Honouring Madam C.J. Walker: Using Gale Primary Sources to Represent Black Women’s Resistance to Racist American Beauty Standards

│By Tabetha Wood, Gale Ambassador at Durham University│

As I approach the final term of my history degree, I feel particularly passionate about the empowerment of minority groups through a representation of their past experiences. I saw my dissertation as an opportunity to fuel this passion and by investigating the ‘whiteness’ of American beauty standards between 1945-60, I represented the adversity African American women encountered in this realm, an obstacle that women of colour continue to face today.

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The Warrior Queen: Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi

│By Carolyn Beckford, Gale Product Trainer│

For Women’s History Month, I wanted to highlight a woman that many of us have probably not heard of before. Sure, we know about Cleopatra, the Dahomey Warriors, Boudica, Nana Yaa Asantewaa, Joan of Arc, and maybe even Njinga, but have you ever heard of Rani Lakshmibai?

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Uncovering a History of Disabilities: Disabilities in Society, Seventeenth to Twentieth Century

│By Philip Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor

Disability studies is a growing field in academia that examines disability as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon.  Seeing how far we have come as a society in terms of equal rights for people with disabilities is heartening, yet how has disability been viewed both historically and contemporarily?

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Concepts of ‘the Nation’ in Britain and Beyond

│By Jess Briony Hodgson, Gale Ambassador at the University of Sheffield│

Britain has always had a complex identity historically speaking – from Alfred the Great and the nature of medieval kingdoms, through to the fallout from Brexit, the way in which Britons conceptualise their nation and nationality has always been changing – and this makes primary source work all the more interesting.

When using primary sources such as those found in Gale’s digital archives, one main challenge is removing our own understandings of ‘the nation’ from the equation, so we can properly analyse the information and make accurate interpretations and comparisons. One space in which we can see a microcosm of all these changes is print media, particularly newspapers, which will have (for the most part) aimed to capture readers’ opinions and concerns, highlighting the changes in concepts such as the nation.

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Exploring the Inspiration for Romanticism: Was it a Counter-Enlightenment? 

│By Isabelle Partridge, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter│

Emotion, nature and individualism are some of the key themes of Romanticism. This cultural movement became popular in Western Europe during the late eighteenth century and was expressed primarily through art and literature. However, the major intellectual movement which preceded Romanticism was the Enlightenment, during which philosophers emphasised rationalism in the pursuit of knowledge. Thus, Romanticism has often been posed as an opposite reaction to the Enlightenment.

Through using Gale Primary Sources, I have gained access to a number of notable works from the Romantic period, from paintings to poems, as well as the opportunity to explore how these works have been perceived since their initial creation. Primary sources highlight how Romanticism was a dynamic and varied movement. Romanticism responded not only to the Enlightenment, but the many political and social developments, such as revolution and industrialization, which had created a backdrop for the turn of the nineteenth century. 

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Using Gale Historical Newspapers to Highlight Marginalised Voices in Journalism 

│By Amelia Jean-Marie Meade, Gale Ambassador at the University College London│

Journalism, like many other fields of work, is broadly based around the investigation of a conflict or event, its documentation, and its analysis. It can take several forms including video, radio, and written. But what distinguishes journalistic writing from other writing styles is that it is specifically intended for public reception and consumption. Therefore, the term journalism is often associated with large-scale news and popular media outlets like national newspapers and broadcasting channels. Whilst this narrative is somewhat reflective of the field, it is also slightly misleading. This is because it does not properly account for non-traditional forms of journalism or the historically marginalised groups who make and have made interesting journalistic contributions. This blogpost will illuminate some examples using the Gale Historical Newspapers collection with the intention of challenging stereotypical notions of what journalism is and who can do journalism.

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Researching the History of Shanghai Between the 1830s and 1950s

|By Liping Yang, Senior Manager, Academic Publishing, Gale|

November 2023 marks the 180th anniversary of Shanghai being opened to foreign trade in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Nanjing and the Treaty of the Bogue, which were signed after the First Opium War between China and Britain.

Coincidentally, in the same month, Gale Primary Sources rolled out a thematic digital archive that features the history of Shanghai. Titled China and the Modern World: Records of Shanghai and the International Settlement, 1836–1955, this new archive provides an extraordinary primary source collection vital to understanding and researching the social, political, and economic history of the Anglo-America-dominated yet highly globalised International Settlement in Shanghai, as well as the history of modern China.

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Baking Through Time: Gale’s Food History Bake Off!

│By Lucy Dow, Associate Acquisitions Editor and Cheryl Moody, Marketing Manager│

The recently published Archives Unbound collection Food History: Printed and Manuscript Recipe Books 1669-1990 contains 36 manuscript recipe books and 328 printed recipe books from the Winterthur Library and Museum in Delaware. The majority of the books are in English, with a few in French and German. The published volumes come from the UK, USA, France and Germany; the manuscript volumes are, most likely, from the UK and USA.

Thrilled to be releasing this exciting new archive collection, we ran a historical baking competition between Gale staff in which the unique and illuminating primary sources piqued the interest of colleagues in numerous departments within Gale. And thus arose Gale’s inaugural Food History Bake Off!

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Exploring the State Papers Online Colonial module about Singapore, East Malaysia, and Brunei

|By Julia de Mowbray, Publisher at Gale |

September 2023 marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Lee Kuan Yew (1923—2015), the founder of the People’s Action Party, Prime Minister of Singapore between 1959 and 1990, and a Member of the Singapore Parliament until his death in 2015. This month also sees the launch of State Papers Online Colonial: Asia, Part II: Singapore, East Malaysia and Brunei, the digitisation of the British Colonial Office files documenting the Colonial Office’s activities in these territories until independence. The coincidence is poignant as Lee Kuan Yew founded the People’s Action Party to fight for independence from colonial rule, and led Singapore first to independence from the British, then from Malaysia, and on to an envied economic and social success story.

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The Silk Road Yesterday and Today in Gale Digital Resources

Historic map of China Silk Road

|By Emery Pan, Gale Asia Associate Development Editor in Beijing |

The year 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A decade ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road” in September and October 2013, respectively, which have since evolved into what is now known as the BRI.

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