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.

The inhumanity of brutality is colourless: African Americans and police relations
24 July 2015

One of the most interesting things about working with so many varied primary source documents on a daily basis is how often the material makes me think of current issues. Items that appear in the news, questions that are still being considered, and consequences from past events still being felt always bring home the importance of history. I’ve had the privilege of working on African American Communities which covers various themes and issues of importance, and notably that of police and community relations.

Brawls, Duels and Marsupials. A Voyage to Tasmania
14 July 2015

On 12 March 1838, a young surgeon by the name of Dr John Hanchett joined the ship Henry at St Katherine Dock, bound for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). His journal survives in the archives of the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and paints a vivid account of the trials and tribulations encountered during four months at sea, the relations between crew and passengers and the leisure activities on board an early Victorian emigrant ship. What follows is a potted account of his trip.

Battle of Brandywine Creek: A British victory or a tactical American retreat?
10 July 2015

On a recent trip to Delaware we decided to explore the countryside around Wilmington and came across the Brandywine Battlefield, now a visitor’s site. Having worked on the American History, 1493-1945 project this intrigued me and so we decided to investigate. It turned out that we had come to the site of one of the largest land battles of the American Revolution.

From Sea to Shining Sea
03 July 2015

On the eve of the Fourth of July and as the smell of fireworks and hot-dogs creeps across the United States, those of us lucky enough to have worked on American History 1493-1945 are swept along with the Independence Day spirit. The federal holiday is one of the most significant in the US calendar, competing only with Thanksgiving for the top-spot of cultural significance. Traditionally celebrated with parades, fireworks and parties the essence has not changed since the first anniversary celebration in 1777.

World's Fairs: An International Obsession
23 June 2015

As my interest in World’s Fairs creeps ever closer to obsession, my expectations were sky high when, last month, I was lucky enough to attend EXPO 2015 in Milan, the current incarnation of the centuries-old tradition of World’s Fairs. In light of our forth-coming resource, World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions, I was fascinated to see how modern expos compared to the Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851, or the futuristic fair of New York in 1964, and experience something comparable to these phenomenally influential historical events.

23 June 2015

If you’re like me and were lucky enough to get a ticket for this year’s Glastonbury festival, you’re probably in a field right now up to your welly clad knees in mud and wondering why you thought you could survive five days eating just pot noodles and Lidl’s own breakfast bars.

The Freed Slaves of the South
19 June 2015

While indexing the documents in our American History, 1493-1945 collection I found a curious printed book from 1915, entitled ‘Aunt Phebe, Uncle Tom and others’ by Mrs Essie Collins Matthews. This is a collection of character studies and photographs of freed slaves living in the South fifty years after abolition came into effect.

The Ride of a Lifetime
16 June 2015

Having several ancestors on both sides of my family who survived Waterloo, I thought it only fitting that Adam Matthew should mark the 200th anniversary with a tribute to heroism and the British stiff upper lip. In July 1815, the English court painter Sir Thomas Lawrence wrote enthusiastically to Mrs Isabella Wolff about the courage and heroism of Lord Wellington and, in particular, of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Alexander Gordon; the Duke’s Aide de Camp.

Jurassic World's Fairs: When Dinosaurs Ruled the Expos
11 June 2015

There are several avid fans of the Jurassic Park film series here at Adam Matthew. Listening to colleagues’ tales of being young and watching the movie for the first time and the awe they felt at the sight of the dinosaurs brought to life reminded me of the fairs of not so long ago and the dinosaurs that captured imaginations even then.

11 June 2015

While working with the documents of American History, 1493-1945: From the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History my eye was drawn to some of the American Civil War-era military manuals due to some interesting appendices. As a part-time trumpet player I took an interest in some music charts entitled “General Calls” for the army buglers. There were two different sets that I came across, one for Confederate Infantry (Rifle and Infantry Tactics, Revised and Improved GLC03071) and one for Union Cavalry (Cavalry Tactics in Three Parts GLC07566.01).

10 June 2015

It was on the 11th of this month in 1963 that John F. Kennedy gave his civil rights speech in which he asked for legislation which would give ‘greater protection for the right to vote’. In November, the bill was referred to the Rules Committee where it was quickly dismissed.

“You already know enough. So do I. It is not knowledge we lack.”
10 June 2015
…”What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.” – Sven Lindqvist, Exterminate all the Brutes.The twentieth century will be forever scarred by a succession of wars, revolutions and unprecedented violence, in which empires fell and totalitarian regimes rose. This conflict conjuncture is often cited as the watershed moment for those attempting to define and source the origins of European-specific violence. But surely we should look further back still?
Eleanor Roosevelt's Universal Rights
04 June 2015

In the year that we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, and the UK government questions Britain’s part in the European Convention on Human Rights, it is a poignant time to reflect on the formation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Central to this was Eleanor Roosevelt who was already heavily involved in social justice and human rights by the time she became First Lady in the White House in 1933.

African American Philanthropy in the Twin Cities: The Saint Paul Urban League
02 June 2015

In April 2015, I and another member of the Adam Matthew team embarked on a three-week trip to the Midwest of the United States. Our first stop was the ‘Flour Milling Capital of the World’ – Minneapolis and its twin city, Saint Paul.

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