Cultural Studies

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’?

Exposition Universelle: A Trip to 1889 Paris with World’s Fairs
02 September 2020

World Fairs were events that involved huge scale expositions from countries all over the world, which showed off their innovations and inventions. From the Eiffel Tower and the Space Needle, to the invention of television, chewing gum and hot dogs, these fairs created a legacy. Adam Matthew’s World’s Fairs resource represents over 200 fairs, and there are 10 core collections that relate to 12 ‘case study’ expositions. With so much daydreaming about holidays and getaways, I thought I would take myself on a virtual trip to 1889 Paris, around the Exposition Universelle.

Five Vicarious Vacations
19 August 2020

Holidaymakers the world over have put their passports away this summer as the global pandemic continues to make international travel difficult, if not entirely impossible. In an effort to recreate that holiday feeling I’ve been seeking inspiration for future trips in some of the documents published in Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture - The History of Tourism.

Fancy a Cuppa? An Insight into Tea Drinking Habits from the Mass Observation Project
30 July 2020

Four months on from us Brits going into lockdown, the BBC has reported that we have splurged on tea, biscuits and good books.  I have delved into the directives in Adam Matthew’s newly released Mass Observation Project, to take a look at tea drinking habits in the 1980s. One thing for sure is that there is always an occasion for a cuppa.

“One Felt Like A Bouquet of Flowers!” Homemade fashions in Mass Observation Project
24 July 2020

In the spring of 1988 I was newly 5 and was about to undertake the most exciting thing in my young life – to be a real-life bridesmaid.

‘Celebration or bore’: Mass Observers react to the wedding of Charles and Diana
22 July 2020

Inspired by the recent news of the wedding of Princess Beatrice to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, I decided to dig into the newly published Mass Observation Project, to see what the mass observers of the 1980s had to say about another famous royal wedding, that of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer.

The Druze and al-Hakim: The Religion with No Converts
10 July 2020

Residing within an issue of Victory: The Weekly for the India Command, from Service Newspapers of World War Two, is an intriguing article on the ‘Secret Societies of Islam’. While the article explores three ‘sects’, we shall be delving into the information provided on the Druze and al-Hakim.

“Save the Amazing Scribbler!” Using primary sources in a library escape room game
01 July 2020

This special librarian guest blog was written by John Cosgrove and Johanna MacKay of Lucy Scribner Library at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

What does a stuffed squirrel, an escape room and Adam Matthew’s Victorian Popular Culture have in common? At Skidmore College’s Lucy Scribner Library, we combined all three – and a scavenger hunt to boot – to provide a fun, interactive library orientation for First Year Experience students.

What’s on telly tonight? Guilty pleasures from Mass Observation Project: 1980s
26 June 2020

After 18 weeks of lockdown, many of us are missing the regular pastimes of life before the pandemic. Having exhausted Netflix, I turned to the recently published Mass Observation Project for ideas on what to watch next.

Early Reading Trends of the Second World War: An Industry Perspective
19 June 2020

Book Reading in War Time offers insights into the impact the first few months of the Second World War had on the book publishing industry, our libraries, and the books we were scrambling to read.

‘“Clothes maketh man”… in part, I have to agree’: Clothing in the Mass Observation Project
10 June 2020

In the age of Covid-19, those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home have still had to deal with a minor, though recurrent, concern: what to wear after making the five-foot trek from bed to desk (or kitchen table, pile of cushions, etc).

Unfamiliar Letters: Annotations in an Early Modern ‘Epistolary Novel’
20 May 2020

As an enthusiast of all things medieval and early modern, working on Adam Matthew’s newly-published resource, Early Modern England: Society, Culture and Everyday Life, 1500-1700, has been a wonderful experience. Among many personal highlights was the opportunity to visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and assess their collection of early modern printed books, thirty of which have been digitised for the resource. Many of these books are annotated, revealing much about how their readers engaged and interacted with their books.

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