The Editor's Choice

Welcome to the blog of the editorial team at Adam Matthew Digital. Here we will bring you snippets from the fascinating collections 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.

Also featured are special guest blogs by leading academics on their personal collection highlights. Please subscribe to recieve new blog posts direct to your inbox.

Guildford Courthouse and an Eighteenth-Century Adonis of War
21 February 2018

1775 and the American colonies were in turmoil. A young, newly-volunteered cavalry Cornet by the name of Banastre Tarleton set sail for America with Lord General Cornwallis, hoping to play a part in the rising conflict. Like many young men with modest fortunes, a debauched London lifestyle had left its mark and the army offered excellent prospects to make a name for himself.

Two Island Nations
07 February 2018

As small islands playing on the international stage, historically Japan and Great Britain have been two nations with many shared qualities, but a turbulent relationship. The files in Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1946-1952: Occupation of Japan, released this week, give a fascinating insight into Anglo-Japanese relations in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, a war that saw their alliance descend into a bitter and bloody conflict.

A Batavian prison break: sodomy, execution and an East India Company ship
06 February 2018

On the 1st April 1762, an employee of the English East India Company who was stationed in Batavia received a report that a prisoner named John Smith had escaped house confinement. Smith had been detained for nearly two months after being accused of sodomy by an apprentice stationed on an English East India Company ship; the Earl Temple.

“The way of progress was neither swift nor easy”: Taking a closer look at the legacy left by Marie Curie.
31 January 2018

Marie Curie is a name with which most of us are familiar today, as the cancer hospices founded in her memory since 1930 continue to support and care for people living with cancer, and their families. However, while her scientific breakthroughs are now widely recognised and celebrated, Curie faced relentless gender discrimination throughout her life as documents in the forthcoming Gender: Identity and Social Change resource document.

A Kodak Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
31 January 2018

Eastman Kodak were one of the most recognisable brands managed by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency’s during the 40 years that JWT managed their account, from 1930-1972. JWT were responsible for making the Kodak brand a household name and behind some of Kodak’s most iconic advertising campaigns. The Kodak collections in Adam Matthew Digital’s forthcoming resource, J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America, give a unique insight into JWT’s advertising strategies and show why JWT were one of the most successful agencies of the 20th century.

Sun, Sea and Heritage Livestock
25 January 2018

Today, 26 January, is Australia Day, which is all the excuse I needed to spend some time on a grey Monday digging though the Australia material in our Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture resource. I was anticipating bright photographs and stylised posters of beaches, and while these were present there’s also some more unexpected content.

Pish-Posh, Or The Most Important Book Of Our Century
04 January 2018

Perhaps no book of the mid-twentieth century would prove as divisive as Betty Friedan’s seminal 1963 tome, The Feminine Mystique. Invited to conduct a survey on the satisfaction of fellow female graduates at a college reunion, journalist Friedan began an intent investigation into ‘the problem that has no name’, that is, a growing malaise amongst women who were seemingly living the American Dream. Credited with sparking the “second wave” of American feminism, the book proved a publishing phenomenon and became a flash point in the war over gender politics.

The Twelve Digital Images Of Christmas
21 December 2017

The season of good will, gift giving, holiday, Father Christmas and copious volumes of food and drink is upon us. Like most of us, you probably think you know all you need to about the key elements of Christmas. Yet, historical images of the holiday have varied enormously in their message and impact. So, what better time to rifle through the digital archives and find out how Christmas has been depicted, celebrated, captured and advertised throughout history? From the wacky to the wondrous, the moving to the marvellous (not to mention, the just plain baffling) I present to you, the snappily named, Twelve Digital Images of Christmas: A Miscellany.

“Hollywood Is A Place Where They'll Pay You A Thousand Dollars For A Kiss And Fifty Cents For Your Soul” Marilyn Monroe
14 December 2017

Love her or loathe her, Marilyn Monroe was one of the most alluring starlets to ever grace the silver screen. Holding her audience captive with her giddy charm and flirtatious wiggle, she led a beautiful yet insecure and troubled life. Marilyn once said herself that it is ‘better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring’, and it seems the public haven’t grown tired of their love affair with Marilyn, even fifty-five years after her death.

 

Plum Pudding In A Shell Hole: Christmas Baking In World War I
08 December 2017

This week we held a charity Christmas “Winter Wonderland” bake off in the Adam Matthew office. Marshmallow penguins and snowy forest floor s’mores competed against traditional yule logs and cakes decorated with snowmen, Christmas trees and gambolling reindeer. The joy that these seasonal bakes bring to a modern consumer must pale in comparison to that experienced by soldiers in the frozen, muddy trenches of the Western Front during the First World War. From “pop-up” dinners in shell holes and Christmas puddings delivered by messenger motorcycles, to what must surely have been a record-breaking cake, the photographs available in The First World War portal offer fascinating, and at times humbling, glimpses into culinary Christmas celebrations at the front and behind the lines.

Charles J.C. Hutson And Confederate Flag Culture: A Special Guest Blog
06 December 2017

The letters of Charles J.C. Hutson, a former student of South Carolina College and a soldier in the First South Carolina Volunteers, provide insight on various topics pertaining to the American Civil War era. ... But it is Hutson’s remarks on a company flag from early in the war that this piece will focus upon. Though perhaps trivial at first glance, these remarks offer us a personal perspective on the complex ways in which southerners developed a relationship with their fledgling nation and their wider ideas about the Civil War.

The Great Game Revisited: Afghanistan In The 1970s
01 December 2017

It was in the early 1970s that Afghanistan entered into the spiral of governmental instability, insurgency, outright civil war and foreign interventions that has plagued it to the present day. Amongst the dozens of Afghan-focused files in our resource 'Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan' two which date from the regime of Mohammad Daoud Khan, president from 1973 to 1978, shed light both on the circumstances under which he came to power and, with some considerable prescience, on the potential for instability and Soviet intervention which it was feared might follow the end of his rule.

Represented In The American Hemisphere: The United Kingdom, The Rise Of Pan-Americanism And The Canadian Question
29 November 2017

A special guest blog by Alex Bryne. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, Pan-Americanism became a popular topic of debate within the United States and Latin America. Although Canada was excluded from traditional interpretations of Pan-Americanism, British policy makers grew concerned about the relationship between the two, and the Adam Matthew digital collection ‘Confidential Print: North America, 1824-1961’ provides valuable insights into their reasoning.

'Color Uncle Frank Playful Grey Flannel’: The J. Walter Thompson Colouring Book
24 November 2017

In the long-gone days of 2015-16, adult colouring books suddenly became nothing less than a phenomenon. The Independent even reported that the craze had led to a 'global pencil shortage'. Imagine my surprise, then, when working on Adam Matthew Digital’s forthcoming J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America, I came across a colouring book for adults, released as long ago as 1974!

The Men's Movement
15 November 2017

The 1960s and 1970s saw Second Wave Feminism sweep through the Western World, engaging women with issues such as sexuality, the workforce, domestic abuse, the family and reproductive rights. And whilst feminists were debating with themselves and the world, there were small collectives of men who wondered what this new definition of femininity meant for their understanding of masculinity.

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