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Bibliography of British and Irish History

World War I special journal issues


Bulldog soldiers' and sailor's club (from Wikipedia)

Bulldog soldiers’ and sailor’s club (from Wikipedia)

Naturally the anniversary of the start of the war to end all wars has created a plethora of special issues on the subject. What I have found engaging about these is the coverage of the not so obvious material. A prime example is Comparative Legal History, and its issue entitled The Great War and Private Law, which examines changes that occurred in law as a result of the legal and contractual demands necessitated by the conflict. Articles includes, ‘English Contract Law and the Great War: The Development of a Doctrine of Frustration’, and ‘The Great War and Dutch Contract Law: Resistance, Responsiveness and Neutrality’. The legal effects on Austria, Germany and Italy are also examined.

Another not so noticeable effect was in accounting, a subject discussed in Accounting History Review’s issue Accounting and the First World War. Changes in company and government accounting practices are discussed, as well as an increase in taxation on profits in Britain as the war economy developed. The impact of the Great War on the Blackpool Tower Company, in particular on profits and taxation, is also covered. Most intriguing are the accounting changes at the St. James’s Gate Brewery of Arthur Guinness, specifically revealing how additional war risk costs were accounted for internally.

Interestingly the British empire is well represented. The Canadian Historical Review and its issue Canada and the Great War: 100 years on, encompasses the historiography, commemoration and the effects on women and children. Another Canadian journal, Histoire Social/Social history (issue Canada’s First World War, 19140-2014 ) has sections on “Coping with Conflict” which includes the consequences on Canadian society at home and in the trenches; “Beyond Colony and Nation” looks at the USA-Canada border, and the influence of the war on race and gender are also examined.

The journal Itinerario continues the imperial theme with Colonial Volunteerism and Recruitment in the British Empire during the Great War. The issue not only follows the volunteers of the usual Dominions but includes the Cypriot Mule Corps, Maori troops, and the descendants of Welsh settlers from Patagonia.

YMCA Canadian Beaver Hut in London (from Wikipedia)

YMCA Canadian Beaver Hut in London (from Wikipedia)

Naturally The Round Table has a special imperial issue entitled, The First World War and the Empire-Commonwealth. It too has an article on Cyprus’s non-military contribution to the war effort, while also examining Dominion soldiers’ cartoon satire in the trenches, the repatriation of Indian prisoners of war, and the emotional responses to the war by West Indian soldiers.

Imperialism and sport are combined in Anzac Centennial – Sport, War and Society in Australia and New Zealand, issued by The International Journal of the History of Sport. The poignant article, ‘Australasia’s 1912 Olympians and the Great War’, charts the stories of the Olympians who volunteered, four of whom did not return. Other areas covered are the rise of women’s football, and the role of sport for Australian prisoners of war in Turkey.
Moving from the imperial angle to the local angle, Midland History in its issue, The Midlands and the Great War covers the outbreak of war in the provincial press. Other articles include, ‘Patriotism in Nottinghamshire: Challenging the Unconvinced, 1914–1917′, ‘Burslem and Its Roll of Honour 1914–1918′, and ‘The Midlands’ First Blitz’.

Shifting to the cultural impact of the Great War, New Perspectives on the Cultural History of Britain and the Great War, from 20th Century British History covers the role of Irish and Indian soldiers and their self sacrifice,  and the letters of the Sepoys and details of their emotions. The distribution of gas masks to civilians and the relationship between the understanding of the gas mask and British culture in general is also discussed.

An unlikely contender in the rundown of special issues includes the journal Shakespeare and its issue Shakespeare and the Great War. The debate surrounding the “cultural mobilization” of Shakespeare is explored, ranging from the reading by soldiers, the reception of the dramatist, the tercentary celebrations, and the “Shakespeare hut” set up in Bloomsbury for the entertainment of New Zealand soldiers.

An equally unlikely contender, and perhaps the most moving issue, given what was to happen twenty years later, is Rabbis and the Great War from European Judaism. The support, comfort and opposition to the war by various Rabbis in various countries is investigated. Sermons about the war by British Rabbi Morris Joseph at his west London Synagogue show his dismay at the war and his attempts not to glorify it.

The after effects of the end of hostilities on service personnel are studied in Journal of Contemporary History’s  – The Limits of Demobilization: Global Perspectives on the Aftermath of the Great War. The demobilization of around 65 million was bound to create problems for all nations engaged in the struggle and how society dealt with these problems, their  effects on national politics, and the “brutalization” factor are discussed with reference to Russia, central Europe, the USA and white settler colonies.

As usual all relevant material will appear in the Bibliography of British and Irish History.

Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 29 June. 3,460 new records have been added; over 2,000 of these are for publications of 2014-15. Some 400 new records relate to Irish history while 135 deal with the history of London and 251 with the history of Scotland. We continue to be grateful to the Scottish Historical Review Trust which supports a team based at St Andrews University, led by Dr Christine McGladdery, which assists in the collection of material relating to Scotland. The overall total of records available online is 561,976.

Image from Theatrum Scotiae by John Slezer, 1693. Photo from National Library of Scotland on Flickr

Image from Theatrum Scotiae by John Slezer, 1693. Photo from National Library of Scotland on Flickr

We expect to release the next update in October. You can always find out more about the Bibliography at or, if you already have access to the Bibliography, you can sign up for email alerts so as to be notified each time the Bibliography is updated with records on a subject or subjects of your choice.

Bawling bishops, pugnacious prelates and crying crusaders


My previous post on the range of history material being published opened with the early modern view of masculinity and men crying. Go back a couple of hundred years and it seems men were allowed to cry, and at least if you were a bishop, the act was deemed appropriate, usually in a religious sense, and of course if the crying was not seen as too ostentatious. As observed in Episcopal emotions: tears in the life of the medieval bishop, by Katherine Harvey, the significance of weeping in the life of the late medieval English bishop was key to perceptions of his masculinity, his sexuality as well as his physical body. Furthermore, the act had significant implications for his reputation both as a cleric and as a potential saint.grosseteste

Of course not all prelates were prone to weepy emotions. In The political and military agency of ecclesiastical leaders in Anglo-Norman England: 1066-1154, the role of ecclesiastical lords in the Anarchy is discussed. Such bishops became despoilers of the countryside. Indeed one chronicler argued that bishops were behaving in much the same fashion as secular lords in warfare, carrying swords and wearing armour.

A local history view of the Anarchy can be gleaned from Edmund King’s King Stephen and the Empress Matilda: the view from Northampton where the civil war led to conflict over land and lordship especially for Simon de Senlis, earl of Northampton.

Returning to the weeping theme, Stephen Spencer, in The emotional rhetoric of crusader spirituality in the narratives of the First Crusade, analyses representations of fear and weeping in the Latin narratives and argues that emotional displays functioned as markers of crusader spirituality (rather like the weeping bishops above). He then explores depictions of weeping as an expression of piety, focusing specifically on tears shed over Jerusalem.

If you are interested in further tear duct activity, I’d recommend Crying in the middle ages: tears of history, which looks at the role of tears in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultural discourses covering the arts, preaching, literature (including Piers Plowman), and in the emotion of pilgrimage.

I’d also recommend the History of Emotions blog.

On a completely different theme, I was intrigued by two war-related articles. The first discusses Quaker peace activities prior to the World War I – “Edwardian peace testimony: British Quakers against militarism and conscription c. 1902-1914″, in Journal of the Friends Historical Society, 2010, vol. 61:1 p. 49-66. The second, Human Computing Practices and Patronage: Antiaircraft Ballistics and Tidal Calculations in First World War Britain, outlines the importance of mathematics and the work of Arthur Thomas Doodson, an intriguing scientific aspect of the conflict. As one can imagine a great deal has been written on the Great War largely in special issues of journals, indeed so much has been written I plan a blog covering those issues.

There are two articles, both animal related, which vie for best title. A “Bovine Glamour Girl”: Borden Milk, Elsie the Cow, and the Convergence of Technology, Animals, and Gender at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, by Anna Thompson Hajdik, looks at the adoption and development of the company’s popular and eponymous mascot.Daniel-Sennert

Joel Klein’s article, Daniel Sennert, The Philosophical Hen, and The Epistolary Quest for a (Nearly-)Universal Medicine surveys Sennert’s pursuit of nearly universal medicines made from noble metals. One of his experiments involved feeding a hen silver or gold during favourable astrological conjunctions.

As usual all relevant material will appear in the Bibliography of British and Irish History.

Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


Dublin in May 1916

Abbey Street and Sackville Street (O’Connell Street), Dublin, in May 1916. Photo from the National Library of Ireland on the Commons on Flickr

The first 2015 update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was released on 11 February. It contains just over 5,000 new records, bringing the overall total to 558,575.

Over 500 of the new records cover books and articles relating to Irish history and the database now contains nearly 84,000 Irish history records overall. We are pleased to welcome a new section editor to our editorial team, Dr Colin Reid, Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University, who will be dealing with Irish history since 1801. He succeeds Dr Marie Coleman, for whose expert help over the last few years we are very grateful.

We plan to release our next update in June.

Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


The City of London seen from Greenwich Observatory. Click here for a larger version.

The City of London seen from Greenwich Observatory. Click here for a larger version.

An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was released on 13 October, containing 4,968 new records, bringing the overall total to 553,503. 224 of these new records relate to the history of London, including information on recently completed theses about London’s history provided by the Centre for Metropolitan History.

We would like to remind you that discounted individual subscriptions to the Bibliography are currently available to Friends of the IHR.  More information can be found in our earlier post.

We expect that the next update to the Bibliography will appear in February 2015.

Masculinity, mummies and margarine


One of the joys, and tribulations, of working on BBIH is the amount of material that comes across my desk (or indeed desktop). Joy in that there is such a range of material, and tribulation in the amount! As an indication of the range of material, I’ll highlight a snapshot of articles that I have come across recently.

Man cryingThe first article that caught my attention was, ‘Jesus Wept’ But Did the Englishman? Masculinity and Emotion in Early Modern England. The article looks at the emotions of men of the Elizabethan and Stuart period across the social, political and religious spectrum. Male tears represented an embarrassing loss of self-control and “a shameful lapse into plebeian, even animal, behaviour”. Apologies to all those crying sportsmen.

The title, Crying in the colonies: The bellmen of early Australia, did not cover the emotional sensibility of the colonists but was a discussion on the use of the town crier, who made announcements, advertised sales, rallied people to political meetings, encouraged locals to attend events and performances as well as announcing the news of the day.

Oxford University Press has launched a monograph series Emotions in History, one of the books is entitled, Learning how to feel: Children’s Literature and Emotional Socialization, 1870-1970, which covers such feelings as trust, compassion, empathy, fear and piety, all charted through a particular literary character.
Expanding further on emotions, and combining it with piety, there is a special issue of German History entitled  Feeling and Faith—Religious Emotions in German History, covering early German pietism, the expected behaviour of evangelists in Wilhelmine Germany, as well as the feminization of piety in interwar Germany.


According to John Johnston in Lost in time and space: Unrolling Egypt’s ancient dead (Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, 2013, p. 7-22) the first unrolling of a mummy took place in 1698. Gabriel Moshenska charts the unrolling of mummies in nineteenth-century Britain, a popular spectacle which is also covered by Beverley Rogers in her chapter, Unwrapping the Past: Egyptian Mummies on Show from Popular exhibitions, science and showmanship, 1840-1910. Tomb raiders for mummies or other relics was not confined to the modern period, as Sean Lafferty outlines in Ad sanctitatem mortuorum: tomb raiders, body snatchers and relic hunters in late antiquity. This article charts the actions of tomb raiders despite punishment for such crimes. The increasing popularity of the cult of saints  created a demand for such relics as objects of veneration, which in turn led to elaborate strategies of acquisition, including the exhumation, transporting, smuggling and dismembering of the dead. Taking us up to the modern scientific approach to mummies is an article, Augustus Bozzi Granville (1783-1872): Pioneer obstetrician and gynaecological surgeon. Granville performed the first scientific autopsy of an Egyptian mummy discovering, in the process, the oldest known ovarian tumour.

Best title must surely go to, The Sludge Question: The Regulation of Mine Tailings in Nineteenth-Century Victoria, by Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies. The “sludge” in question is the industrial waste from gold mining in Australia. The pollution was a significant environmental problem to an area dependent on gold mining for its economic prosperity. The article discusses the realisation of the environmental problem and the passage of legislation to resolve the issue over a fifty-year period.

442px-Margarine-Boterfabriek_Joh._Jurgens,_Osch,_RotterdamAnd finally margarine! Who’d have thought there would be two articles on the dairy substitute in a matter of months. First up is Greasing the wheels of rural transformation? Margarine and the competition for the British butter market by Markus Lampe and Paul Sharp which covers the late Victorian period. This is neatly, and chronologically, followed by The Meanings of Margarine in England: Class, Consumption and Material Culture from 1918 to 1953 by Alysa Levene and discusses the product’s continuing association with poverty, its importance as a symbol of domestic material culture, and as a visible marker of a family’s social and economic status. The importance of diet was emphasised by the wonderfully named Gayelord Hauser. The article ‘Look Younger, Live Longer’: Ageing Beautifully with Gayelord Hauser in America, 1920–1975, outlines his prescient encouragement in eating healthily (more vegetables and whole grains) as well as the benefits of exercise (nothing is mentioned about margarine, although I suspect butter would have been frowned upon).

All relevant references will be available on BBIH.

Discounted subscriptions to the Bibliography of British and Irish History for IHR Friends


Looking down from the top of the IHR stairs.

Looking down from the top of the IHR stairs.

Discounted subscriptions to the online Bibliography of British and Irish History are available to Friends of the IHR who may not have access to the Bibliography through a university or other institution. The Bibliography is a joint project of the IHR, the Royal Historical Society and Brepols Publishers, and is the most extensive guide available to what has been published on British and Irish history. It covers the history of British and Irish relations with the rest of the world, including the British empire and the Commonwealth, as well as British and Irish domestic history. It includes not only books, but also articles in journals and articles within collective volumes. It is updated three times a year and currently includes nearly 550,000 records, with a further update expected during October; subscribers can sign up for email alerts notifying them when new records are added on subjects in which they are interested.

Friends of the IHR (including American Friends) can subscribe to the Bibliography for one third of the normal cost of an individual subscription. The sign-up period for the Friends’ discounts starts on 1 October and runs until 15 December 2014 for the 2015 subscription year. New subscribers will have access to the Bibliography as soon as their subscription has been processed but all subscriptions will run until 31 December 2015, so you can enjoy nearly fifteen months’ access for the price of twelve. To apply please contact the Development Office by email or by telephoning (0)20 7862 8791. For more information about the Friends, and the other benefits of joining, please visit the Friends’ web pages. Similar discounts are available to Fellows and Members of the Royal Historical Society who will receive information in their autumn mailing, as usual.

BBIH and History Day


My colleagues in the library have already blogged about History Day, however I thought I’d follow it up from the perspective of the Bibliography of British and Irish History  (BBIH) as I’ve had a number of enquiries which I can address here.

After an outline of the history of the Bibliography and its coverage I usually emphasise three points:-

1.  The Bibliography has links (where possible and where institutional subscriptions allow) to a variety of sources including to full text via doi (digital object identifier);  online collections of journals such as JSTOR and Project Muse; links to publishers;  and links to  other digital resources such as the National Register of Archives and union catalogues (e.g. Copac).

History Day 2014

2. The ability to set up email alerts for specific subjects or authors or places (or a combination).  Users can easily set up an email alert by following the instructions. The email alerts can then be managed by clicking on the “My email alerts” on the banner of the homepage. It’s a simple and effective way of keeping informed about developments in your research area (you’ll get an update three times per year). As an example I have an email alert for subject keyword “Intelligence” and period covered “1880-1945”.

FireShot Screen Capture #026 - 'Brepolis_ BBIH' - apps_brepolis_net_bbih_search_cfm

3. The ability to export data to a range of reference tools, such as Microsoft Word, RefWorks, Endnote and Zotero.  Again there are online tutorials demonstrating how to use these tools.

FireShot Screen Capture #027 - 'Brepolis_ BBIH' - apps_brepolis_net_bbih_search_cfm_action=search_advanced_export_all&startrow=1&endrow=1007&search_order=year_desc&ACCESS=restricted OR public&FULL_TEXT=victor&P

Additionally from History Day, some useful tips were picked up from Paul Horsler (LSE) who discussed reference tools.  He also made three key points. Use the reference manager as you start your research, you’ll become accustomed to it sooner and it will save a lot of time at the end of research. Choose a tool you feel comfortable with and one that is supported by your research institution (if in doubt, ask your librarian). And finally, as with all software, make sure you do backups – you don’t want to lose all that research.

Bibliography of British and Irish History: update and a sample subject search


An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 15 June. Over 5,000 new records have been added.  Nearly 550 of these new records relate to Irish history, while 244 deal with the history of London.

Female munitions workers depicted in a First World War memorial window at Swaffham Prior, Cambs

Female munitions workers depicted in a First World War memorial window at Swaffham Prior, Cambs

To coincide with this year’s Anglo-American Conference of Historians (whose theme is  The Great War at Home), we have put a link on the Bibliography search page to a list of relevant material. To generate this, we used the Subject Tree in order to establish what terms are used in the Bibliography’s vocabulary of indexing terms to describe the topics of interest, and therefore to get the best results. To use the Subject Tree, go to the Advanced Search page, and open the Subject Tree window by clicking on All Subjects (screenshot 1). You can then type, for example, “first world war” into the Search box to launch a search through the Bibliography’s subject terms. This will show that the term used in the Bibliography is “Wars, World War I” (this would also work if you searched for “Great War”, “1st world war”, “World War I” or “world war one”). (screenshot 2). Click the check box next to “Wars, World War I” to add it to your search terms. The Search box will clear so you can type in another term.

To limit the results to records concerned with the home front, type “home front” in the Search box which will show that the term used is “War, impact of”. Again click on the check box and “War, impact of” is added to the list of selected terms. To find records that are concerned with both the Great War and its impact, click the AND radio button (if you had left the OR button selected the search would return all records about the Great War alongside all records about the impact of all wars covered by the Bibliography) (screenshot 3). To insert the selected search terms in the search form click Insert/Close (at the top right of the window).

You are now returned to the Advanced Search page which shows the number of records found (screenshot 4). Click on Search to view the results. It would also be possible to limit the search by entering relevant dates in the Period covered boxes, for example 1914 – 1918 if the later consequences of and reactions to the war are not of interest. It is also possible to search on more specific themes connected with the war. For example you could search for women and the Great War by substituting “women” for “War, impact of” in the example above.

For more information using the Subject Tree see the online tutorial.

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FireShot Screen Capture #031 - 'Brepolis_ BBIH' - apps_brepolis_net_bbih_search_cfm_action=search_advanced

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FireShot Screen Capture #032 - 'Brepolis_ BBIH' - apps_brepolis_net_bbih_search_cfm_action=search_advanced

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FireShot Screen Capture #030 - 'Brepolis_ BBIH' - apps_brepolis_net_bbih_search_cfm_action=search_advanced_recordcount&ACCESS=restricted OR public&PERIOD_CLOSE_MATCHES=0&SUBJECT=_Wars, World War I_ AND _War, im

Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


The library, Trinity College Dublin.  Eighteenth-century watercolour by James Malton

The library, Trinity College Dublin. Eighteenth-century watercolour by James Malton

An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 26 February. Over 4,000 new records have been added; over half of these are for publications of 2013-14.  Some 700 new records relate to Irish history while 186 deal with the history of London.

We are pleased to welcome a new section editor to our team, Dr Elaine Murphy of Plymouth University, who will handle material on Irish history, 1640-1800. We now have three editors helping us to deal with Irish history; Dr Beth Hartland (Ireland before 1640) and Dr Marie Coleman (Ireland since 1800) complete our Irish history team.

There have also been some improvements to the metrics; we continue to welcome your feedback on these.

We expect to release the next update in June.  You can always find out more about the Bibliography at or, if you already have access to the Bibliography, you can sign up for email alerts so as to be notified each time the Bibliography is updated with records on a subject or subjects of your choice.

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