Women’s History Month

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

How wonderful is it that following the release of the movie “Hidden Figures,” the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson are now known by millions? Their collective story is an impressive and important one, yet it’s a part of our history that’s been concealed for decades.

What other significant contributions by women are also shielded from view? It’s a joy to uncover these gems, and allow them to inspire other women and girls today. To me, that’s what Women’s History Month is all about—shining a light on the often overlooked contributions made by women throughout history.

Here are just a few, randomly chosen women from today and yesterday whose work and lives are notable. You’ll find them all in Biography In Context, among other Gale resources. As you read about them, you’re bound to discover other interesting women, too!

Maria Tallchief – (1925-2013) Tallchief was the first American-born woman to achieve prima ballerina status at a major dance company; she was also a member of the Osage Nation.

Zora Neale Hurston – (1891-1960) A writer and major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston is a favorite of mine, for both her wonderful writing and her ability to live an unconventional life for women of her era.

Noor Inayat Khan – (1914-1944) This Indian Muslim princess was also a spy for Britain during WWII. Eventually caught and executed by the Nazis, she was posthumously awarded the George Cross from the British government, the highest honour for civilian service in wartime.

Mildred Dresselhaus – (1930-2017) Called the “Queen of Carbon” for her research, physicist Dresselhaus was a woman of many firsts whose work paved the way for the nanotech industry and opened doors for women in science and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dolores Huerta – (1930 – ) A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honor, Huerta is a long-time activist, fearless labour leader, and co-founder of the group that became the United Farm Workers.

Vera Rubin – (1928-2016) Astronomer Rubin verified the existence of dark matter, and was a fierce advocate of women in science. She is also featured in Science In Context.

You can request an In Context trial to explore the biographies of these, and other, influential women.

‘Sporadic riots’ and ‘false reports’ – British Reporting of the 1929 Igbo Women’s War

By Tom Henderson, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
I am a second-year Durham historian, research scholar and Treasurer of Durham University History Society. I use Gale’s archives to enhance my work and interrogate historiography, as well as browsing for fun in newspapers and advertisements (yes, really). My main interests include intellectual history, religion, feminism and music. In the world outside the library I enjoy choral singing, football, and excessive quantities of tea.

In December 1929, British newspapers reported on ‘sporadic riots’ taking place in the British colony of Nigeria, targeting Warrant Chiefs and Native Courts across several districts. This was the Ogu Umunwaanyi or ‘Women’s War’: a coordinated insurrection of Igbo women against British colonial rule, ignited by a fear of taxation.

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“Judge my work not me” Searching for misogyny in literary reviews

By Anna Sikora, Gale Ambassador at NUI Galway
Anna Sikora is a tutor, part-time teacher, and final year PhD student in the Discipline of English, National University of Galway, Ireland. She is examining the works of John Wyndham, author of over 60 short stories and 12 novels, including the famous The Day of The Triffids (1951) and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957). Anna is interested to see when and why science fiction authors began to show an awareness of environmental issues, and how this was demonstrated in their work. She is adopting some of the concepts of environmental criticism (ecocriticism) to ask how environmental concerns are articulated in fiction, and whether literature can, and should, influence our daily environmental choices or the ways in which we interact with the environment.

In the recent movie To Walk Invisible (2016), a biopic depicting the lives of the famous Brontë sisters, Charlotte tells her sisters to publish their work under male pseudonyms. This, the oldest Brontë supposedly reasoned, was to prevent the publishers from judging the authors, and to invite them to judge the story instead. A certain degree of moral indignation prompted some of my students to take Charlotte’s statement as a cue to sweepingly proclaim that none of the Brontë sisters would have been published had they submitted as Anne, Emily and Charlotte. If this were true, said I (a woman), there would have been no literature by women in print until Ms Wolf entered the literary scene. Generalisations and hasty conclusions kill critical thinking, so let’s take a step back and read what was actually written about the early women writers publishing under their real names and literary aliases at the time their works hit the bookshop and library shelves.

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Fashion and the Eighteenth-Century Public Sphere: from Tatler to Twitter

By Daniel Mercieca, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
Daniel Mercieca is an English Literature finalist and President of both the English Literature Society and Bede Film Society at Durham University. His main research interests are imagined spaces in film and screen adaptation, with further interests in memory and motion in twentieth-century and Romantic poetry. Dan enjoys the independence of thought, interdisciplinary and experimental aspects of studying English and aims to achieve an MA in Film and/or Literature. Dan enjoys lyricism and landscapes in the works of Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte Smith and Sylvia Plath. His favourite directors include Alfred Hitchcock, Darren Aranofsky, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan for their suspense, soundtracks and cinematography. If he is not reading books or watching films then he is probably writing, running or trying something new.

‘Since t’is the intent and business of the stage,
To copy out the follies of the age
To hold to every man a glass,
And show him of what species he’s an ass’.[1]
– John Vanbrugh

The sharp, epigrammatic wit of John Vanbrugh’s preface to The Provoked Wife (1697), reflects the theatricality of eighteenth-century audiences and exposes the wider hypocrisy of the ‘Public Sphere’[2]. After the Restoration of Charles II, the New Printing Act (1662) led to a watershed of publishing and print culture in Britain[3]; a society in which political sentiments and private identities bled into each other. The torrent of periodicals, pamphlets and magazines circulated gossip and popular opinion, cultivating a highly self-conscious and extravagant nation.

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The Cook, a Journey, the Queen, and her Husband – a snippet from exiled Jacobite Court history

By Julia de Mowbray
Julia de Mowbray is Publisher at Gale. She finds her job, working with academics, librarians and colleagues in house to research and define new online archives of primary sources, endlessly interesting. When not at work, she can be found in her garden in the country, weeding, digging, or simply sitting in the sun and reading.

While reviewing the content recently loaded into the online archive The Stuart and Cumberland Papers from the Royal Archives Windsor Castle, one document caught my eye: a plan of a journey with daily stops for meals or a night’s rest. Descriptions of journeys and itineraries, plotting out where someone travelled at a particular time, especially from earlier centuries, can transport me back to that time – placing my feet on that road or piazza, in that carriage or train – to experience the same journey in my imagination.

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Newspaper reports on the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade

By Tiria Barnes, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I am currently a third-year History student at the University of Liverpool, hoping to graduate with an extensive knowledge of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and good quality banter. When I’m not in the library plugging Gale’s amazing resources, I am usually in a hipster independent coffee shop sipping on a cheeky chai latte. Some of my passions include Jesus, street dance, and charity shops.

On the 25th of March 1807, the British Parliament passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act which prohibited the carrying of slaves in British ships. While it is important to note that this did not outlaw slavery itself, which came about in 1833 as a result of the Emancipation Act, 1807 was a significant step in the right direction. Two hundred years later, the UK commemorated the bicentenary of the act, and attempted to reflect on the brutality of slavery [1]. Using Gale Primary Sources, I thought it would be interesting to study how this was reported in the media, taking note of the ways in which newspapers depicted the actions taken by the UK as part of the commemoration.

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The ‘Real’ Peaky Blinders of Small Heath, Birmingham

By Megan Murphy, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I’m a third year History student at the University of Liverpool, a Gale Student Ambassador, and a self-proclaimed Jane Austen fanatic. As a modern historian, my main research interests revolve around the development of Victorian cities – particularly the crime and deviance that took place within them. Outside of my studies, in the rare time I spend without my head in a nineteenth-century newspaper, I specialise in binge-watching Louis Theroux documentaries.

The hit BBC drama series Peaky Blinders – which is set in Birmingham and follows the lives of the Shelby brothers and their criminal gang the ‘Peaky Blinders’ – has captivated the minds and imagination (and – thanks to lead star Cillian Murphy – the hearts) of the British public. Given the recent fascination with Birmingham’s criminal underworld that the series has generated, I thought it would be interesting to use Gale Primary Sources to investigate the ‘real’ Peaky Blinders of late nineteenth-century Birmingham.

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Updates to Gale Resources

At Gale, we truly value your feedback, and are always looking to improve our resources in a way that saves time and increases productivity. In response to suggestions and continuous user testing, we are excited to announce that a number of enhancements have been made, providing increased functionality, easier access to our most-used tools, and more.

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La creación de un “personaje”: individualidad y vida universitaria en la obra A este lado del paraíso de F. Scott Fitzgerald

Por Paula Maher Martin, Gale Ambassador en la Universidad NUI Galway
Paula Maher Martín estudia su último año de Literatura Inglesa y Clásicas en la National University of Ireland, en Galway. Interesada en el lenguaje como un medio para reflejar y transcender de manera simultánea la experiencia humana, planea realizar investigación de posgrado en Literatura Inglesa, centrada en la construcción metafísica de la realidad en la literatura modernista. Disfruta leer a Nancy Mitford, Leo Tolstoy, Evelyn Waugh o Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, del viento, de la música del mundo, de vagar inmersa en abstracciones filosóficas, de escribir poesía en clase y de enamorarse de los personajes de los cuadros.

Para leer esta publicación de blog en inglés, haga clic aquí.

Como “un miembro de la ‘Generación perdida’ o una encarnación de juventud y belleza (condenada a desvanecerse)”, así retrató a Francis Scott Fitzgerald el The Times Literary Supplement en 1958. Consolidado como una figura mítica a lo largo del siglo XX, su escritura se sobrepuso con su personaje y reverberó con espumoso champán y caricias de jazz: la dulce indolencia de los años 20. Su primera novela A este lado del paraíso, publicada en 1920, pronto se convirtió en un best-seller. De acuerdo a The Times, en 1921 Fitzgerald ya había vendido 75,000 copias de su opera prima.

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The creation of a ‘personage’: individuality and university life in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise

By Paula Maher Martin, Gale Ambassador at NUI Galway
Paula Maher Martín is a third-year student of English and Classics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Interested in language as a means of simultaneously reflecting and transcending human experience, she plans to do postgraduate research in English, with a focus on the metaphysical construction of reality in Modernist literature. She enjoys reading Nancy Mitford, Leo Tolstoy, Evelyn Waugh or Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, the wind, the music of the world, wandering immersed in philosophical abstractions, writing poetry in lectures and falling in love with characters in paintings. Paula is blogging for Gale in both English and Spanish.

To read this blog in Spanish, click here

A member of the ‘Lost Generation’ or a personification of youth or beauty (doomed to fade), thus is Francis Scott Fitzgerald portrayed in The Times Literary Supplement in 1958. Consolidated as a figure of myth over the 20th century, his writing overlaps with his persona and reverberates with foaming champagne and jazz caresses, the sweet indolence of the 1920s. His first novel, This Side of Paradise, published in 1920, became an instant best-seller; according to The Times, Fitzgerald had already sold 75,000 copies of his opera prima by 1921.

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