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.

Pea Pickers, Fisher Girls and Market Women
08 June 2018

The Munby collection was bequeathed to Trinity College on the understanding that the deed boxes in which it was held were not to be opened until 1950. Shrouded in secrecy until that date researchers and scholars must have been elated to find the remarkable diaries of Arthur Joseph Munby contained inside. Those opening the boxes also found photograph albums, poetry and an additional set of diaries written by Munby’s wife Hannah Cullwick. This extraordinary collection featured in Gender: Identity and Social Change, is enhanced with Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology to enable full-text searching of the manuscript material.

In Search of Captain Kidd's Lost Treasure
01 June 2018
Last week saw the anniversary of the execution of one of history’s most notorious pirates - Captain William Kidd. Late in the afternoon of Friday 23 May 1701 William Kidd stepped up to the gallows on the shore of the River Thames at Wapping, east of London.
Royal Weddings through The Years: Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip, 1947
25 May 2018

The royal wedding last weekend prompted me to delve into one of our latest releases Service Newspapers of World War Two to explore the headlines that were sent from home to battlefield to report on the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh (i.e. Queenie and Prince Philip).

A Chilling Mystery: Franklin's Fatal Arctic Expedition
18 May 2018

Nineteenth century exploration produced countless thrilling tales of derring-do, but the epic story of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition is a blockbuster.

The Time for Propaganda
15 May 2018

During this Age of Information (or should I say Too Much Information?), it’s difficult to log onto any social media site and avoid the turbulent disorder that is the world’s political stage. We’re constantly being exposed to some kind of political scandal or conflict that we simply must be aware of to stay well-informed. And so, with the waves of Wi-Fi reporting on nuclear deals gone wrong and the world on another precipice, I thought I’d serve up the AMD Special: a film from the archives of the British Film Institute.

Edward S. Morse: A look at Meiji Japan
09 May 2018

The late 19th century was a period of immense social, economic and political change in Japan, known as the Meiji Restoration. It was into this time of turmoil and opportunity that American zoologist Edward Sylvester Morse (1838 – 1925) visited Japan for the first time in 1877 to study coastal brachiopods. ... He had a keen eye for observation and was talented in making detailed sketches which accompanied his academic work.

The Last Heroic Stand in the Age of Exploration
04 May 2018

Age of Exploration, Adam Matthew's new collection for May 2018, contains over 2,400 documents that reveal the history of maritime exploration; explorers, navigators, diplomats, pirates and spies all feature in the pages of this fantastic resource. Well-known voyages of Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Captain Cook, Abel Tasman, Bligh’s Bounty and the infamous mutiny aboard its decks, and Franklin’s lost expedition, to name a few, are represented within the collection. One such famous expedition is Shackleton’s aptly named Endurance.

Putting Together the Pieces:  Preparing a Highly Fragmented Book for Digitisation
01 May 2018

At The National Archives, before a historical document is digitised, it passes through a team of conservators to ensure it is fit for scanning. This ‘stamp of approval’ requires that all information contained within the document be legible and that any damage repaired so that it may be safely handled.

Life in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp
27 April 2018

Tens of thousands of British servicemen endured the brutal treatment in Japan’s prisoner of war camps during World War Two. Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1946-1952: Occupation of Japan makes available the signed affidavits of some of these men, who documented their ill-treatment to help prosecute those responsible.

Rivers of Blood 50 years on
19 April 2018

50 years ago today, on 20th April 1968, Enoch Powell delivered a speech at a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham criticising the then-Labour government’s proposed Race Relations Bill. With charged rhetoric and a strong anti-immigration stance, it became better known as the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.

The resource Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975 includes a fascinating collection from the Prime Minister’s Office which contains a document collating a full transcript of the speech, press releases and correspondence with Prime Minister Harold Wilson regarding both the public and legislative reaction in the year following its delivery.

Advertising: manipulation, persuasion, information or experience enhancer?
12 April 2018

The J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America archive provides an exceptional record of consumer culture over the past 100 years and among the many fascinating and mind-bending concepts that the documents of this advertising agency explore is one illustrated by a company-produced pamphlet entitled Advertising: Manipulation or Persuasion?. This is one of the central questions relating to advertising and consumer culture: how powerful is advertising in shaping our behaviours, practices and even identity?

Observing the Masses - Nella Last's Diaries
06 April 2018

One of the first projects I worked on for Adam Matthew was the Mass Observation Archive collection – reading through the monthly diaries of the Mass Observers in the 1960s and wondering at the differences in all their lives. Anybody who has done any work on Mass Observation will be well aware of the most famous Mass Observer (though anonymous at the time) and may have in fact followed her life from the Second World War until her death in the late 60s. This woman was Nella Last, and she was one of the most prolific writers of the Mass Observation project. 

Miracles and fairy tales: The “Great Leap Forward” in Chinese newsreels
03 April 2018

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of China’s Great Leap Forward in 1958. Under the auspices of Chairman Mao, the Chinese Communist Party laid out a programme which aimed to rapidly transform their agrarian economy into an industrial, collectivised, socialist state. Produced by the Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio of the People’s Republic of China, newsreel series China Today provides a unique, state-sponsored narrative of bumper crop yields, cultural exploits and factory construction in this period. However, if 1958 was an 'unusual and glorious fairy-tale', 1959 would signal the beginning of a nightmare.

“Passive Women”: Uncovering the story of Josina Machel and the Mozambique Liberation Front
29 March 2018

Whilst working on the Gender: Identity and Social Change resource, I was drawn to Revolutionary Women.

A Movable Feast
28 March 2018

Occurring on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox, Easter is symbolic of seasonal change.

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