History

Armistice Day 1937: a special Guest Blog by Fiona Courage
10 November 2015

I cannot buy a poppy, for I have not got a penny. Not so rich. 11 o’clock, what an unearthly silence. My thoughts are upon my little children in school, their heads will be bowed in reverence to our beloved dead. It is all very sad for the relatives of the fallen, for it seems a pity to keep on reopening an old wound, causing a heartache. I don’t think any body really wishes to remember the war and its horrors. I am thinking about my child’s wet feet, hoping that her leaking shoe will not soak her foot. Wet feet mean bronchitis for her, unless I can stop it with my favourite medicine.

AJEX: British Jewry and Wartime Commemoration
06 November 2015

At the stroke of 11am this Sunday, individuals across Britain, including present day soldiers, veterans and their families, will observe a minute silence to remember the sacrifices of members of the British armed forces and of civilians in times of war. Among them will be members of AJEX, The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, which, as its name suggests, is made up of British-Jewish men and women who once served in the British Armed Forces. With a current membership of approximately 4,000 people, AJEX has a long and interesting history spanning over ninety years.

Secrets, Spies and the Spectre of Scandal
30 October 2015

New details emerged last week of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, two civil servants who acted as Soviet spies from the 1930s up until their defection to Moscow in 1951. The reaction to their flight behind the Iron Curtain can be traced in documents from the National Archives in Adam Matthew’s Confidential Print: North America resource.

The Haunted Swing: something wicked this way rotates...
28 October 2015

With Halloween only days away it’s once again time to dust off the face paints, shine-up the vampire fangs and artistically destroy a pumpkin. To get into the “horror” of things, I began delving through some of our resources to find something suitably ghoulish from the vestiges of history. My search lead me unexpectedly to a photogravure of an amusement ride called the 'The Haunted Swing' within a souvenir album from San Francisco’s California Midwinter International Exposition in 1894.

The Kill or the Cure: how trade and science changed perceptions of medicinal drugs
26 October 2015

Before the advances in science and trade networks during the nineteenth century, our ancestors, in their isolated communities, had to make sense of the natural world through trial and error. Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900 documents how physicians used their traditional knowledge of plants and human anatomy to treat ailments, and how they gradually incorporated new ideas and techniques into their cures as science and increased global interaction expanded their understanding.

ATALM and the Revitalisation of Indigenous Languages
22 October 2015

On a recent research trip I was lucky enough to attend the International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums held by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM). Situated in Washington DC this year and hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the conference was an opportunity for library, museum and archival staff, together with individuals and groups from a number of different fields, to discuss and share experiences in an important effort to develop and refine goals for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations and communities.

What is Jazz?
21 October 2015

‘The literal translation of jazz is improvisation. But jazz is an expression of the spirit, and the soul, and musician, enables a musician to express himself from deep within himself and to be spontaneous.’

A Very Victorian Illusion: Ghoulies, Ghosties and Halloween Nasties
20 October 2015

For many, Halloween conjures memories of Vincent Price Hammer Horrors, greasy face paint and gaggles of small children with chocolate-plastered faces. As the occasion has arisen, I thought we would do something fun and attempt to summon a spirit. Now, I don’t mean the Ouija Board type of spiritual shenanigans the Victorians were so fond of attending, no. I mean a real summoning … the creation of a real spiritual image.

A Blue Room, far from Crimson Peak
13 October 2015

With chilly mornings and the leaves changing colour we’re reminded that Halloween is just a week away. Any excuse to restock our snack shelf is always widely celebrated at Adam Matthew so we’ll be favouring treats over the tricks.

Welsh Patagonia: 150 years of 'Y Wladfa Gymreig'
08 October 2015

Having grown up in a Welsh-speaking community in Cardiff, I have long been familiar and fascinated with the history and concept of 'Y Wladfa Gymreig', a Welsh-speaking settlement in Patagonia, Argentina. Founded in 1865, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Y Wladfa with celebrations taking place throughout the year in both Wales and Argentina.

01 October 2015

When most African American migrants connected freedom with the North, “the mecca was Chicago.” In 1910, Chicago’s 40,000 black residents were scattered throughout a city of two million. But by the 1960s, African Americans made up one third of the city’s three million and were largely segregated within ghettoes on the South and West sides of town.

A Royal Affair
18 September 2015

Whilst browsing through a collection of material from our up-coming World’s Fairs resource, a familiar face appeared to me amidst a stream of photographs of jubilant crowds, exotic pavilions and iconic industrial feats. It was none other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attending Expo 67, Montreal’s international exposition.

Service Not Servitude
07 September 2015

Today marks the US federal holiday Labor Day; a day dedicated to honouring the American labour movement and recognizing the contributions and social and economic achievements of American workers. It is a day to celebrate strength and prosperity and to have one last hurrah for summer.

Fun, Sun and Summer Flings
07 September 2015

Summer in the northern hemisphere is drawing to a close and with it comes the end of peak holiday season. ‘Back to School’ advertisements and darker evenings remind us that the summer holiday is over, but it won’t be long until travel agents are persuading us to book next year’s dream getaway. To cheer myself up in the meantime I’ve been browsing holiday and tourism paraphernalia from the 1960s and dreaming of vacationing in a more glamourous age.

The Utter Ruin of Mary Musgrove Bosomworth
02 September 2015

Documents included in Colonial America cover daring feats of piracy, bloody wars, rugged expeditions through frontiers infested with ‘vigorous rattlesnakes’ and reams of legislation that ultimately shaped a nation. However, after hours spent tilting my head this way and that in an attempt to decipher the handwriting of various clerks, it has become clear that the lives of women within the Thirteen Colonies were of less interest to record keepers than politics and trade. A queen may have sat on the throne when English explorers first landed on the coast of Virginia, but the age of empire was, primarily, an age of withered, wigged, white men.

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