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Bibliography of British and Irish History

Recent articles on the First World War


german_dog_postcardIt is with some trepidation that I launch into a post on the First World War. There has been a spat between government ministers and historians about the myths/realities/teaching of the war and already some commentators are arguing against the commemoration of the war. The What ifs have also begun, with arguments for and against Britain’s involvement in the war.

To see what academics are researching and writing about today,  I’ve noted a few First World War articles that interested me and I hope interest readers.

The first article begins at the beginning, or a few weeks before, with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Adam James Bones in, British National Dailies and the Outbreak of War in 19141, explores the press and their portrayal of how Britain entered the conflict from the reaction to the Archduke’s assassination (sympathetic); the impact of foreign embassies on press reporting (especially from the Germans and Austrians); and the reporting, reactions and forecasts of the outcome of the Austrian Ultimatum. He also examines the link between politicians and the press, especially between Grey and the Fleet Street editors.

For all Britain’s reputation as an animal-loving nation, the next article, The Dog Fancy at War: Breeds, Breeding, and Britishness, 1914-1918 2 by Philip Howell, may cause pause for thought. He discusses  the impact of the war and the popularity (or loss of popularity) for some dog breeds such as the dachshund. Even the dog breeder was seen as unpatriotic – dog breeding was seen as a luxury and as a waste of food.

“Next day the German sausage was re-named breakfast sausage, which it has been called ever since, and the Frankenfurters disappeared. They thought all Germans should be pushed out of this country, good and bad alike. A woman who went out leading a little dachshund, had it stoned to death on the pavement, for there was no stemming this ugly tide of racial hatred to which the sinking of the Lusitania had given rise.” 3

On a lighter note and still away from the trenches, Krista Cowman looks at the entertainments for the off-duty soldier in, Touring behind the lines: British soldiers in French towns and cities during the Great War 4. She makes the point that, for many, the war was also the first occasion a soldier visited a foreign country. Drawing on letters, diaries and memoirs, she considers how men responded to the new experiences they found in French towns, exploring everyday and mundane activities such as shopping, dining, cinema and theatre and of course the inevitable visit to a prostitute.

Continuing the entertainment theme, More than a Luxury: Australian Soldiers as Entertainers and Audiences in the First World War 5 by Amanda Laugesen discusses the crucial importance of live entertainment to soldiers on the Western Front –  ‘something more than a luxury—they are a necessity’ as an Australian trench newspaper asserted. It also examines entertainment and audience experiences in order to reveal something about soldiers’ interaction with popular culture, as well as the trench culture shared by soldiers.

An interesting parallel to the above article, though set in the Second World War, is Sam Lebovic’s,“A Breath from Home”: Soldier Entertainment and the Nationalist Politics of Pop Culture during World War II 6, which looks at the USO Camp Shows and the entertainments provided to American soldiers to boost morale and depict the home for which the troops were fighting.

But what about after the war and the ex-servicemen? Carolyn Malone looks at the training for disabled verterans in, A job fit for heroes? Disabled veterans, the Arts and Crafts Movement and social reconstruction in post-World War I Britain. 7 She explores the government-backed employment and training opportunities for disabled veterans, a scheme that ultimately failed. Interestingly there is a film promoting a similar scheme entitled Broken in the Wars (1918) that helped promote The King’s Fund for Disabled Officers and Men, fronted by MP John Hodge.

Continuing the veterans theme there is  Michael Hammond’s, War Relic and Forgotten Man: Richard Barthelmess as Celluloid Veteran in Hollywood 1922-1933 8 which  explores the role of popular Hollywood film culture in the construction and commemoration of the war  using the films of actor Barthelmess. In The Enchanted Cottage (1924) he plays a disfigured veteran who finds love, and in Heroes for Sale (1933), set during the Depression, he portrays a recovering addict veteran struggling in civilian life.

All relevant material will appear in BBIH.




1 The International History Review. 35: 5, 2013 p. 975-92

2 Society & Animals, Volume 21: 6, 2013 p. 546 – 567

3 Bloom, Ursula. Youth at the gate. 1959 p. 95

4 Urban History, 41, 2013 p. 105-123.

5 Journal of War & Culture Studies 6:3, 2013 p. 226-38

6 Journal of Social History 47:2, 2013 p. 263-296

7 First World War Studies 4:2, 2013 p. 201-17

8 Journal of War and culture studies 6:4, 2013 p. 283-301

International Bibliography of Humanism and the Renaissance seeks contributors


Bookwheel from Le diverse et artificiose machine del Capitano Agostino Ramelli (1588)

The International Bibliography of Humanism and the Renaissance (IBHR), formerly published by Librairie Droz as Bibliographie Internationale de l’Humanisme et de la Renaissance, has been working since 1965 to identify all publications relating to humanism and the Renaissance, interpreted in a broad sense, in terms of both content and chronology.  The bibliography will henceforth be published by Brepols, who already publish the International Medieval Bibliography and the Bibliography of British and Irish History (the latter a joint project with the Royal Historical Society and IHR Digital).

In the course of this year the IBHR will undergo major changes and will be relaunched on Brepols’ online platform, Brepolis. Its new search interface will be similar to the one used across all Brepols bibliographic databases and will therefore benefit from the advanced search technologies embedded in them. New features will include linking with online full text where available, and the export of bibliographic references using a variety of software packages (EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero).

In conjunction with these developments, IBHR is seeking support from scholars in relevant fields with a view to extending the coverage provided by the bibliography.  The editors are looking for contributors who will identify and index monographs and articles in both journals and books, following a standard citation format, and assigning appropriate keywords, using the IBHR online input platform. Contributors will be remunerated according to the number of complete items submitted.

Contributors should possess:

  • Access to a research library with strong holdings in European history of the 16th-17th centuries.
  • A Master’s or doctoral degree in early modern European history or a related subject.
  • Fluency in English, French, German, Spanish, or Italian. Passive knowledge of other European
    languages will be considered an asset.
  • Ability and commitment to deliver one hundred citations each year, or more.

If you are interested in becoming a contributor, the publishers would like to hear from you. Enquiries should be made to Chris VandenBorre, Publishing Manager.



Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


BBIH was updated on 14 October with 4,735 new records, bringing the overall total to nearly 540,000. Over 500 of the new records relate to Irish history, with 236 covering the history of London, including information on recently completed theses on London history provided by the Centre for Metropolitan History.

Included in this update is a new “Metrics” feature, which offers a new way of viewing the data contained in the Bibliography. Users can quickly see how the publications of a particular author are distributed by subject or over time, for example; similar analyses are available for particular journals or particular subjects. The version available at the moment is a beta version, devised by Brepols on the basis of the metrics component of the International Medieval Bibliography. You can learn more on our FAQ page. We welcome feedback and comment using our feedback form, or by email.

We plan to release the next update in February 2014. May we remind you that, if you sign up for email alerts on subjects that interest you, you will receive an email as soon as BBIH is updated with records that match your registered searches? A video tutorial on email alerts is available.

Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


BBIH has been updated with 5,831 new records, bringing the overall total to over 534,000. Nearly 3,600 of the new records describe books and articles published in 2012-13; over 700 of them relate to Irish history and 266 of them concern the history of London.

We are delighted to welcome two new academic section editors to our team: Dr Julie Barrau, of the University of East Anglia, editor for England, 1066-1500, and Dr Marie Coleman, of Queen’s University Belfast, editor for Ireland since 1800. Dr Barrau succeeds the long-serving Professor Elisabeth Van Houts, for whose contribution to BBIH we are very grateful. Dr Coleman’s appointment reflects our decision to divide responsibility for Ireland since 1640 into two sections, in the light of the increasing number of publications on Irish history that we are handling. A full list of section editors is available here.

We are sorry that links from the detailed record display to the British Library Direct ordering service no longer lead to a completed order form for the appropriate article. Instead, you are now taken to the home page of the new British Library Document Supply Service, where you need to search again for the article that you wish to order. Also, we regret that the presence of the link is no longer a reliable guide to the availability of the article through British Library Document Supply. We are discussing with the British Library how our links can be improved and we hope to be able to offer better links to British Library document ordering in our next update.

We plan to publish the next update in October. If you register for email alerts on searches of interest to you, you will receive an email as soon as the bibliography is updated with records that match your registered searches. A video tutorial on email alerts is available.

Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


BBIH has been updated with 4,782 new records, bringing the overall total to nearly 530,000. Nearly half of the new records cover publications of 2012-13; over 500 of them concern the history of Ireland and the Irish, and just over 200 deal with the history of London.

The next update should appear in June. You can keep informed of new records relating to your areas of interest by using the ealerts feature.

Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was released on 9 October, containing 5,500 new records, of which over 3,500 deal with publications of 2011-12. Nearly 600 of the new records deal with the history of Ireland (or with Anglo-Irish relations and the Irish Diaspora) and 277 of them relate to the history of London, including information on recently completed theses on London history kindly provided by the Centre for Metropolitan History.

Reduced Bibliography of British and Irish History subscription rates for Friends of the IHR and Fellows and Members of the RHS


We are very pleased to announce reduced subscription rates for Friends of the Institute of Historical Research and for Fellows and Members of the Royal Historical Society, representing a very substantial discount on the normal individual subscription rate (and a significant enhancement to the benefits of becoming a Friend of the IHR or joining the RHS for those who do not already have access to the Bibliography). We hope that this offer will make the Bibliography more accessible to retired academics and independent scholars. Subscriptions are currently available for the calendar year 2013 but, for those who reply early, subscriptions will commence on 1 October 2012 at no extra cost. Free trails are available until 15 July. For more information about the offer, Friends of the IHR should email the Development Office (or telephone +44 (0)207 862 8791/8764); RHS Fellows and Members should email the RHS office. You can find out about becoming a Friend of the IHR here and there is information about membership of the RHS here.

Bibliography of British and Irish History updated


The latest update to BBIH, published on 13 June 2012, contains just over 5,000 new records, of which 2,413 describe books and articles published in 2011-12. The complete database, including titles from Irish History Online and London’s Past Online, now contains over 518,000 records. In addition to these new records, we are pleased to announce an important new feature: you can now stay up to date by saving searches on topics of interest to you; each time BBIH is updated, if there are any new records that match your searches, you will receive an email with a link to them. A video tutorial and a help page on this topic are available.

The Bible, Shakespeare and national dictionaries of biography


When I first started to edit BBIH I used the Concise Dictionary of National Biography and then the CD-Rom version. Both were very useful, however searching them did slow down the process of editing and checking material for inclusion. Then came the online versions of ODNB and life was so much easier. As time has gone on I’ve created a favourites folder entitled “Biographical databases” in which are placed all of the national biographies outlined in the recent piece in Reviews in History (and a few more).

I can only echo Martin Farr’s comments on these resources, their usefulness and coverage. All have their individual idiosyncrasies but all are easy to use. I’m not a fan of the Australian search which defaults to a “text” search rather than a “person” search (as with ODNB). To search a specific name in the Canadian, users have to click on “search” or “advanced search” as only a “full text” search is available on the home screen. The New Zealand is the niftiest – a search will bring up names first and then the word in text. Farr does not mention the Welsh Biography Online however I particularly like the Welsh resource for its layout of search fields. Sadly the University of London does not subscribe to the Irish dictionary but the Irish helpfully provide a snippet view which goes some way in aiding research. I can find no Scottish online equivalent. There is the Dictionary of Scottish Architects (DSA), a database providing biographical information and job lists for all architects known to have worked in Scotland during the period 1840-1980, whether as principals, assistants or apprentices. There is also an Internet Archive version of A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen (1870). If anyone knows of a Scottish one I’d be grateful if they would let me know.

And why the title – The Bible, Shakespeare and national dictionaries of biography? Well if I were marooned on a desert island, trawling through the national dictionaries (preferably online) would fill countless hours….

More on the Bibliography on Swiss History


Following a previous blog on the online availability of the Bibliography on Swiss History (BSH) I can report that volumes for the years 2008 and 2009 of the Bibliography have now been published. They are available in PDF format on the BSH site.

All the bibliographic records for the BSH volumes from 1975 onwards are available in the Bibliography on Swiss History database. This database is continually updated and also contains entries for the issues 2010 and 2011 which have not yet been published in PDF.

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