Next month, as you may have already heard, there will be a number of events held at the IHR to mark the bicentenary of Otto von Bismarck’s birth including an exhibition on the statesman and a lecture given by Prof. Jonathan Steinberg.
This is naturally, therefore, an opportune time to highlight some of the resources to be found in the library’s collections for those researching Bismarck and his impact on German and European politics. Given the central position Bismarck played in many different political arenas it would be feasible to write substantial guides on a number of different subjects (e.g. the nature of his relationship with Kaiser Wilhelm I, Friedrich III and finally Wilhelm II, the Kulturkampf, his attitude to the growth of German party politics, etc.). Yet here we concentrate on the three wars of the 1860s and early 1870s which would bring about the creation of a politically unified German state.
Text of Bismarck’s famous “Iron and Blood” speech.
Editions of speeches, letters and telegrams form the core of the library’s holdings on Bismarck where, understandably, one would find his words and thoughts on the prospect and viability of German unity and Prussia’s role within this process as well as the course of the wars with Denmark, Austria and France. The main editions include:
Moving on from the library’s extensive German collection one can find works of relevance in the Diplomatic History and Military Collections, especially regarding the Franco-Prussian War (the library now has over 250 published works on the conflict thanks in part to a large bequest from Dr. Vincent Wright). Other relevant works in the Diplomatic and Military collection include:
Additional material can also be found in some of the other national collections within the library. In the Scandinavian collection works on the war with Denmark currently include an account of the Battle of Dybbøl, the general work and source collection Manuel historique de la question du Slesvig and Den Danske Regering og Nordslesvigs geforening med Danmark by the Danish historian Aage Friis; a work about the repercussions of the war in Denmark. Besides the works already mentioned from the Diplomatic and Military collections additional material on the Austro-Prussian War can also be found in the Austrian collection, especially from the period of Richard Belcredi’s chancellorship. Additional sources on the Franco-Prussian War can understandably be found in the library’s French collection including a collection of the writings of Émile Ollivier, Prime Minister of France during the first few months of the war, as well as editions of Le Moniteur Universel from the years 1870-71.
For more information on the library’s German holdings see our guide on the collection or feel free to browse the shelves on your next visit (the German collection can be found on the second floor in the Peter Marshall and Past & Present rooms)
In 1921, the newly formed Institute of the Historical Research Research received a donation of Rivista Militare Italiana via “Miss M Froude from the library of Col. James”. An early donation, it made up items 780-864 of the library’s holdings – not only helping to fill the empty bookshelves, but marking the beginning of the IHR’s Italian collection.
94 years later, our Italian collection has expanded beyond Miss Froude’s donation by roughly 3500 volumes, all generally falling within the scope of early medieval to modern history. While the collection’s main strengths lie where one might suspect – for example, our extensive holdings on the city-states and kingdoms of Italy, particularly, Venetian, Tuscan, and Roman history – we also collect some specialties that make the IHR’s Italian collection unique within London and the UK. One such strength lies in our unrivaled collection of archival guides for Italy, ranging from the State Archives to the archives of little-known villages and monasteries.
Most of the collection is held on the second floor with our other European collections, where one can browse through the open stacks. However, to stay here – comfortable and easily navigated as this corner of the library is – would lead even the most eager reader amiss, for there are plenty of Italian books to discover outside of the EI class-mark.
The North American Collections Room on the second floor of the IHR opened its doors to readers last week. We are pleased to announce that over two-thirds of our American resources are now available on open access in the room. The resources are spread over 350 metres of shelf space and represent the strengths of the overall collection, including colonial North American History, Canadian history, the American Civil War, US western expansion, and early US constitutional history. The space is also home to the IHR’s English and Spanish Caribbean holdings.
Soon the room will be equipped with a projector and will provide a new base for several IHR seminars. It will also be used to host small workshops, book launches and other functions promoting American history in London. In this way, the library hopes that it will become a community space for students and researchers interested in early American history.
To mark the opening, the library will post a series of entries on the IHR blog devoted to a body of sources that constitute the backbone of our colonial American resources: archival series published by state and regional historical societies. All together, the IHR holds over 800 volumes of state historical society material relating to the history of the colonial and revolutionary periods. It is the largest open shelf collection of these resources in the UK. These volumes contain printed versions of a range of documents held in state archives, including – but by now means restricted to – personal correspondence, assembly minutes, and court records. The first blog post, to appear early next week, will focus on our New England resources.
This post has kindly been written for us by, Dr Karen Attar, Rare Books Librarian, Senate House Library.
Fashion catalogues from SHL
The Centre for Metropolitan History at the Institute of Historical Research and the Imperial War Museum are holding a major conference on 20-21 March that will explore the ways in which London and its inhabitants were affected by, and involved with, the 1914-18 conflict. Senate House Library provided a display to support the conference of a few items that pertain specifically to London.
One item displayed is as parochial for the University as it is possible to be: the Roll of War Service, 1914-1919, which lists members of the University of London Officer Training Corps who lost their lives in the conflict. It is a chilling list of seven officers and some 670 cadets. Perhaps equally chilling is Alfred Rawlinson’s The Defence of London 1915-1918, which describes the defence of London during the First World War against zeppelins and against aeroplanes, about which Percy Scott states in the preface: “Colonel Rawlinson has written this book on our defence of London against attacks from the air by Germany. He has to admit that we had no defence.”
Fashion catalogues from SHL
Life was not entirely miserable. The most visual items displayed are a couple of catalogues from London fashion emporia, Dickins & Jones on Regent Street and Peter Robinson’s on Oxford Street. The war affected them: a catalogue held but not shown, from Bradley’s in Chepstow’s Place for its 1916 autumn and winter fashions, warns: “The increasing shortage of labour, coupled with the rapid advance in prices of all materials, is likely to seriously affect the possible output of all firms, even of a firm such as ours with its exceptional resources and capacity …”. Stock ranges from the severely practical (the well-cut farm suit of khaki gabardine advertised by Dickins & Jones) to the luxurious, with Peter Robinson’s advertising, for ten guineas: “Evening gown in Silk net over Charmeuse; corsage of handsome silver lace. The tunic effect is edges with opalescent beads and large hanging crystal bead tassels.”
Observations of an Orderly
Stories could be amusing. Ward Muir’s Observations of an Orderly (1918) describes the author’s experiences working during the war at the 3rd London General Hospital. Much of the work (waiting on the patients, washing up, checking linen) would have been the same anywhere in the country. But Muir describes how a colleague accompanied seven blind soldiers to a matinée at Queen’s Hall. They went there by bus, but insisted on taking the tube back. The corporal who was accompanying them consented. He had forgotten that the lifts at Oxford Circus tube station had been abolished in favour of escalators, judged unsafe for blind people. Having heard a comic song about escalators, they wished to sample “this metropolitan invention”. At the bottom they fell down, one on top of each other, with other hurrying passengers falling too. The soldiers regarded the affair as extremely comical, while an old lady who had tripped over the first soldier reproved the hapless corporal for his “callousness and cruelty to these unhappy blind heroes”.
The books shown come from two of the named special collections at Senate House Library: the Bromhead Library of about 4,000 items on the history of London, and the Playne Collection about 530 books and pamphlets pertaining to the First World War collected by pacifist and historian Caroline Elizabeth Playne.
The IHR and Senate House Library ran a second History Libraries and Research Open Day in January 2015. This brought researchers together with professional staff from a wide range of library and archive collections. It was a fantastic day and it was great to see so many libraries, archives and researchers there. We had very positive feedback from attenders and participating organisations alike.
Speakers gave a range of fascinating talks about how to get the most out of libraries, archives and digital resources. You can read about the day in tweets on the Storify page. An associated website continues to be updated with information about library and archive collections along with podcasts and blog posts from speakers: http://historycollections.blogs.sas.ac.uk.
The library would just like to inform its readers that the Hakluyt Society Publications are now once more available on open access and can be found on the second floor of the IHR library in the north-east corner of the main reading room beside the Dutch collection.
This post has kindly been shared with us by Jordan Landes, History Librarian at Senate House Library
The Library has extremely strong collections relating to resistance to the First World War, and the exhibition is an opportunity to establish a distinct voice amidst the wider commemoration of the centenary of the conflict. Our holdings demonstrate dissent on multiple issues and from diverse motivations, as well as official government publications supporting the war effort. However, it is striking how these intractably opposed positions made strident appeals to very similar fundamental principles and ethics in order to support their arguments. These principles can be reduced to essential duties, which, while each sounding inviolable, are also incompatible, with the moral certainties they embody evaporating as they conflict. The exhibition will be structured around the four preeminent duties observable: Duty to God, Duty to King and Country, Duty to Humanity, and Duty to Conscience.
With all sides appealing to the same principles, under each theme there will be displayed official propaganda, mildly dissenting views and also materials that were regarded as illegal in their resistance.
As a case study in how these duties interact and contradict one another, we will lastly present material depicting how the Labour Party and the wider Left was torn apart by the Great War, with disputing factions making appeals to essentially the same duties and principles.
The exhibition seeks to highlight rare materials but also to demonstrate the breadth of our holdings, and will include:
Contemporary government recruitment and propaganda posters
Suppressed pamphlets which were officially destroye
Rare books showing the 17th-18th century origins of pacifism
Cartoons and mass-printed anti-war illustrations
Manuscripts, including letters from the future George VI and Siegfried Sassoon
Evening events: These talks will begin at 6pm and be held in the Seng Tee Lee Seminar Room in Senate House Library.
15 January: Emily Johns, ‘Picturing resistance to the First World War: Emily Johns talks about the process of making a People’s History poster series’
(tbc) History Lab, ‘An Evening with History Lab: emerging research on the First World War’
19 March: Professor Ulrich Tiedau (UCL), ‘European duty and dissent: a Belgian example, Émile Cammaerts’
9 April: Cyril Pearce, ‘A re-appraisal of the complex history of Conscientious Objectors in Great Britain from the country’s leading researcher in the field’
14 May: David Blake, ‘Quaker contributions in the First World War’
Lunchtime events: These talks will start at 1pm and will be held in the Durning-Lawrence Library. Attendees may feel free to bring their sandwiches.
23 January: Richard Espley (SHL), ‘The survival of the suppressed: preserving banned pamphlets in the University Library’
17 February: Jordan Landes (SHL), ‘Albert Einstein and Arthur Stanley Eddington: a pacifist relationship’
11 March: Charlie Potter (SHL), ‘Bertrand Russell and the philosophy of pacifism’
15 April: Hester Swift (IALS), ‘A talk on international peace organisations’
Amedee Forstier, The Signing of the Treaty of Ghent, Christmas Eve, 1814 [John Quincy Adams (5th from left), Albert Gallatin (6th from left), and Henry Clay (10th from left, seated)].
Wednesday marks the bicentenary of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, the agreement that ended the War of 1812, the last open conflict between the US and Great Britain. The war was fought between the two countries over north Atlantic trading rights and territory in the North American interior. In celebration of this anniversary, this blog entry will examine the peace negotiations of 1813-1814 through the eyes of 17-year-old James Gallatin, the son of the chief American delegate during the negotiations and serving Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin. James accompanied his father to Europe and recorded the day-to-day challenges faced by the Americans in their dealing with the British and, perhaps more interestingly, in their attempts to arrive at a consensus strategy among themselves. James Gallatin’s diary reveals the human side of nineteenth-century diplomacy as a process of negotiation, not only between delegations representing rival nations, but also within each peace commission, where clashing egos among friends sometimes threatened to derail talks.
The Madison Administration sent several key members of the government to negotiate the end of the war alongside Albert Gallatin, including John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), James A. Bayard (1767-1815), Jonathan Russell (1771-1832) and Henry Clay (1777-1852). Adams, the future president of the US, was then serving as the US envoy to the Russian court. Bayard was a prominent Federalist senator from Delaware and Russell was the US envoy to Sweden. Finally, Henry clay was the Speaker of the House of Representatives and would later become Secretary of State during the Adams Administration.
The American delegation was beset with problems from the beginning, many of which were of their own making. The three men fought among themselves and with their British counterparts throughout the peace talks. James Gallatin recorded the first meeting between his father and John Quincy Adams in St. Petersburg during the unsuccessful Russian-backed peace talks of October 2013. The two men had different thoughts about how to best advance the American position. James remembered: ‘After a stormy interview with Mr. Adams (Adams was the storm) father has decided to take his own course’ (12). To his frustration Albert Gallatin found himself marginalized by two of his compatriots. He, for example, wanted the negotiations to take place in London, thereby allowing the Americans direct contact with the British Foreign Minister, Lord Castlereagh. In this he was overruled by Clay and Adams who refused the suggestion ‘point blank’ arguing that, unlike Gallatin, they were ‘plain Americans and that in England they would only be treated as colonists.’ Geneva-born Gallatin did not understand their position. ‘You are a foreigner,’ they told him ‘which places you on an entirely different footing’ (21). From this moment onward the US delegation descended into regular bouts of in-fighting. Clay and Adams did not get along and often disagreed over how the negotiations should proceed. To make matters worse the Americans arrived in Ghent a month before their British counterpoints, leaving plenty of time for competing egos to clash and resentment to fester. James recorded these episodes in his diary. On 15 July he wrote: ‘Nothing to do. Mr. Adams in a very bad temper. Mr. Clay annoys him. Father pours oil on the troubled waters’ (27).
The situation worsened after the British delegation arrived in August. As Gallatin had feared when he objected to Ghent as the location for negotiations, the British, who had always viewed the American war as a sideshow in the larger conflict with France, sent relatively low level representation to Low Countries. Soon after their arrival Lord Gambier (1756-1833), an Admiral of the Fleet, and Henry Goulburn (1784-1856), Undersecretary of State for War and the Colonies, presented the Americans with a set of demands that they could not possibly accept. The British position regarding the North-Western Territory was utterly unreasonable from the American perspective. It required that the sovereignty of the region – which would eventually encompass the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois along with portions Indiana and Ohio – be returned to Native American control under the Guarantee of the British Crown. This would require the evacuation and repatriation of thousands of US citizens. A few days after this initial meeting, James recorded the despondency and frustration of the US delegation in his diary. ‘Father finds greater difficulty with his own colleagues’ he wrote ‘Clay uses strong language to Adams, and Adams returns the compliment’ (28). Gallatin clearly feared that both Clay and Adams could undermine the negotiations by making brash demands or by venting their tempers in the presence of the British. By late October the Americans began developing a treaty proposal among themselves. James’s diary reveals that this was, like everything else to that point, a tortured and exasperating process. ‘It is a most difficult task’ he claimed ‘both Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay object to everything except what they suggest themselves’ (32).
By November it appeared that negotiations were on the verge of collapse. At this point of despair for the Americans, Gallatin received a confidential letter from the Duke of Wellington, a man close to both the British Prime Minister and Lord Castlereagh. In it he reassured Gallatin that peace was attainable despite mistakes made on both sides. He informed Gallatin that the British ministry held him in high regard. The Foreign minister identified Gallatin as the senior member of the American delegation. ‘As I gather’, Wellington wrote:
Mr. Madison as well as Mr. Monroe [Secretary of State and future President] gave you full power to act, without even consulting your colleagues on points you considered of importance. I now feel that peace is shortly in view. Mr. Goulburn has made grave errors and Lord Castlereagh has read him a sharp lesson (34).
Two weeks later Gallatin received another letter from Wellington again stressing the Ministry’s faith in him: ‘I hear on all sides that your moderation and sense of justice, together with you good common sense, places you above all other delegates, not excepting ours.’ ‘I have always had the greatest admiration for the country of your birth,’ Wellington continued, ‘you are a foreigner with all the traditions of one fighting for the peace and welfare of the country of your adoption.’ Gallatin’s political opponents regularly questioned his suitability for office on the grounds that he was an immigrant and therefore harbored residual attachments to the land of his birth. He had been thrown out of Congress for this reason in 1793. James noted his father’s reaction to Wellington’s compliment: ‘Father, I think, was pleased. He is a foreigner and is proud of it’ (35).
Peace terms were agreed shortly after Gallatin received Wellington’s letters. Both sides agreed to the immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of the status quo antebellum. The treaty also stipulated that all border disputes be referred to territorial commissions (for Gallatin’s role in later border dispute see the blog). Having concluded the peace talks after several long months of stressful negotiation, the British and US representatives then sat together for Christmas dinner. This act initiated a period of peace and friendship between the US, Canada and the UK that holds to this day.
We’ll be moving books into the IHR’s new North American history room next Monday 15th December. The IHR will remain open but the lower ground area of the library (housing the International Relations and Military collections) will be closed so that the crates can be brought through this area. The Military, International relations and American collections (classmarks W, IR, US, UF and C) will be inaccessible on this day. Other fetches may be disrupted.
We plan to open the room up at the start of January and it will house approximately two thirds of the American collections as well as providing additional reader desks.
History libraries & research open day is actually several events rolled into one. Twenty-six libraries and archives will have stalls in a history fair in Macmillan Hall, a large room with enough space for several tables to allow one-on-one consultations with experts on specific research skills. However, Macmillan Hall was not quite large enough to hold our three panels of useful talks, which will be held in a nearby seminar room. Our goal is to give researchers a look behind the scenes of libraries, archives and digital projects, allowing them to discover what happens to books, manuscripts and webpages before they are available.
Our first panel of the day, chaired by Senate House Library’s Dr Richard Espley, Research Librarian for English, Irish and Post Colonial Literatures and Languages, focuses on libraries. The first two speakers in this panel, Alison Gage of Bibliographic Services in Senate House Library and Michael Townsend, a Collection Librarian for the Institute of Historical Research Library, will answer questions about how library classification can have an impact on your research. Their talks will lead into a talk about using libraries in the digital age by the IHR’s Dr Benjamin Bankhurst.
The second panel of the day, chaired by Senate House Library archivist Richard Temple, starts with an introduction to Archives networks, resources and research by Dr Nick Barrett of the National Archives. The next talk of the session, by Shakespeare’s Globe archivist Dr Ruth Frendo, gives insight into archival arrangement and the research process. Finishing the session will be Dr Elizabeth Williams, librarian of History, Theatre and Performance of Goldsmiths, University of London, who will discuss the new Black Cultural Archives and the impact of the archives on British History.
The last panel of the day will focus on research in the digital world, chaired by Dr Jane Winters of the IHR. Dr James Baker of the British Library will lead off the panel with a discussion on digital research, and his talk will be followed by discussions of a variety of digital resources including British History Online, the Bibliography of British and Irish History, Reviews in History and DERA. These will be presented by Simon Baker, Jonathan Blaney and Sarah Milligan of the IHR and by Daniel O’Connor of the UCL Institute of Education Library.
See the event programme for more details. Attendance to each session will be limited to forty so if you are interested, please let us know you would like to attend as soon as you arrive at History Day. We believe these presentations will give you insight into research resources and strengthen your research skills.