An Interdisciplinary Treasure Chest: The Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection

│By Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr., Graphic Designer, Editor and Writer responsible for the Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection│

More than fifty years have passed since the rebellion of American youth during the 1960s that became known as the Counterculture. Now, this exciting and colourful movement is the subject of Gale Primary Sources’ Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection, which is part of their new digital archive Power to the People: Counterculture, Social Movements and the Alternative Press, Nineteenth to Twenty-First Century. The digital collection contains a unique mix of printed material – pamphlets, publications, periodicals and more – that captures the diversity, creativity and impact of individuals and small groups that emerged during this intense time.

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Dissecting the Value of Photographic Histories with the Picture Post Historical Archive

Montage created from sources in the Picture Post archive

│By Phoebe Sleeman, Gale Ambassador at Durham University│

Photographs are something we all now regularly take for granted. I have already taken a multitude of pictures today – some carefully crafted, others on the spur of the moment. What does this seemingly mundane and ordinary act of photographing bring to a study of history, and why should photographs be included within archives?

Photographs are not normative written sources which leads some to be sceptical of their historical value. Others assert that photographs contain less historical bias as they show the reality of what occurred in the past. Neither of these attitudes are helpful. Instead, using Gale’s Picture Post Historical Archive, an example of the intersection of photography, writing and the beginning of photojournalism, I will dissect the value of ‘Photographic Histories’ as an area of study and assess the usefulness of such an archive.

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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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The Wrath of Mountains: Explaining Volcanic Eruptions from the Late Eighteenth Century to the Modern Day

“The Straits of Sunda: Terrible Volcanic Eruption.” Illustrated London News, 8 Sept. 1883, p. 229. The Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003

By Amelie Bonney, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford

On December 9, 2019, the deadly volcanic eruption of Mount Whakaari in New Zealand sparked new discussions over risk assessment in volcanic regions. While sudden volcanic eruptions make it difficult for scientists to assess risks in such areas, the belief that eruptions can be predicted thanks to science also leads to increasingly hazardous activities such as tourism in dangerous volcanic regions. How and why have humans become so intrepid when it comes to volcanoes?

The Gale Primary Sources archives provide not only newspaper articles but also a range of valuable monographs and visual sources, ranging from drawings to photographs, which allow us to investigate how our understanding and perception of volcanic eruptions has changed over the last few centuries. The sources demonstrate that the scientific community’s investigations led to the emergence of new understandings of dangerous volcanic eruptions from the late eighteenth century onwards. Paradoxically, scientific explanations of volcanic eruptions created a heightened sense of danger but also led to an increase in risk-taking behaviour.

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