Liberating, Stultifying or Provocative: Mary Quant’s Miniskirt

Mary Quant

│By Eloise Sinclair, Gale Ambassador at the University of Durham│

Mary Quant’s miniskirt of 1966 not only transformed the look of London’s youth but, according to Jonathan Aitken in a 1967 article in The Sunday Telegraph, inspired the “swinging revolution, the sexual revolution, the restaurant and night-club revolution”. The newspaper archives in Gale Primary Sources are particularly valuable for assessing the effect of Quant’s designs on the fashion industry and British culture, revealing the range of contemporary responses and reactions to this iconic item of clothing.

Read moreLiberating, Stultifying or Provocative: Mary Quant’s Miniskirt

Heroic Hedgehogs – The Hedgehog in Popular Culture

Hedgehog in a cup

│by Constance Lam, Gale Ambassador at the University of Durham University│

The twenty first century marks the return of the hedgehog: from the recent February 14th release of Sonic the Hedgehog, to the rise of hedgehog cafés throughout Japan and Hong Kong, it seems hedgehogs are resurfacing in popular culture.

Read moreHeroic Hedgehogs – The Hedgehog in Popular Culture

Paradise Found: Exploring Historical Maps and Travel Writing

Harris, T. "A South Prospect of the Flourishing City of New York in the Province of New York in America 1746

│By Matthew Trenholm, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter│

Of all the Gale archives I’ve explored so far, my favourite is Maps and Travel Literature. Part of Nineteenth Century Collections Online, it has already been a great help to my undergraduate History dissertation on English ports. Maps have been an essential part of human development and Maps and Travel Literature allows you to examine maps from all over the world, produced for different reasons by different people and organisations. There is also a huge range of travel writing to sink your teeth into, giving insight into the human experience behind the maps and other geographical documents.

Read moreParadise Found: Exploring Historical Maps and Travel Writing

Newspaper Coverage From the Christmas Truce 1914

“Every infraction of this order will be punished as treason”: the fallout from newspaper coverage of the ‘Christmas Truce’

Over Christmas in 1914, one of the most extraordinary and civilised moments of the combat on the Western Front happened: the press dubbed it ‘the Christmas Truce’, an event to modern eyes so inexplicable and contradictory to our perceptions of war that it seems it almost cannot be true.

Read moreNewspaper Coverage From the Christmas Truce 1914

Contention in the British Press: WWI – Likelihood and Leadership

The British press – one of the noisiest, most opinionated and longest-running media institutions in the world – is known for its history of wide-ranging debate and reporting. Encompassing so many digital newspaper archives, the Gale Primary Sources programme offers a comprehensive view of the landscape of opinions and commentary which have featured in the British press at any one time. This makes it a great resource for those studying contemporary opinions about a particularly issue or controversy, or how attitudes have evolved over time. This is the first of two posts looking at how persuasion, debate and clashes of opinion have coloured the British press at particular historical moments; in this case, during the First World War. Next week I’ll be posting about the altercations that arose around the rise of Fascism. As well as some of the most well-known arguments, these posts will bring to the fore views which have now been side-lined, discredited or simply eclipsed by modern interpretations.

Read moreContention in the British Press: WWI – Likelihood and Leadership

18th-Century Brexit? A sneak preview of State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century: Part III

When reading through some documents contained within the State Papers’ SP94 (Spain) series recently, I was struck by some parallels between early-eighteenth century diplomatic relations and those of our current post-‘Brexit’ times. There is palpable tension in Anglo-Spanish relations from the letters exchanged between British Ambassador to Spain Paul Methuen and James Stanhope, Secretary of State for the Southern Department.

More broadly, this was a time of flux for European relations, with 1713 marking the end of what has been termed the first ‘global’ war: the War of Spanish Succession. Lasting for thirteen years, the war placed greater strain on European ties. Developing from a dispute over the succession of the Spanish throne when King Carlos II died childless in 1700 (leaving the Bourbon, Philippe Duc d’Anjou as his heir), England, Austria, and the Dutch Republic could not countenance a Franco-Spanish alliance dominating Europe. They therefore rejected the proposed succession by declaring war. After a thirteen-year campaign, the 1713 treaty concluding the war confirmed the succession of Philippe as Felipe V of Spain. As those letters show though, this succession prompted a re-evaluation of Anglo-Spanish trade arrangement.

Read more18th-Century Brexit? A sneak preview of State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century: Part III

Bombs, Shells and Steel: Revisiting the Battle of the Somme

‘It ain’t the guns nor armament

Nor funds that they can pay,

But the close co-operation

That makes them win the day.

It ain’t the individual,

Nor the Army as a whole,

But the everlasting teamwork

Of every bloomin’ soul.’

Rudyard Kipling

Read moreBombs, Shells and Steel: Revisiting the Battle of the Somme

In or Out? Exploring Britain’s Relationship with Europe using Chatham House Online Archive

Mahatma Ghandi, Winston Churchill, Benazir Bhutto. Three iconic political figures who each touched the lives of scores of people around the world during their illustrious lives. What is perhaps lesser known is that all three feature in Chatham House Online Archive, having contributed in one form or another to the world-renowned UK think tank. Ranked the second most influential think tank globally in 2015, Chatham House has offered the perfect platform for leading thinkers in their fields to voice their thoughts on the international affairs of the day.

As the EU Referendum in the UK draws ever nearer, and the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns gather pace, I took the opportunity to delve into Chatham House Online Archive; its comprehensive coverage of over 80 years of international affairs includes the last UK referendum in 1975, which saw a two-thirds majority in favour of continued European Economic Community (EEC – the precursor to the EU) membership. Looking at five pieces of content from a range of contributors reveals some intriguing insights, and continuities, which have characterised Britain’s relationship with Europe over the past forty-four years.

Read moreIn or Out? Exploring Britain’s Relationship with Europe using Chatham House Online Archive

Holidaying in the 19th Century? Here’s what you need to know

Holiday Image 6

Sunshine has finally reached the UK! As we break out the BBQs and look forward to our summer holidays, I thought it would be fun to use The Illustrated London News Archive and Gale Artemis: Primary Sources to look back 100 years, and see what holidayers back then had to look forward to…

Read moreHolidaying in the 19th Century? Here’s what you need to know

Supporting Your Local Data Miner

Data Mining Image

By: Dr. Dallas Liddle, Associate Professor and Chair of English, Augsburg College

Marshall McLuhan is supposed to have said that “the content of a new medium is always an old medium.” He intended the observation as wry cultural criticism, but as a literary historian I am grateful every day that so many new research media are now brimming with the contents of great past media: newsstands, theatres, libraries, music halls, stereopticons, and magic lantern shows. Lately I have started to hope that the benefits of these research tools may go far beyond the convenience of having so many original texts, images, and artifacts instantly available. New methods of “data-mining” using database archives, if we do them creatively and well, may help researchers better understand how the old media forms themselves worked and developed.
The hope grows from recent experience. I started “data mining” the Gale Times Digital Archive not long ago, after struggling for nearly twenty years with questions about Victorian newspapers that traditional archival research had been unable to answer.

Read moreSupporting Your Local Data Miner