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.

Film, Socialism, Espionage and The Secret State: A Special Guest Blog By Alan Burton
20 March 2017

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.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh! (Happy St Patrick’s Day!)
15 March 2017

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.

Operation Teutonic Sword
09 March 2017

In the Cold War battle for hearts and minds there was documentary film making. In this struggle a small British distributor of left-wing films tried to play its part by showing documentaries made in socialist countries as a counterpoint to Western interpretations of those places behind the iron curtain as menacing and dangerous. Its motto was ‘See the other side of the world’. These were films that often shone a light back on the West and its own misdemeanours. Many of the films it distributed came from East Germany – home of some skilled documentary makers – and one these films in particular led to a legal and political kerfuffle that raised questions of libel, censorship and diplomatic niceties in Cold War Britain.

The Tragedy of the 'Ocean Monarch'
03 March 2017

On Thursday 24 August 1848, the Ocean Monarch entered the open seas, leaving Liverpool for Boston, Massachusetts with almost 400 souls aboard. Six miles from the Welsh coast, perhaps 25 miles out of Liverpool, the wooden steam-powered barque caught fire. Attempts to control the conflagration quickly failed, and passengers panicked - some throwing themselves overboard clutching their children.

28 February 2017

“Experience has taught us the white and red men cannot always live together in peace,” Joel Palmer informed leaders of the Chenook tribe at treaty negotiations, estimated to have taken place on Saturday, June 23rd, 1853: “When there are but few whites they can get along very well and not quarrel, but when there are a great many they will have difficulty. When they live together there will be difficulties; little difficulties will get to be great difficulties” (25).

At all Times Loyal to America: Internment During WWII
24 February 2017

The latest POTUS recently signed the 13776th Executive Order - his twelfth since taking office. Last Sunday, however, marked the 75th anniversary of an earlier order – no. 9066 – which was issued by FDR in 1942. Harmless as this anonymous directive may sound, it gave the US military the authority to designate zones from which ‘any or all people may be excluded’. With this power, the government were able to enact a policy of interning and relocating thousands of its citizens.

The Wagner-Rogers Bill
20 February 2017

Jewish Life in America makes available the papers of Marion E. Kenworthy, who with the Non-Sectarian Committee for German Refugee Children lobbied the US Government to pass the Wagner-Rogers Bill. U.S Senator Robert Wagner and Congresswomen Edith Rogers introduced legislation to admit 20,000 German Jewish Children to the United States outside America’s strict immigration quotas, in a bid to provide an escape from the abhorrent treatment being received in Nazi Germany.

What is Happiness?
17 February 2017

A pioneering social research organisation, Mass Observation was founded in 1937 by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, film-maker Humphrey Jennings and poet Charles Madge. Their aim was to create an 'anthropology of ourselves', and by recruiting a team of observers and a panel of volunteer writers they studied the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. February 2017 marks 10 years since the first module of Mass Observation Online was published, and I decided to celebrate the resource’s tenth birthday by having a look back through the vast collection of documents.

37 days after 37 years: Shapour Bakhtiar’s Iranian revolution
07 February 2017

The revolution which brought the Islamic republic to power in Iran 38 years ago this week was a singular event in the twentieth century, and is still considered something of an enigma by many scholars. Our resource 'Foreign Offices Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981' contains British diplomats’ detailed reports and opinions on the upheavals, among them despatches from early 1979 when, as in Russia in 1917, a short-lived, half-forgotten government tried and failed to establish power before being swept away by the regime that eventually, and famously, consolidated its hold.

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Prejudice or Hope?
07 February 2017

Whilst the census data and Institute speeches available in Race Relations in America offer the opportunity to study the top-level experiences of non-white Americans, the true significance of segregation can be felt in records such as the studies carried out by the Race Relations Department fieldworkers. Parent and pupil interviews, that formed part of the Chattanooga desegregation survey, have the ability to inform, shock and inspire in equal measures.

War and Politicks: the Belligerent Career of Colonel James Stuart
03 February 2017
When I started working on the newly revamped India, Raj and Empire resource, I expected to find within the material most if not all of the classic elements of colonialism and empire. But what I found most interesting, when digging deeper into the documents, was the vast amount of in-fighting, conflict and corruption going on in the boardrooms and dining salons of the East India Company officials.
The Water-Cure Journal and Herald of Reform: Understanding Hydropathy in Antebellum America: A special guest blog by Rachel Williams
30 January 2017

The Water-Cure Journal and Herald of Reform, included in the Adam Matthew resource Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900, was the foremost publication of the hydropathy movement in the antebellum United States. Hydropathy, which advocated the internal and external application of water to the body as a means to promote health, happiness, and longevity, was one of several alternative medical practises which gained popularity in America before the Civil War. These “nature cures” appealed to those wary of the increasingly liberal use by mainstream physicians of vigorous and invasive techniques such as bloodletting and purging.

The Power of Protest
27 January 2017

Last week millions of people across the world joined peaceful demonstrations protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump and marching in support of causes widely feared to be under threat in his new administration.

How the East India Company shaped London
24 January 2017
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.
‘The captain-general of iniquity’: The impeachment of Warren Hastings
20 January 2017

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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