History

'Of whiche londes & jles I schall speke more pleynly here after': The travels of Sir John Mandeville
28 May 2021

As covid restrictions are eased and thoughts turn, at least here in Britain, to travelling abroad, my own thoughts have turned to our digital collection Medieval Travel Writing, and to a mysterious globetrotter, or yarn-spinner, or both, about whom so much is contested that even his existence is a matter of debate – Sir John Mandeville.

'There is Still Hope': The Aftermath of Pearl Harbor for the Iwata Family
19 May 2021

Migration to New Worlds holds a fascinating collection of letters from the Iwata family highlighting the devastating aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor for Japanese Americans in the US.

17 May 2021

Launched last year, Nineteenth-Century Literary Society: The John Murray Publishing Archive charts the growth of the famous John Murray publishing house through the correspondence, accounts and written work of the literary luminaries who worked with the firm for almost 150 years of its history. One such luminary was the poet and aristocrat, Lord Byron, and among the highlights of the resource is the Byron Papers, the largest surviving collection of his writings, personal papers and correspondence.

“…the slumbering past”: Revisiting Franklin’s Lost Expedition
16 April 2021

Re-watching the excellent drama series The Terror, recently shown on BBC2, has inspired me to scour through Adam Matthew’s Age of Exploration resource once again for material on Arctic exploration and, in particular, on Franklin’s Lost Expedition of 1845. As I browsed through journals, drawings, maps, reports, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings and other treasures digitised from across the world, the following sources – all of which reveal parts of the lost expedition’s long and continuing narrative – particularly stood out...

Unwrapping a piece of history: Making chocolate in Food and Drink
06 April 2021

Many of us may have spent the last few days surrounded by a glut of chocolate eggs – large or small, hidden or not, the chocolate Easter egg has become a staple springtime treat.

Celebrating World Poetry Day with the John Murray Archive
19 March 2021

This Sunday, March 21 2021 marks World Poetry Day. I have taken this opportunity to explore the John Murray Archive, digitised from the National Library of Scotland in Adam Matthew Digital’s Nineteenth Century Literary Society: The John Murray Publishing Archive

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.

The Power of a Good List
05 March 2021

“Self-control is strength. Thought is mastery. Calmness is power”. You would be forgiven for thinking these words were from a modern-day mindfulness expert, or perhaps an Instagram influencer. They would certainly not look out of place on a mug or trendy wall art. But no, they are found in the notes of an American prisoner of war from the Second World War, published in America in World War Two: Oral Histories and Personal Accounts.

I’m Coming Out: Personal Stories from The National Lesbian and Gay Survey Collection
26 February 2021

Perhaps one of the most personal experiences LGBTQ+ people face is the decision to come out (or not) and, inevitably, each person has their own story to tell. Here are three of them from a 1995 directive titled ‘All About Out’.

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…

Gentleman Jack: The Diaries of Anne Lister
05 February 2021

In this blog we consider how the history of human sexuality and gender identity can be explored through the diaries of historic lesbian figure, Anne Lister (1791-1840). Published with Handwritten Text Recognition software, the manuscript material is now searchable for the first time.

Self-Expression, Community and Identity: Remembering Stonewall
03 February 2021

Sex & Sexuality: Self-Expression, Community and Identity publishes this week from Adam Matthew Digital. A follow-up to the first module which published in January 2020, this second module presents documents that focus on the lived sexual experiences of individuals, activism within the LGBTQ+ community, the criminalisation of sexuality between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries as well as the devastating HIV/AIDs crisis among other major events within LGBTQ+ history. One such event, and a flashpoint in LGBTQ+ history, is the Stonewall riots which started on 28 June 1969 and continued throughout the following days.

Don’t Die of Ignorance: Mass Observation and the AIDS crisis
29 January 2021

In an episode of Russell T. Davies’s new drama It’s a Sin, the protagonists, a group of young gay men, cluster round the television in their battered but cheerful London flat. Crammed on to the sofa, they have obviously anticipated this moment. But what they are watching isn’t 1986’s latest, now nostalgic, primetime hit, but a new government advertisement.

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.

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