Valentine’s Day for the Broken Hearted

By Maya Thomas, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford
I’m a second-year History student at Oxford University and proud owner of 56 types of loose-leaf tea. My obsession with all things pre-WW2 has leaked from my studies into my free time, which I like to spend researching everything from the intricacies of costume history to the scandalous court life of Byzantium’s Emperor Justinian. Besides nerding out over history, I spend a lot of time debating, and am currently in the fun, (yet headache-inducing) process of setting up an Oxford free discourse society to combat campus censorship.

The weather is cold and grey, but the shops are ablaze with red hearts, sparkly roses and giant teddy bears holding signs reading “I love you”: Valentine’s Day is upon us yet again. Whether you love or hate this centuries-old festival, it cannot be denied that the love it celebrates certainly deserves a day of its own. After all, from Helen of Troy to Tinder, the literary-minded (read: soppy) historian might argue that love, with all its greatness and tragedy, has inspired the culture, art and even politics that have propelled our human story onward.

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Dead Men are Red, Violets are Blue: The Bloody History of St. Valentine’s Day

By Emily Priest, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth
Emily, otherwise known as Emily the Writer, is a Creative and Media Writing (BA Hons) student at Portsmouth University with interests in travel writing and creative marketing. She is also a freelance writer and performance poet. After her degree, she plans to take a Digital Marketing MA and pursue a career in marketing or journalism.

Valentine’s Day is generally known for chocolate, cards and big fluffy hearts, but 90 years ago today the colour red wasn’t for love but blood. In Chicago in 1929, seven members of the Chicago North Side Gang were ambushed, lined up against a wall, then shot in cold blood. Who was responsible? None other than the notorious crime lord Al Capone.

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Queer Progress on the High Seas: Exploring LGBTQ Naval Experiences with the Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History

By Jo Stanley, academic contributor to Gale’s Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History
Dr Jo Stanley FRHistS, FRSA, is a creative historian who is internationally acclaimed for her work exploring seafaring minorities. A Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Liverpool John Moores University, her blog is http://genderedseas.blogspot.com and her website is at www.jostanley.biz. She lives very happily in a Pennine mill village, where she is a part-time textile artist and gym bunny.

Having a rainbow at your fingertips is more than handy – it’s a luxurious necessity. So the publication of Gale’s Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History is something I celebrate. It will be extremely satisfying for those who want to quickly find out what so many reference works have previously omitted about LGBTQ history.

Read moreQueer Progress on the High Seas: Exploring LGBTQ Naval Experiences with the Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History

Sex! … and Sexuality, and Gender

By Phil Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Gale
Phil Virta has worked at Gale for more than fourteen years in various capacities, most recently as a publisher of digital primary source archives in charge of the Archives of Sexuality & Gender programme. He enjoys long walks through dusty archival collections, visiting far-flung places and frequent woolgathering. When he doesn’t have his head in the clouds, he can be found researching new archive ideas, working on his stamp collection, watching squirrels, or planning his next tropical vacation.

Please be aware that this blog post contains content that may be offensive to some readers; the decision to read the post is at your own discretion.

Mention the word ‘sex’ while you’re chatting with anyone and you’re likely to get a variety of responses from rational to emotional to visceral, depending on whom you are speaking to:

“Did you just say ‘sex’?”
[Lewd laughter]
“I’m so embarrassed right now that I’m blushing.”
“Ewwww!”
“I’m a doctor; we can have a frank discussion.”
“What about sex?”

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‘Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century’ – a new archive packed with EXTREMELY useful sources which can RADICALLY change your thinking!

By Lily Cratchley, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham
I am a second-year student at the University of Birmingham currently completing a joint honours degree in English Literature and American and Canadian Studies. This multidisciplinary course allows me to study varying aspects of modern American literature, history and culture as well as old English writing, including poetry by Wyatt and plays by Shakespeare. In term-time I love to keep myself busy by volunteering for a society that helps local, disadvantaged children, preparing for a year abroad in North America, visiting the attractions that England’s second city has to offer with friends, and, of course, working as a Gale Ambassador.

Are you a budding politician or historian, intrigued with all things politically radical and extreme? Or perhaps you’re just faced with the need to write a lengthy dissertation, and are worried by your seemingly limited quantity of primary sources? Either way, Gale’s new archive, Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century, may be of extreme (pardon the pun!) interest to you.

Read more‘Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century’ – a new archive packed with EXTREMELY useful sources which can RADICALLY change your thinking!

Turbulent Times: A look back on the European Community Membership Referendum of 1975

"European Community." Times, 7 Oct. 1975, p. IV+. The Times Digital Archive, Accessed 27 Jan. 2019

By James Garbett, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter
I’m a third-year English student at the University of Exeter. I’m a huge fan of all things film, theatre and journalism, whilst also continuing to examine the changing forms of masculinity within Gender Studies. When not attempting to play drums, you can find me interviewing various individuals of the music and film world and working for the student newspaper, radio and television station.

As the situation regarding Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union continues to unfold, it’s intriguing to glance back several decades, to when Britain had just entered the European Economic Community in 1973 under the Conservative government. The question poised to the public in 1975 – whether or not to withdraw – was the first national referendum ever held throughout the entire United Kingdom. It’s fascinating to note the parallels between these two distinctive times in British history using Gale Primary Sources such as The Times and The Daily Mail archives.

Read moreTurbulent Times: A look back on the European Community Membership Referendum of 1975

Who is the Founder of Modern Singapore?

By Vanessa Tan, Editorial Assistant with Gale Asia
Hi! My name is Vanessa and I’m currently working as an Editorial Assistant in Gale’s Asia team. Prior to this, I read English Literature at the Nanyang Technological University, where I took an interest in Modernism and Asian Studies. Outside of working hours, you may catch me obsessing over a Kubrick/Linklater film while chowing down all types of ice cream to fight Singapore’s everlasting summer.

In 2019, Singapore will commemorate her bicentenary since the landing of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781–1826) on the island on 28 January 1819. Raffles’ name now stretches beyond the widely known narrative of the nation-state’s genesis. Today, the name carries pomp and prestige—Raffles City and Raffles Hotel are both prominent landmarks situated in the richest areas of Singapore, while Raffles Institution remains the highest-ranked secondary educational institution in the country, having produced many of the country’s top-performing scholars and politicians.

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In Support of Golfing Traditions: Exploring the roots of amateur and professional golf competitions with Gale Primary Sources

FOX'S ROUGH GUIDE TO THE OPEN, Financial Times, 29th June 2015, Financial Times Historical Archive, http://tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/8qHaZ9

By Matt Chivers, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I’m Matt Chivers and I am in my third and final year studying History at the University of Liverpool. I am obsessed with golf and regrettably even more obsessed about football. But at school, History took my interest; throughout sixth form and university I have loved studying the Cold War and for my dissertation, the nuclear arms race. I am keen to pursue a career in sports writing and journalism – I couldn’t think of anything better than being paid to watch and write about the biggest sporting events in the world! I like film and, much like most people nowadays, I tend to binge-watch a series or two.

The picture above shows Jordan Spieth after his victory at the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay. Spieth has become a fan favourite since bursting on to the scene in 2014 and is an example of a player who excelled at the amateur level of the game. The humble beginnings of amateur golf are arguably where professional golfers look back to with the most fondness, remembering the traditions of the sport and the importance of the education that amateur golf provides. Today golf is marred with obsessions of technology, how far one can hit the ball, and making courses harder to provide the ultimate challenge for the professional players. These developments raise questions of what essence of tradition is left in the game.

Read moreIn Support of Golfing Traditions: Exploring the roots of amateur and professional golf competitions with Gale Primary Sources

Suomi mainittu! – Finland in American News in the Late Nineteenth Century

Pauli Kettunen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki
I am a second-year student in a programme ambitiously titled ‘Society and Change’ – there is not enough space to describe it here, if you had started wondering! At the university, my main interests are in Political History, in addition to all the other things concerning the history of civil society. In my free time I like cooking, reading, exercising, complaining about politics, and gaming. My latest addiction is reading science fiction by Alastair Reynolds.

Primary sources are essential to the study and research of history, but most of the time students only read textbooks, journal articles, and other academic material. It is, of course, important to study what has been researched, but with such sources the history has already been written out. To my fortune, I took a course in which an essay had to be based on physical archival sources, so I have been to the National Archives of Finland, to inspect material for it. Browsing propaganda leaflets from the 1940s was fascinating, and I decided I wanted to be able to formulate my own interpretations again, and not only rely on texts written by others.

Read moreSuomi mainittu! – Finland in American News in the Late Nineteenth Century

‘New Year, New Me?’ Late 19th and Early 20th Century New Year’s Resolutions

By Maya Thomas, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford
I’m Maya Thomas, a second-year History student at Oxford University and proud owner of 56 types of loose-leaf tea. My obsession with all things pre-WW2 has leaked from my studies into my free time, which I like to spend researching everything from the intricacies of costume history to the scandalous court life of Byzantium’s Emperor Justinian. Besides nerding out over history, I spend a lot of time debating, and am currently in the fun, (yet headache-inducing) process of setting up an Oxford free discourse society to combat campus censorship.

‘This time next year, I’ll be healthier!’ ‘I’m finally going to finish writing my novel!’ ‘2019 will be my year!’ As the Christmas cheer fades, and the dull, guilty feelings of overeating, overspending and oversleeping start to set in, New Year’s resolutions such as these seem to make their appearance in every conversation we have. In those cold, quiet last days of December, our attention turns from the nostalgic traditions of Christmas to the promise of newness and change on New Year’s Eve.

Read more‘New Year, New Me?’ Late 19th and Early 20th Century New Year’s Resolutions