The Editor's Choice

Welcome to the blog of the editorial team at Adam Matthew Digital. Here we will bring you snippets from the fascinating collections we have the privilege of handling on a daily basis, as well as posts about our travels to various archives and conferences across the world.

Also featured are special guest blogs by leading academics on their personal collection highlights. Please subscribe to recieve new blog posts direct to your inbox.

The Cyrus Cylinder: celebrating 2500 years of the Persian Empire
16 February 2016
In 1971, the Shah of Iran threw a party the likes of which the world had rarely before seen. It featured roasted peacocks, a city of silk, Italian son et lumiere amusements and dignitaries from every corner of the globe. You may have seen the recent BBC4 programme which examined this extraordinary event, which was a celebration of 2500 years of the Persian Empire, dating back to Cyrus the Great. In hindsight we know that this empire would soon come crashing down in the Iranian revolution of 1979, and it is this aspect which is so often analysed and studied nowadays.
St. Louis: the 'Northern City, with Southern Exposure': A special guest blog by Priscilla A. Dowden-White
15 February 2016

Newly arrived African-American migrants to St. Louis during the opening of the Great Migration became part of an already established cosmopolitan community with deep roots dating back to the city’s early beginnings. A major center of social welfare progressivism, St. Louis was also particularly weeded to residential segregation.

In need of some advice?
12 February 2016

I think it’s fair to say we probably all need a little advice from time-to-time and in this modern world there seems to be no shortage of professionals, books, websites and television shows to turn to when we need a little guidance. But this is by no means a modern phenomenon; guides offering advice have been circulating for centuries.

Atlanta and the American Historical Association
09 February 2016
Last month I travelled out to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the four-day 130th American Historical Association (AHA) conference. This was a chance to get some real insight into the hot topics currently being discussed within the field of migration studies and was attended not just by movers and shakers from American Universities, but by academics from the UK, South Africa, Japan, Germany and many other countries across the globe.
Dealing with Distance from the Archives through Digitization: A special guest blog by Craig Gallagher
08 February 2016
To access and make use of manuscript documents in the archives, historians have to deploy a variety of skills they have acquired in their training. Chief among these are the ability to navigate manuscript catalogues that are often labyrinthine, decipher the frequently challenging handwriting of historical figures, and read these materials critically in the political, social, and even curatorial context in which they were produced and catalogued.
'Love me or hate me': the perils of theatrical marriage
05 February 2016
Sometimes it's easy to think that the obsession with glamorous celebrities and their lives behind the scenes is purely a modern phenomenon, aided and abetted by social media and reality TV shows. But as I've been working on material for the upcoming Shakespeare in Performance resource, it's very clear that this phenomenon is timeless.
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.

Gentlemen, You Can't Fight In Here! This is the War Room
29 January 2016
Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the release Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy satirising Cold War anxieties of an all-out thermonuclear holocaust as a result of nuclear tensions between two countries. The film on its release predictably caused a good deal of controversy. This is hardly surprising of a film in which a crazed American General (Jack D. Ripper) manages to call for a nuclear strike against the USSR, in defence of the “precious bodily fluids” of the American people, without consulting the President.
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.

Skin for skin: Taking a closer look at Hugh Glass and the grim and grizzly nature of the American Frontier
21 January 2016
Earlier this week a few intrepid members of the team currently creating the up and coming Frontier Life collection made an expedition of their own to watch new film The Revenant. Exploring the thrilling tale of fur-trader Hugh Glass, The Revenant touches upon many themes covered in the Frontier Life collection, such as relations with indigenous peoples, trade and commerce, and of course expeditions and exploration.
Affair of the Spanish Ambassador’s Suitcase
11 January 2016

Published this week, Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981, is now available. Digitising full runs of Foreign Office files stored at The National Archives, this resource spans an extraordinary number of topics and events.

Remembering a Music Legend
11 January 2016

Here at Adam Matthew we are extremely sad to learn of the death of the legendary, inspirational and unforgettable David Bowie. Bowie was a creative genius who irrevocably changed the course of music in the early 1970’s with the album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’.

Leading the Pack: The Western Scramble for Iran: a special guest blog by Laila Parsons
11 January 2016

In the spring of 1974, Anthony Derrick Parsons took up his new post as British ambassador to Iran. This posting was his first ambassadorship. Previously he had worked on the Middle East desk in the Foreign Office, had served as Political Agent in Bahrain, and as First Secretary to the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York.

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.

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