Conspiracy Theories in the Archives

Hudson, Christopher. "Murder in the Vatican." Daily Mail, 27 Aug. 1998, p. 11. Daily Mail Historical Archive, 1896-2016

|By Rebecca Bowden, Gale Digital Scholar Lab Product Manager|

Everybody has heard one conspiracy theory or another. Some buy into them wholeheartedly, others mock them and call out their absurdity. Whichever camp you fall into, there is undoubtedly something fascinating about conspiracy theories! They’re akin to the myths and legends that ancient civilisations used to explain the world around them – tales of manipulative gods and hidden cities. Yet one could argue that those civilisations had an “excuse” – they did not have the years of advanced scientific discovery that we now enjoy! Even with this scientific knowledge, however, conspiracy theories still emerge and take hold, often growing ever more elaborate and determined, even whilst they’re being actively discredited.

There are the famous ones: Area 51, accusations that Princess Diana was murdered, that 9/11 was planned by the US Government, that there was a second gunman at the assassination of JFK, or that Kennedy was killed using an umbrella. Or a government plot. The CIA! The Mafia! Fidel Castro! Everyone’s heard of those. Then there are the more unusual conspiracy theories which may be entirely new to you, many of which still have the ability to baffle us with their absurdity. All of them appear within Gale Primary Sources. In this blog post, we delve deeper into the world of conspiracy theories.

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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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Looking for Help Tackling Tough Academic Works? Try These Study Tips.

"You've got this" sign next to laptop

│By Ellen Grace Lesser, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter│

We all do more online today than ever before. With libraries and physical archives shut, eBooks and PDFs now reign supreme in academia. Luckily, it’s not just books which have been digitised, but entire archives – and they are by no means just for historians. I’m a theologian, and below are some ways I have been using Gale Primary Sources in my own academic work. These study tips could help students of numerous subjects puzzle out tough academic arguments!

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