History

Lest We Forget: Learning to evaluate the past
09 November 2021

This week marks the centenary of the first paper poppies sold by the Royal British Legion in November 1921. These small red flowers have become a symbol of remembrance, a physical marker of national grief following the bloodshed of the First World War – but also a flashpoint for political debate over who should wear them, when and why. Over the past few weeks, as poppies began to materialise on lapels across the land, I started to think about public memory, history and how the events of the past are recorded for future generations. Research Methods Primary Sources, the new pedagogical platform from Adam Matthew, was created with precisely these topics – and many others – in mind. How do we know what happened in the past? What are primary sources? Why are some historical documents archived and why did others disappear? Why does that matter today?

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot: Bermuda and the American Revolution
05 November 2021

“The Powder magazine, which in the dead of night of the 14th August was broke into […] the doors most audaciously and daringly forced open, at the great risk of their being blown up”. So wrote George James Bruere on the 17th August 1775 in his role the Governor of Bermuda at the height of the American War of Independence.

Enmity on board the Friendship: A tale of mutiny from Colonial Caribbean
13 September 2021

All my life, I have been drawn to stories of the sea. My grandfather’s bookshelf was lined with maritime histories, and I followed his lead to the best of my ability with bedtime tales of Captain Pugwash. My parents were scuba divers too, and a holiday wasn’t worth having if fifty per cent of it wasn’t spent in the water. It’s little wonder, then, that Colonial Caribbean captures my imagination the way it does – so many of the narratives in this vast and fascinating collection lead, in one way or another, to the ocean.

The Explorations of William Watts McNair
04 August 2021

Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan, 1834-1922: From Silk Road to Soviet Rule - the latest addition to Adam Matthew Digital’s Archives Direct platform - showcases a wealth of documents from the National Archives, UK relating to the “Great Game”, a struggle between the British and Russian Empires for political influence, territory, and trade in the region. Filed in one of the volumes digitised for this collection is a report concerning William Watts McNair's ‘Explorations in part of Eastern Afghanistan and Kafiristan', an exhaustive record of travels undertaken in 1883.

'Of whiche londes & jles I schall speke more pleynly here after': The travels of Sir John Mandeville
28 May 2021

As covid restrictions are eased and thoughts turn, at least here in Britain, to travelling abroad, my own thoughts have turned to our digital collection Medieval Travel Writing, and to a mysterious globetrotter, or yarn-spinner, or both, about whom so much is contested that even his existence is a matter of debate – Sir John Mandeville.

'There is Still Hope': The Aftermath of Pearl Harbor for the Iwata Family
19 May 2021

Migration to New Worlds holds a fascinating collection of letters from the Iwata family highlighting the devastating aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor for Japanese Americans in the US.

17 May 2021

Launched last year, Nineteenth-Century Literary Society: The John Murray Publishing Archive charts the growth of the famous John Murray publishing house through the correspondence, accounts and written work of the literary luminaries who worked with the firm for almost 150 years of its history. One such luminary was the poet and aristocrat, Lord Byron, and among the highlights of the resource is the Byron Papers, the largest surviving collection of his writings, personal papers and correspondence.

“…the slumbering past”: Revisiting Franklin’s Lost Expedition
16 April 2021

Re-watching the excellent drama series The Terror, recently shown on BBC2, has inspired me to scour through Adam Matthew’s Age of Exploration resource once again for material on Arctic exploration and, in particular, on Franklin’s Lost Expedition of 1845. As I browsed through journals, drawings, maps, reports, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings and other treasures digitised from across the world, the following sources – all of which reveal parts of the lost expedition’s long and continuing narrative – particularly stood out...

Unwrapping a piece of history: Making chocolate in Food and Drink
06 April 2021

Many of us may have spent the last few days surrounded by a glut of chocolate eggs – large or small, hidden or not, the chocolate Easter egg has become a staple springtime treat.

Celebrating World Poetry Day with the John Murray Archive
19 March 2021

This Sunday, March 21 2021 marks World Poetry Day. I have taken this opportunity to explore the John Murray Archive, digitised from the National Library of Scotland in Adam Matthew Digital’s Nineteenth Century Literary Society: The John Murray Publishing Archive

Learning from the best: Lena Richard’s Creole Cookbook
12 March 2021

Lena Richard was a trailblazer, a savvy entrepreneur, committed to the wellbeing and heritage of her community. She was also an exceptionally talented chef and educator, passionate about Creole cuisine.

Call the Midwife! Birth Through the Generations of the Mass Observation Project
10 March 2021

“In a pandemic, babies don’t stop coming” commented a midwife from Bradford Royal Infirmary in a 2020 BBC interview. It’s a simple statement, and one which resonates with the prosaic incongruity of everyday life in the midst of so much uncertainty - there seems no better time than women’s history month to turn to narratives regarding this constant of human experience in the 1993 directive on “Birth” from the newly released Mass Observation Project Module II: 1990s.

The Power of a Good List
05 March 2021

“Self-control is strength. Thought is mastery. Calmness is power”. You would be forgiven for thinking these words were from a modern-day mindfulness expert, or perhaps an Instagram influencer. They would certainly not look out of place on a mug or trendy wall art. But no, they are found in the notes of an American prisoner of war from the Second World War, published in America in World War Two: Oral Histories and Personal Accounts.

I’m Coming Out: Personal Stories from The National Lesbian and Gay Survey Collection
26 February 2021

Perhaps one of the most personal experiences LGBTQ+ people face is the decision to come out (or not) and, inevitably, each person has their own story to tell. Here are three of them from a 1995 directive titled ‘All About Out’.

Hunger for Knowledge: A Darwinian approach to 'Food and Drink in History'
12 February 2021

Friday 12th February 2021 marks the 212th birthday of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution. Granted, it’s hardly a landmark number, but here at Adam Matthew we’ll take any excuse to dive into one of our collections and let our inner history nerds run free. This blog comes with a warning, though – vegetarians, you might want to look away now…

[12 3 4 5  >>