The Wrath of Mountains: Explaining Volcanic Eruptions from the Late Eighteenth Century to the Modern Day

“The Straits of Sunda: Terrible Volcanic Eruption.” Illustrated London News, 8 Sept. 1883, p. 229. The Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003

By Amelie Bonney, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford

On December 9, 2019, the deadly volcanic eruption of Mount Whakaari in New Zealand sparked new discussions over risk assessment in volcanic regions. While sudden volcanic eruptions make it difficult for scientists to assess risks in such areas, the belief that eruptions can be predicted thanks to science also leads to increasingly hazardous activities such as tourism in dangerous volcanic regions. How and why have humans become so intrepid when it comes to volcanoes?

The Gale Primary Sources archives provide not only newspaper articles but also a range of valuable monographs and visual sources, ranging from drawings to photographs, which allow us to investigate how our understanding and perception of volcanic eruptions has changed over the last few centuries. The sources demonstrate that the scientific community’s investigations led to the emergence of new understandings of dangerous volcanic eruptions from the late eighteenth century onwards. Paradoxically, scientific explanations of volcanic eruptions created a heightened sense of danger but also led to an increase in risk-taking behaviour.

Read moreThe Wrath of Mountains: Explaining Volcanic Eruptions from the Late Eighteenth Century to the Modern Day

How Gale Primary Sources Helped Me with My Dissertation – and Can Help You Too!

Women on laptop

│By Lily Deans, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham│

Writing a dissertation is undoubtedly daunting, no matter how competent or confident you may feel by the time you proudly hand in the 12,000-word masterpiece! Just like writing a good essay, it is not just your own opinion that gets you the marks, but the opinions of others – and the way you use these opinions to either substantiate or contradict what you have said. So, naturally, the wider, more varied and unique the sources are that you use, the better awareness you will show of the existing discourse, and thus the more convincing your argument will be. “Ah yes,” I hear you say, “but where can I find these unique sources?” Well, with Gale Primary Sources, of course! This blog will show briefly the quantity and variety of sources I have found in Gale’s archives as I have been researching and writing my dissertation.

Read moreHow Gale Primary Sources Helped Me with My Dissertation – and Can Help You Too!

“Even the Sacramental Cup Was Not Exempt from Adulteration” – The Hazards of Drinking an Old Bottle of Claret

│By Amelie Bonney, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford│

Have you recently enjoyed a special, vintage bottle of wine to celebrate the New Year with your family or friends? You might be surprised to learn that such celebrations might have been quite dangerous during the nineteenth century. Expecting the crimson-coloured beverage to enrapture their senses and coat their tongue in luscious flavours of dried blackberry, leather and tobacco, wine aficionados were often far from suspecting that this elixir could easily turn out to be a cheap, dyed, falsified drink, or worse – deadly poison. In an age where strict regulations exist to control food and beverage adulteration, such hazardous dyes are no longer used, but delving into Gale’s Historic Newspapers allows us to better understand how such dangerous adulteration was allowed to occur during the nineteenth century.

Read more“Even the Sacramental Cup Was Not Exempt from Adulteration” – The Hazards of Drinking an Old Bottle of Claret

The Acquisition of Gale Primary Sources at the University of Johannesburg Supports Efforts to Decolonise the Curriculum

Students studying in the library at the University of Johannesburg

| By the Gale Review team |

The global movement to ‘decolonise the curriculum’ focuses on creating a more accurate and holistic read of history – and our understanding of people and the world – by questioning the canonical primacy given to some perspectives over others. Access to primary sources can play a key role in this understanding. Librarians at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, have turned to Gale for support. “In 2018 the University of Johannesburg adopted collections focused on slavery and gender,” explains Gale Field Sales Executive Dan Solomon. “Now they have deepened their commitment by purchasing a wide array of Gale archives.”

Read moreThe Acquisition of Gale Primary Sources at the University of Johannesburg Supports Efforts to Decolonise the Curriculum

Why Use Primary Sources?

archive shelves

│by Pauli Kettunen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki│

Is the picture above what comes to mind when you think of an archive? Do you believe that, to find any useful information, you must spend weeks between the shelves without seeing daylight?! If so, I have good news for you – Gale Primary Sources has updated archival research to the twenty first century! You no longer have to plough through library catalogues or rummage in endless boxes to find material relevant to your research – you can do so in seconds by running a text search, just like when googling.

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‘I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!’ Ice Cream Recipes in Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online

│By Dr Lucy Dow, Gale Content Researcher│

With the weather we’ve seen recently, it is unsurprising that July is national ice cream month! Just search for #nationalicecreammonth on Instagram and you will be inundated with all kinds of delicious (and not-so-delicious) looking icy confections. Whilst you may now be able to get tomato soup, grilled cheese or sushi flavour ice cream, the authors of eighteenth-century English language cookery books tended to stick to more familiar flavours such as strawberry or apricot, although they were not always averse to trying something more unusual. In 1789 Frederick Nutt wrote a recipe (pp. 125-126) for parmesan ice cream! Interestingly, whilst the more exotic chocolate, coffee and even pineapple had made it into ice cream by the late eighteenth century, the now ubiquitous vanilla was still far too exotic and expensive. By exploring eighteenth-century ice cream recipes using Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online we can not only see how ice cream was made, but discover other things these recipes reveal about eighteenth-century life.

Read more‘I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!’ Ice Cream Recipes in Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online

How Gale Scholar helped with my Graduation Thesis

graduation photo

│ By Wang Ke and Professor Wang Jinghui from Tsinghua University, Beijing │

In this blog post we hear from Wang Ke, a student at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and Wang Ke’s mentor, Professor Wang Jinghui, about how the primary source archives that were made available to the university through the Gale Scholar programme helped Wang Ke achieve high marks in his thesis.

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From Jeu de Paume to Strawberries and Cream: A Brief History of Tennis and the Wimbledon Championships

"Hygienic Excess." Punch, 18 Oct. 1879, p. 174. Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992

│By Carolyn Beckford, Gale Product Trainer in the UK and Europe│

As we come to the end of the first week of Wimbledon, with the annual buzz and excitement very much in full-flow, we decided to use Gale Primary Sources to look back at the evolving history of tennis and the Wimbledon Championships.

Read moreFrom Jeu de Paume to Strawberries and Cream: A Brief History of Tennis and the Wimbledon Championships

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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