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 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.

No Sex Please, We’re British: Stemming The Tide Of STDs During WWI
10 November 2017

Global conflict naturally incurs all manner of hardships and challenges, but one that rarely permeates modern discussions of the First World War is the exponential spread of sexually transmitted diseases, or the effort made to curb them. However, preventing venereal disease wasn’t just a matter of good medicine. In fact, medicine was sometimes the last thing on people’s mind when trying to avoid these debilitating infections.

In the Name of Lenin: Electrifying the Great October Revolution
08 November 2017

To celebrate the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Professor Graham Roberts introduces the 1932 film short, In the Name of Lenin. Directed by Mikhail Slutskii, this 14 minute feature was produced in the USSR to celebrate industrial progress in the years following the Revolution.

October Days: The Bolshevik Revolution at 100
07 November 2017

To celebrate the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Professor Denise J. Youngblood introduces the 1958 film October Days. Directed by Sergei Vasiliev, the film was produced in the USSR to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution and makes for a fascinating case study in Soviet memory.

Keep Calm and Candid On
03 November 2017

This week I’d like to bring you some good news. Well, as ‘good’ as news could get for the British Army in Italy during the spring/summer of 1944. While working on the Service Newspapers of World War II: Module 1 collection I had access to a variety of high-profile publications like “Union Jack”, “Stars and Stripes”, and “Blighty”; each a heady mix of pin-ups, atrocities, and shoe polish advertisements.

Wallpaper Newspapers of the American Civil War
23 October 2017

There was a time in Britain when fish and chip takeaways were clad in unused newspapers, prompting the wry saying that today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping. In a small twist on this, these items from American history below give us an instance of today’s wallpaper becoming tomorrow’s news plus an interesting symbol of the disparity in resources between two sides of a civil war.

Surviving the American Civil War: An Interactive Patient Database
23 October 2017

To celebrate the release of Medical Services and Warfare: 1850-1927, Adam Matthew Digital is providing free access to the interactive Civil War patient database Surviving the Civil War available to explore for 30 days from 24th October 2017.

The Battle of Passchendaele
19 October 2017

“I died in hell – they called it Passchendaele” – One hundred years on, Passchendaele is commemorated through the words of poet Siegfried Sassoon. But it can also be remembered through the memoirs and diaries of the men who experienced the events. Perhaps the First World War battle that is today most present in the collective British consciousness is the Somme, but at the time this battle was synonymous with the hopelessness and horror of what was playing out on foreign fields.

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