The American Civil Liberties Union – foundation, campaigns and contemporary relevance

After the First World War, many Americans feared that the Communist Revolution in Russia would spread to the United States. Fear outweighed rational debate, leading to a clamp down on civil liberties, with thousands arrested without warrants. In response, a small group of individuals set up the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In the years since then, the ACLU has evolved from a small organization to the nation’s principal defender of civil rights, playing a role in some of the most famous events in twentieth-century American history.

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Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the man who led China from Empire to Republic

Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙aka. 孫中山 or 孫文; 1866–1925) was a Chinese revolutionary and leader of a series of armed uprisings that led to the downfall of China’s last imperial dynasty (the Qing) in 1911 and the founding of the Republic of China in 1912.   November 12 this year marked his 150th birthday.

Searching for his name (“Sun Yat-sen” or “Sun Wen”) in Gale’s China from Empire to Republic: Missionary, Sinology and Literary Periodicals – a unique collection of 17 English-language periodicals published in and about China – offers the researcher a significant quantity of material about this individual. Over two-thirds of the 300-plus search results are from The China Critic and Tienhsia Monthly – periodicals run by Chinese intellectuals. His activities and ideas also attracted the attention of Westerner- or missionary-established periodicals such as The Chinese Recorder, West China Missionary News, and The China Yearbook.

"Dr. Sun Yat Sen." Chinese Recorder Mar. 1925: 214. China from Empire to Republic.
“Dr. Sun Yat Sen.” Chinese Recorder Mar. 1925: 214. China from Empire to Republic.

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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.

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The Development of the British Palate, Part 2

Written by Jess Edwards and Daniel Pullin

In case you missed it, last week we posted the first instalment of our extended exploration of the development of the modern British palate. Inspired by the events taking place around the UK for British Food Fortnight, we considered what actually constitutes ‘British Food’. The phrase can, of course, describe food produced in Britain, but it could also mean the food eaten most regularly in the UK, and entrenched in British culture – and many of the meals commonly eaten in Britain today have been introduced from foreign shores. Last week we unearthed historical copies of recipes for, and discussion about, two meals which have become staples in the British diet; curry and pasta. We also rustled up our own versions using the following historical instructions! (Follow this link to see the results of our culinary experiments!)

This week we’re continuing our investigation into the historical background of foods commonly consumed in modern Britain, and this time we’ve chosen to focus on a couple of recipes with clearer British origins. Both have still, however, undoubtedly undergone their own evolution and adaption – even if largely due to the impact of mass production!

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The Development of the British Palate, Part 1

Written by Jess Edwards and Daniel Pullin

Daniel and I are both keen on History – and food! The events currently taking place throughout the UK to celebrate British Food Fortnight led us to consider what actually constitutes ‘British Food’. Of course, in one sense the phrase describes food produced in Britain, but it could also mean the food eaten most regularly in the UK, and entrenched in British culture, which equates to a very different interpretation of ‘British Food’. Many of the meals most commonly eaten in Britain today have been introduced from foreign shores. We decided to explore the development of the modern British palate in the Gale archives, and unearthed historical references to both foreign and native recipes – as well as learning how both have solidified their reputation and popularity in British food culture. And to add an amusing twist, we thought we’d rustle up a few dishes under the guidance of these historical recipes…!

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The Origin of Mid-Autumn Festival – “Zhong Qiu Jie”

By Cathy Huang
I joined Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, in August 2015, as a new member of our China team. I’m very happy to work together with the team and it feels like a family. I’m very willing to contribute my skills to help increase awareness of Gale resources and hope more and more researchers worldwide discover Gale’s rich Primary Source collections.

“Zhong Qiu Jie”, which is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is celebrated in China and Vietnam on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. It is a time for family members and loved ones to congregate and enjoy the full moon – an auspicious symbol of abundance, harmony and luck. Adults will usually indulge in fragrant mooncakes of many varieties with a good cup of piping hot Chinese tea, while children run around with brightly-lit lanterns.

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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.

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False predictions, chaotic systems: Revisiting US elections

In a few months’ time, the day millions of people have been waiting for will finally be upon us: Election Day in the United States. For the first time in eight years, a new President will be elected to the White House. Pitching effervescent Republican Donald Trump against the more sedate Democrat Hillary Clinton, long months of campaigning will come to an end in what is potentially the most globally scrutinised election ever known. The successor to Barrack Obama will finally be revealed.

While the level of fanfare surrounding the 2016 election may appear unprecedented, there have been a few notable elections in the US over the years which have come close to matching this year’s furore:

  • 1948: Harry S. Truman (Democrat) vs. Thomas E. Dewey (Republican)
  • 1960: John F. Kennedy (Democrat) vs. Richard M. Nixon (Republican)
  • 2000: Al Gore (Democrat) vs. George W. Bush (Republican)

Using Chatham House Online Archive’s expert analysis, some striking continuities emerge across all three elections.

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The Stuart & Cumberland Papers Digitisation Project at Windsor Castle

By Roberta Giubilini & Puneeta Sharma, The Royal Archives

The Royal Archives was founded in 1914 and is a private archive which offers public access to historical papers for educational purposes and academic study, while protecting the personal private papers of The Queen and members of The Royal Family. Access to the Archives is the responsibility of the Keeper of The Queen’s Archives and this authority is exercised on a day-to-day basis by the Librarian as the Assistant Keeper of The Queen’s Archives. The archival collection reflects the changing world and the monarchy’s relationship to it, and contains, among its significant collection, the papers of the last Stuarts in exile, George III, George IV, and those of later monarchs and members of the Royal Family, including the correspondence and journals of Queen Victoria.

The Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, is home to an extensive collection of documents related to the Royal Family and the British Monarchy spanning over 250 years. There are two collections, which are the focal point of a current project: namely the papers of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, and the papers of the exiled Stuarts.  The project consists of the surveying, conservation and digitisation of these papers, which the Royal Archives are carrying out in collaboration with Gale, a part of Cengage Learning who have employed UK Archiving to undertake the scanning.

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Bicycle Races are Coming Your Way: following the Tour de France in Artemis Primary Sources

This year’s Tour de France is about to end, and like every tour it has seen its fair share of drama. The tour is still ongoing at the time of writing with Britain’s Chris Froome once again wearing the yellow jersey. It hasn’t been an easy ride for Froome, as a collision with a race motorcycle forced him to abandon his bike and run to the finish line atop the colossal Mont Ventoux. Collisions between riders and other road users are unfortunately common occurrence in the Tour, as I found in Gale Artemis: Primary Sources

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