Refugee Nurses and the Second World War

Nursing Times cover images
In this blog post, Dr Jane Brooks discusses the value of the Historic Nursing Journals – one of the collections included in Women’s Studies Archive: Female Forerunners Worldwide. The Historic Nursing Journals collection was sourced from the Royal College of Nursing (UK). Dr Brooks also explains how she is using the fascinating primary sources in this archive in her own research.

|Dr Jane Brooks, Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester (UK)|

The digitisation of Historic Nursing Journals by Gale has created a dynamic and valuable resource for historians of nursing in the UK and beyond. I have been working in the field of nursing history for over twenty years. In 2010, I began researching nursing in the Second World War. I predominantly work with personal testimony such as oral history, letters and diaries. However, as well as these source materials usually located in public archives, I have used multiple types of entries in nursing journals, most frequently Nursing Times. I live in Yorkshire, the Royal College of Nursing headquarters library is in London and the archives are in Edinburgh, so every time I wanted to conduct any research using Nursing Times I had to travel to review the hard copies. If I needed to check a reference, I again had to make a journey or request one of the very busy archive staff check for me.

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Asia, as Recorded in British Colonial Office Files

SPO Colonial header image

│By Julia de Mowbray, Publisher at Gale│

Gale’s first online archive of British Colonial Office files, State Papers Online Colonial, has just been released. The first four parts1 will publish the Colonial Office (CO) files relating to the administration of Britain’s colonies in Asia, namely, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei, British North Borneo, Ceylon, and the naval base at Wei-Hai-Wei (Burma and India were administered by the India Office).  

Part 1: Far East, Hong Kong, and Wei-Hai-Wei includes files from the Colonial Office’s general departments on Asia as well as the those from the administration of Hong Kong and Wei-Hai-Wei (Weihai). The Colonial Office general departments were the “Eastern” (1927-1951), “Hong Kong and Pacific” (1946-1955), “Far Eastern Reconstruction” (1942-1945), “Far Eastern” (1941-1967) and “South East Asia” (1950-1956) departments, spanning different periods, plus the early East Indies papers (1570-1856). These are joined by the Asia files from Confidential Original Correspondence, Confidential Print, Maps, Photographs series. In all it is around 385,000 pages. This part, therefore, is not limited to Britain’s colonies, but includes documents on China, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea. Each file is tagged with its subject country or countries to help researchers refine their search.

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The Rise and Fall of Chinese Indentured Labour

Chinese Coolies and Overseers

|By Winnie Fok, Assistant Editor, Gale Asia|

Please be aware that this blog post contains language that may be offensive to some readers; the decision to read the post is at your own discretion.

“Coolies” (a historical term for indentured workers) are a relic of the past, no longer around today. This blog post captures the fascinating and tumultuous history of the coolie trade in brief, through the valuable primary source materials found in China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 1, 1815–1881 and China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 2, 1865–1905.

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The Bowring Treaty and the Opening up of Thailand

Map of Siam

│Liping Yang, Senior Manager, Academic Publishing, Gale Asia│

Siam (now known as Thailand) had long been a tribute nation of China’s Qing empire. However, the signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Great Britain and Siam in 1855 opened a new chapter in the history of this Southeast Asian nation and its relationship with China and Western powers represented by Britain. This blog post retells the interesting stories behind the signing of this historic treaty through some invaluable primary source materials discovered in China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 1, 1815-1881

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The Murder of Empress Myeongseong of Korea

Kind and Queen of Corea

│By Emery Pan, Associate Development Editor│

In 2001, the Korean television series Empress Myeongseong became a massive hit in many Asian countries. Empress Myeongseong, also known as Queen Min [闵妃], was the wife of Gojong [高宗], the ruler of Korea from 1864 to 1907. Her real life, explored below using primary sources from the Gale archive China and the Modern World, was actually far more complicated and bloody than it appeared in the historical drama.

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Declassified Documents Online: Twentieth Century British Intelligence, Monitoring the World

Declassified Documents Online: Twentieth Century British Intelligence, Monitoring the World

|By Clem Delany, Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources|

It is now common knowledge that the German Enigma codes were broken during the Second World War in huts at Bletchley Park, and that this feat helped sway the tide of war in the Allies favour. Most people are also aware that Alan Turing was there, that early computers were being developed, and that after the war these codebreakers and the hundreds of people employed at Bletchley Park vanished into obscurity until the 1970s. These details have become part of popular culture: the shabby huts in the middle of a quiet countryside where great and secret things were happening providing the setting for the book Enigma by Robert Harris, or The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch in tweed, and even a BBC Radio sitcom, Hut 33.

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