Daniel and I are both keen on History – and food! The events currently taking place throughout the UK to celebrate British Food Fortnight led us to consider what actually constitutes ‘British Food’. Of course, in one sense the phrase describes food produced in Britain, but it could also mean the food eaten most regularly in the UK, and entrenched in British culture, which equates to a very different interpretation of ‘British Food’. Many of the meals most commonly eaten in Britain today have been introduced from foreign shores. We decided to explore the development of the modern British palate in the Gale archives, and unearthed historical references to both foreign and native recipes – as well as learning how both have solidified their reputation and popularity in British food culture. And to add an amusing twist, we thought we’d rustle up a few dishes under the guidance of these historical recipes…! Continue reading →
When reading through some documents contained within the State Papers’ SP94 (Spain) series recently, I was struck by some parallels between early-eighteenth century diplomatic relations and those of our current post-‘Brexit’ times. There is palpable tension in Anglo-Spanish relations from the letters exchanged between British Ambassador to Spain Paul Methuen and James Stanhope, Secretary of State for the Southern Department.
More broadly, this was a time of flux for European relations, with 1713 marking the end of what has been termed the first ‘global’ war: the War of Spanish Succession. Lasting for thirteen years, the war placed greater strain on European ties. Developing from a dispute over the succession of the Spanish throne when King Carlos II died childless in 1700 (leaving the Bourbon, Philippe Duc d’Anjou as his heir), England, Austria, and the Dutch Republic could not countenance a Franco-Spanish alliance dominating Europe. They therefore rejected the proposed succession by declaring war. After a thirteen-year campaign, the 1713 treaty concluding the war confirmed the succession of Philippe as Felipe V of Spain. As those letters show though, this succession prompted a re-evaluation of Anglo-Spanish trade arrangement. Continue reading →
By Roberta Giubilini & Puneeta Sharma, The Royal Archives
The Royal Archives was founded in 1914 and is a private archive which offers public access to historical papers for educational purposes and academic study, while protecting the personal private papers of The Queen and members of The Royal Family. Access to the Archives is the responsibility of the Keeper of The Queen’s Archives and this authority is exercised on a day-to-day basis by the Librarian as the Assistant Keeper of The Queen’s Archives. The archival collection reflects the changing world and the monarchy’s relationship to it, and contains, among its significant collection, the papers of the last Stuarts in exile, George III, George IV, and those of later monarchs and members of the Royal Family, including the correspondence and journals of Queen Victoria.
The Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, is home to an extensive collection of documents related to the Royal Family and the British Monarchy spanning over 250 years. There are two collections, which are the focal point of a current project: namely the papers of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, and the papers of the exiled Stuarts. The project consists of the surveying, conservation and digitisation of these papers, which the Royal Archives are carrying out in collaboration with Gale, a part of Cengage Learning who have employed UK Archiving to undertake the scanning. Continue reading →
On Wednesday night the BBC premiered Canal+’s lavish new period drama, Versailles. Always a sucker for period dramas, I looked forward to this one especially as I had no idea of the plot beforehand so the drama was a complete surprise, and I had very fond memories of a trip to the real Versailles as a student. Home of Louis XIV, the Sun King, Versailles was the seat of French government for most of the 18th Century, and if the TV show is to be believed, was the centre of much political intrigue.
By Jen Manion Jen Manion, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History and Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Connecticut College. Manion is author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and co-editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (Routledge, 2004). Jen has also published essays in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Journal of the Early Republic, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and Radical History Review.
Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920 is a trove of material for scholars and students interested in the history of gender, gender expression, and sexuality. Criminal accounts provide an illustrative window into the culture of the time by highlighting the lives, actions, and motives of those who crossed the line of so-called acceptable behavior. Women’s participation in illicit activities such as theft, robbery, assault, or murder were generally sensationalized in both trial and newspaper records, giving such accounts a sexual tinge no matter how seemingly mundane. The range of source material—from newspaper accounts to trial manuscripts to organizational records to sensational dime novels—allows readers to approach a singular topic from different perspectives. Historians can examine the treatment of people along lines of race, class, and gender, or chart changes in such regulations over time. Continue reading →
American Fiction, 1774-1920, released this week from Gale, brings over 17,750 titles to digital life. If you read one of these books every hour and didn’t stop to sleep or eat, it would still take you more than 2 years to read through the full collection. The content from 1774-1900 is based on Lyle H Wright’s famous American Fiction: A Contribution Toward a Bibliography, the most comprehensive bibliography of American adult fiction during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and includes both well-known authors (Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, etc) and the obscure. Continue reading →
Working for a US-based company like Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, it is hard to escape the fanfare of nationwide ‘federal holidays’. Far more interesting – and, seemingly, more commonplace – than the various ‘bank holidays’ we have here in the UK, the US recognises eight official federal holidays. Yet when I noticed that Columbus Day was pencilled in on my email calendar for 10th October 2016, I was surprised to learn that it was not, in fact, considered one of those eight holidays. In 2013, just 24 states observed the holiday. A mark of the re-evaluation of Columbus’s influence upon America and, for many, the effects upon indigenous ways of life, Columbus Day is today a far more contested occasion than it once might have been. With January marking 524 years since Columbus was granted the funds to finally embark upon his first voyage, I was spurred to delve into Gale’s digital archival collections to see if I could detect a change in mood towards Columbus Day observance. Continue reading →
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the East End of London was terrorised by a series of gruesome murders at the hands of the notorious ‘Jack the Ripper’. Ripper’s true identity was never discovered, and even though nearly 125 years have passed since his last attack his name still sends a shiver down the spine. Continue reading →
In August 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s Highland army embarked on its journey across Scotland, marking the onset of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Determined to restore the Stuart monarchy to the throne, and severe the Union of 1707 which bound Scotland to Britain, the Prince led his Jacobite followers into battles across Scotland and the North of England. Replete with themes of individual heroism, and of the struggle of the few against the tyranny of the establishment, it is little wonder that the story of ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ has come to acquire mythical status. 270 years on from what was effectively the beginning of the end of the Jacobite cause, I couldn’t resist delving into some of the original documents from our State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century resource, which gives us some clues as to why the rising – and the figure at its head – has become so romanticised.