‘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.

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Tiradentes in Brazilian and Portuguese History and Culture: The Oliveira Lima Library

By Lourdes Mena
I have a degree in marketing and have experience as a university lecturer. I joined Gale in 2012 as Marketing Manager for Latin America. My role in Gale has allowed me to develop my twin passions: design and research. I enjoy the opportunity of putting these at the service of the academic community.

On 21 April, Brazil celebrates the Tiradentes Day, commemorating the anniversary of the death of Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier (1792), considered by many to be the first martyr of the Republic of Brazil. But who is this man, who only began to be considered a national hero a century after his death? To find out more, we take a look through Brazilian and Portuguese History and Culture: The Oliveira Lima Library, one of the finest collections of Luso-Brazilian materials available to scholars.

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The Story behind Pure Brightness Festival

Pure-JinWen

By Cathy Huang
I joined Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, in August 2015, as a new member of our China team. I’m very happy to work together with the team and it feels like a family. I’m very willing to contribute my skills to help increase awareness of Gale resources and hope more and more researchers worldwide discover Gale’s rich Primary Source collections.

Chinese people celebrate the Pure Brightness Festival each year, they largely take it as an occasion to offer sacrifice to ancestors. I was unclear of its origin but through Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), Gale’s ebook platform, I found out the fascinating legend behind it.

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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.

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Occupying Alcatraz: The Native American Experience Then and Now

Alcatraz

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.

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