Author Archives: Jessica Edwards

About Jessica Edwards

I’m currently a Marketing Executive in the Gale International Strategic Marketing team. I love the combination of creativity, strategic thinking and project management required in this busy role. Having studied History and English at Durham, it’s a great pleasure to work for a company producing historical archives and literary materials – meandering through Gale’s abundant resources never really feels like work! And to pad out this depiction of me, I can frequently be found running through the Hampshire countryside, and have a strong partiality for coffee cake.

Contention in the British Press: The Rise of Fascism

This is the second of two posts exploring how lively debate and strong clashes of opinion have coloured the British press at certain historical moments. My first post looked at the differing opinions printed prior to, and during, WWI. Firstly, this showed that opinion was split on the likelihood of war in Europe, and then, once Europe had indeed plunged into a long and bitter war, news commentators clashed on the leadership of the British army – a debate which spiralled on in the succeeding decades. (Click here to read the first post.) I’ll now be turning to the broad landscape of opinions and commentary which permeated the British press in response to the rise of fascism. Interestingly, as well as some of the most well-known arguments, this post brings to the fore views which have now been side-lined, discredited or simply eclipsed by modern interpretations. Continue reading

Contention in the British Press: WWI – Likelihood and Leadership

The British press – one of the noisiest, most opinionated and longest-running media institutions in the world – is known for its history of wide-ranging debate and reporting. Encompassing so many digital newspaper archives, the Gale Primary Sources programme offers a comprehensive view of the landscape of opinions and commentary which have featured in the British press at any one time. This makes it a great resource for those studying contemporary opinions about a particularly issue or controversy, or how attitudes have evolved over time. This is the first of two posts looking at how persuasion, debate and clashes of opinion have coloured the British press at particular historical moments; in this case, during the First World War. Next week I’ll be posting about the altercations that arose around the rise of Fascism. As well as some of the most well-known arguments, these posts will bring to the fore views which have now been side-lined, discredited or simply eclipsed by modern interpretations. Continue reading

Rogue Bras to Bogarts: April Fool’s Day in the Media

As I sat down to write a blog post for April 1st, I considered composing something creative, bizarre and downright untrue – as is tradition on April Fool’s Day. Perhaps I should explain that William Shakespeare will now appear in Gale’s Biography in Context as Wally Shakespoon, because it was the great bard’s given name before his publisher recommended he assumed a pen name with more grandeur and authority…Or maybe that State Papers Online will soon include Queen Victoria’s architectural plans to install a hot-tub in Buckingham Palace? My fascination for how and where this humorous tradition originated got the better of me, however, and I decided instead to root around the (real!) Gale resources to find out more about the origins and history of what many of us now call ‘April Fool’s Day’. It quickly became apparent that the answer is somewhat elusive. Not only are there numerous possibilities to negotiate, some explanations were pranks in themselves. Continue reading

Romantic Writing: The History of Valentine’s Cards

Valentine’s Day, occurring this coming weekend in many countries, is an increasingly popular phenomenon worldwide. The date, style and manner of recognising the event can differ greatly by location, but aspects of the tradition can now be found on all continents, and in many places it is associated with the exchange of cards. An article in Gale’s Academic OneFile suggests that, according to the Greeting Card Association, one billion cards are now sent each year, making Valentine’s Day ‘the second-largest card-sending holiday of the year, surpassed only by Christmas.’[1]  Continue reading

Christmas, Daily Mail, 1900

The Commercialisation of Christmas

Undoubtedly, many still appreciate and celebrate the deeply religious roots of Christmas, yet it has also become a commercialised event in many countries today. From mid-November, high-streets are packed with snowflake window stickers, festive deals and cheery Christmas music to entice shoppers into an economically indulgent mood. Yet, despite the general consensus and participation in commercialising Christmas, this is often assumed to be a new phenomenon, part of today’s world. ‘Born to Buy’, an article in Gale’s Academic OneFile, offers an example of such sentiments;

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Alcatraz

Occupying Alcatraz: The Native American Experience Then and Now

Whilst the media widely documents the racial tensions still present in American society, there tends to be greater coverage of the plight of African Americans, leaving other racial and ethnic minorities under-represented. Given that this Friday, 20th November, is an anniversary of the day a group of Native Americans occupied Alcatraz island to highlight what they claimed to be historical and contemporary exploitation of Indian rights by successive governments, it seems opportune to spend time exploring Gale’s databases and archives to find out what occurred 46 years ago, and what it means for Native Americans today. Continue reading

The Figure of Guy Fawkes – Past, Present and Future

Guy Fawkes has become something of an icon in the British psyche; we foster an underlying admiration for the plotter, despite his attempt to orchestrate murder. This is partly based on an innocent relish for royal intrigue and romanticised view of a time of ruffs, candles and pointed shoes. Yet there is a tension between British attitudes towards recent acts of social disorder, terrorism and violent political expression, and our euphemized view of attempted murder in seventeenth-century England. The complexity of our collective memorialisation and current attitude towards the Gunpowder Plot can be explored by charting its development in the Gale archives. Continue reading