The library’s move back to the refurbished north block of Senate House is progressing very nicely, and we’ve said a final goodbye to our temporary south block home, which is now almost completely cleared. So far everything is going to plan (more or less) and the movers have been working hard to get our collections safely into their new locations. We have a great selection of brand new comfy furniture around the library and in the common room, which has a striking new design.
There’s still a lot to be done over the next week, bringing selected material down from closed access in the tower, and back from our offsite store, but everything seems to be running to schedule and we hope to reopen on Monday 1st September as planned.
Again we apologise for any inconvenience caused by the closure period but we’re all really pleased with the library’s new look and facilities, and how much of the collection has returned to open access, and we hope that you will be too!
The IHR library is excited to announce that we have discovered several items in the US collections that once belonged to prominent early American statesman Albert Gallatin (1761-1849). These works came to the library as part of the Conway bequests of the 1920s and 30s and represent a selection of Gallatin’s – much larger – personal library. They provide us with an insight into the type of works owned by Gallatin and may, in at least one instance, cast light on how he acquired some of the books in his collection. Over the next two weeks the IHR and Senate House libraries will post a series of blog entries celebrating items in our collections relating to Gallatin’s political career. This post will look at Gallatin’s life and the significant role he played in the political and economic debates of the United States during the Antebellum period. It will also briefly introduce one of the sources recently uncovered that bears marks of ownership linking it to Gallatin.
Albert Gallatin and the politics of the early United States
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 where he became enamoured with the philosophy of the French Enlightenment. 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 – a place where Enlightenment principles might be put into practice. In 1780, at the age of 19, Gallatin arrived in Boston. The first few years of his life in America were spent in Massachusetts and Maine. Enticed by the prospect of organizing a new community of French refugees, he later headed south and 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. In the Federal Senate, Gallatin aligned himself with the Jeffersonian Republicans in opposition to the financial policies of the first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and, as a result, soon fell out of favour with the Federalist majority in the chamber. He became an early causality of the Federalist campaign to marginalize foreign-born Republican supporters (culminating in the passing of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798) after his congressional opponents eventually managed to unseat him on the basis that he did not meet the residency requirements to qualify for admission into the Senate. 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 spurred by Hamilton’s tax on distilled liquor. Though he abhorred the secessionist rhetoric and violent tactics of many of the rebels, he sympathized with their core position regarding federal tax policy. As a resident of the western counties with a track record of opposition to the Federalist bloc in congress, Gallatin was able to earn the trust of many of the movement’s leaders and helped to convince them 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 (the so-called ‘Revolution of 1800’) Gallatin was appointed the fourth Secretary of the Treasury. He stayed in this office during the Jefferson and Madison administrations, leaving office in 1813/14. Though he had initially opposed Hamilton’s plans for a national bank, the need to adequately fund the army during the War of 1812 convinced Gallatin of its necessity. Accordingly, he departed from the position held by many in his party and helped charter the Second Bank of the United States in 1816. 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 settled in Astoria, New York, where he spent the last twenty years of his life.
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).
For more information on the life and works of Albert Gallatin, consult the following works in the IHR and Senate House libraries:
The Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1793)
Gallatin’s signature on the front flyleaf of ‘The Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’ (Philadelphia, 1793).
The IHR library holds many items containing provenance suggesting that they were owned by Albert Gallatin. The majority of these items are presentation copies of pamphlets and books bearing manuscript inscriptions and messages directed to Gallatin (we will be looking at a few of these items in future blog posts). Within one volume, however, we discovered direct evidence that established that the item was once owned by Albert Gallatin. In this case the provenance was very clear: Gallatin’s signature on the front flyleaf of the 2nd volume of a 1793 edition of The Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Laws was printed in Philadelphia while Gallatin was serving his short term in the Senate as a representative for Pennsylvania. In our next blog we will examine in detail a collection of pamphlets held in the IHR collection, once owned by Gallatin, that focuses on an issue that remained close to his heart during his career in America: the Northeastern Boundary Dispute (1783-1842).
We are beginning to move books and finalise shelving layouts in preparation for the move. Some books which have been on open access need to be temporarily moved into closed access to be shelved in sequence. This particularly affects books at B.0 (British bibliography), place names series and folios. They can still be requested if required, and will be returning to open access after the move. Please check the catalogue for details of specific items.
The fetch service and staffing of the enquiry office may also be disrupted during the next 2 weeks. We will guarantee a fetch at 9am and 2pm, but other times (11am and 4.30pm) may be affected, and you are advised to check with library or reception staff if a request is urgent (020 7862 8760/8740).
The library will close completely from Saturday 16th August to Saturday 30th August inclusive. We hope to reopen in the north block on Monday 1st September but please check the IHR website and blog for updates nearer the time..
We apologise for the disruption caused during this period, but we have attempted to keep the closure period to a minimum. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the refurbished IHR complete with the much missed common room!
2014 History libraries & research open day by Kate Wilcox
Save this date: Tuesday 20 January 2015! For anyone studying and researching history or related disciplines, this will be an important opportunity to locate key libraries, archives and collections. Following up on the successful 2014 History Day, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research Library will be hosting a second History libraries & research open day with the support of the School of Advanced Study. With the open history fair and one-on-one research clinics in Macmillan Hall and training sessions in a nearby seminar room, the event aims to match researchers and historians with the skills and collections they need. Keep an eye on the event website for further details and we hope to see you here in January!
To facilitate the IHR’s return to the Senate House north block, it has now been confirmed that the library will close from Saturday 16th August to Saturday 30th August inclusive. Room bookings during this time will be unaffected.
We plan to reopen in the north block on Monday 1st September but please check the IHR website and blog for updates nearer the time.
We apologise for any disruption caused during the move, but look forward to welcoming you to the refurbished IHR. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to staff in the library enquiry office in the first instance, or contact us on email@example.com or 020 7862 8760.
Following on from last week’s launch of the library’s bequests webpage and in keeping with recent blog posts about our Canadian holdings, the IHR would like to take the opportunity to highlight a few examples of historic donations to our North American collections. The Institute’s extensive resources relating to the early history of Canada came into existence as a result of several large bequests and donations from private donors and public bodies during the 1920s and 30s. Of these donors, H.P. Biggar stands out for his efforts to promote Canadian studies at the IHR and in London more generally.
The Biggar Collection
Henry Percival Biggar (1872-1938) served as the European representative of the Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa during the first three decades of the 20th century. While in Europe he received a doctorate in history at Oxford and published several titles on European exploration in North America including The voyages of the Cabots (Paris, 1903), The Voyages of Jacques Cartier(Ottawa, 1924) and The Works of Samuel de Champlain (Toronto, 1922-1936).
Biggar was central to the acquisition campaign for the Public Archives and later participated in the organization of historical manuscripts in the national collection, a project he wrote about at length in the first two volumes of the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research. From 1905 he served as the European representative of the Department of Canadian Archives, a position he occupied until his death in 1938. He was instrumental in the founding of the Canadian Historical Society in 1922 and served as its first secretary. As secretary he oversaw the transcription of important manuscripts relevant to the early history of Canada held in Parisian and London archives for deposition in the Public Archives of Canada. Biggar was also an activist for Canadian and imperial charities in the capital, serving as the National Commissioner of the Canadian Red Cross Society during the early years of the Depression.
From 1921 onwards Biggar donated books from his personal library to the IHR. As a result, a number of the Colonial Collection’s strengths reflect his research interests in the areas of early European exploration of North America and the history of New France before the British conquest of 1759/60. Biggar’s largest donations of books and pamphlets arrived in the IHR over the course of the summer of 1926 and the winter of 1927. In 1938, the IHR library committee valued the Biggar Library, then consisting of 562 volumes and 256 pamphlets, at £950.
The Canadian Lectureship Fund Acquisitions
Throughout his years in London Biggar tirelessly promoted the professionalization and study of Canadian history in the UK. In 1926 he organized a fund to endow a lectureship in Canadian History at the University of London. Sadly, he was unable to collect enough money for a lectureship endowment before his death. The money raised for that purpose, however, did enable the IHR to significantly expand its colonial history holdings. In 1932 Biggar stipulated that the interest from the lectureship fund, then standing at £600, be used by the IHR library committee to ‘buy books to be presented to the Canadian section of the Institute library’. Many of the library’s holdings in the area of European exploration in North America were purchased through the Canadian Lectureship Fund including, for example, Paul Gaffarel’s, Histoire de la découverte de l’Amérique, 2 vols (Paris, 1892)and Henry Murphy’s The Voyage of Verrazzano (New York, 1870). Perhaps the most substantial additions to the library purchased under the aegis of the Lectureship fund were the initial two dozen volumes of the Rapport des Archives du Quebec series.
Provenance in the Biggar Collection
A presentation copy of Joseph-Guillaume Barthe’s (1816-1893) Le Canada Reconquis par la France(Paris, 1855) presented to the French illustrator and student of Delacroix, Maurice Sand (1823-1889) includes a letter from the author bound among the front flyleaves of the book. It is dated Quebec, 15 September 1867 and discusses a meeting between Barthe and Sand in Paris in 1861. La Canada Reconquis par la France argues for renewed French immigration to Quebec in order to rejuvenate French Canadian language and culture. 
The first volume of the IHR copy of Etienne Michel Faillon’s Histoire de la Colonie Francaise in Canada contains a long citation from the work in Biggar’s hand. It also contains a letter, bound among the front leaves, with information about the book.
Illustration: F.S. Brereton, With our Russian Allies (1916)
This post was written for us by Karen Attar from Senate House Library Special Collections.
The conference “The Great War at Home” supplied an excellent opportunity for Senate House Library to provide a small complementary display. The only problem was how best to use a limited space. To the extent that we had a focus, that focus was publishing, and within the theme of publishing, Oxford University Press – especially timely in so far as a new History of Oxford University Press was published last year. In August 1914 seven members of the Modern History Faculty of the University of Oxford promptly set to and wrote Why We Are At War: Great Britain’s Case, in order to set forth the causes of war and the principles they believed to be at stake. This was the first of 87 OUP “pamphlets” about the War, although with 206 pages there was little of the pamphlet about it.
The Delegates of Oxford University Press approved the book’s publication on 16 October 1914, at their first meeting of the new academic year – by which time it was already in its third edition, the one displayed. The copy shown is from a collection of about 530 books and pamphlets pertaining to the War brought together by the pacifist historian Caroline Elizabeth Playne (1857-1948) in connection with the books she wrote about the conflict. The other OUP book shown is homage to Shakespeare for the tercentenary celebration of his birth: evidence of the continuation, albeit in severely limited form, of academic publishing during the war.
Children’s adventure stories set against the backdrop of the Great War and stereotypically full of valiant English youths and cowardly, underhand Germans, some of them spies, give insight into how in an unrealistic form the war pervaded children’s consciousness. An example of such literature was also displayed, With our Russian Allies by the extremely popular Frederick Sadleir Brereton.
All of these are examples of “The Great War in England”. We interpreted “home” more narrowly with Roll of War Service, 1914-1919, commemorating the losses in war of members of the University of London Officers Training Corps: seven officers and some 670 cadets.
In previous years Senate House Library’s contribution to the Anglo-American Conference of Historians has been purely to curate a display. This year the topic enabled the Library to give a conference paper, again seeing “home” as the host institution of the conference. Karen Attar, who had previously delved into the history of the Library during the Second World War, extended her researches backwards to the period 1914-1918 to talk about the University of London Library then. Documentary evidence is sparse compared with that for the Second World War, so that an initial fear was of not finding enough to say. There was no need to worry, and a twenty-minute talk expanded to fit forty minutes. Several interesting points emerged in the course of preliminary reading, such as better air raid precautions for the First World War than for the Second, and a suggestion that books would be safer on the central University’s premises in London than in Cambridge.
Mercredi 14 avril 1915
Rue de la Régence, deux petites filles sautaient à la corde en chantant La Marseillaise. Des officiers allemands passèrent, entendirent, regardèrent…et sourirent. Et les deux petites continuèrent sans se douter qu’elles risquaient dex ans de prison!
[Wednesday, 14th April 1915
Rue de la Régence, two young girls were skipping rope singing La Marseillaise. Some German officers passed by, heard, watched…and smiled. And the two little girls continued without suspecting that they risked two years in prison!]
So wrote the Brussels-based journalist, play-wright and author Paul Max (1884-1944). His is one of many voices which can be found among the collections of the IHR library, which illustrate the varied reactions, both within government and society at large, to the German Empire’s occupation of Belgium from August 1914 to November 1918.
Initially Max’s account of life in Brussels is filled not only with vignettes of the German presence (as one might expect) but also more pleasant aspects, a trip to the theatre (13th March, 1915) or a day playing bowls (26th May 1915). Unfortunately, these types of entries are seldom made as the diary progresses with accounts of air raids (the 7th June 1915, the 7th September 1916 and the 27th September 1916, for example), swift arrests (22nd June 1915), rising prices and economic deprivation (1st February 1917, 8th November 1917, 15th October 1918) becoming the norm.
The diary of Constance Graeffe (1874-1950) also documents life in occupied Brussels but has a very different tone. With the knowledge that her and her German husband, Otto Graeffe, would eventually renounce their Belgian citizenship, becoming Reichsdeutschen on the 1st June 1917 one should not be too surprised that a major theme throughout her diary is the equivocation she displays between the fondness she has for Germany and the growing hostility she feels in Brussels:
I do not know how I shall bear all this feeling of hatred which pours out of every eye which rests on one, if one has the misfortune of being with any one who is German. I often wonder however that hatred will leave the Belgians? I must not think too much of all this or I would go mad. (17th June, 1915).
Her portrayal of suffering must be tempered, however, by her – almost eager – acceptance of Germany’s justification for its actions during the invasion. In the first months of the war, Graeffe would accept as fact the German explanation for its brutality during the invasion, the civilian guerrilla forces dubbed the Franc-tireurs:
…all along Belgium as the German came along…the men (not soldiers) & women & children began to shoot at them. (27th August 1914)
Mention of the Franc-tireurs is also made in other sources held by the IHR’s library, but in a very different context. The Documents pour servir à l’histoire de l’invasion Allemande dans les provinces de Namur et de Luxembourgwas compiled and edited in the early 1920s by the abbot of Maredous, Norbert Nieuwland and Jean Schmitz, secretary to the bishop of Namur. The eight volume work offers a comprehensive account of the invasion but paints a very different picture than either Max’s or Graeffe’s diaries. As outlined by the editors, the work sought to, ‘montrer par des témoignages de première main, quel est le régime, quels sont les traitements que l’armée allemande a fait subir à la population civil durant l’invasion’, dedicating it, ‘à la mémoire de tous morts et martyrs’ (vol. 1, xi-xii). Given this statement of intent, such incidence such as the civilian massacres at Tamines and Dinant (to name only two) are described in hundreds of accounts published in each volume.
Oscar von der Lancken-Wakenitz (German diplomat and administrator based in Brussels 1914-1918)
Accounts from the German perspective tend not to dwell on these horrific events. The reports and memoirs by German diplomat and head of a Politische Abteilung throughout the occupation, Oscar von der Lancken-Wakenitz (1867-1939) mention little of the initial invasion, giving details, instead, on the day to day concerns of the German administration such as the staunch defiance of the Belgian Cardinal Mercier (Nov. 1915-Jan. 1916, pp. 164-168 & Aug. 1916-Jan. 1917, pp. 233-236) as well as the implementation of Flamenpolitik, a policy which sought to widen societal fissures between the Flemish and Walloon population, promoting the status of the Flemish (viz. Germanic) culture over the southern Francophone Walloons (Meine dreissig Dienstjahre, pp. 211-220; see also Les archives du Conseil de Flandre).
In terms of a legacy, the noted Belgian historian, Henri Pirenne (1862-1935) saw efforts to divide Belgium through policies such as Flamenpolitik as being ultimately futile. Although we have seen even in this tiny sample opinion was far from uniform (when is it ever?), looking back and reflecting on the German administration and the Belgium that emerged after war, Pirenne would conclude in 1928
L’administration imposée par l’Allemagne à la Belgique n’était que la conséquence de la victoire. Elle devait crouler avec la défaite et elle le fit tout d’une pièce et d’un seul coup…Matériellement le pays était ruiné, moralement il restait intact. (p. 272)
[The administration imposed by Germany on Belgium was only the consequence of victory. It crumbled with defeat and it collapsed in one fell swoop…Materially the state [Belgium] was ruined, morally it remained intact.]
All the material discussed above can be found in the IHR library’s Belgian, Low Countries Local, Military and International Relations collections and notice of any future acquisitions in this subject can be found on the library pages of the IHR website.
More details of events held at the IHR, including this year’s Anglo-American Conference, The Great War at Home, can be found on the Institute’s Events page.
Graeffe, Constance. “We who are so cosmopolitan”: the war diary of Constance Graeffe, 1914-1915, ed. Sophie de Schaepdrijver.
Lancken-Wakenitz, Oscar von der. Meine dreissig Dienstjahre 1888-1918 : Potsdam-Paris-Brüssel.
Lancken-Wakenitz, Oscar von der. Gouverner en Belgique occupée : Oscar von der Lancken-Wakenitz – rapports d’activité 1915-1918, ed. Michaël Amara et Hubert Roland.
Max, Paul. Journal de guerre de Paul Max : notes d’un Bruxellois pendant l’occupation (1914-1918), ed. Benoît Majerus & Sven Soupart.
Pirenne, Henri. La Belgique et la Guerre Mondiale.
Raad van Vlaanderen. Les archives du Conseil de Flandre, published by the Ligue nationale pour l’unité belge.
Schmitz, Jean & Nieuwland, Norbert (eds.). Documents pour servir à l’histoire de l’invasion Allemande dans les provinces de Namur et de Luxembourg.
Over the spring and early summer we have been bringing together information on the history of the IHR library, and have now added a new section to the webpages which highlights the origins of some of our collections. In its early years the library was built up by actively seeking donations of books, and much of the collection was formed from bequests and gifts by individuals and organisations. They cross all sections of the library, from the many donations to the Canadian section by Henry Percival Biggar, via the large amount of local history material given by H Guy Harrison, to the controversial donation of 1937 from the German government which forms a large part of our German history collection. Special acquisition funds were created to support some collections, such as the Canadian Lectureship Fund, and in some cases donated books that were surplus to the IHR’s needs, because they were duplicates or outside the collection policy, were sold in order to boost the funds available for purchasing new material.
Many of the books that came to the IHR through bequests and donations carry fascinating evidence of their earlier provenance, in the form of dedications and inscriptions to individuals, earlier bindings, interesting book plates, or letters now bound into the volumes. The collection includes, for example, the beautifully bound volumes of the Vincent Wright collection, and David Douglas’s interleaved and annotated copy of J. Horace Round’s Calendar of documents preserved in France.
We are still finding things out about these collections and will be adding to the web pages as research continues. Keep an eye out, too, for blog posts which will highlight particular items of interest. For further information on how you can support our collections please speak to the IHR development office.
Benn is widely recognised as having been one of the top political diarists of his time, and A blaze of autumn sunshine: the last diaries, published the year before his death,completes his story. Although Benn stepped down from Parliament in 2001 he remained extremely active politically, taking part in campaigns and events throughout the period covered by this volume (2007-2013). Benn intersperses accounts of his day-to-day activities, which despite his age often included very early starts to attend different demonstrations or events around the country, with commentary on political issues at the time.
Amongst other matters Benn’s entries discuss the transition between Blair and Brown and his increasing despair with the state of the Labour Party, and on a more personal level his own declining health, though he remains upbeat throughout. Benn’s daily additions to his diary, which he had kept up for an impressive sixty-nine years, came to an end in 2009 due to illness. The final four years covered by this volume are in the form of a memoir, very briefly dealing with themes and events such as the financial crisis, the coalition government, Ed Miliband’s rise to party leadership, WikiLeaks, and the growth of UKIP.
Something that consistently comes across in Benn’s writing is his awareness of history, and his use of key ideas and movements from the past to try to influence political thought in the present. He had not lost his determination to present ambitious and potentially controversial ideas, even at this late stage in his career. His description of a speech he made at the Labour Party Conference of 2007 in front of his granddaughter and eldest son, both also active in politics, demonstrates this: “Emily and Stephen heard me speak at the Labour Representation Committee, where I tried to talk about the future, and say that we had to look ahead. ‘You know I’m always talking about the Chartists and the Suffragettes. Well, look ahead – we’ve got to have the world run by global Chartists. The UN has got to be represented in a proportion to the population of the world.’ It probably sounded as mad to them as the Chartists sounded.”
Both because of his role as a politician and as a political diarist, Benn is mentioned in History, heritage and tradition in contemporary British politics: past politics and present histories, in which Emily Robinson discusses the different ways British politicians use past events and political rhetoric to promote or dismiss current ideologies and policies. Alongside others, Benn’s significance as a politician with a focus on political history and its preservation is highlighted by Robinson: “…the political memory of all three parties is perpetuated by a relatively small number of individuals, who tend to share a concern both for the preserving of contemporary documents and participant observations, and for recovering and remembering the stories of the past – usually with an intention of ‘learning from history’…There is also a great crossover between party memoirists, diarists, biographers and historians, with Roy Jenkins, Michael Foot, Tony Benn and Winston Churchill being only the most obvious examples.” This is certainly reflected in our own collections, which include diaries, biographies, and historical works, by all of these figures.
Below you can find the full list of new books which feature on the current display: