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Author Archives: katewilcox


Charles Booth’s London

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This post has been reposted from the LSE website to highlight this exciting new resource.

booth1898websiteexhCharles Booth’s Inquiry Into the Life and Labour of the People in London was a path-breaking investigation into the social conditions faced by Londoners living in the late-Victorian era. To mark the 2016 centenary of Booth’s death, LSE has relaunched the website dedicated to Booth’s life and work as Charles Booth’s London (https://booth.lse.ac.uk/).

Booth’s famous poverty maps were pioneering in the use of colour to detail the street-by-street disparities of wealth and poverty in London. The maps were drawn from a series of “police notebooks” that Booth and his team produced by walking the streets of the Victorian metropolis. The newly redeveloped website makes available both the police notebooks and the poverty maps.

The poverty maps are available as a single interactive version using modern online mapping techniques, and are also available individually for download. The interactive version of the map allows users to search by location, and offers the ability to geo-locate individual notebooks according to the streets Booth and his team walked when doing their research. The police notebooks are available to browse and search, can be read using state-of-the-art manuscript viewer technology, and are available for download.

In addition to making available the maps and notebooks, the site has been thoroughly redesigned to reflect modern web design and accessibility standards, and features responsive design allowing it to be accessed on desktop computers, on tablets and on mobile devices. The site also includes contextual information about Booth’s life and times and about the Inquiry, and provides a series of highlights offering a “way in” to the rich archival material.

Nicola Wright, Director of LSE Library commented: “This was a pioneering study and I am thrilled to see this important archive reinvented again and made even more engaging and accessible. The innovative work of the LSE Library team and our partners is a fitting tribute to Booth’s great endeavour.”

In July 2016 the Booth archive was inscribed on UNESCO’s UK Memory of the World Register, which recognises culturally significant heritage material from across the UK, joining other material such as the Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta. The redeveloped website reflects LSE’s ongoing commitment to make available LSE Library’s collections as widely as possible and via new and innovative means.

Find out more on the About and Learn More sections of the Charles Booth’s London site.

 

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Researching women historians in the IHR library collections

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Kate Wilcox is Reader Experience and Technical Services Manager at the Institute of Historical Research Library.

women-historiansThe IHR library staff have each been researching a topic, in an experiment designed to improve our understanding of what it’s like to use the collections. I’ve been looking at our holdings for the historiography of women historians, something I didn’t know much about and thought would be interesting. As a starting point I searched the catalogue, using ‘Women historians’ as a keyword and a subject.

The library’s collection policy for works on historiography extends beyond its usual remit of primary sources, so I found secondary works as well as sources. They are shelved either within the relevant geographical collections, or, for more general works, within the historiography section at classmark E.1441. Examples include:

The last one is a new book, which when I checked the catalogue was still marked as ‘processing’. Books in processing can usually be retrieved for readers by library staff.

The collection includes works on individual women historians, in monographs, journal articles and series. For example:

The whole library is reference only, so you will usually find open-access items available on the shelves. I found a couple of secondary works that I wanted to read fully, and because Senate House Library also held them, I was able to borrow them to read on the train home. This was also an opportunity to use a library that I’m less familiar with and think about the experience of shelf labelling and signage.

Bibliographies

The IHR library has a lot of specialist bibliographies, but I only located one focussing on women historians, Scritti storici di donne italiane : bibliografia, 1800-1945. The comprehensive online Bibliography of British and Irish History is always a useful resource, though I found it hard to find closely defined search terms for my subject and it was more productive to browse through the results from a wider search. As well as material directly on women historians, BBIH helped me locate material on the wider context, such as women in education.

Biographical works

I also tried a biographical approach. The catalogue search had retrieved a specialist work, American women historians, 1700s-1990s : a biographical dictionary. For the UK, the online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography allows searching by the ‘field of interest’ of its subjects, so by using the drop-down menus I was able to search for ‘Scholarship and research: history: historians (general)’ and filter by gender, finding 103 female historians (compared to 922 male historians). The list of names is an obvious starting point for researching individual careers.

As another way into the topic, I was interested to see how many of their published works are held among the IHR’s collections. As examples, we have works of some of the earliest women historians, including Lucy Aikin (1781–1864), who edited Memoirs of the courts of Elizabeth I and James I, the prolific editor Mary Anne Everett Green (1818–1895) and the pioneering castle archaeologist Ella Armitage (1841–1931).

University records and Histories

Another biographical approach is to think about the educational background of women historians. The library has outstanding collections on the history of British, European and American universities, with many biographical registers. The relevant areas are:

  • Biographical works, British universities, colleges, schools (B.27)
  • Histories of individual universities, within the regional collections, for example Oxford under Oxfordshire (BC.76), Scottish universities in Scottish Local collection (BSL), European universities (E.8) and United States universities (currently UF.52, undergoing reclassification).

European-universitiesWhile invaluable for researching individual careers, the registers are not particularly usable for a systematic review, usually being organised by name, from which gender often has to be deduced. It would be useful to have the data in a more structured format. However many include useful information about parents’ occupations, whether the mother had attended university, and the student’s subsequent career.

Looking for female reviewers and authors in long-running journals and the IHR’s Teachers of history and Theses lists could be an interesting approach. Early volumes of these series often follow a standard approach of using initials for men and forenames for women.

I found that for using the registers and other sources that some background information was essential, such as knowing when history became a separate discipline in different universities, and when women were admitted to study it. The IHR library has useful holdings for researching the background including parliamentary material, collections of letters and diaries and newspapers.

Using the library

I found the library rooms generally a pleasant place to work. There are some noise issues that we are already aware of and trying to address. Although we want to be welcoming, we try to keep the enquiry office door closed so that we don’t disturb readers in the main room, and we ask that when rooms are used for meetings the doors are kept closed. We’ve also been trying to get the landing doors adjusted to stop them slamming.

Like many of our readers, I found it difficult to browse series shelved in the rolling stacks. The reason why the library now has rolling stacks in the largest rooms is to allow more of the collection to stay on open access in what has become a reduced space. When we were planning the new library rooms, it was not possible to use the rolling stacks for the less browse-worthy parts of the collection without disrupting the sequence of shelfmarks and making items difficult to locate. For similar reasons of space, the European university histories/registers are held in closed access, but we are always happy to meet the needs of readers who want to browse runs of closed-access material by bringing them to the library. We are continuing to think about ways of making the rolling stacks less of an issue.

 

Beyond the library collections, the IHR archive is a valuable source of material about women historians. Membership records, seminar registers and correspondence contain useful information for understanding the place of women in the history profession. We are currently fundraising to catalogue the archive and improve access to it. The IHR also hosts seminars in several related fields, including Women’s history, History of Education, and Gender and History in the Americas. There are occasionally other events such as the forthcoming lecture and book launch “Keep the Damned Women out”: The Struggle for Coeducation (31 Oct 2016). All in all, I found the IHR a good place to start research on the topic I’d chosen, and what I discovered here made me interested in finding out more.

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Library Management System and Catalogue: essential maintenance – Tuesday, 16th August

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A major project is underway to introduce a new generation library discovery catalogue and management system for the Senate House Library and School of Advanced Study’s libraries.  As part of that important project we need to undertake some essential maintenance all day on Tuesday, 16th August 2016 requiring the Library Catalogue, and other related services to be offline whilst the work is being carried out. This means you will not be able to:

  • Search the catalogue
  • Access e-resources (e-journals and databases) authenticated via the catalogue
  • Login to the UoL-open Wifi network

General information about our holdings will continue to be available during the upgrade on COPAC and the Search25 Library Resources. We aim to have all online services, including access to e-journals and databases, back up and running by 9:00am Wednesday, 17th August, 2016. This is the final phase in a number of critical steps to move us from the existing system to Sierra & Encore Duet. We apologise for this disruption, and for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Albert Gallatin and the politics of the early United States

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This documents the exhibition held at Senate House Library 1 Oct – 27 November 2015 with items from Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research collections. The exhibition was curated by Benjamin Bankhurst, Postdoctoral Fellow in North American History at the School of Advanced Study 2014-2015 with assistance from Mura Ghosh and the conservation team at Senate House Library.

Front leaf from Laws of the Commonwealth of PennsylvaniaRepublished by Alexander James Dallas, Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers, 1793 Vol. 2.

Several items in the US collections once belonged to prominent early American statesman Albert Gallatin (1761-1849). These works came to the libraries as part of the Conway bequests of the 1920s and 30s and represent a selection of Gallatin’s – much larger – personal library. This small exhibition celebrates items in our collections relating to Gallatin’s political career. Gallatin played a significant role in the political and economic debates of the United States during the Antebellum period.

 


Introduction

Gallatin portrait

From The life of Albert Gallatin Henry Adams Philadelphia; London: J.B. Lippincott & Co, 1879 – SHL

Albert Gallatin was born into a prominent merchant family in Geneva where he spent his childhood and adolescence. Orphaned at an early age, he spent much of his youth as a student in residency at the Geneva Academy. His enthusiasm for French philosophers, especially Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the magnetic draw American revolutionary ideology led the young Gallatin to consider sailing for the United States. In 1780, at the age of 19, Gallatin arrived in Boston and later settled in western Pennsylvania.

It was in Pennsylvania that he first became embroiled in the fractious politics of the new nation. In 1790 he won a seat in the state senate before becoming a US senator for Pennsylvania in 1793. He was later elected to the House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 12th district, an office he occupied from 1795 to 1801. Gallatin was instrumental in negotiating the peaceful resolution of the Whiskey Rebellion, a protest movement in western Pennsylvania. As a resident of the western counties with a track record of opposition to the Federalist bloc in congress, Gallatin and helped to convince many of the movement’s leaders to stand down before the arrival of Federal troops.

He became the Republican party leader in the House and was a leading critic of the Adams administration and the national debt. Following the spectacular electoral victory of Thomas Jefferson and his Republican allies in 1800, Gallatin was appointed the fourth Secretary of the Treasury. In 1816 he helped charter the Second Bank of the United States. He then spent most of the subsequent decade abroad, first as the US Minister to France (1816-1823) and then to Britain (1826-27). Upon returning to the United States, Gallatin spent the last twenty years of his life in Astoria, New York.

Throughout his career Gallatin pursued projects to promote learning and the Arts in his adopted country. He first developed an interest in the ecology and geography of North America as well as Native American culture while studying at the Geneva Academy. He maintained an interest in these subjects throughout his career in the United States. In 1803 and 1804, he helped plan the Lewis and Clark expedition to the lands acquired by the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. During his New York years, after he had retired from political office, Gallatin became involved in several civic and national improvement campaigns. In 1831 he backed efforts to found a university for New York’s growing commercial classes. The result was the establishment of New York University. Gallatin also became the President of the American Ethnological and New York Historical Societies. He published two works on Native American culture: A Table of Indian Languages of the United States (1826) and Synopsis of the Indian Tribes of North America (New York, 1836). Finally, he continued to write pamphlets and deliver speeches on national economic and political issues, many of them having to do with the western expansion of the United States (for example, he published a pamphlet on the peace with Mexico in 1848).

 


The United States and the French Republic, 1794-1800

General Report of such vessels of the United States as have been taken... by the French, 1796, bound with other pamplets in: ‘Reports Etc., 1 Session, 7 Congress – 1801-2’ (vol. 1)

General Report of such vessels of the United States as have been taken… by the French, 1796, bound with other pamplets in: ‘Reports Etc., 1 Session, 7 Congress – 1801-2’ (vol. 1) – IHR

The French Republic, suspicious of America’s policy of neutrality during the wars between Britain and France following the signing of the Jay Treaty, begun to attack American shipping in the Atlantic. This official report was published by the government of the United States and shows where US ships were captured, where they were taken, and what happened to them. The foreign policy pursued by the John Adams Administration was central to partisan political atmosphere of the late 1790s.

 

 

 

The relationship between the French Republic and the United States deteriorated throughout the late 1790s. In 1794, the US and British governments signed the Jay Treaty, an action that undermined the proclaimed neutrality of The United States in the ongoing conflict between Britain in France. In 1796, the French Republic refused to receive American envoys unless they were willing to pay bribes. When this was revealed to the American public during the “XYZ Affair”, a firestorm of anti-French sentiment swept the nation, temporarily increasing support for the Federalist Administration of John Adams. Gallatin, and other immigrants were singled-out as foreign sympathisers during this period. This pamphlet outlines the instructions of the American envoys that were originally sent to negotiate with the French Republic.

 

 

 


Politics and the New Nation

federalist

The federalist: a collection of essays New-York: printed and sold by J. and A. McLean, 1788 Porteus Library RDb/Ham – SHL

In March and April 1788, New York publisher J. & A. MacLean, published the first bound collection of the Federalist papers. The two volumes held in Special Collections at Senate House Library were published by the MacLeans and date from the period of the ratification debate. Albert Gallatin sided with the Anti-Federalists during the ratification debate. Like many in the Anti-Federalist camp, he argued that the document did not provide adequate safeguards for the preservation of liberty. Many of his concerns would be addressed with the passing of the first ten amendments to the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) after the Constitution was ratified.

 

The 1790s were a turbulent decade for the early American Republic. The passions that raged during the debate over the ratification of the US Constitution were channelled into increasingly partisan political debates in the years that followed. The decade also witnessed the spread of radical ideologies throughout Europe as a result of the French Revolution, a development that many in the Federalist Party thought might ultimately destabilize the United States. In this tense political environment, prominent immigrants, especially those with radical sympathies, became targets of the Federalist Press. William Cobbett, a pro-British writer and publisher, attacked Gallatin for his support of Jefferson and the Republicans, his “French” manners, and his questionable loyalty to his adopted country. Gallatin is depicted as a luxurious Frenchman (he was actually from Geneva) representing “Whiskeyland” (western Pennsylvania, where an armed rebellion against federal taxes took place in 1791). There is some controversy over the image depicted here, it either represents Albert Gallatin or, more likely, Thomas Paine in front of a Guillotine – a reminder of the fate that might befall the United States if Jefferson and the “friends of France” ever came to power.

 


The Republicans in Power

Border-line-Ohio

Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury accompanying a report Published by the order of the House of Representatives [s.n.], 21st December 1801. Bound in volume Reports of the Treasury 1801-13 – IHR

Thomas Jefferson and his supporters swept into power during the election of 1800. In 1801, Albert Gallatin was appointed the 4th Secretary of the Treasury and was responsible, in large part, for the implementation of Jefferson’s economic policies. Land and the western expansion of agriculture were key to Jefferson’s vision for the country as an agrarian republic. The sale of western lands, one of the central revenue-raising measures pursued under Jefferson’s leadership, therefore had the dual benefit of spreading republican virtue, a quality the Jeffersonians believed was rooted in land ownership while simultaneously providing the government with money. These government reports show the sale of government land in Ohio.

Act-incorporate-subscribers

An Act to Incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States Philadelphia: Printed by order of the Board of directors (William Fry, printer), 1816 [G.L.] E.816 – SHL

The establishment of the Bank of the United States became another issue over which the two main political parties of the 1790s (Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans) clashed over. The Federalists argued that the Bank was crucial to the encouragement of American industry, while the Republicans argued that it benefited rich merchants over the majority of population and that it eroded the republican virtue of the agrarian republic. In 1811 the senate allowed the charter of the first Bank of the United States to expire. While he had initially opposed the Bank while in congress, Gallatin changed his mind and became a supporter of the re-establishment of the bank in 1816.

 


The Northeast Border Dispute

Pamphlets-Maine-boundary-dispute

Maine North Eastern boundary Pamphlets vol. 1 . Bound in volume Resolutions of the legislature of the State of Maine – IHR

This 1832 map, one of five in a bound volume containing fifteen pamphlets relating to the Northeastern Boundary Dispute (1783-1842), shows three proposed borderlines between Canada and the United States. The red line represents the British/Canadian claim and the green the American position. The yellow line denotes the compromise solution recommended by the third party arbitrator in the dispute – William I, King of the Netherlands. Though rejected by the American negotiators when it was first proposed in 1831, the Dutch compromise (with a few alterations benefiting the British) was ultimately accepted by the United States in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. This volume was once owned by Gallatin.

This pamphlet calling for the reform of the Bank of Upper Canada was sent to Gallatin in 1830 by controversial Canadian politician, William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861). Mackenzie is best known as the first mayor of Toronto and for the role he played in the failed Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-8. During the rebellion Mackenzie led an expedition of rebels to the outskirts of Toronto in 1837 and later declared himself the head of the ‘Canadian Republic’ before the rising was put down by British troops in January 1838. The inscription on this pamphlet reads, ‘To the Honourable Albert Gallatin, New York. York, Upper Canada, June 26, 1830. With W.L. Mackenzie’s Compliments’.

 

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Overruling the duke in the IHR Library

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Dr Stuart Handley of the History of Parliament writes about an eighteenth-century pamphlet in the IHR Library. This collection of pamphlets was bound using a donation to the conservation fund.

Collection-of-papersAmong the IHR’s holdings of historical pamphlets is one from the early eighteenth century called, simply, A Collection of Papers. As the library catalogue shows, it was published in 1712 and starts by reprinting Bishop William Fleetwood’s preface to his “Four Sermons” (first published in the same year); running on from that, however, are some papers of interest to me as a historian of parliament which relate to debates of 1712 concerning the war with France. The IHR was given this copy of the pamphlet by Dr Doreen Milne, whose doctoral thesis on The Rye House Plot is in the library.

divisionDr Clyve Jones, formerly a librarian at the IHR, has already drawn attention to one of the items, a division list for a vote in the House of Lords of 28 May 1712. The matter at issue was whether to address Queen Anne with a request that she overrule the orders sent to the duke of Ormonde in Flanders not to engage with the French army. No political historian had previously realised that the pamphlet contained such important material. Clyve published the division list in his article on ‘The vote in the House of Lords on the Duke of Ormonde’s “Restraining Orders”, 28 May 1712’, in Parliamentary History, 26 (2007), pp. 160-183.

The pamphlet could not easily be made available to readers in the library as it needed conservation. I knew about it from my previous role in the IHR library, and have recently paid for the pamphlet to be conserved. It has now been placed into a secure binding and is kept in the IHR library’s special collections store. The pamphlet can also be viewed on Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), available at the IHR through JISC Historic Texts.

 

The IHR is extremely grateful to Dr Handley for his generous support of the library. If you would like to give to the library’s conservation fund, there is much material on the open shelves in need of conservation. Further information about giving to the IHR library is available at http://www.history.ac.uk/support-us/campaign/library.

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Adventures of a library student

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Laura-auditingHello, my name is Laura Jäger and I am an undergraduate student from Germany, studying library science at the Technical University of Cologne. As a part of my course I was given the opportunity to do my 16 week combined internship at the IHR (Institute of Historical Research) and the BHO (British History Online). This internship has given me the incredible opportunity to work with amazing people in two quite different departments.

My special thanks has to go to Kate Wilcox (IHR) and Sarah Milligan (BHO) which gave me a very warm welcome in both the IHR and the BHO, as well as to everyone else working in both departments. Each and every one of them taught and challenged me to learn many new things in the past weeks and were always open to try new ideas, but also never got tired of providing me with their new and interesting views of things.

Throughout my time here, I have worked on different smaller and bigger projects. My main project at BHO was to construct a new annotation feature for the website, which I was allowed to manage mostly myself. It was amazing to be able to build a part for a website from scratch and to figure out in a lot of meetings how it should work and what features might be more useful for what we want to achieve or what the user will need. Another big project I have worked on included auditing work on the London and the British Local collections of the IHR. It gave me a good overview of the wide spectrum of the library. I also discovered some old books which included autographs of the author, bookplates, added pictures or newspaper articles, letters and annotations of previous owners of the book. Sadly a lot of the older books are in need of repair, which is why we set up a conservation fund where you can donate money to help preserve the extraordinary collections of the IHR.

History-of-Brasted

Book plates, letters and rubbings of previous owners, found in History of Brasted

Smaller projects included learning how to catalogue maps, books and special collection items, how to use a microfilm reader, reclassify a part of the north American collection, write a guide about the 20th century American collection for the website and to sort out and label the map drawer.

Being under the same roof with not just the IHR and BHO, but also the Victoria County History (VCH), the Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) and Reviews in History made it possible, to talk with the people behind those great websites and learn more about their work and the changes they went through especially in the last few years. I was also able to visit the Senate house book repair workshop and look into how this branch of the job is evolving as it goes along and that not every book can be treated the same way.

Working at the IHR opened a lot of doors for me. I was lucky enough to visit not just the British library, but also the Wellcome library, Senate House, the Warburg Institute, the British Film Institute, one of the Idea Stores, The Guardian and the German Historical Institute. Even though all of them are considered libraries, they all have their own unique character and are fascinating to study. Some of us also went to Oxford for a day to represent the library at the Oxford Graduate Research Fair for Historians, which was a lot of fun and an amazing event to represent the library. At the end of November we had our own History day in Senate House, which gave me the opportunity to meet and talk with a lot of different librarians from all over London.

Over the last weeks I learned so much more then I had ever hoped for. A lot more than would ever fit in this blog post. A big thank you to everyone who made this amazing experience possible.

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American collections in the IHR and beyond

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massachusetts-loyalistsWe’ve recently produced a detailed guide to the Institute of Historical Research United States collections. Coverage includes early American colonial history, the Revolution and establishment of the United States, and special themes such as slavery. The core of the guide was written by Benjamin Bankhurst during his time as Postdoctoral Fellow of North American History, and it has been completed with contributions from others.

The guide will be useful for people new to the collections but those familiar with the collection may also discover something new. It complements the Guide to Canadian History produced in 2014.

You can discover more about North American collections in libraries across London and beyond at the History Day event this Friday. As well as covering general history, a special strand this year will highlight North American collections. If you can’t attend in person, more information is available about the participating libraries and collections at http://historycollections.blogs.sas.ac.uk/north-american-collections.

montage

 

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Bespoke advice at a History day research clinic

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One feature of History day on 27 November is the one-on-one guidance provided by the scheduled research clinics. These clinics will allow researchers to spend time with a librarian or historian to discuss resources, training and research, addressing specific needs. For example, if a researcher would like to find historical research training, the IHR’s Dr Simon Trafford will be available to discuss finding sessions from 10:00 to 12:00. For any researchers who want to locate resources for Canadian Studies in London, Senate House Library’s Christine Anderson will have a table at History day from 10:00 to 12:00. Other sessions include:

  • Building your bibliography and keeping it up to date with Senate House Library’s Mura Ghosh from  10:00 until 12:00
  • Locating Caribbean Area Studies Resources with Dr Luis Perez-Simon of the Institute of Latin American Studies  from 11:30 until 15:00
  • Improving your online search skills with Birkbeck’s Aubrey Greenwood from  13:00 until 16:00
  • Help with American Resources at the British Library  with Dr Matthew Shaw of the British Library from 14:00 until 15:00
  • Using IHR’s digital resources with the IHR Digital team from  15:00 until 16:00

Lastly, Michael Little and the team from the National Archives will be available throughout the whole event to discuss using the collections at the National Archives.

The clinics will be in Beveridge Hall as part of the open history fair. If you have any questions, please just ask!

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Albert Gallatin and the Early American Republic: exhibition and lecture

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Gallatin-imageAn exhibition on Albert Gallatin and the politics of the early United States is currently on in Senate House Library until 27 November 2015, and includes books from the IHR and Senate House Library collections. The piece below was written by Benjamin Bankhurst, former Postdoctoral Fellow in North American history at the IHR.

Dr Max Edling (King’s College London) will hold a public lecture on Albert Gallatin, Jeffersonian finance and the War of 1812 on Wednesday, 4 Nov at 6pm in the Wolfson Suite, IHR, Senate House.

The decades following the American Revolution were a turbulent and transformative time in the United States as the citizens of the new republic wrestled with the meaning of their revolution and attempted to build a society that lived up to its principles.  How was this new society going to be structured and how should its government and economy be structured? Should Americans build a fiscal military state and advanced economy that would enable the United States to compete with the great powers of Europe, or should the country strive to become something different, a vast agrarian republic whose security rested on open trading policies?

Albert Gallatin (1761-1849) was at the heart of these debates. A Swiss immigrant who arrived in the country at the closing stages of the revolution, Gallatin played a leading role in the formation of US finance and politics in the early republic and was a central actor in many of the defining events of the period. He was committed to Thomas Jefferson’s vision for the republic and served under him as the 4th Secretary of the Treasury following Jefferson’s presidential victory in 1800. In this capacity he arranged the financing of the Louisiana Purchase in 1802 and helped plan the subsequent Lewis and Clark Expedition into the Louisiana Territory. Gallatin was also the main American negotiator in the peace talks that led to the Treaty of Ghent (1814) and the end of the War of 1812, the ‘Second War of American Independence’.

To celebrate the recent discovery of a portion of Albert Gallatin’s library in the collections of the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House Library and the IHR are proud to showcase items from their collections relating to Albert Gallatin and the history of the early American Republic. Many of these items are unique and bear marginalia and provenance that exposes the extent of Gallatin’s network of correspondence during this formative period. The items chosen for display touch upon major themes and issues from the period, including American constitutionalism, US expansion, the development of the American State and popular politics in the new nation.

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Historical research in London archives

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This post was written by Charlie Berry, a doctoral student at the Institute of Historical Research and cross-posted from the History Collections website

As a research student, a lot of my time is spent beavering away in libraries and archives. My thesis topic, neighbourhoods in fifteenth-century London, means that I am fortunate in having most of the material I need all in one city.

The collections available in London libraries and archives are extensive and usually remarkably well-catalogued. Since I mainly work with documentary sources, the majority of my research time is spent either at the London Metropolitan Archives in Clerkenwell or The National Archives at Kew. The collections at both are vast, covering a broad range of periods and topics, and it’s easy to follow trails through the documents all in the one reading room. I’m also fortunate in that both the LMA and National Archives have printed and manuscript indexes available for a lot of the material I look at, which is invaluable for pinpointing the records I need.

Beyond the large archives, there is an amazing array of diversity in the collections available to researchers in London. My thesis research has also taken me to the Guildhall Library, which mainly houses the records of London’s livery companies. Local Borough archives too offer a wealth of material which is perhaps underused by historians. My local archive in Hackney is a wonderful resource I used during my MA as well as whilst recently taking part in a local history project. That project is itself creating an archive of material at the Bishopsgate Institute Library, which has archival collections specialising in radical history.

There’s such a large amount of material out there in London’s archives, large and small, that there must be a million untouched research topics hiding in the files and folders just waiting to be explored, with friendly archivists there to help you find them! History Day at Senate House is a great opportunity to find out more about the kinds of collections available in London (and beyond).

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