Robert Hart and the Chinese Maritime Customs Service

Richard Horowitz is a Professor of History at California State University. Trained as a historian of modern China, he subsequently developed a second specialization in the emerging field of World History. His research explores the intersection of China and processes of global integration from the 1820s to the 1920s. He teaches courses on China, Japan, World History, and historical methods.

This is an excerpt from an essay by Professor Richard S. Horowitz entitled “The Chinese Maritime Customs Service, 1854–1949: An Introduction”.

For almost a century, the Chinese Maritime Customs Service played a central role in the relationship between China and the global economy. The Customs Service was part of the Chinese Government, but it was led by foreigners. Technically, its role was limited to ensuring the accurate assessment of Customs duties (taxes on imports and exports). However, over time, it became involved in many activities including the maintenance of harbors and lighthouses, the payment of foreign loans, the preparation of a very wide range of published reports, and the provision of technical assistance to the Chinese Government. Customs officials were often involved in diplomatic discussions and served as informal intermediaries between Chinese officials and foreign representatives.

Continue reading

A History of Golf with Gale Primary Sources

By Craig Pett
Craig Pett is based in Melbourne as Gale’s Research Collections Specialist in Australia. Craig promotes Gale’s Primary Sources collections to University and State Libraries in New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, and sells other Gale databases to public libraries and schools. Craig is also an independent researcher in his own right, with a specialty on Jonathan Swift and eighteenth-century Anglo-Irish affairs.

Golf has a long and rich history, with countless books having been written on the origins and development of the game. But if a new history was to be written today with the help of Gale Primary Sources, how much would our knowledge be improved? My suspicion is that it would be improved a good deal, for even a relatively short period of research using Gale Primary Sources unearths thousands of interesting references to golf from the fifteenth century forward, many of which may never have been seen before. Here follows a select sample of the references to golf in the Gale historical collections that could potentially give us a better appreciation of the history of the game and the role it has played in society.

Continue reading

Unearth the Story Behind The Riveting New Channel 4 Series, The Handmaid’s Tale

By Traci Cothran. Traci is a manager in Gale’s Database Program in the US and a history buff, so she can often be found watching videos from the early 1900s in Gale’s World History In Context.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a new TV series on Channel 4 in the UK, and it’s getting a lot of attention. The Guardian calls it a “timely adaptation [that] scares with dystopian dread.” USA Today dubs it “a wake-up call for women.” James Poniewozik from The New York Times says, “It is unflinching, vital and scary as hell.”

Continue reading

The World’s Fair Set to Return to the US!

By Kevin Kohls, Associate Marketing Manager – Academic, Gale USA

Earlier this month, US President Trump signed the “U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act” into law, setting the stage for Minnesota to make its case to host the Fair in 2023. If Minnesota is successful in securing the honor of hosting the World’s Fair it would be the first World’s Fair in the United States in almost 40 years. The last World’s Fair on US soil took place in New Orleans in 1984 and proved to be financially ruinous for the organizers. There was an attempt to bring the fair to Chicago in 1992 but the plan was cancelled before it ever came to fruition.

Continue reading

Amelia Earhart – Mystery Solved?

By Mark Mikula
Mark Mikula is a senior content developer for several of Gale’s history databases. In his travels, he has attended numerous film and theatre festivals; the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut; and the oldest consecutively held Fourth of July celebration in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA.

History is a dynamic field of study. New discoveries and ongoing research often provide opportunities to learn new facts about the people and events that have shaped our world. One of American history’s long-standing mysteries regards the fate of the storied aviator Amelia Earhart, whose plane went missing in 1937 during her attempt to circumnavigate the world with navigator Fred Noonan. Various theories regarding her disappearance have been put forward, but a few years ago, a photograph was discovered in the National Archives that is being analysed to determine whether its subjects include both Earhart and Noonan on one of the Marshall Islands. If their likenesses can be confirmed, it will add credence to speculation that Earhart and Noonan survived after their plane went down.

Continue reading

The Neutral’s Favourite: North Korea in the 1966 World Cup

If you have ever met an English football fan, you will understand why the year 1966 is inscribed into the cultural memory. World Cup tournaments are generally remembered for three things: the winning team, the star players, and the surprise package that the neutral fans get behind. While England’s victory and Eusebio’s brilliance provide the first two, the third – the North Korean team – has been lost to history.

Continue reading

Tears, Cheers, The Archers, and Soy Sauce: The Hong Kong Handover of 1997

By Masaki Morisawa, Senior Product Manager, writing from our Gale Asia hub in Tokyo.

“History is not just a matter of dates. What makes history is what comes before and what comes after the dates that we all remember.” Chris Patten.

It will have been exactly twenty years, this coming weekend, since Chris Patten, the 28th and last British Governor of Hong Kong, gave his memorable speech at the ceremony marking the handover of the former British colony to China. Perhaps there was a tacit acknowledgment in Patten’s words that, actually, the Hong Kong handover was all about dates. Were it not for the clock ticking on the 99-year lease deadline for the New Territories, it is doubtful that the handover would have been negotiated as speedily and peacefully as it was.

Continue reading

Exploring Coverage of Historic Terror Attacks in the News Using Gale Primary Sources

By Anita Klich, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth, UK

As well as being a Gale Ambassador, I am a Student Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth where I study Journalism and Media Studies. I’m graduating this year and hope to work in the fields of journalism, public relations or digital marketing next year. Some of my many interests are art, learning foreign languages and psychology. I have a passion for broadening my knowledge, and want to promote Gale resources as they give people the opportunity to explore history, which is a key element of research in every field of study.

On 7 July 2005, four suicide bombers launched attacks in London, killing 52 people and injuring many more. Since then, the government has tightened national security to avoid further incidents of this kind. Unfortunately, over a decade later, the United Kingdom has again become a target for terrorists. In such difficult times, the media’s influence is especially significant, as the selection of stories and tone of the news can construct the public agenda and shape people’s views and opinions. To understand and observe the changes that have occurred in the news coverage of terror attacks in recent times, it is helpful to examine news articles from the first, biggest terrorist attack in London. I was able to explore coverage of the 7 July 2005 bombings in Gale Primary Sources. Continue reading

Vive La Baker

Vive La Baker

The International Herald Tribune, the latest periodical to be digitised for Gale Primary Sources, was the quintessential American newspaper – published in Paris. It was founded in 1887 by James Gordon Bennett Jr., who had left America for Paris under a cloud after he socially disgraced himself. (The story goes he ruined a party at his then-fiancée’s house in New York by relieving himself in the fireplace.) He consoled himself for the loss of his fiancée with both his wealth and Paris, where he established the European edition of the New York Herald. It was the paper for jet-setters and wealthy American visitors to Europe, catering to the transatlantic elite of Gilded Age Paris – it was the paper of the most romantic city in the world. From its inception, it focused on entertainment, sport, celebrity and international news. It helped shape the identities of American expats, catered to GIs who stayed on after WWII, and cultivated an image of glamour and luxury: it provided an all-American edit of French chic. Continue reading

50 years ago today: celebrating the anniversary of ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’

“Garner, Richard, Education Editor. “‘Sgt Pepper’ guaranteed to raise a smile on GCSE syllabus.” Independent, 14 May 2015, p. 15. The Independent Digital Archive, tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/4rQeL0. © Independent Print Limited”

It was 50 years ago this week that The Beatles issued their ground-breaking album, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The third biggest-selling album in the UK (and the top-selling when compilation albums are removed) [1] it remains one of the most influential and recognised albums 50 years after its release (although personally, I prefer Revolver). I took a look back through the collections in Gale Primary Sources to see what I could find out about this iconic album.

Continue reading