Was Oxford University Labour Club “Moving Towards Communism”? How Primary Sources Can Help You Track the History of Your Student Society

Banner reading 'Oxford University Labour Club, Forward to Socialism'

| By Grace Davis, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford |

The term “primary sources” gives me slightly traumatic flashbacks to my History GCSE when, as a baby academic, I had to explain how a picture can present a biased interpretation of the world. Now, a more grown-up (though not fully fledged) academic, the idea of “primary sources” is not as scary, but I often still find myself shying away from using them in my academic work. I’m happy to announce, however, that primary sources can be used for more than your university essays! Gale Primary Sources includes millions of pages of primary sources on almost every topic imaginable, including your hobbies and topics of interest beyond the lecture theatre. Once you start unearthing primary sources about things that fascinate you outside your degree, you may just develop greater confidence and familiarity with them and start feeling more comfortable incorporating them into university work too!

Read moreWas Oxford University Labour Club “Moving Towards Communism”? How Primary Sources Can Help You Track the History of Your Student Society

It’s Time to Share the Spotlight: Exploration of Trans Visibility Over the Years

By Emily Priest, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth
Emily, otherwise known as Emily the Writer, is a Creative and Media Writing (BA Hons) student at Portsmouth University with interests in travel writing and creative marketing. She is also a freelance writer and performance poet. After her degree, she plans to take a Digital Marketing MA and pursue a career in marketing or journalism.

Today, 31st March, is Trans Visibility Day and, although it is a day to celebrate, it is also a day to reflect on the past to appreciate how far we’ve come. Looking back on trans history and how much visibility the community used to have can be hard swallow at times but it is easy to research using the archives Gale’s Primary Sources. To put things into perspective I used Archives of Gender and Sexuality to compare how society has previously treated trans people with how they’re treated now.

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The History of International Women’s Day and the Origins of Women’s History Month

By Rachel Holt, Acquisitions Editor for Gale International
Rachel has worked in a variety roles across the publishing industry and joined Gale Primary Sources in 2017 where she became responsible for the Women’s Studies Archive programme.  Although women’s history is a personal passion her other area of focus is fringe-politics and Rachel is also in charge of Gale’s Political Extremism & Radicalism series.  

Happy International Women’s Day (#BalanceforBetter) and may your Women’s History Month 2019 be an enlightening one!

Every year March marks the month where several countries around the world celebrate female contributions to society by recognising their achievements throughout history. However, the origins of how both these events came into being are themselves fascinating episodes in feminist history. If “history is written by the victors” then who decides which people and events from the past deserves our attention?[1]

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Leading Ladies: The actresses who fought for women’s suffrage

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.

“There was a young Lady called Vera
As a Speaker all crowded to hear her
She caused a sensation
Throughout the whole Nation
Such as never was seen in our ERA.”

So begins an anonymous limerick written about Vera “Jack” Holme – Edwardian actress, political activist, and militant suffragette. Found in the Archives of Sexuality & Gender, a collection within Gale Primary Sources, this poem is one of thousands of papers, manuscripts, photos and news articles related to the eccentric, multifaceted life of one of Britain’s most devoted advocates for women’s voting rights. Also a part of the Women’s Volunteer Reserve during WWI and Britain’s first female chauffeur, Holme broke the patriarchal boundaries that had surrounded women for centuries through her constant vigilance and dedication to the causes of women’s suffrage and equality.

Read moreLeading Ladies: The actresses who fought for women’s suffrage