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.

Male Model, Nureyev Type: from Soviet Defector to Pop Culture Icon
15 June 2017

My dazzling career prospects as a ballet dancer were brought to an abrupt end at the age of five, when my family moved house and my lessons in the village hall were discontinued. Who knows what I could have achieved, had I stayed? Unfortunately, my insistence on doing the exact opposite of the teacher’s instructions would probably not have gone down well in the strict world of ballet. In my mildly non-conformist way, perhaps I was really empathising with the bad boy of Russian ballet in the 1960s – Rudolph Nureyev who, on this day in 1961, defected from the Soviet Union and caused an international sensation.

Rumour, Religion and Revolt: Fears of Indian and Catholic conspiracy during Maryland’s Glorious Revolution (1689-1690)
12 June 2017

Maryland’s Glorious Revolution (1689-1690) removed the Catholic Lords Baltimore from government in perpetuity. The family would only return in 1715 as Anglican converts. Maryland’s revolution coincided with the Glorious Revolution in England (1688), which replaced the Catholic King James II with the Protestant William III, and the Nine Years War (1689-1697) with France, known in the American colonial context as King William’s War. In 1684 rumour of a Catholic-American Indian conspiracy circulated amongst colonists. The rumours implicated Colonels Henry Darnall and William Pye, and Major William Boreman Sr., a former mariner and Indian trader, each of whom was a wealthy and distinguished planter in Maryland.

A David and Goliath story: Thomas Carnan vs the Stationers' Company
02 June 2017
In 1744, a young man welcomed a historic legal victory by apparently driving ‘repeatedly, in triumph, round St. Paul’s Church yard and through Paternoster row, in his lofty phaeton and pair’. Thomas Carnan was an enterprising individual who had moved from Reading to London and who had his eye on the profitable market for almanacs and other such useful items with equally nebulous definitions. In his way, of course, was the Stationers’ Company.
Travelling, travelling, travelling in 1949
02 June 2017
Summer holidays are in full swing at Adam Matthew with road trips to Germany, honeymoons in Italy and sailing in Croatia. It’s always an interesting time of year to find out what plans people are making, instilling wanderlust in the rest of us. After hearing a few of my colleagues’ holiday plans it inspired me to delve into Mass Observation Online to see what holiday plans people were making in 1949 (and Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture for some nice visual aids).
How to commit marriage (and get away with it)
22 May 2017

The object I’ve chosen to highlight this week has been inspired by the fact that no less than five of the staff here at Adam Matthew towers are tying the knot this summer. And it’s clear from discussions during coffee breaks that whether it’s wishing we had our own J-Lo with her slick headset, or wondering what Wilson Phillips might actually charge, representations of weddings form a big part of our understanding of and expectations for the big day.Browsing through the entertainment memorabilia collection in our resource Popular Culture in Britain and America, I came across a press kit for the 1969 film How to Commit a Marriage. A fascinating primary source contemporary to a dynamic time in American cultural life, this item offers insight into Hollywood’s approach to marriage.

Love Letters from the Front
17 May 2017

This time next week, I’ll be spending my bank holiday at The Hay Festival, the annual celebration of literature, art, politics, history (and more) held in the beautiful ‘town of books’, Hay-on-Wye. There’s a huge amount to do at the festival but when the programme came out there was one event I knew I had to see for a second time: Letters Live.

Celebrating May Day, and all it Meant To Chicago Commons
17 May 2017

The month of May, for many cultures, is associated with a variety of weird and wonderful events as communities have historically come together to celebrate May Day. Even today many of us will have clear memories of partaking in May Day celebrations, whether it be dressed in ribbons dancing (slightly confused) around a Maypole, or painted up alongside ‘Jack-in-the Green’. As fate would have it, I’ve recently enjoyed delving into The Newberry Library's Chicago Commons Collection used in our up-coming resource Migration to New Worlds: The Modern Era, where the May Day festivities of Chicago are depicted in full swing.

Global inspiration: How World’s Fairs gave us Shakespeare’s Globe
12 May 2017

As a development editor at Adam Matthew, I have had the pleasure of working on some fascinating resources from their earliest days. One such project was our World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions resource, which is a veritable treasure trove of documents, objects and oral histories that trace the fascinating phenomenon of world’s fairs; another is our exciting partnership with Shakespeare’s Globe archive.

‘Fame, puts you there where things are hollow…’
09 May 2017

The images above are of the eighteenth-century actresses, Mrs Anne Cargill and Mrs Mary Wells; they have been taken from scanned copies of, Dramatic Annals: Critiques on Plays and Performance and an anthology of performers' letters. They are represented here in their famous stage personas of ‘Clara’ and ‘Cowslip’, characters from The Duenna, and The Agreeable Surprise respectively, performed consistently during the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

Building Bionic Men; Replacing Limbs Lost in WWI
05 May 2017

After the guns fell silent on 11/11/1918 and the global conflict now known as the First World War drew to a close, millions of servicemen could look forward to returning to their countries of origin, being reunited with their families and resuming the lives they had held before enlistment. For many however, this return to pre-war normality seemed a physical impossibility. According to contemporary data from the French and British governments, around 1 in every 7 soldiers was discharged after receiving lifechanging and debilitating injuries during the war. Rapid developments in innovative technologies of destruction such as the machine gun, explosives and chemical weapons had left tens of thousands of soldiers permanently maimed and disfigured.

28 April 2017

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.

“Is it possible to build up one’s own discotheque?” Disco hits East Germany in 1972 with some love tagged on.
21 April 2017

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.

21 April 2017

In 2010, I was introduced to the Lawrence B. Romaine Trade Catalog Collection (RTCC) as an undergraduate student working on rehousing, sorting and listing hundreds of individual trade catalogs at UCSB Library, Special Research Collections (SRC). The bulk of RTCC was purchased in 1966 and since then, it has grown to include well over the 40,000 items reported in our online finding aid. Decades of additional purchases were made to supplement the various subject areas in this collection. But by 2010, the collection consisted of items that were both catalogued and uncatalogued, some falling apart, others misplaced and all very dusty.

‘See America First’: International Expositions, Nationalism, and Local Competition
18 April 2017

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.

Curiosities and Remedies
12 April 2017

Adam Matthew's 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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