American Fiction, 1774-1920, released this week from Gale, brings over 17,750 titles to digital life. If you read one of these books every hour and didn’t stop to sleep or eat, it would still take you more than 2 years to read through the full collection. The content from 1774-1900 is based on Lyle H Wright’s famous American Fiction: A Contribution Toward a Bibliography, the most comprehensive bibliography of American adult fiction during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and includes both well-known authors (Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, etc) and the obscure.
With The Telegraph Historical Archive, 1855-2000 launching March 2016, we will be bringing you a series of essays from scholars featuring research case studies, enlightening biographies of key Telegraph figures, and more.
Dr James Nye is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s College London. His research focuses on the corrupt, scandalous reputation – deserved, or perhaps not – of the company promoter in the first few decades of the 20th century. In this, newspaper records are, of course, invaluable; specifically, the use of multiple newspapers, as ‘each journalist might record something different – a composite picture is reasonably likely to be much better than one that relies solely on The Times, however much it might be regarded as the principal paper of record’ .
The British Newspapers, 1600-1950 series, the most comprehensive digital collection of regional newspapers from across the UK, is a key resource for studying local history. Part V, releasing in March 2016, will soon take the total number of pages covered by the series to over 5.5 million, with an impressive 161 newspaper titles. Academic Advisor to Parts I and II of the series, Dr Martin Conboy, described the series as an ‘enormously rich’ resource, which has already proved of great value to a range of scholars. But why invest in regional and local papers? What makes regional papers valuable to students and researchers?
Working for a US-based company like Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, it is hard to escape the fanfare of nationwide ‘federal holidays’. Far more interesting – and, seemingly, more commonplace – than the various ‘bank holidays’ we have here in the UK, the US recognises eight official federal holidays. Yet when I noticed that Columbus Day was pencilled in on my email calendar for 10th October 2016, I was surprised to learn that it was not, in fact, considered one of those eight holidays. In 2013, just 24 states observed the holiday. A mark of the re-evaluation of Columbus’s influence upon America and, for many, the effects upon indigenous ways of life, Columbus Day is today a far more contested occasion than it once might have been. With January marking 524 years since Columbus was granted the funds to finally embark upon his first voyage, I was spurred to delve into Gale’s digital archival collections to see if I could detect a change in mood towards Columbus Day observance.