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.

“Ever Yours”: The Florence Nightingale Papers and Handwritten Text Recognition Technology
13 October 2017

Medical Services and Warfare: 1850-1927 is a major new resource that examines the history of injury, disease, treatment and medical development within and around conflicts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.Collecting more than 4,000 documents from archives and libraries from the UK and North America, this resource includes the outstanding Florence Nightingale Papers from the British Library, comprising correspondence, notes and reports written between 1847-1889.

A Stone in Peleg Bradford’s Shoe May Have Saved His Life: A Special Guest Blog by Jake Wynn
11 October 2017

On June 17, 1864, while on the picket line outside Petersburg, Virginia, Private Bradford crouched down to remove the rock from his shoe. Just then, a Confederate sharpshooter took aim and fired. The bullet smashed through Bradford’s leg, which was raised as he attempted to put the shoe back onto his foot. “He always said he was sure that the Rebel sharpshooter had aimed for his head,” wrote Richard Bradford, Peleg’s grandson, “He always figured he swapped his knee for his head.”

Pictures of Some Things You Want
04 October 2017

Trade Catalogues and the American Home is a fascinating resource which published in early 2017 that allows you to see the changes in American consumerism over the twentieth century. The collection highlights many aspects of American daily life from around 1850-1950. One such aspect: our (and I’m lumping us Brits in with the Americans, here) great love of Stuff.

Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Co-operation (Eurabia)
02 October 2017

When reviewing an historical event, I often enjoy researching the minutiae of the moment. What, I will wonder, was the weather like? What did the participants eat for breakfast? It is for this reason that I wanted to put Adam Matthew’s facsimile of the summary booklet for the 1977 ‘Peace and Palestinians’ conference into a more detailed historical and cultural context – drawn in by the little details, and encouraged by the fact that the fortieth anniversary of this significant event is rapidly approaching.

Bobbies and Peelers: The Metropolitan Police Act of 1829
29 September 2017

On this day in 1829 the first units of the London Metropolitan Police appeared on the streets of London, under Sir Robert Peel. Having become Home Secretary in 1822, Peel set to work laying the legislation in place that would enable the very first English police force.

16,306 Convicts
21 September 2017

Between 1788 and 1868, the British government transported more than 160,000 convicts to Australia. A popular punishment since the early seventeenth century, transportation was second in severity only to execution. Following the War of Independence, however, the defeated Crown could no longer banish undesirable elements of society to their American colonies. Conditions in overcrowded gaols and prison hulks began to deteriorate following the outbreak of war, and continued to slide until some bright spark suggested the establishment of a penal colony far, far removed from English shores.

Attacking Japanese Morale, 1940-1945
20 September 2017

Among the gems in the Foreign Office Files for Japan are two files that consider the role of the enemy’s “civilian morale” in war and diplomacy. In both, British officials presupposed that targeting civilians might be an effective means of deterring or defeating the Japanese war machine.

Service Newspapers of World War II: Raising Morale One Moustache at a Time
08 September 2017

One of the most common remarks about life as a soldier in the Second World War, from those who experienced it first-hand, is that when you weren’t scared stiff you were bored to death. For many, the episodes of fighting were interspersed with long and tedious months of waiting around for orders, or being shipped to and fro between different bases, wondering what was coming next.

31 August 2017

In September 1940, a British diplomat named Wilfred Hansford Gallienne embarked on a two-week journey from Moscow to Tokyo via the Trans-Siberian Railway. A year into the Second World War, neither the Soviet Union nor Japan had explicitly taken sides, and Gallienne’s objective was to assess travelling conditions and evidence of military activity. His impressions are recorded in an official memorandum, included in our recently-published resource, Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1919-1952.

The World Through Their Eyes; Medieval World Maps
25 August 2017

When tasked with finding a suitable name for a c13th English illuminated psalter containing, amongst other things, a beautiful miniature world map, the historians and prestigious manuscript experts of the last century settled on the disappointing sobriquet “The Psalter Map”. Despite its lacklustre nickname however, Ms 2861, which is held in the British Library and featured in Adam Matthew’s Medieval Travel Writing, is a rare example of medieval cartography.

Stationers’ Hall During the Blitz
23 August 2017

The Court Books included in Literary Print Culture: The Stationers' Company Archive, 1554-2007 are essential to our understanding of the history and workings of the Stationers’ Company. The Court Books, ranging from 1602 to 1983, contain the official minutes of the Court of Assistants. For each meeting, the decisions of the court are recorded as orders. The collection contains the rough Court Minute Books and the Court Books; the former being draft minutes taken while court was in progress, and the latter being the formal and final version. All minutes are signed by the Master and typically the following information is included: place, date and time of court meeting and a list of those present.

HTR: Introducing AI as an Aid to Manuscript Research in Adam Matthew Collections
18 August 2017

Adam Matthew Digital is the first primary source publisher to utilise Artificial Intelligence to offer transformative search capabilities with Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology, which we will be showcasing in the third module of our Matthew’s award-winning resource Colonial America: The American Revolution. Whilst the vast selection of material covering the American Revolutionary period in this collection was sure to pique many a budding American history enthusiast’s interest, this new HTR software has catapulted our latest collection to the forefront of academic and digital curation discussion.

What links W.H. Smith, Rudyard Kipling, Edward VIII, and Harold Macmillan? A Special Guest Blog by Ian Gadd
16 August 2017

What links W.H. Smith, Rudyard Kipling, Edward VIII, and Harold Macmillan? They were all members of the Stationers’ Company, the 600-year-old London livery company whose records have just been digitised by Adam Matthew as Literary Print Culture: The Stationers' Company Archive, 1554-2007.

“Sedgwick Boys”: An Experiment in Colonial Labour
14 August 2017

On 25 January 1911 a party of 50 British boys arrived in Wellington, New Zealand as part of an unusual colonial experiment. Varying in age from 16 to 20 and coming predominantly from lower class occupations such as domestic service, the lads were part of a trial scheme to ascertain the feasibility of sending city boys with no previous agricultural experience to rural farms within the British Dominions. This three-year apprenticeship scheme was the brain child of Thomas E. Sedgwick and other like-minded philanthropists, who felt increasing alarm at the enforced idleness of youth.

Samuel Dyer and the Boston Tea Party
08 August 2017

The Colonial Office 5 records cast useful light on high-level administrative aspects of the American Revolution. However, not all who documented these events were as well-placed as colonial governors and secretaries. CO 5 records reveal glimpses of much more obscure figures, too.

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