While processing the latest new volumes to be acquired by the IHR Library, we came across an especially unusual assortment of works. Listed below is an interactive image gallery of some of our personal highlights from these latest acquisitions.
Welcome to the inaugural blog post in a series promoting the Low Countries collection in the IHR Library. My name is Stijn van Rossem and I took up a one-year post-doctoral fellowship in March. In the months to come, I will explore and promote the remarkable holdings on the Low Countries, one of the largest collections outside of the Netherlands and Belgium, and will help to show the collection’s relevance not just for Low Countries studies but also for scholars of British, European and World History.
Before joining the IHR, I held teaching positions at the University of Antwerp (Literature of Modernity) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Art History). I am a visiting professor at the School of Arts in Ghent, where I teach courses on the history and theory of graphic design. In 2013, I was director of the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Brussels. My primary areas of expertise are book history, graphic design, and curatorship; my Ph.D. focussed on the publishing strategies of the Verdussen family, printers in Antwerp from 1589 to 1689.
As well as producing a general guide, I will focus on the extensive collection of rare books from the Low Countries held by the IHR, and which includes the arguably understudied collection of about 1,000 Dutch pamphlets (dating from 1602–1814), an important source on the political, religious, commercial and social history of the Dutch Republic and the Southern Netherlands.
Pieter Geijl in London 1922 (Source Wikipedia)
This collection of Dutch Historical pamphlets is but a small part of the books on the Low Countries entering the IHR Library on the instigation of Professor Pieter Geyl, the first chair of Dutch Studies in the United Kingdom. Geyl was involved in the creation of a seminar on Dutch History in the IHR and was able to negotiate the transfer of the history books from Bedford College to the IHR, which were to be used as the reference library for his seminar ‘Reading of Dutch Historical Texts’ (from 1925 to 1926). Although often a very controversial figure with the capacity to generate a series of academic and political feuds, Geyl is still considered one of the most important historians from the Low Countries, who started his academic career in London. Together with the Dutch Department of UCL, I plan to organise a conference on the influence of Pieter Geyl in the United Kingdom.
But also other libraries of the School of Advanced Study have important collections. Senate House Library holds more than 1,000 rare books from the Low Countries, with over 700 of those printed by the famous Elzevier family. Next year will be the anniversary of the death of the founding father of the dynasty Lowijs Elsevier (ca 1540–1617). Together with Leiden University, Museum Meermanno (House of the Book, The Hague) and the Elsevier Heritage Collection we are currently discussing how to organise a suiting commemoration and what role we could play in it.
A library enquiry recently sparked an intriguing trip to the archive, revealing a very different image of Bloomsbury to that of today.
The Institute of Historical Research Library team recently received an enquiry regarding the history of the Institute and in particular the varied buildings which the IHR has occupied during its history. As a result, following some research in the Institute’s archive, we have been researching the history of Bloomsbury, in particular Malet Street and Gower Street due to their proximity to the site that the IHR occupies today.
Interest in this project was further spiked following the discovery of photographs held by the Imperial War Museum in London documenting the area during the First World War. The photographs clearly highlight the greatly changed surroundings from 1918 to the present day.
The photographs show the corner of Store Street and Gower Street at the intersection where the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is housed now. Also shown is a Y.M.C.A building that was used as accommodation for troops during the First World War. The area looks almost unrecognisable from today with significantly less traffic!
The Institute of Historical Research was first housed in similar accommodation to that pictured in the photographs above, with the Institute only moving to a newly built Senate House when ‘Senate House lost its veil of scaffolding and University staff moved in’ during 1937. (Simpson, The University of London’s Senate House:Charles Holden, Classicism & Modernity, University of London, 2005, p37) Prior to this, the IHR building was frequently referred to as ‘the army huts’ because of its external resemblance to those provided for troops. The building was a single-storey structure and rested on the basements and cellars of houses that had been cleared before the war. Additionally, it should also be noted that at this time Malet Street was significantly narrower than it is presently, only being widened in the 1930s.
The secretary and librarian of the IHR from 1946-1971 recalled how the streets of Malet Street and Gower Street were made up of single-storey buildings. Mr A. Taylor-Milne remarked that, ‘In the academic year 1924-5 some of us undergraduates at University College used to walk down Malet Street to the headquarters of the University of London Union, temporarily housed at the corner of Montague Place, in what had been a large Y.M.C.A hut for the troops during the First World War. On the way we passed the first home of the Institute of Historical Research, a neat row of single-storied structures.’ (Birch and Horn, The History Laboratory: The Institute of Historical Research 1921-96, University of London, 1996, p 24).
The archives of the Y.M.C.A, housed within the collections of the University of Birmingham, contain many striking examples recording the cottage-style buildings that were located right along Malet Street. An example of these ‘huts’ is that of the ‘Shakespeare Hut’, a Y.M.C.A recreation hut built for the rest and recuperation of serving forces during the First World War with a remit to entertain the troops with dramatic performances of Shakespeare productions. The building was situated on the corner of Malet Street and Keppel Street, the site now occupied by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The history of the British Museum site occupying Montague Place also sheds light on the history of Bloomsbury, with the scope of the site mostly unchanged from its conception to the present. The north entrance (situated on Montague Place and facing Senate House today) was opened in 1914. Interestingly, however, the north entrance was never intended to be a public entrance. Instead the entrance and galleries on this side of the building were originally meant to face a long avenue which would be part of a victory parade route. The saluting gallery, a reminder of this grand scheme, can still be seen above the north entrance.
Following the end of the First World War, building work commenced across the Bloomsbury area. The IHR’s Secretary and Librarian from 1927-1943 recalled watching the works begin along Malet Street. He commented that, ‘the southern end of the Institute’s building faced to the west another vacant site, soon to be covered by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I watched its building from my office next to the Institute’s entrance and used to say that the names Frank, Pettenkofer and Briggs would be found graven on my heart!’ (Birch and Horn, p 40)
Similarly, in 1921 further along Malet Street, a new theatre was built by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art [RADA]. This building occupied land which backed onto the Academy’s existing buildings on Gower Street.
It is clear therefore, that the area underwent enormous transformation during this time. Indeed, the vast urban development projects that were taking place within the area can be evidenced through London County Council’s legislative directive to widen both Malet Street and Montague Place in 1928 (London County Council (General Powers) Act 1928 sections 48-53 (50.9) in Simpson, p19).
In many of the images Bloomsbury is unrecognisable in relation to its present-day form. The archival photographs in this way allow for a window onto an often forgotten past. However, whilst the architecture may have changed, the institutions lining Malet Street have remained and the work and research carried out within them provides a continuum to the present day.
This short introduction is only intended as an overview of the visual history of the area. However, several archives contain significant holdings on the changing architectural face of Bloomsbury and each respective institution’s history. Therefore, for more information please see:
– LSHTM’s project ‘Resurrecting the Shakespeare Hut‘ will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the YMCA Shakespeare Hut on the School’s Keppel Street site on 11th August 1916. The project, made possible by a joint-award from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will include an audio-visual exhibition, performances and local First World War oral history testimonies.
The IHR Library is conducting a survey to help improve the services that we offer. Please take a few minutes to let us know your views, either by completing the survey online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ihrlibrary2016 or filling out a printed form available from the IHR library enquiries office situated on the first floor of the library, or at the main IHR reception desk.
Alternative copies of the form, including large print versions, can be obtained from the library enquiries office or by contacting library staff via email email@example.com or telephone 020 7862 8760.
The closing date for completed surveys to be returned is Friday 29th April 2016.
Please note that responses may be used for publicity material or for publicising results, however all comments will remain anonymous. Details of the results of the survey will be published on the survey page of the IHR library website in due course.
Thank you in advance for your time and help to improve the services of the IHR library.
This post was compiled by the IHR Library’s Collection Librarian Michael Townsend and Graduate Trainee Siobhan Morris
‘Over the fine building of the G.P.O. floated a great green flag with the words “Irish Republic” on it in large white letters…and a big placard announced “The Headquarters of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic”‘ (Correspondence of Mrs Hamilton Norway, 25th April 1916 in The Sinn Fein Rebellion as they Saw It, p. 39)
Over the last couple of months, communities throughout Ireland and across the world have been marking the centenary of the Easter Rising. This post will highlight some of the works available in the IHR library not only recounting the events of those days in April 1916, but also those that consider the subsequent impact the Rising would have on Irish historiography and the historical culture of modern Ireland.
Eye Witness Testimony Within the library’s Irish collection there are an array of diaries and memoirs from individual authors, for example: the account of Joe Good, a Londoner who enlisted as an Irish Volunteer and who would be stationed in the General Post Office throughout the course of the Rising, the Irish volunteer W. J. Brennan-Whitmore and the diaries of Seosamh de Brún and British officer, Major S. H. Lomas included in Mick O’Farrell’s The 1916 Diaries of an Irish Rebel and a British Soldier. Civilian accounts can be found in the letters of Mrs Hamilton Norway, who had recently moved to Dublin with her civil servant husband and in the accounts of women recorded within Women in Ireland, 1800-1918: a documentary history compiled by Maria Luddy. In addition, although neither a diary nor a memoir, researchers can gain some insight into one of the leaders of the Rising, James Connolly, by consulting a selection of his writings.
The library also has a selection of published collective accounts of the Rising. The accounts published in Keith Jeffery’s The GPO and the Easter Rising give voice to not only the Irish Volunteers who commandeered the building as their headquarters, but also to the bystanders who were working and using the post-office on that Easter Monday. In addition, a number of general source collections have been made possible in recent years when in 2003 the Irish Government’s Bureau of Military History released a multitude of witness statements taken in the 1940s and 50s by participants in the Rising. This forms the basis of the works Witnesses: inside the Easter Rising by Annie Ryan and Rebels: voices from the Easter Rising by Fearghal McGarry who both present selections from this newly available body of source material.
The Rising’s Influence after 1916
The rising has both been, and continues to be, a contested issue in the historiography of modern Ireland as well as a focus for commemoration and national identity. A number of works in the library’s Irish historiography collection consider both the scholarly debates about the Rising and its impact on Irish society as a whole throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Recently published, Who’s Afraid of the Easter Rising? 1916-2016 by James Heartfield and Kevin Rooney charts the impact of the rising both in Irish historiography and Irish collective memory over the past century, while Richard Grayson and Fearghal McGarry’s work, Remembering 1916: the Easter Rising, the Somme and the politics of memory in Ireland compares perceptions of the memory of the Rising with another event of 1916 that would have a profound impact on parts of Ireland, the Battle of the Somme. Mark McCarthy’s study, Ireland’s 1916 Rising: explorations of history-making, commemoration and heritage looks at how the Rising has been presented and re-invented over the last century with a special focus on the commemoration years of 1966, 2006 and 2016.
– For further details of the library’s holdings concerning the Easter Rising of 1916 please click on the interactive image gallery below.
– The IHR library has also compiled a guide to Irish History in the collections of the library, with additional information concerning the collection more generally.
Following the completion of the reclassification project for the Scottish local collection, the IHR Library team have discovered some exciting volumes within the library’s holdings. Examples of some of these are detailed below.
The Book of Dumbartonshire: a history of the county, burghs, parishes, and lands, memoirs of families, and notices of industries carried on in the Lennox district.
This three volume work by Joseph Irving dates from 1879 and comprises a comprehensive history of the region, complemented by in-depth parish reports and intricate maps. The work encompasses genealogical history, ecclesiastical notes and architectural observations on the area. In addition, the volumes include multiple images and illustrations beautifully documenting the history of Dumbartonshire.
Caledonia: or, A historical and topographical account of North Britain, from the most ancient to the present times with a dictionary of places chorographical and philological.
This eight volume work by George Chalmers includes maps of the country, a dictionary of places and also documents civil, agricultural, ecclesiastical, and trade history. The library’s copy of the work also contains a wonderful array of ephemeral sources including marginalia, newspaper cuttings and letters. Of particular interest, is a letter dating from June 1900 from Paisley-based publisher Alexander Gardner detailing the trials of attempting to publish for the first time an index volume to accompany the work and the time-scale of publication for the final volume.
Despite being just eighteen pages long, this work is nonetheless a valuable and rare holding in the library’s collections. Drawn up by Thomas George Stevenson in 1890, only fifty copies were printed for private circulation. The volume is an insight into the trading history of Edinburgh from 1403-1890. It includes an introduction to the origins of the word ‘Gild (with its varieties, Gield, Gilde, Gulde, Gyld)’, the origin of the gilde of the city of Edinburgh, a list of the ‘Denes of Gilde’ of the city of Edinburgh, and ‘a list of publications as to the guildry’. The library holds copy number one and the volume also bears an inscription from the compiler Thomas George Stevenson, who was then secretary to the Council of the Guildry of the City of Edinburgh, to the Right Honourable John Inglis Lord Justice General.
This single map of Edinburgh published in Edinburgh and Glasgow by John Menzies & Co. was an intriguing find during the reclassification project. Whilst the map itself unfortunately bears no date, the work has been in the IHR Library collections since 1922 when it was gifted to the library as part of the Martin Conway bequests. Measuring 56cm x 44cm with a scale of 2 miles to an inch, the map encompasses not only Edinburgh but also as far as Peebles in the south, Fife in the north and Alloa in the west.
For more information on holdings, click on the additional illustrations and maps from the works detailed above.
Until 30 April, readers in the IHR library will be able to access a trial version of Bridgeman Education, an online database of over 1.5 million images cleared for educational use. It’s not necessarily the sort of resource that we usually look at for the online collections, but we are aware of how difficult it can be to search for historical visual materials, either for research or for use in teaching, talks, theses and other educational contexts. This may be one solution to that need. And even if not, it’s certainly interesting to look at (for a topical search, try [Easter Cards]).
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’.
– New research guide for the Scottish and Scottish Local Collections –
Frank E Jamieson, Scottish Lake Landscape in front of Mountains
The Institute of Historical Research Library team have recently compiled a guide to the Library’s Scottish history holdings. The guide gives an overview of both the Scottish and Scottish local collections, provides details of classmarks and locations of materials, and highlights selected themes within the collections.
The Library’s Scotland holdings contain significant collections of travel diaries, private correspondence and diaries. In addition, the collection also holds a large selection of the records of Scottish government dating from the medieval period to the end of the seventeenth century alongside a collection of biographical reference works.
The collections also comprise strong holdings in Scottish local history, as well as a selected collection of journals and periodicals relating to the history of Scotland.
The guide complements and refers to other collections within the Library, most notably the general British collection and the Colonial Africa and North American collections – both of which contain several items relating to the emigration and exploration of Scots around the world. The guide concludes with details of other relevant libraries and institutions with extensive holdings on the history of Scotland.
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.