Cultural Studies

Frontier Football
15 October 2018

Everyone knows that modern football [soccer] players are soft yet crafty. The recent evidence is endless: Rivaldo in the 2002 World Cup, Neymar in 2018, Klinsmann at Italia 90, Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets … and who can forget Sheffield Wednesday’s pitiful antics vs Cambridge Utd in in the 1998/9 edition of the Worthington Cup? But if you like a time when men were men in your football I refer you to this match up on Christmas Day, 1882. Mounties vs Civilians in the frontier town of Battleford in modern-day Saskatchewan, Canada.

An Autumn Abroad
12 October 2018

Get into the spirit of autumn with the sources from Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture.

Freedom's Signal for the Indians
10 October 2018

While reading through American Indian Newspapers, the latest digital collection from Adam Matthew, one particularly arresting image repeatedly caught my eye; an illustration of a man trapped beneath a fallen tree trunk carved with the title, “Indian Bureau”. This striking tableau comprised the masthead of Wassaja, “Freedom’s signal for the Indians”.

Robert Robert Robert
27 September 2018

It’s baby season at Adam Matthew at the moment, with our staff producing almost as many babies this year as we have collections. With each bundle of joy comes the discussion of baby names, a discussion I remember having myself when I had my own bundle of joy (now a toddler terror) a few years ago. Whilst lists of boys and girls names are made and debated in our offices and staff room, I’m starting to wonder if it would all be a bit simpler if we just took a leaf from the Livingstons of New York’s book and just call all upcoming babies the same name.

The Moving Target - Marketing to Women in the 1970s
31 August 2018

Rena Bartos was named Senior Vice President at the J. Walter Thompson Company in 1977 and was an influential figure in the advertising industry. She was highly regarded for her pioneering work on marketing to women, a concept she called ‘The Moving Target’. ‘The Moving Target’ focused on changing perceptions of women in the 70s; it was designed to help advertisers recognise the shifting roles of the modern woman, encourage them to portray her more realistically in the media and sell to her more effectively as a consumer.

Were Nazi troops headed for my house?
24 August 2018

Here in the office, everyone has their favourite search terms when exploring our new collections. I often search for “Devizes” to see what historic documents I can turn up on my own stomping ground. For a small Wiltshire town, the results so far have been surprisingly varied, with letters written from the house next to my favourite Chinese turning up in Colonial America, travel guides for canal walks in Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture, and tales of war-time community spirit in First World War.

Summer holidays: Soviet style
10 August 2018

As the thermometers refuse to budge from the high 20s, supermarket freezers become devoid of any ice-based products and social media fills up with photographs of far-flung beaches and pools, thoughts inevitably drift to summer holidays of times past.

Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps): The Japanese Yokai
02 August 2018

Being something of a fan of the stories of M. R James, whose heroes often come across intriguing manuscripts telling of ghosts and demons, I couldn’t help but be reminded of his work when I happened across today’s featured item, the ‘Book of Monstrosities’ (or, Nihon itai jinbutsu zu).

 

 

 

1931 vs. 2018: How Traditional is My Wedding?
19 July 2018

Wedding season is in full swing once again and in light of my own impending nuptials, I’ve decided to take a look back at a bridal etiquette leaflet from 1931 in Adam Matthew’s resource Trade Catalogues and the American Home to explore bridal traditions after months of being asked things like…

Edward S. Morse: A look at Meiji Japan
09 May 2018

The late 19th century was a period of immense social, economic and political change in Japan, known as the Meiji Restoration. It was into this time of turmoil and opportunity that American zoologist Edward Sylvester Morse (1838 – 1925) visited Japan for the first time in 1877 to study coastal brachiopods. ... He had a keen eye for observation and was talented in making detailed sketches which accompanied his academic work.

Advertising: manipulation, persuasion, information or experience enhancer?
12 April 2018

The J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America archive provides an exceptional record of consumer culture over the past 100 years and among the many fascinating and mind-bending concepts that the documents of this advertising agency explore is one illustrated by a company-produced pamphlet entitled Advertising: Manipulation or Persuasion?. This is one of the central questions relating to advertising and consumer culture: how powerful is advertising in shaping our behaviours, practices and even identity?

Observing the Masses - Nella Last's Diaries
06 April 2018

One of the first projects I worked on for Adam Matthew was the Mass Observation Archive collection – reading through the monthly diaries of the Mass Observers in the 1960s and wondering at the differences in all their lives. Anybody who has done any work on Mass Observation will be well aware of the most famous Mass Observer (though anonymous at the time) and may have in fact followed her life from the Second World War until her death in the late 60s. This woman was Nella Last, and she was one of the most prolific writers of the Mass Observation project. 

Miracles and fairy tales: The “Great Leap Forward” in Chinese newsreels
03 April 2018

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of China’s Great Leap Forward in 1958. Under the auspices of Chairman Mao, the Chinese Communist Party laid out a programme which aimed to rapidly transform their agrarian economy into an industrial, collectivised, socialist state. Produced by the Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio of the People’s Republic of China, newsreel series China Today provides a unique, state-sponsored narrative of bumper crop yields, cultural exploits and factory construction in this period. However, if 1958 was an 'unusual and glorious fairy-tale', 1959 would signal the beginning of a nightmare.

A Movable Feast
28 March 2018

Occurring on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox, Easter is symbolic of seasonal change.

Comrade Woman
08 March 2018

Today marks the annual celebration of International Women’s Day, a holiday first celebrated in 1909. Digitised in our Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda resource, Comrade Woman captures the stirring spirit of 1975, the year named International Women’s Year by the United Nations. Produced by the Central Documentary Studios, Moscow, and directed by Zinaida Tusova, Comrade Woman presents an overview of the diverse and vital roles of women within Soviet society.

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