Exploring the History of America with American Historical Periodicals from the American Antiquarian Society

│By Philip Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor│

What is the American Antiquarian Society and Where Did it All Begin?

Isaiah Thomas (not the basketball player) was a printer, publisher, and a patriot. He fought as a Minuteman at the battles of Lexington and Concord, and published the Massachusetts Spy in support of the American Revolution. Thomas appreciated information in all its printed formats (this was the early 1800’s, so no television, radio, internet, cell phones, etc.) and began to save what he could get his hands on. Eventually, in 1812, he founded the American Antiquarian Society to house his growing collection.

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New Environmental History Archive: Colonial Policy and Global Development, 1896-1993

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

What does Environmental History mean to you?

On sitting down to write a brief explanation of what environmental history is, I have spent the last twenty minutes staring into space thinking about Pando. Pando is, as I’m sure the sophisticated and well-travelled audience of this blog will know, the largest and heaviest living organism on earth. Pando covers 100 acres and is around 10,000 years old. That means that when Pando first began its long, slow life, there were woolly mammoth and sabre-toothed cats still living, although increasingly finding their parties a little light on company.

Pando is a tree. It is a quaking aspen in Utah; in appearance it is over 45,000 individual quaking aspens, but below ground it has a single root system. Each ‘tree’ is a clone of its neighbours, a stem of one single organism. And it is on my mind because I am trying to think of a pithy way to describe environmental history, an area of study where many different disciplines and topics meet, connected at their roots as different expressions of one phenomenon: human interaction with the natural world.

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Exploring Community and Identity in Sexuality and Gender History – Archives of Sexuality and Gender: Community and Identity in North America

│By Phil Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor│

Queer history is full of groups and individuals that took a stand against injustices, fought to change discriminatory laws, advocated for acceptance, and spoke out for those who might otherwise remain marginalized.  Studying this history can inspire and educate us as we face ongoing challenges in society such as homophobia, transphobia, attacks on women’s rights, and a willingness to eliminate any mention of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Archives of Sexuality and Gender: Community and Identity in North America (ASG VI) offers interesting perspectives on society, sexual identity, community building, and gender issues.  It presents a history of North American society with materials that cover activism, social justice issues, disabilities, women’s rights, alternative sexualities, sexuality and religion, and ethnic communities.  The collections detail how identities developed in different social conditions, and how communities grew around dedicated, sometimes courageous, individuals and organized groups.

In this venture Gale Primary Sources has partnered with the ArQuives, Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives; the GLBT Historical Society; the Elihu Burritt Library (Central Connecticut State University); and Colegio de México, which represents Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  This archive comprises 28 collections that provide a personal historical perspective, helping researchers get to know the individuals and groups involved. 

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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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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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The First Module in Gale’s Environmental History Series – Conservation and Public Policy in America, 1870-1980

│By Lindsay Whitaker-Guest, Associate Editor│

In the summer of 2023, four alarming global climate records were broken: the hottest day on record globally; the hottest June on record; the warmest global ocean temperatures in May, June, and July; and the lowest recorded level of Antarctic sea-ice. One could not turn on the television or look at a news website without seeing images of harrowing wildfires in Europe, Hawaii and Canada or the devastating typhoon in East Asia. As I sat sweltering on a Sardinian beach during heatwave Charon in late July, my thoughts echoed those from all over the globe, is the Earth now in a climate crisis? And how did we get here?  

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Decolonisation in the British Empire in Asia: The Malayan Emergency and Singapore

│By Dr Lucy Dow, Gale Content Researcher│

The recently published State Papers Online Colonial: Asia, Part I: Far East, Hong Kong, and Wei-Hai-Wei spans over four hundred years of British Colonial Office files, from the 1550s to 1970s. Britain’s colonial rule in Asia took various forms through the period and within different territories, with varying degrees of control, from local autonomy apart from defence and foreign relations, to full British administration. While some local people benefited from their involvement with the British, many colonised peoples suffered and resented colonial rule. This resentment led to resistance to British colonial authority, in various ways and to differing extents from territory to territory.

In the twentieth century, and particularly following the complete failure of the British to protect the local communities from Japanese invasion during the Second World War, the cumulative effect of this resistance, combined with other geopolitical factors, led to the rapid reduction in the size of British Empire, as former colonies secured their independence in what is now referred to as the period of decolonisation. The primary sources in this online archive document this change in the political landscape of Asia and Britain, as explored in the examples below.

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