The Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic – Who Was Bruce Ismay?

Titanic (photo of drawing)

│by Chloe Villalon, Gale Ambassador at the National University of Ireland Galway│

Often students such as myself have a broad idea of the topic they’re interested in, but they’re not sure which angle to take. In these cases it might be helpful to talk to a friend, professor or peer who may provide interesting insight or suggestions. Gale Primary Sources is also a great platform to find both ideas and articles – you can turn to it when you’re still looking for a topic or when you have a defined notion of what you’re looking for and want to dig deeper. In this blog post I will show you how you can use different tools to go from having a vague topic, to developing an angle, to writing a narrative or argument.

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An American Missionary with Two Motherlands: Joseph Beech and West China Union University

│By Liping Yang, Publishing Manager, Digital Archive and eReference, Gale Asia│

Reverend Dr Joseph Beech played an instrumental role in founding and running West China Union University, first as its founding president and later its chancellor, due to his vision, foresight, and resourcefulness. Today, March 11, 2020, marks the 110th anniversary of the founding of the university, one of the thirteen Christian universities established in China before 1949. Based on a perusal and research of articles published in English periodicals such as West China Missionary News, The Chinese Recorder and Educational Review, all available in Gale’s China and the Modern World archive, as well as his correspondence with the American Methodist Episcopal Church, available in Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Asia and the West, this essay attempts to reconstruct the story of this great missionary-educator who dedicated forty years of his life to the advancement of education in China, especially West China.

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Remembering Rosa: When One Word Sparked a Civil Rights Movement

Rosa Parks on the bus, Reid, Tim. "America pays its respects to the mother of civil rights movement." Times, 26 Oct. 2005

| By Emily Priest, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth |

On December 1st, 64 years ago, one simple word sparked a civil rights movement we will never forget: “No”. So began one woman’s fight against oppression in America, and her name was Rosa Parks. A tired seamstress on her way home from work, Rosa unknowingly became “the mother of the civil rights movement” by refusing to give up her seat to a white man. Using Gale’s Historic Newspapers, and other digital archives, it is possible to travel back to this moment and, through the lens of primary sources, fully appreciate the bravery of her protest and the impact of the waves it sent out across America. On this important anniversary in human history, let’s take a moment to remember Rosa, celebrate her achievements and reflect on our past, in hope of a better future.

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Escaping from Communist East Germany

│ By Stefanie Meinken, Gale Field Sales Executive, South-West Germany & Switzerland │

This year, 2019, is a year of anniversaries in twentieth-century German history. Not only is the Federal Republic of Germany celebrating its 70th birthday, former East Germany – officially known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) –– was also founded 70 years ago, on 7th October 1949. The latter anniversary might spark divergent emotions; the period of the GDR’s existence is often seen as a time of suppression and uncertainty. The end of this period also has a significant anniversary this year: it is 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall on 9th November 1989.

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The Peterloo Massacre, August 1819

Reform. Libel. -- Sedition. -- Treason. -- Persecution. 1819, January - 1820, November. Radical Politics and the Working Man in England: Part One: Sets 7-11, 13-32, and 34-46 Set 40; Vol 1. British Library. Nineteenth Century Collections Online, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CREORT076326165/GDCS?u=webdemo&sid=GDCS&xid=c5017dd3

│By Clem Delany, Associate Acquisitions Editor│

Two hundred years ago, on 16th August 1819, at least seventeen people died at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, during a peaceful protest calling for the reform of parliamentary representation.

This year, the two hundred-year anniversary, has been marked in the UK by a wealth of newspaper articles covering ‘a tragic event of minor historical significance that happens to accord with a Marxist version of Britain’s past’ 1 (The Times) or ‘the bloodiest event on English soil in the nineteenth century’ 2 (The Daily Mail). The BBC, from its new headquarters in Manchester, produced ten radio programmes and performances to mark the anniversary. You can buy a Peterloo mug or a Peterloo tea towel, and around Manchester live music, poetry readings, open-air karaoke and other family-friendly events took place over the weekend.

I dug through the Gale archives to see how the event was represented at the time, and at its centennial in 1919.

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Noddy in Archiveland

“Pop Career for Noddy." News Review. Sunday Times, 16 Nov. 2003, p. 14[S3]. The Sunday Times Digital Archive, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/FP1803638499/GDCS?u=webdemo&sid=GDCS&xid=141de559

│ By Rebecca Bowden, Associate Acquisitions Editor │

Everybody knows Noddy. Created by Enid Blyton in 1949, the Noddy books – and subsequent television show – tell the story of a wooden man who runs away from the toy store and finds himself in Toyland. There he makes his home after the town’s residents have established that he is, indeed, a toy. The adventures of this blue-hatted man and his friends (Big Ears, PC Plod, Dinah Doll, Tessie Bear et. al.) are a staple of the British childhood, enduring through years of changes and controversy. With this year marking Noddy’s 70th birthday, we take a look in Gale Primary Sources to uncover the history of the little man in the red and yellow car.

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British Royal Babies Through the Ages

| By Rebekka Väisänen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki |

All media outlets are now brimming with news about the newest addition to the British Royal Family, HRH Prince Harry and Meghan’s baby boy. In light of this, I decided to search Gale Primary Sources to see how royal births have been documented and celebrated throughout the ages. Below I explore the media hype around five royal ancestors, ranging from poetry to the decoding of names. 

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The Political and Cultural Impacts of the May Fourth Movement

| By Rebecca Chiew and Emery Pan, Editors in the Gale Asia Publishing Team |

May 4, 1919 was a day to remember for Chiang Monlin (蒋梦麟), a senior member of the Peking University administration. Three thousand students from Peking University and more than a dozen other universities in Beijing demonstrated in Tiananmen Square against the upcoming signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Chiang went on to write The China Mission Year Book (1919) and in the chapter dedicated to “The Student Movement,” he offered a gripping account of the incident at Tiananmen, detailing the fury and violence perpetrated by the students on the perceived traitors of China, and the countermeasures taken by the Chinese government on the riotous protestors. Chiang also analysed the causes of the May Fourth Movement, described the philosophy that underpinned the students’ mindset, and the societal changes that this philosophy brought about. Chiang later became the president of Peking University and the Minister of Education (1928–1930).

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“We tread enchanted ground” Celebrating Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon through the years

By Karen Harker, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham
Karen is a Gale Student Ambassador and PhD student at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute. Her work focuses on digitally reconstructing and reconsidering the role of incidental music used in nineteenth-century Shakespeare productions, a project which is rooted in archival research and utilises many of Gale’s digital resources. Other research interests include operatic adaptations of Shakespeare, digital humanities, tableaux vivant, and Shakespeare performances during times of war. Karen also enjoys hiking, yoga, singing, and spending time with her cat, Monkey.

Around the 23rd of April every year, Stratford-upon-Avon becomes a different place. Flooded with tens of thousands of tourists from across the world, this small Warwickshire town pauses to pay homage to the most recognisable name, and for some, the greatest writer in all of English drama: William Shakespeare. The tradition of celebrating the life and work of Shakespeare has arguably placed Stratford-upon-Avon on the map. Even on a typical day, it is not uncommon to see throngs of school children touring Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street; patrons heading to see a show at one of the Royal Shakespeare Company theatres; or groups of visitors making their way to Holy Trinity Church to get a look at Shakespeare’s grave. For folks (such as myself) who call Stratford home, seeing Shakespeare remembered in this way, witnessing the twenty-first century style pilgrimage taken by millions of people each year, is a part of our daily life.

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Liverpool: A city overshadowed by the Beatles?

The Beatles

By Megan Bowler, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I am a full-time History student studying at the University of Liverpool, a Gale Student Ambassador and a life-long Netflix devotee. With particular research interests in nuclear culture and the movement of people, groups and civil organisations, I find Gale’s Primary Source archives immensely valuable to my studies. In my spare time, my main hobbies include spending time with my friends and avoiding the question, “What do you want to do after you graduate?”

Take four, young, charismatic musicians, add four Sgt. Pepper costumes and a city so devoting that their stardom lives on for years to come, and what you should be left with, with any luck, are the Beatles. George, John, Paul and Ringo – iconic names on the British and global music scene throughout the sixties, and still to a considerable extent today. Selling over 178 million units in the US alone, the group were quick to become one of the most celebrated bands in all of music history… and this status certainly still rings true when taking a walk around Liverpool’s Cavern Quarter today.

Read moreLiverpool: A city overshadowed by the Beatles?