The Editor's Choice

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About The Blog

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!


How the East India Company shaped London

How the East India Company shaped London

Two hundred years ago the massive warehouses and imposing façade of East India House were a constant reminder to onlookers of the power and influence of the East India Company in London. Most of the physical evidence of the East India Company's presence in London has disappeared, so few Londoners today are aware of the Company’s importance in their city's history. Yet a large body of written evidence does survive in the India Office Records held at the British Library. Through these documents we can begin to understand just how influential the Company was in shaping London.

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‘The captain-general of iniquity’: The impeachment of Warren Hastings

‘The captain-general of iniquity’: The impeachment of Warren Hastings

One of the many good things about living in a place like Britain, where lots of documented stuff has been going on in a small space for a long time, is that wherever you go there’ll be some historical notable who’s been there before you. Last summer I was wandering around the Cotswolds and passed through Daylesford, for many years owned, I discovered using the power of the guidebook, by Warren Hastings, perhaps the most notorious figure in the East India Company at the height of its power and the penultimate man to be impeached before the British Parliament.

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Creating Model Americans: The Mississippi Choctaw Billie Family and Relocation: A special guest blog by Reetta Humalajoki

Creating Model Americans: The Mississippi Choctaw Billie Family and Relocation: A special guest blog by Reetta Humalajoki

This 1956 photograph captures a smiling couple with their four children, all dressed in their Sunday best – crisp white shirts for father and son, frilly dresses for the two little girls. The family poses around an armchair in front of their television set, displaying their homely apartment. This is not your average white middle-class family, however. Paul Billie and his wife were members of the Mississippi Choctaw Tribe, who relocated from Mississippi to Chicago in 1953.

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Keeping the lid on: the British role in the Canadian Caper

Keeping the lid on: the British role in the Canadian Caper

Published this week, Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981 covers an extraordinary number of topics and events, addressing the policies, economies, political relationships and significant events of major Middle East powers. One event that has captured the world’s imagination for almost four decades is also extensively analysed – the Iranian hostage crisis.

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Human stories from the East India Company

Human stories from the East India Company

You might expect the minutes of the meetings of the Court of Directors to be rather dull administrative records. But they are in fact the source of many fascinating human stories. The Directors were responsible for a mighty organisation, but they always made time to consider the requests of individuals who approached them for help, no matter where they fitted into the social hierarchy.

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‘Oh Matron’: A right old Carry On aboard the Cardigan Castle, Christmas, 1876.

‘Oh Matron’: A right old Carry On aboard the Cardigan Castle, Christmas, 1876.

What do you get if you mix a drunk Matron, a dummy sailor, and a foghorn? No this isn’t another awful Christmas cracker joke, but it is the wonderful combination of elements that make up Sarah Stephens’ very humorous account of Christmas Day aboard the Cardigan Castle emigrant ship. Found within the Migration To New Worlds Collection, Stephens’ account of her voyage to New Zealand in 1876 not only highlights the dangers and difficulties endured by emigrants aboard ship, but gives a unique account of Christmas Day that is both compelling and full of festive fun.

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Christmas on the Front Line

Christmas on the Front Line

It’s difficult to imagine what Christmas day was like in 1914 for soldiers on the front lines in France, Belgium and Germany. We know that the horrors of war didn’t stop, that fighting continued in many parts and that the unofficial truces were opportunities to bury the dead. But we’ve also heard stories of carols sung across the trenches and football games, and we know that during that Christmas – and Christmases for years afterward – soldiers received a small but very special gift.

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A date which will live in infamy

A date which will live in infamy

President Roosevelt famously declared December 7th 1941 ‘a date which will live in infamy’. As war raged across Europe, and America - the ‘giant’ - slept on, imperialist forces in Japan plotted a devastating strike on Pearl Harbor. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the deadly attack on that sleepy Hawaiian naval base, an event that would ultimately turn the tide of the Second World War.

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