Category Archives: Editorial

What will defy, embrace or become a disruption in scholarly publishing?

Thoughts from BookMachine’s latest event ‘Scholarly Publishing: Crossing the Rubicon’
The Jam Factory, Oxford, 7 September 2017

Last Thursday, as I trundled slowly towards Oxford (kicking myself for accidentally catching a slow train – who knew there were quite so many stations between Reading and Oxford?!) I wondered what was in store at BookMachine’s latest event, ‘Scholarly Publishing: Crossing the Rubicon’. The venue, The Jam Factory, Oxford, was alive with conversation and had a very welcoming atmosphere. Winding my way through tables of busily socialising people, I found the room where the discussion was taking place.

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Jazz-Original-Dixieland-Jazz-Band-elegantly-attired-(2)

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Centenary of the first Jazz record

In New Orleans, Jazz began its history around 1895 with the cornetist Buddy Bolden, whom Adrian Troy called Jazz’s first great exponent.[1] Bolden was depicted by Michael Ondaatje in his 1976 novella Coming through Slaughter as a jazz pioneer, struggling with alcoholic psychosis. Writing in The Times in 1992, Clive Davis also named Bolden the first legendary New Orleans jazz figure – legendary in that unlikely tales surround his mythical status, such as that ‘on certain nights, his playing could be heard miles away.’[2] Unfortunately, no recordings of Bolden are known to exist and despite the allure of rumored cylinder recordings dating to 1894 we only have the likes of Ondaatje’s novella to evoke the sound of one of the world’s first Jazz icons.[3] Continue reading

‘So complex and vital an organ’: 65 Years Since the First Successful Open Heart Surgery

Sixty-five years ago this week, on the 2nd September 1952, surgeons at the University of Minnesota, Floyd John Lewis (1916-1993) and Walton Lillehei (1918-1999), made medical history by performing the first successful open heart surgery. It was a milestone in cardiac surgery – as little as 25 years earlier, such an operation would have been seen as practically impossible. What developments in medical practice led to this landmark?

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The eruption of Krakatoa, August 1883: the first global media event

On August 26th 1883, Krakatoa erupted. Not, of course, out of a clear blue sky; ash columns and steam plumes had been filling the sky over the island and its archipelago for days, the area had been experiencing tremors and earthquakes for years, and smaller explosions had been throwing up ash, changing the tides and, presumably, worrying the locals for months.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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