Cultural Studies

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.

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…

Preserving sea shanties: Ancient chorals beyond the memory of men
22 January 2021

2021 is the year of the sea shanty and we at Adam Matthew have proven less than immune to the glorious sounds of bearded postmen and Tik-tokers harmonising from far and wide across the land. Inundated with renditions of drunken sailors, The Wellerman and a variety of unexpected remixes, I set course to find some historic examples from the golden age of sail.

Madame d'Aulnoy - a fairytale life?
15 January 2021

Children’s Literature and Culture, which launched last year, is packed with wonderful adventures and fantastical stories. Surprisingly, though, some of the most captivating and colourful narratives come not from the books, but from the lives of the authors who wrote them. Today I would like to look at one of my favourite authors from Children’s Literature and Culture, the pioneering fairy-tale writer Marie-Catherine le Jumel de Barneville, commonly known as Madame d’Aulnoy.

Advertising and Christmas
17 December 2020

The festive season has many attractions and can evoke many emotions depending on what you like: there’s the family time, the food, the time off, the music, the holiness, the general atmosphere of nostalgia, warm emotion and, of course, the presents and gift giving.

Tablegrams from Nancy Best: Tips and Tricks for your Festive Preparations
20 November 2020

As we approach the end of November, most of us will be beginning to think about our Christmas shopping, baking our Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings and starting to stock up on all the festive treats that we enjoy over the Christmas period. Having recently started some of my own festive preparations and with Christmas very much on my mind, I turned to our Food and Drink in History resource for a little bit of festive food inspiration.

Shake not your heads, nor say the Lady's mad: A very Byronic bonfire
06 November 2020

A perennial favourite of the autumn calendar, Bonfire Night – or Guy Fawkes’ – passed quietly in lockdown yesterday with nary a whiff of gunpowder nor plotting on the cold November air. It is not to the attempted parliamentary fireworks of 1605 that I turn today, however, but another bonfire, both literal and literary.

Primary Inspiration
23 October 2020

It’s been hard to get the creative juices flowing this year, that overwhelming sense of anxiety about the world in general was stifling to say the least. However, the acknowledgements at the end of Colson Whitehead's The Nickle Boys got me thinking...

16 October 2020

“Pink Pills for Pale People!” is the excited announcement from a leaflet that can be found in Popular Medicine in America 1800-1900. If, like me, you’re wondering whether the pink pills make people pale, or pale people pink, or perhaps that this much alliterative pinkness is beyond the pale...well, you might be right.

Domestic Science: Revolutionising the Salad
14 October 2020

When I first started working on the Food & Drink in History resource, I immediately became obsessed with molded jelly salads. This food fashion fascinates me, so I leapt at the chance to dig deeper.

Eliza Leslie: A Publishing Powerhouse
25 September 2020

This month we’ve been celebrating the release of two resources: Children’s Literature and Culture, and the second module of Food & Drink in History. I was lucky enough to work on commissioning documents for both titles, and one of the best parts of my job is making connections between our resources – connections across history.

It's September – Roll On Christmas!
09 September 2020

Even if you’ve never heard the term “Christmas creep”, chances are you’ll be familiar with the concept. September has only just begun and already you’re noticing Christmas-themed merchandise in the mall and on the outer fringes of the high street.

“What have the Romans ever done for us?”: Highlights from Food and Drink in History Module 2
09 September 2020

This week marks the publication of Module 2 of Food and Drink in History, which adds a wealth of new material to a resource which spans centuries and offers users a unique lens through which to explore food histories, cultures and traditions from around the globe.

Is blood thicker than water? Friends, Relatives and Neighbours from the Mass Observation Project
04 September 2020

“An old adage maintains that “blood is thicker than water” but this must have been proven false countless times, as such ties are no guarantee of help in adversity.” Ouch! Old friends, neighbours and relatives are at the centre of our support networks – particularly in times of adversity. This was the topic that participants in the Mass Observation Project were asked to write about in the winter of 1984. How would they weigh up ‘relatives versus friends’?

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