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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Exploring Receptions of Classical Literature with The Times Digital Archive and Gale Digital Scholar Lab

Acropolis Athens

| By James Carney, Gale Ambassador at King’s College London |

Classical Reception Studies refers to the interpretation, imaginings and reimaginings of the classical world since antiquity. It can illuminate the enduring pertinence of the ancient world throughout history – particularly in the cultural realm where its influence is most pronounced. Gale digital archives and, more recently, the Gale Digital Scholar Lab can markedly benefit any undertaking into this area by exposing the nature of classical reception across the ages, but also the discourses that surrounded and emerged from various interpretations of the ancient past.

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Lesser-Known Narratives and Everyday Histories in Archives Unbound

Archives Unbound screenshot

│By Ellie Brosnan, Gale Ambassador at Durham University│

Studying archival material has been one of the most fascinating aspects of my History degree so far. Local libraries often host regional collections which provide a fascinating avenue into engaging with local histories, and being a student at Durham University in the north-east of England has allowed me to engage with primary sources from this area. During my time at university, for example, I have been lucky enough to see letters from servants at Durham castle from centuries past. Archives hold all manner of sources and uncovering new information is always rewarding, both physically and digitally. Delving into Gale’s online resources has also illustrated how digital archives can offer as much, if not more, compared to their traditional physical counterparts.

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Free Speech in a “Post-Truth” Era – The Value of Digital Archives

| By James Carney, Gale Ambassador at King’s College London |

As a literature student, I have studied the power of language for myriad and varying purposes in a range of historical contexts. My studies have exposed me to the fact that language is inherently political – the way in which we construct verbal expression can reflect and compound the powerful forces that command us like hierarchies, social structures, identities or even biases. An example that comes to mind is the profound racism in the name given to South America’s most notable sea – the Caribbean. Popularised by the cartographer Thomas Jeffreys, the word finds roots in the Spanish word for cannibal (carib), and is a name which conquistadors enforced on the natives of this region. The political nature of language is clear from this example – in line with the constructed ‘civilising’ mission of imperialism, language came to reflect prevailing perceptions of the Spanish conquerors in relation to their (problematically) ‘savage’ subjects.

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Andrée’s Arctic Balloon Expedition

'Andree's Balloon. Onward over the Polar Sea

|By Sara Pellijeff, Gale Field Sales Executive – Nordics and Baltics|

On July 11, 1897, the hydrogen balloon Örnen (“The Eagle”) took off from Svalbard (a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole) with three Swedish expedition members on board – Salomon August Andrée, Knut Frænkel, and Nils Strindberg. The plan was to float over what was, at the end of the nineteenth century, the world’s last mysterious destination: the North Pole.

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A Media and Journalism Student is Thrilled to Discover Gale!

Sticky notes and laptop on table

│By Emily Priest, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth│

In this post, Emily interviews an undergraduate student before and after running a one-to-one training workshop on Gale Primary Sources, revealing how the platform tools and extensive content can help alleviate some of the difficulties the student faced in their studies.

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From Rise to Red Top: The Role of the Mirror in Shaping British Journalism

Old and New cover of Mirror

│By Rebecca Bowden, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources│

From its inception in 1903, the Mirror has played a pivotal role in the history of British journalism, and today is the only mainstream, left-wing tabloid remaining in the UK. The newspaper has had a history of highs and lows, peaking in 1967 with a daily circulation of 5.25 million; understanding that history is an essential part of understanding British historical journalism. The Mirror not only played a prominent role in shaping newspapers as we know them today, but also acts as a distinctive counterpoint to the more conservative reporting in much of Britain’s mainstream press.

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“When is a Woman…?” Exploring Cultural Expectations of Women Advocated in Historical Newspapers

Montage of snippets from newspapers considering "when is a woman...?"

by Lotta Vuorio, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki

When I was preparing to deliver my first presentation as a Gale Ambassador, I ran into an interesting article called “When Woman is Not Graceful” in Gale’s Nineteenth Century Collections Online. The article was published in a newspaper called The Christian Recorder in 1895, and it portrays some of the “conditions under which she (a woman) manages to look absurd” – at least in the opinion of the anonymous writer. The article appears as an opinion piece by Graphic London and it expresses outspokenly all the descriptions connected to the stereotype of women who move clumsily. It says, “Few women can enter a carriage, mount the steps of a coach or hurry into a hansom gracefully, while the spectacle of a woman getting into a boat is far from pleasing”.  The vast petticoats common in the nineteenth century and their effects on the ability of women to move are mentioned and criticised, and the writer finishes his piece by indicating the true form of grace: “A woman is only really graceful when she is at rest, lolling in a carriage or sitting in a drawing room or else dancing, when she has the genius for it.” I wanted to find this article again and began searching the Gale Primary Sources database. In doing so I came across many more newspaper articles with a heading that begins “When is a Woman…”. As I browsed through them I became intrigued, curious about the way articles in different newspapers described what was acceptable and admired in the appearance and behaviour of women. Below are some of the most fascinating examples I found.

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Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library: Literature, Grammar, Language, Catalogues and Periodicals

Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library: Literature, Grammar, Language, Catalogues and Periodicals, the final module of the Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library collection, launches this month on the 16th December. This module showcases works of Arabic fiction, poetry, grammatical works, catalogues, newspapers and periodicals. Here are some highlights of the collection:

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