The IHR Blog |

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.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Screenshot 1

back to text



Screenshot 2

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

Screenshot 3

back to text

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

Screenshot 4

back to text
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

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

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

Please follow and like us:

< Older Posts

Newer Posts >