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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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’.
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.
Among 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.
Dr 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.
Hello, 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.
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.
We’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.
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!
An 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.
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.
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).
The IHR library’s focus on primary sources means that often we don’t hold material ‘about’ a particular subject such as fashion history. Instead, rich material for the history of a topic can commonly be found scattered across editions of documents that were never intended to be used by historians of that subject. An inclusive, wide-ranging, and laterally-thinking approach to identifying relevant works pays off. So when looking through the collections for material on fashion history to coincide with the forthcoming Anglo-American Conference we were not too surprised to discover a wealth of material in both obvious and unexpected places.
from The New York Mercury, 1758 in The arts and crafts in New York 1726-1776, p. 344
Here’s a couple of examples. A compilation of advertisements from New York newspapers contains an unusual source for fashion history, with details of the attire worn by runaway slaves and servants. Handbooks for British businessmen and officials travelling to the Gold Coast advised on suitable clothing. Fashion appears in the many editions that we hold of letters, diaries, and travel writing. Household accounts can include lists of clothing and information about costs and acquisition. Legal and parliamentary sources detail sumptuary laws regulating people’s attire, regulations for the textile industry, and trade agreements. Parliamentary reports and petitions cover the lives of workers in the industry. Lists and advertisements in trade directories are a rich source of information about businesses.
from A journey through Albania, and other provinces of Turkey in Europe and Asia, to Constantinople, facing p. 855
A lot of digging is needed as the material isn’t all found in one place. Subject and keyword searching on the catalogue helps to find some specific material, but won’t track down things buried within other sources. Online resources such as the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, newspaper databases, British History Online and the wonderful Connected Histories – which cross-searches multiple resources – are all valuable for in-depth searching and complement the serendipitous pleasures of browsing the library shelves.
See our Guide to fashion history in the IHR library for more examples from our collections. Exhibitions showing works from the IHR and Senate House Library will be held on the 1st and 3rd floors of the IHR over the next month and there is also an online exhibition with beautiful illustrations of department store catalogues from the First World War.
The IHR and Senate House Library ran a second History Libraries and Research Open Day in January 2015. This brought researchers together with professional staff from a wide range of library and archive collections. It was a fantastic day and it was great to see so many libraries, archives and researchers there. We had very positive feedback from attenders and participating organisations alike.
Speakers gave a range of fascinating talks about how to get the most out of libraries, archives and digital resources. You can read about the day in tweets on the Storify page. An associated website continues to be updated with information about library and archive collections along with podcasts and blog posts from speakers: http://historycollections.blogs.sas.ac.uk.
We’ll be moving books into the IHR’s new North American history room next Monday 15th December. The IHR will remain open but the lower ground area of the library (housing the International Relations and Military collections) will be closed so that the crates can be brought through this area. The Military, International relations and American collections (classmarks W, IR, US, UF and C) will be inaccessible on this day. Other fetches may be disrupted.
We plan to open the room up at the start of January and it will house approximately two thirds of the American collections as well as providing additional reader desks.