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.

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

‘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

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

Harry Potter: a world of new imaginings

By Tania Chakraborti, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
Tania is a Gale student ambassador and final year English Literature and History student at Durham University. During her time at Durham she has engaged with student journalism, student theatre, and is currently President of the English Literature Society. She finds Gale’s resources invaluable to her studies and is currently using them to explore a dissertation on Winston Churchill’s rhetoric towards India.

Since 1997 when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published, the Harry Potter series has sold over 500 million copies across the globe, making it the best-selling book series of all time. Of course, I don’t need to tell you this, the wide-reaching influence of Harry Potter is apparent enough for all to see: with a multi-billion-dollar film franchise, a West End Show and even a theme park at Universal Studios Florida, this magical world is clearly subsumed into a mode of popular culture. Any attempt at a brand new interpretation of Harry’s exciting venture into the world of wizardry seems old news, even impossible. Yet, through utilising Gale’s impressive wealth of resources, novel, innovative and informative interpretations of the well-known books can still provide fresh takes on the series.

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Being Creative in an Academic World

Being Creative in an Academic World

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.

When I tell people that I am studying a Creative Writing degree, they always look at me with squinted eyes, furrowed brows and a twisted mouth that questions, ‘does such a thing exist?’ It is a relatively new degree, and only a few universities in the UK offer it, but surely it isn’t that strange? When I get this reaction, I think people are more confused by why it exists – and its place within the academic world.

Creative Writing seems to live on the fringe of academia. Although creative writing students read as much as any other, there is less focus on journals and articles and more on prose and poetry. Our submissions include short stories or poetry rather than long essays and our marking criteria relies on subjective opinion. It’s certainly fun but seems less serious. This poses the question – where do us writers fit within the academic world? Can we even fit in it at all?

Read moreBeing Creative in an Academic World

Unwrapping the Beauty of Bournville

Beautiful Bournville

By Lily Cratchley, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham
I am a second-year student at the University of Birmingham currently completing my 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.

Located just a ten-minute walk from Birmingham’s most populous student housing area, Selly Oak, the village of Bournville – one of the first model villages in England – stands as a rare chunk of living history within the bustling city. Efforts to preserve the charm and wellbeing of the village are organised by volunteers, while the old chocolate factory has been transformed into a tourist attraction named after the man who envisioned and created the beauty of Bournville, ‘Cadbury World’.

Read moreUnwrapping the Beauty of Bournville

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