Cultural Studies

Thomas Cook and Touring the Middle East
20 May 2016

This week sees the anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement. A secret agreement between the Triple Entente signed on the 16th May 1916, it would divide the Middle East and the surrounding areas that were currently controlled by the Ottoman Empire. The plan was exposed by the new Bolshevik government of Russia in 1917 and printed in the UK newspaper the Guardian the same year.

Pomp, circumstance and a crystal palace: The Great Exhibition of 1851
25 April 2016

165 years ago this weekend, the doors of the Crystal Palace were opened to the public for the first time. This architectural wonder of glass and steel housed an array of exotic artefacts from across the globe and would welcome over six million visitors during the Great Exhibition of 1851; Queen Victoria, an unlikely fan of heavy machinery, would visit three times and had her own private boudoir installed inside. For many, the exhibition represents the pomp and circumstance of the Victorian Age.

Niagara Falls: A Tourist’s View
21 April 2016

On a recent trip, I was lucky enough to take a detour and visit Niagara Falls, a tourist hotspot since the mid-nineteenth century. This stunning, natural phenomenon is one of the world’s most popular attractions, with more than 12 million visitors each year – and it’s not hard to see why.

The Hunt for the Hidden Persuader: A Special Guest Blog by Regina Lee Blaszczyk
11 April 2016

Back in 2006, I was hot on the trail of Ernest Dichter’s report on “The Peacock Revolution.” The phrase, which fittingly described the flamboyant turn in men’s apparel preference, has become part of the fashion lexicon even though its origins with Ernest Dichter are largely unacknowledged. Dichter’s consulting business, the Institute for Motivational Research, wrote the report as part of the marketing effort for postwar chemical giant E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.

Three Go Camping in Yosemite
24 March 2016

Summer 2016 will see the release of Adam Matthew’s History of Mass Tourism, a highly visual and searchable collection celebrating the growth of tourism from the mid-1800s to 1960s. One of the treasures found in this resource is a photograph album belonging to a young Alfred Ghirardelli, heir to the Ghirardelli chocolate empire, depicting a trip to Yosemite in the summer of 1903.

Guy Fawkes the Feminist
17 March 2016

Excuse me - late to the party, as always - but last week, International Women’s Day, the annual celebration dedicated to championing 50% of the population for 0.27% of the year, rolled around once again.

Available now - World’s Fairs: a Global History of Expositions
02 March 2016

The latest online resource from Adam Matthew Digital is now available. World’s Fairs: a Global History of Expositions digitises thousands of pages of primary source material relating to the inception, planning, organisation, exhibits and experience of over 200 international exhibitions. These enormous global events brought together the leading lights in technology, architecture, design and entertainment throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and continue to this day.

Sweet Liberty: World’s Fairs’ love affair with the Liberty Bell
05 February 2016

The Liberty Bell, which has long been the symbol of American independence, is now a very familiar object to everyone in the office who’s been working on our upcoming World’s Fairs resource. Many of America’s expositions proudly hosted the bell on the fair site as a central attraction, with millions of visitors flocking to catch a glimpse of this famous national symbol.

Examining America: Dickens Reviews the New World
27 January 2016

Celebrations are in order this week at Adam Matthew, as Migration to New Worlds: The Century of Immigration has been made freely available to all UK higher and further education institutions, in an exciting collaboration with JISC.

Electrifying Your Target Audience: Advertising Medicines in the Nineteenth Century
08 January 2016

Whilst I attempt to accept that “’tis no longer the season to be jolly” and I begin to tackle the pile of leftover Christmas chocolates on my desk, I’ve been looking back at some of my favourite documents from the projects I worked on in 2015. One that vividly stands out is a pamphlet titled ‘The Best Known Curative Agent: Pulvermacher's Electric Belts and Bands for Self-Application’ from our Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900 resource.

In the Heart of the Sea: stories of the whaling ship 'Essex'
06 January 2016

Ron Howard’s new blockbuster, In the Heart of the Sea, is the latest retelling of the ill-fated final voyage of the Essex. Two years ago I wrote a blog to coincide with a BBC adaptation of the story, in which I summarised the account of Thomas Nickerson, a teenage boy who partook in that harrowing journey. Howard has used Nickerson as the narrator of his film, and this prompted me to look again at the memoir, which can be found in China, America and the Pacific.

The Rector of Stiffkey: Life as a sideshow
16 December 2015

In 1960 the anthropologist Tom Harrisson returned from Borneo to Blackpool, where 23 years earlier he had directed survey work for Mass Observation. His stay was recorded in the MO book Britain Revisited, which took a shapshot of contemporary British life and compared it to what the ‘mass observers’ had seen and heard in 1937. Much in post-war Blackpool, Harrisson found, was as it had been, but the entertainments on the seafront had changed.

Walt and the world's fair: dreaming up a Disney delight
13 November 2015

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are known the world over for exciting children and adults alike, providing a backdrop for new technology, unparalleled entertainment and constant innovation. Sounds familiar? Ever since the Great Exhibition in 1851, world’s fairs have inspired others, and in the twentieth century the marriage of Walt Disney’s mind to the splendor of the fairs was to prove a winning combination.

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.

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.

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