THE SECRET STATE: A SPECIAL GUEST BLOG BY ALAN BURTON

Socialism on Film, the new archive resource recently launched by Adam Matthew Digital, offers many fascinating insights into the practice of cultural propaganda during the Cold War period. It also tantalizingly poses intriguing questions about censorship and repression as the authorities would evidently have mobilized against what would have been seen as subversion in its midst.

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Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh! (Happy St Patrick’s Day!)

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh! (Happy St Patrick’s Day!)

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh! Or for those not fluent in Gaelic (myself included), Happy St Patrick’s Day! Today is the day to honour Ireland’s patron saint; celebrated for converting the pagan Irish to Christianity in the 5th century. Traditionally, festivities include parades, special church services, wearing green clothing or a shamrock and celebrations of Irish music and culture. But, for some, the Irish national holiday has become too commercialised, associated more with drinking Guinness and generally having a good time.

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