History

Selling Romance: Valentine's Day and the American Store
15 February 2019

This week I delved into Trade Catalogues and the American Home, to explore how the concept of Valentine’s Day was sold to consumers in America over one hundred years ago.

 
How Mary Queen of Scots was remembered within Victorian entertainment
01 February 2019

On this day in 1587 Queen Elizabeth I signed the death warrant of her cousin, Mary Stuart, who was subsequently executed on February 8th of the same year. By doing so Elizabeth ensured Mary would be immortalised in her death as a martyr of the Catholic faith, and so would their rivalry for the English throne. 

Part 2: The Columbia River Maps and Meteorological Calculations of David Douglas: An Archival Discovery
29 January 2019

This is the second in a two-part blog in which David G. Lewis, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Native Studies at Oregon State University, tells the story of discovering some previously unknown documents from Pacific Northwest explorer David Douglas within Adam Matthew Digital's collection Age of Exploration.

Burns Night, from Aberdeen to Ayr
25 January 2019

Today is Robert Burns Day, and tonight, in celebration of the Scottish poet, village halls and pubs throughout Scotland will be decked in tartan and tables set for a hearty meal of cock-a-leekie soup and haggis.

The Columbia River Maps and Meteorological Calculations of David Douglas: An Archival Discovery
21 January 2019

This is the first in a two-part blog in which David G. Lewis, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Native Studies at Oregon State University, tells the story of discovering some previously unknown documents from Pacific Northwest explorer David Douglas within Adam Matthew Digital's collection Age of Exploration.

David Lewis wil be presenting more about his findings at ALA Midwinter 2019 on Saturday 26th January. If you are in attendance at the conference then come along to the Adam Matthew booth (#1012) at 11am and 2pm to hear more. 

New Year, New You? New Year Resolutions from the Mass Observation Archive.
18 January 2019

New year resolutions. You either decide to have them or you don’t. Nowadays it feels like there’s no escaping the obligation to quash bad habits and nurture new behaviours in their place. 

An emperor in exile: Napoleon in St Helena
11 January 2019

Before its airport opened in 2016, St Helena was accessible only by a five-day voyage by Royal Mail ship from Cape Town, making it a candidate, given its position in the middle of the Atlantic between Brazil and Angola, for the most isolated inhabited place on earth.

The London Frost Fairs
07 January 2019

Now that the temperatures are starting to drop, it seemed only fitting to take a moment to look back on the London frost fairs- a phenomenon born out of the extreme cold weather that was experienced in Britain during the Little Ice Age, which lasted from roughly 1300 to 1850. Having gained my first insight into the frost fair from an episode of Doctor Who in which a monster was lurking beneath the frozen River Thames, I decided to seek out more information about the story behind the fairs.

The Empire Writes Back: ‘Christmas in its true aspect’
21 December 2018

One of the many collections from Adam Matthew’s microfilm catalogue which we’ve digitised in 2018 – and also, I’m confident in asserting, the best-named – is The Empire Writes Back.

Christmas Greetings from the North Pole!
14 December 2018

The Adam Matthew Christmas party is imminent, with alcohol flowing, plenty of mingling and, of course, an abundance of food. Feeling festive, I decided to venture around AM Explorer, reflecting on Christmas parties and dinners over time and the difference between celebrations now and in times gone by. During this search, a rather unusual Christmas Day menu caught my eye from the Age of Exploration collection, for the crew on the Ziegler Polar Expedition, 1904.

Another Christmas in the Trenches
07 December 2018

For some, the festive season is marked by traditional fare – carol singing, sleigh rides, chestnuts roasting on an open fire. For others, however, nothing heralds the arrival of Christmas like Hans Gruber prowling about Nakatomi Plaza or Elton John hawking pianos for an ad-obsessed department store. Inevitably, watching the crooner transported through Christmases past, my thoughts turned to famous festive stories throughout time; Washington and his troops fording the Delaware, Cromwell – that classic panto villain – cancelling Christmas, and, of course, the famed football match of 1914. 

Dogs of War
30 November 2018

This year marked the centenary of the end of the First World War, and stories of bravery proliferated in our media, reminding us of the enormity of the war’s impact. Looking at the First World War Portal, I quickly found several of these accounts, making it nearly impossible to choose just one to write about.

Inspired by my faithful companion, and not knowing where else to begin, I did a quick search for the word “dog”.

It's Behind You!
23 November 2018

 

As November draws to a close and the countdown to Christmas begins, what better way to get into the festive spirit than a good old Christmas panto?

Light-hearted comedy, audience participation and eccentric costumes are all familiar aspects of the classic Christmas pantomime which we owe in large to the enterprising Victorians. This is illustrated in Victorian Popular Culture.

Around the World in 1,663 Days: Vancouver's Expedition
16 November 2018

A highlight from the forthcoming Colonial America: Module V: Growth, Trade and Development is the despatches of a certain Captain George Vancouver, from his ship, HMS Discovery, during his expedition to the Pacific Northwest.

The Armistice: A Global Experience 100 Years On
06 November 2018

This Sunday will mark 100 years since the signing of the Armistice that ended the First World War, and acts of remembrance are planned across the world for communities to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who came before.

Documents in our forthcoming resource, The First World War: A Global Conflict, offer some real gems for those interested in how the Armistice was experienced globally in 1918. Here I have selected three items, created by people based in Japan, France and Constantinople.

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