“Power to all the people or to none”: Grassroots activism in amateur publications written by women, African Americans and the LGBT+ community

(left) cover for Ain’t I a Woman?, Vol. 1, no. 6. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/ZUOVWU043445773/GDCS?u=bham_uk&sid=GDCS&xid=91d72133, (right) Cover for Blackheart, Vol. 3

│By Karen Harker, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham│

Anyone familiar with Gale Primary Sources knows that it provides archival access to major periodicals such as The Times, The Daily Mail, The Financial Times, and The Economist. The longevity and sustained popularity of these publications mean that they are often the first place a student or researcher might look for information on a historical topic, but it is worth remembering that a vast majority of the articles found in these newspapers are written by white, heterosexual, cisgender men. This is particularly true of anything published in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Even as women, people of colour and members of the LGBT+ community are increasingly employed by these newspapers, their contributions still exist in a notable and significant minority. While these newspapers are fantastic resources, they often only tell one side of the story.

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Travels through Space and Time – The success of Doctor Who

Hewson, David. "Time traveller clocks up 20 years." Times, 14 Nov. 1983

│By André Buller, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth │

Doctor Who, possibly Britain’s most famous science-fiction television show, has enjoyed success in both its original running from 1963 to 1989, and its reboot from 2005 to the present. Centering around the eponymous ‘Doctor,’ the show follows the adventures of this eccentric and benevolent shape-changing alien around the cosmos in a premise that has remained largely static throughout the 56 years of its circulation. As a child, I was both terrified and enthralled by the television show, and such interest in the fantastical has persisted into my studies (as evident in my previous supernatural post about witchcraft!)

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Jenny Lind – the Swedish Nightingale

Eduard Magnus (1862): ”Jenny Lind”,

| By Pauli Kettunen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki |

Whilst it is undoubtedly quality entertainment, the 2017 Hollywood film The Greatest Showman should not be taken as an accurate history lesson… However, among all the drama, singing and dancing, it does portray some facts; P.T. Barnum did start small and end up as a household name; he did bring ‘The Swedish Nightingale’ to the United States and make her tour a success like never before. Indeed, the concert tour amassed him a sizeable fortune, and the humble Scandinavian singer donated her own share – which was by no means small – to charities of her choice.

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Comfy in a Corset – Why Nineteenth-century Underwear Isn’t as Scary as You Think

"DOUGLAS & SHERWOOD'S CELEBRATED TOURNURE CORSET. (Front view)." Godey's Lady's Book, 1 Apr. 1859, p. 296. American Historical Periodicals,

│ By Maya Thomas, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford │

From Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind to Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean, it seems that no pretty woman in a historical drama is complete without participating in the infamous “corset scene”. You know the one: the beautiful protagonist reluctantly sucks in her stomach, gripping onto the bedposts as a maid furiously tugs at her corset strings. We watch with morbid fascination as her tiny waist is made tinier still, compressed painfully in an ornate whalebone cage.

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The Homophobic Response to the AIDS Crisis in the 1980s

Montage of images of primary sources about AIDS crisis

|By Rory Herbert, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth|

During the early 1980s, AIDS became an ever-growing concern in the minds of Americans, and brought to the fore the deep-seated tensions and homophobic tendencies that plagued the nation’s media and political institutes. Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender provides access to a wealth of sources that help us to understand the issues and struggles experienced by these long-oppressed and ignored members of society during a particularly trying period.

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