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Author Archives: dannymillum


Medieval Merchants and Money

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boltonLaunching later this month, the IHR is delighted to announce the publication of Medieval Merchants and Money, a volume of selected essays celebrating the contribution to scholarship of the medieval historian Professor James L. Bolton. Expanding on a 2013 conference on the same theme, these 16 essays address different questions in medieval economic and social history, focussing on merchant activity, trade and identity. What did medieval merchants read, for example? How did mercantile and military activity interact with one another? And what did it mean to identify with one mercantile company over another? Looking at both rural and urban economies, this volume offers a small cross-section into the ongoing research that connects to James L. Bolton’s pivotal and diverse work in economic history.

The book launches on 30 June, and is available for pre-order at www.store.london.ac.uk.

 

New reviews: rational action, Russian religious toleration, royal touch and US left

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thomas_0First up this week is Rational Action: The Sciences of Policy in Britain and America, 1940–1960 by William Thomas. Tom Kelsey and the author discuss a book which deserves serious attention from historians of science (no. 1951, with response here).

Then we turn to The Crisis of Religious Toleration in Imperial Russia: Bibikov’s System for the Old Believers, 1841-1855 by Thomas Marsden. J. Eugene Clay believes this book to be a major contribution to understanding the history of Russian state policy toward religion (no. 1950).

Next up is Stephen Brogan’s The Royal Touch in Early Modern England. Benjamin Guyer praises a book which offers a compelling revision of popular religious belief and practice in early modern England (no. 1949).

Finally we have The Cultural Left and the Reagan Era: US Protest and Central American Revolution by Nick Witham. Evan McCormick reviews a deftly and concisely written book which confirms the enduring importance of US interventions in Central America (no. 1948).

New reviews: First World War, Irish witches, British documentaries and early modern astrology

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sneddonWe begin this week with Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1918 by Alexander Watson. Jonathan Kwan and the author discuss an important book that reconfigures our understanding of the First World War and of European history (no. 1947, with response here).

Then we turn to Andrew Sneddon’s Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland, and Mary Ann Lyons believes this book provides an excellent, fresh insight into the nature of beliefs about these phenomena (no. 1946).

Next up is A New History of British Documentary by James Chapman. Patrick Russell recommends a book whose methodology and contents raise numerous questions (no. 1945).

Finally we have the latest in our occasional podcast series, as Jordan Landes talks to Darin Hayton about his new book The Crown and the Cosmos: Astrology and the Politics of Maximilian I (no. 1944).

New reviews: Victorian politics, Scottish parliaments, Irish nationhood and American Baptists

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victorianWe begin this week with Victorian Political Culture: ‘Habits of Heart and Mind’ by Angus Hawkins. Simon Morgan and the author discuss a judicious and elegant synthesis of recent research which will appeal to novices and aficionados alike (no. 1943, with response here).

Next we turn to The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, and Julian Goodare gives three cheers for this latest product of the digital age, and an extra cheer for the remarkable monument of 19th-century scholarship it is based on (no. 1942).

Then we turn to And so began the Irish Nation: Nationality, Nationalism and National Consciousness in Pre-Modern Ireland. Joan Redmond believes this book shows Brendan Bradshaw’s continuing ability to provoke debate, and to pose questions regarding some of the central issues in early modern Irish history (no. 1941).

Finally we have Thomas S. Kidd and Barry Hankins’ Baptists in America: A History. Matthew Bingham recommends an ideal choice for students, the general reader, and scholars of American religion (no. 1940).

Women entrepreneurs and Bronze Age man added to Oxford DNB

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Houghton_EC8.Ed377.Y800g_-_Mrs._Guppy's_Dialogues_for_Children,_1800_-_coverThis post has kindly been written for us by the ODNB’s Philip Carter.

The May 2016 update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography adds biographies of nearly 100 men and women active over 4000 years of British history.

May’s update provides a special focus on eighteenth and nineteenth-century women entrepreneurs and industrialists. New additions include the Bristol inventor, Sarah Guppy (1770-1852), whose many patents include a suspension bridge crossing the River Avon—years before Telford and Brunel; the Derbyshire colliery owner Ellen Morewood (1741-1824), and the domestic servant and autobiographer, Mary Ann Ashford (1787-1870).

Early modern religious biographies include Anne Hooper (d. 1555), one of the earliest wives of a bishop in the post-Reformation period. Hooper’s letters chart a period of intense religious and personal uncertainty.

Modern salon culture is captured in the lives of Caroline Jebb (1840-1930), a leader of academic life in Cambridge, and Mary Jeune, Lady St Helier (1845-1931) whose influential political circle brought together Winston and Clementine (Churchill).

The earliest new addition is Racton Man (fl. c.2200 BP), the skeleton of a Bronze Age warrior at The Novium Museum, Chichester, whose ‘biography’—based on forensic science—can now be written. May’s update also includes two pioneers of tattooing: George Burchett (1872-1953) and Sutherland Macdonald (1860-1942). Macdonald coined the term ‘tattooist’ (‘tattoo’ + ‘artist’) to better convey the artistry of his work, and both men numbered members of the aristocracy and royalty among their clients.

The new edition also extends the ODNB’s coverage of historical groups and networks. Essays include the members, works, and legacy of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; the Erasmus Circle of scholars who championed the great Dutch humanist from the early 1500s; and participants in the Northern Rising (1559-70). Essays on more than 320 historical groups—early medieval to late modern—are now available in the ‘Themes’ area of the Oxford DNB online.

Finally, 4000 new links have been added from ODNB entries to online resources providing alternative perspectives on an individual. These include links to 850 English Heritage Blue Plaques, 650 monuments in Westminster Abbey, 200 person records in Queen Victoria’s Journals, 200 Poetry Archive and BBC recordings, and 2500 correspondence records created by the Oxford history project, ‘Early Modern Letters Online’.

New reviews: Roosevelt and China, witchcraft, Irish sport and medieval paradise

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rooseveltFirst up this week is Gregory Moore’s Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy: Theodore Roosevelt and China, 1901-1909. Michael Cullinane and the author disagree over an analysis of Theodore Roosevelt’s influence within the longue durée of US-Sino relations (no. 1939, with response here).

Next up is Witchcraft, Witch-hunting and Politics in Early Modern England by Peter Elmer, as Imogen Peck recommends an essential read for all scholars of early modern witchcraft (no. 1938).

Then we turn to Paul Rouse’s Sport and Ireland: a History, which Brian Griffin finds to be a treat for both specialists and non-specialists alike (no. 1937, with response here).

Finally we have From Eden to Eternity: Creations of Paradise in the Later Middle Ages by Alastair Minnis. Brian Murdoch reviews a fascinating, original and impressive contribution to the field of paradise studies (no. 1936, with response here).

Open Source Historical Mapping: Using QGIS

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shutterstock_76196278This post has kindly been written for us by Dr Justin Colson of the University of Essex

I have been teaching a short course on Historical Mapping and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as part of the IHR’s research training programme for several years now, always using the industry standard ArcGIS software package by ESRI. This summer, however, I am running a version of the course using the alternative open source package QGIS (formerly known as Quantum GIS).

Several things have inspired this move to QGIS: the fact that the software is rapidly maturing in terms of functionality and stability; the fact that it is available across all platforms including MacOS X, and the growth of a community of users in historical GIS. The digital history tutorial site The Programming Historian now has a set of guides to QGIS which cover basic use of layers and geo-referencing scanned historical maps. QGIS has certainly come of age, and it now seems like a strong choice of mapping software for many historians.

QGIS also offers several distinct advantages over its competitors, at least for many of the tasks that historians seek to carry out with GIS. Many advanced ways of depicting data within maps, such as the popular ‘heatmap’ effect, and automatic displacement of overlapping points, which are complicated to achieve in other packages, are available in a single step. While QGIS cannot match ArcGIS for the sheer number and power of statistical and analytical tools, it does have a mature and comprehensive range of plugins which include easy ways to import mapping from open-source resources such as OpenStreetMap, and perhaps most usefully creating ready to use interactive maps to embed into websites.

Like the existing IHR Historical Maps and GIS training course, the QGIS course will first discuss the key geographical concepts and terminology required to understand cartography and GIS. Being aimed at historians, these concepts are explained through a potted history of maps. The first day also includes a chance to evaluate existing uses of GIS and web mapping in historical projects, and the use of Google’s free online custom mapping tools. Day two runs through all of the key processes required to work with historical material in QGIS including georeferencing historical maps, preparing historical data to be mapped, and two approaches to geocoding and displaying quantitative data. No prior geographical knowledge is required, but confidence with spreadsheets such as Excel is essential, and knowledge of relational databases such as Access is recommended.

New reviews: enemy intelligence, slave narratives, Georgian militia and Clementine Churchill

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intelligenceWe start this week with The Image of the Enemy: Intelligence Analysis of Adversaries since 1945, edited by Paul Maddrell. Charlie Hall and the author debate an excellent collection of meticulously researched and lucidly presented studies (no. 1935, with response here).

Then we have review article by David Anderson on two books of slave narratives, Slave Culture: A Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project (edited by Spencer Crew, Lonnie Bunch and Clement Price) and Chained to the Land: Voices from Cotton & Cane Plantations: From Interviews of Former Slaves (edited by Lynette Ater Tanner). The reviewer believes both these books will prove to be useful research tools and references for historians and students of slavery (no. 1934).

Next up is Matthew McCormack’s Embodying the Militia in Georgian England. Kevin Linch praises a work which champions an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the military in this period (no. 1933).

Finally Bradley Hart and Sonia Purcell discuss the latter’s First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill, a well-researched book of Churchill scholarship (no. 1932, with response here).

New reviews: London crime, American government, the Medici and the NHS

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shore2First up this week is London’s Criminal Underworlds, c. 1720 – c. 1930 by Heather Shore, as Robert Shoemaker and the author debate a fascinating study of the discursive power of ‘the underworld’ (no. 1931, with response here).

Then we turn to Gary Gerstle’s Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present. Thomas Rodgers praises a fine and satisfying work on the paradox of liberty and coercion in the American state (no. 1930).

Next up is The Medici: Citizens and Masters, edited by John Law and Robert Black. Nicholas Scott Baker and the editors discuss a multi-faceted, kaleidoscopic view of the 15th-century Medici regime in Florence (no. 1929, with response here).

Finally Julian Simpson recommends Contagious Communities: Medicine, Migration, and the NHS in Post War Britain by Roberta Bivins, an intriguing exploration of the ways in which particular aspects of policy and practice were shaped by a range of evolving factors (no. 1928).

New reviews: Anglican COs, working class fathers, John Dee and post-Civil War black politics

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Gay, Arthur Wilson; The Conchie; Peace Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-conchie-21680

Gay, Arthur Wilson; The Conchie; Peace Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-conchie-21680

We begin this week with Clive Barrett’s Subversive Peacemakers, War Resistance 1914–1918: An Anglican Perspective. James Cronin and the author discuss a valuable scholarly contribution to the war’s hidden history documenting its half-forgotten subversive peacemakers (no. 1927, with response here).

Next up is Fatherhood and the British Working Class, 1865–1914 by Julie-Marie Strange, as Emily Bowles praises a study which is important for understanding contemporary readings of fatherhood and parenting (no. 1926).

Then Sara Charles recommends an exhibition which does an excellent job of portraying Dee as a much-accomplished scholar as opposed to an eccentric occultist, as she reviews Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee (no. 1925).

Finally we have Reconstructing Democracy: Grassroots Black Politics in the Deep South after the Civil War by Justin Behrend. Erik Mathisen believes this work is the perfect place for scholars to begin the work of re-imagining the history of America’s most tortured historical moment (no. 1924).