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Bibliography of British and Irish History


Jane Austen 200th anniversary

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This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen, one of Britain’s most well-known literary figures. She died on 18 July 1817, and this year celebrates a variety of different events to commemorate her life (see Jane Austen 200). To tie in with this, we looked at the resources available on the Bibliography of British and Irish History, and have selected some material which highlights the less-explored themes surrounding Austen’s life and her work.

A newly published book titled Jane Austen and the Reformation: Remembering the sacred landscape by Roger E. Moore explores the medieval religious houses that feature in Austen’s novels, noting the nostalgia that people in the Georgian era felt for the England that existed before the Reformation. He pays particular attention to the first-hand experience that Austen had with pre-Reformation buildings, such as being taught at the gatehouse at Reading Abbey and visiting relatives at Stoneleigh Abbey.

Abbey gateway Reading, by Paul Sandby, 1808 (image: Wikipedia)

 

Jane Austen, Dominic Serres, Princess Olive of Cumberland, Graf von Moltke: Unexpected encounters of an interesting kind is an article by Chris Birch in Geneologists’ Magazine (32:4), which charts a surprising family history that traces the author’s heritage from sugar plantations in St Kitts back to James Austen, Jane’s eldest brother. It is thought that the character General Tilney in Northanger Abbey was based on James’ father-in-law, General Edward Mathew.

‘The “Fanny Price Wars”: Jane Austen’s Enlightenment feminist and Mary Wollstonecraft’ is an article in Women’s Studies. Fanny Price from Mansfield Park is generally regarded as Austen’s most unlikeable heroine, and this article discusses how Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women may have shaped the development of Austen’s character.

Jane Austen and the state of the nation by Sheryl Craig takes a political view of Austen’s novels, discussing in each chapter a specific novel and relating it to the political and economic climate, such as Poor Law reform, the Speenhamland System and the Restriction Act of 1797. The monograph concludes that Austen maintained a liberal tory outlook throughout her writing life.

Other resources encompassing wider themes in Austen’s work include ‘Jane Austen’s Plots of Prevention’ in Reading for health : Medical narratives and the nineteenth-century novel by Erika Wright and ‘Novel Appetites: Jane Austen and the “Nothing” of Food’ in The food plot in the nineteenth-century British novel by Michael Parrish Lee.

The Bibliography currently has 219 listed resources for Jane Austen, visit the BBIH to explore more:

 

(Click on image to enlarge)

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After 1967: homosexuality in the Bibliography of British and Irish History

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It seems more than timely to write something about the LGBT community. Pride has just taken place in London; Tate Britain has an exhibition – Queer British art 1861-1967; the British Museum has Desire, love, identity exploring LGBT histories from its collection; and the Walker Art Gallery has Coming out: Art and culture 1967-2017. Even Radio 4 has produced as series on Queer Icons. And of course it’s the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act which led to the partial decriminalization of male homosexuality in England, as well as the 60th anniversary of the Wolfenden Report (1957), which itself led to the 1967 Act.

Needless to say much has been written on homosexuality in British, Irish and British imperial history (BBIH has over 800 references). It seems invidious to pick out particular books or articles so I’ve gone for the easy option and picked the first 25 references from BBIH (as of July 2017).

Fortunately the list offers a wide range of topics. Different localities are represented by Mandate Palestine, the Indian North West Frontier, London (of course) and south Wales (For our common cause: Sexuality and left politics in South Wales, 1967–1985). Date coverage is equally wide-ranging from early modern England to a 1609 sea voyage to the near present. As for subjects, there are representations of gay people in literature, film and caricature, cross-dressing, AIDS, religious thought, church reactions, legal implications, psychology and disability (Libertine Sexuality and Queer-Crip Embodiment in Eighteenth-Century Britain).

As for the authors, it’s encouraging to see a number of the leading historians of gender and sexuality in the list. Harry Cocks is represented by his article Conspiracy to corrupt public morals and the ‘unlawful’ status of homosexuality in Britain after 1967 which explains the ‘partial decriminalization’ with the continued prosecution of homosexuality. Indeed his latest book, Visions of Sodom: religion, homoerotic desire, and the end of the world in England, c. 1550-1850, is just out (and just added to BBIH). There is also cultural historian Matt Cook and his discussion of AIDS in London, AIDS and the 1980s, a chapter in Sex, time and place: queer histories of London, c.1850 to the present. Also present is Lesley A. Hall and her article ‘Sentimental Follies’ or ‘Instruments of Tremendous Uplift’? Reconsidering women’s same-sex relationships in interwar Britain.

People (as subjects) to pick out from the list are (inevitably) Wilde in Oscar Wilde prefigured: queer fashioning and British caricature, 1750-1900, Francis Bacon in ‘Famous for the paint she put on her face’: London’s painted poofs and the self-fashioning of Francis Bacon (another chapter from Sex, time and place), Constance Maynard in Religion, Same-Sex Desire, and the Imagined Geographies of Empire: the case of Constance Maynard (1849–1935), and Wolfenden himself in Wolfenden’s witnesses: homosexuality in postwar Britain, as well as references to the contemporary author Alan Hollinghurst and Victorian painter Simeon Solomon.

Of course the Sexual Offences Act only applied to England and Wales. Charting the slower change in Scotland you can do no better than look at the works of  Roger Davidson and Gayle Davis.

 

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Embroidery, needlework and seamstresses – stitches in the fabric of history

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My interest was piqued in embroidery by the book Stiching the world: embroidered maps and women’s geographical education in which Judith Tyner describes schoolgirls in Britain and the United States creating embroidered map samplers and even silk globes designed to teach the girls, not only needlework, but geography. I’ve been meaning to write something on needlework/embroidery for some time now and have been spurred on by two new references that I’ve just documented for BBIH.

The first is a chapter in the marvellous book Hardwick Hall: a great old castle of romance, entitled The embroidery and needlework of Bess of Hardwick by Emma Slocombe which charts Bess’s acquisition and creation of embroidery and needlework for the hall. The chapter is of particular importance as this period witnessed the transition of embroidery from ecclesiastic requirements to a more secular form in the interior decoration of elite houses. The book also features tapestries as well as bed coverings and drapery.

The second is En souvenir du roi Guillaume. La broderie de Bayeux by Xavier Barral I Altet which reinvestigates the embroidery adding to a long list of existing investigations.

But of course embroidery existed before Bayeux. Laura Michele Diener’s Sealed with a stitch: Embroidery and gift-giving among Anglo-Saxon women (Medieval Prosopography, 29, 2014) and Fiona Griffiths’ “Like the sister of Aaron”: medieval religious women as makers and donors of liturgical textiles show the importance of the art in Anglo-Saxon England. While Jenifer Ní Ghrádaigh’s chapter, Mere embroiderers? Women and art in early medieval Ireland extends that geographical importance.

The Victoria and Albert museum recently held an exhibition on the Opus Anglicanum: masterpieces of English medieval embroidery producing a sumptuous catalogue, English medieval embroidery : Opus Anglicanum.

Of course many such outstanding examples of embroidery are found in ecclesiastical vestments. Frank and Peter Rhodes discuss such examples looking especially at the flowers on English copes and chasubles in their article, Medieval embroidered “water flowers”.

Terry Moore-Scott discusses the Minsterworth embroidery (an embroidered panel made up from a pre-Reformation liturgical vestment) and gives a better understanding of its intriguing history and survival since the Reformation. (Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 132, 2014).

Meanwhile, Catherine Walden takes the research further and details the episcopal vestments on funerary effigies, corroborated by existing textile fragments and descriptions of garments in the inventories of churches in her chapter, ‘So lyvely in cullers and gilting’: vestments on episcopal tomb effigies in England (in Dressing the part: textiles as propaganda in the Middle Ages).

The importance of embroidery and ecclesiastical vestments continued into the early modern period as demonstrated by Sophie Holroyd’s chapter “Rich embrodered churchstuffe”: the vestments of Helena Wintour (in Catholic culture in early modern England). Helena was the daughter of Thomas Winter, one of the Gunpowder plotters. A more detailed look at her life and embroidery is contained in Plots and spangles: the embroidered vestments of Helena Wintour.

For a meticulous look at the commissioning, production, materials and significance of embroidered motifs, Cynthia Jackson documents all this in ‘Powdered with armes ymages and angels’: an early Tudor contract for embroidered vestments. She also considers the relationship between the embroiderer and the mercer and the ways in which they collaborated to produce garments for royalty, the nobility and an increasing number of wealthy citizens.

Amanda Pullan’s article ‘Informed seeing’: Reading the seventeenth-century embroidered cabinet at Milton Manor House through its historical and social contexts, examines the cabinet and its display of biblical scenes in part showing the transition from ecclesiastical to decorative use while maintaining a foothold in the religious camp.

A more categorical move from ecclesiastical to secular is demonstrated in the chapter, Polite war: Material culture of the Jacobite era, 1688-1760 (in Living with Jacobitism, 1690-1788: the three kingdoms and beyond). Here, Jennifer L. Novotny discusses the household goods and material culture, including wall hangings and samplers, of Jacobitism.

A more recent article in some ways continues the theme of Judith Tyner. Performing curiosity: re-viewing women’s domestic embroidery in seventeenth-century England, by Mary M. Brooks, describes a specific type of pictorial, decorative embroidery, usually learnt in school and practiced in the home. While an indicator of status and wealth, these “curious works” are placed within the changing concept and practice of curiosity (and education) in early modern England.

The relationship between needlework and writing (and women’s education) is explored further in Dress culture in late Victorian women’s fiction: literacy, textiles, and activism by Christine Bayles Kortsch. While examining the inextricable relationship between the material culture of dress and sewing, Kortsch documents how stitching samplers continued to be a way of acculturating girls in print literacy. She  explores nineteenth-century women’s education, sewing and needlework, mainstream fashion, alternative dress movements, and female labour in the textile industry.

The role and representation of the seamstress is provided by Lyn Mae Alexander’s Women, work, and representation: needlewomen in Victorian art and literatureUsing literary examples from Dickens and Gaskell, visual representations by Millais and others, as well as illustrations from the periodical press, she outlines the working conditions of the professional seamstress – the long hours, very small wages, isolation and helplessness, creating powerful image of working-class suffering that appealed to the sensibilities of the social reformers and helped stimulate public opinion in the need for reform.

The Seamstress; or, the White Slave of England (George W. M. Reynolds)

The rise of “art embroidery” during the nineteenth century and the developing commercial ventures as well as the significance of the embroidery business to female employment is revealed in Linda Cluckie’s The rise and fall of art needlework: its socio-economic and cultural aspects. The commercial side of embroidery mobilized activity through numerous agencies such as department stores, depots and charitable institutions. However the working conditions of the female labour is explored in such chapters entitled, Suitable employment for women; Sweated labour and the need for radical change; and Beyond the sweated trades, all indicative of those conditions.

Not all women were subjected to “sweated labour”. One such example, Matilda Pullan, made a career of needlework instructor and periodical contributor. Forced by personal circumstance, she became one of the most prolific contributors of needlework patterns, generating her own income that allowed her to become financially independent through her widowhood and spousal separation. Her life is charted in Threads of life: Matilda Marian Pullan (1819-1862), needlework instruction, and the periodical press by Marianne Van Remoortel.

I’ll end on a poignant article, Wilful design: The sampler in nineteenth-century Britain in which Chloe Flower uses the autobiographical sampler from the needle of a 17-year-old Sussex girl named Elizabeth Parker worked in 1830. It recounts Parker’s childhood experiences in domestic service, and the physical abuse and sexual assault that led her to contemplate suicide, all compressed into 46 lines of cross-stitch. The same sad life is also explored in Maureen Daly Goggin’s chapter, Stitching a Life in “Pen of Steele and Silken Inke”: Elizabeth Parker’s circa 1830 Sampler in (Women and the material culture of needlework and textiles, 1750–1950); as well as in Nigel Llewellyn’s, Elizabeth Parker’s ‘Sampler’: memory, suicide and the presence of the artist (in Material memories: Design and evocation).

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Bibliography of British and Irish History updated (June 2017) and journal coverage

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An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 20 June. 4, 455 new records have been added. Some 612 new records relate to Irish history while 237 deal with the history of London, 354 with the history of Scotland and 125 with the history of Wales. The overall total of records available online is now 588,873.

We regularly search for content relevant to the Bibliography in a large range of journals (over 780 are checked).  We also consider new journals (both in print and open access) and assess whether or not to add a new journal to the list. If any users think we have missed a new journal please contact us via the feedback form.

 

Recent additions have included Manuscript Studies, History of Retailing and Consumption, Cultural History, British Journal for Military History and Early Modern Women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have access to the online Bibliography, you can also see journal coverage by selecting “Coverage” from the main menu on the search page, and then selecting the “Currently searched systematically for relevant material” radio button.  Note that items from journals or series that we have decided to cover only recently may not be included in the published Bibliography yet.

 

We expect the next update to be released in October 2017.

 

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“War and militarism, attitudes to” searching for war and peace in BBIH

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With the ending of the Radical Voices exhibition at Senate House, the People Power: Fighting for Peace exhibition at the IWM about to begin, and the re-opening of the National Army Museum, it seems like an appropriate time to look at war in BBIH.

In the Subject tree, “War and militarism, attitudes to” is the broad term which includes, as lower terms, Militarism, Pacifism, and Anti-conscription, while Pacifism itself is a broader term for Conscientious objection and Peace Society. Thus searching for “War and militarism, attitudes to” will bring up all of these terms.

Taking a chronological approach and beginning with Anglo-Saxon England we kick off with Looking back in Anger: Wrath in Anglo-Saxon England. This article not only examines the emotion of anger using the Old English language anger vocabulary, but also looks at how religious conversion brought new attitudes to the emotional response to war, especially to an Anglo-Saxon warrior culture, where anger played a role in constructing a man’s honour and helped him excel in battle. The article uses quotes from the poem the Battle of Maldon.

Religious responses to warfare are also discussed in An Abbot, an Archbishop and the Viking Raids of 1006-7 and 1009-12 which uses Ælfric, abbot of Eynsham, and Wulfstan, archbishop of York reflections, prayer and representation in the coinage and in charter evidence. The Viking raids of 1006 are further explored in Landscape and Warfare in Anglo-Saxon England and the Viking Campaign of 1006 . This argues that certain types of place were considered particularly appropriate for the performance of violent conflict throughout this period and that these locales are recoverable through an interdisciplinary analysis of landscapes, place names and texts.

The themes of the religious response to warfare and the role of masculinity are continued in the Warrior Churchmen of Medieval England, 1000-1250 : Theory and Reality which looks at the role of Odo Bishop of Bayeux and earl of Kent, and Geoffrey bishop of Coutances. This theme is continued in the recent book, The church at war : the military activities of bishops, abbots, and other clergy in England, c.900-1200.

Covering the later medieval period we start with The Hundred Years War in literature, 1337-1600 which charts the narration of the war in English literature, from contemporary chroniclers and poets, such as Chaucer and Lydgate, to later polemicists and playwrights looking back on their medieval past. The book also includes the dramas of Shakespeare as well as anonymous chroniclers, balladeers and agonising eyewitness accounts of warfare.

The collective volume, Emotions and War : Medieval to Romantic Literature, includes the following medieval chapters, Emotional Responses to Medieval Warfare in the History of William Marshal, and Moving to War: Rhetoric and Emotion in William Worcester’s Boke of Noblesse. Another chapter moves on to the later period:  ‘I was enforced to become an eyed witnes’ : Documenting War in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, while others cover the British civil wars, the American Revolution in North Carolina, and Henry Crabb Robinson’s Letters to The Times, 1808–9 covering the Peninsular Wars.

The conflict between war and religious thought continues during the later medieval period and the Lollard view of the just war is discussed in John Wyclif on War and Peace which includes a chapter entitled, The Medieval Pacifist.

Increasingly, as one may expect, the role of chivalry comes to the fore. There is Chivalry, War and Clerical Identity : England and Normandy c. 1056-1226 in Ecclesia et Violentia : Violence Against the Church and Violence within the Church in the Middle Ages which also harks back to the involvement of the clergy; and English Writings on Chivalry and Warfare during the Hundred Years War in Soldiers, nobles and gentlemen : essays in honour of Maurice Keen.

For the early modern period we have Trauma Narratives of the English Civil War which explores the psychological impact and after effects of the war. Its main points of focus are the expressions of personal as well as collective trauma caused by this conflict. In this context, the discussion places the ways in which war experiences were narrated in relation to wider conceptualizations of traumatic damage to the mind.

The chapter Early Modern War Writing and the British Civil Wars discusses the growth of martial writing in the 16th and 17th centuries and, of course covers the Civil War. It charts the classical influences and the use of eyewitness accounts and the use of powerful language reflecting strong military command. This aspect of language is also explored in the chapter, ‘Broken Verses across a Bloodied Land’ : Violence and the Limits of Language in the English Civil War (in Aspects of Violence in Renaissance Europe).

In addition, there is Parliamentary Politics and the Politics of the Street : The London Peace Campaigns of 1642-3 which argues that Londoners were more lukewarm towards parliament and its campaign than received accounts would lead us to believe. After the battle of Edgehill people quickly lost their appetite for further conflict and an increasingly large minority campaigned actively for peace.

The role of the Quakers is also highlighted in the chapter, The “Lamb’s war” and the origins of the Quaker peace testimony, contained in The pacifist impulse in historical perspective, as well as the article The Early Quakers, the Peace Testimony and Masculinity in England, 1660–1720. The latter considers the Friends’ pacifism and its relation to masculinity, including its relation to Quaker rejections of domestic violence and to the violence of the alehouses. The article also highlights how seventeenth- and twentieth-century interpretations of pacifism differed.

Of course Quakerism, and other non-conformists, are associated with the conscientious objectors of World War I. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, for the 18th and 19th century and more especially the Napoleonic Wars are also covered in the article Christian heroes, providence, and patriotism in wartime Britain, 1793–1815.  Evangelicals sought to resolve tensions between heroism, virtue, masculinity, religiosity and war by advancing a different set of ideals, a difficult task in a highly charged patriotic society. A less salubrious view of the military is explored in Scarlet Fever: Female Enthusiasm for Men in Uniform, 1780-1815 in Britain’s Soldiers : Rethinking War and Society, 1715-1815  which outlines a ‘dangerous disorder prevalent in wartime’, principally afflicting women.

Of course much of our view of attitudes to war is coloured by  World War I and the conscientious objector. With over a thousand references it is hard to pick out a couple of books or articles. However, taking us to the most recent wars we have Going to War : British Debates from Wilberforce to Blair and The March that Shook Blair : An Oral History of 15 February 2003. The march and reactions to it are further explored in Local Press Reporting of Opposition to the 2003 Iraq War in the UK and the Case for Reconceptualizing Notions of Legitimacy and Deviance. The parliamentary ramifications are also deliberated in Challenging the Royal Prerogative : The Decision on War against Iraq in Parliamentary Debates in 2002–3.

The above is simply an outline of references available on BBIH – that’s without exploring specific wars, civil-military relations, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or the Greenham Common peace activists.

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Native American Women Resources in the BBIH

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Hayne hudjihini: Eagle of delight,
Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

To tie in with the IHR’s upcoming conference Pocahontas and after: historical culture and transatlantic encounters, 1617-2017, we have gathered a selection of resources from the BBIH that address the themes of Native American women in Colonial America. The women in these resources are portrayed as vital members of their community, who were often pivotal in forging links between the indigenous tribes and the newly-arrived Europeans, while remaining true to their cultural heritage.

“As Potent a Prince as Any Round About Her”: Rethinking Weetamoo of the Pocasset and Native Female Leadership in Early America is an article in the Journal of Women’s History by Gina M. Martino-Trutor. Weetamoo was a female sachem, or chief, who wielded power and influence in the seventeenth century. She was the leader of the Pocasset people, and a primary ally in the Native coalition led by Metacomet (King Philip), head of the Wampanoag Confederacy, to temper the spread of English colonists in New England. Although relations had been largely amicable between the Puritan settlers and the Native Americans in the 1660s, by 1671 the tribes had grown tired of the continual expansion of the colonists, resulting in King Philip’s War (1675-1676). This article explores the role of Native American women in times of war and peace, and assesses their political and military influence in Colonial America.

“The Pocahontas of Georgia”: Mary Musgrove in the American Literary Imagination by Steven C. Hahn in Georgia Historical Quarterly tells a different story, but nonetheless portrays the interwoven yet volatile relations between the colonists and indigenous peoples. Mary Musgrove was born in 1700 and raised by her Creek Indian mother, before being taken away at the age of seven by her English father, a deerskin trader, who subsequently died in the war waged by the Creek Indians against the settlers in South Carolina. Musgrove’s experience and ties to both Native American and English culture put her in a unique position, enabling her to act as go-between as interpretor and negotiator. However, her unsuccessful claims for compensation and land from the Georgian government soured her relationship with the authorities, and resulted in public outbursts of frustration, for which she was arrested twice. This article discusses subsequent depictions of Mary Musgrove in literary texts as she grew in the American imagination, as a savage, vengeful ‘queen’, tragic figure, or feminist, depending on the era, reflecting the complicated relationship America has with its multicultural past, and with gendered biography.

Creek Indians meeting Georgian Trustees. Unfortunately only Mary’s husband, John Musgrove is depicted as translator. Image from Wikipedia

 

Johnson Hall, Molly Brant’s home from 1763 to 1774. Image from Wikipedia

Following along a similar theme, Molly Brant: Mohawk Loyalist and Diplomat is a monograph by Peggy Dymond Leavey, charting the life of Brant. She became an important intermediary figure in the American Revolutionary War between the British and Iroquois. She was born in 1736 and grew up in a very Anglicized culture, being raised as a Christian Mohawk. She became the consort of Sir William Johnson, British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and they had a family together. Johnson died in 1774 and  as a respected member of the Mohawks, she proved invaluable to the British and was a vital link in keeping the Iroquois onside during the war. Like Mary Musgrove, Molly Brant’s legacy has also waxed and waned throughout history, and although some view her pro-British stance as traitorous, she is honoured as a Person of National Historical Significance in Canada.

Although the relations between the Native American peoples and colonial settlers has often been fraught with difficulties, misunderstandings and deceit, the selection of resources featured above and below demonstrate that there was always a need for relations between the two, with women often forming a pivotal role. A further selection of resources from the BBIH is listed below. For more information on the resources, enter the title on the simple search field, or use the index terms ‘women’ and ‘Native Americans’ to explore further:

‘“A Strong Antidote Against Unbelief And Seduction” : Carl Friedrich Scheibler’s Leben Und Schicksale Der Pokahuntas (1781) And the German Theological Enlightenment’. Sabine N. Meyer

‘Cherokee Women Farmers Hold Their Ground’. M. Thomas Hatley

‘In a Red Petticoat : Coosaponakeesa’s Performance of Creek Sovereignty in Colonial Georgia’. Caroline Wigginton

‘“I Wunnatuckquannum, This Is My Hand” : Native Performance in Massachusett Language Indian Deeds’. Stephanie Fitzgerald

Jesus and Pocahontas: Gospel, Mission, and National Myth. Howard A. Snyder

‘Listening to Black Magic Women : The Early Modern Soundscapes of Witch Drama and the New World’. Jennifer Linhart Wood

‘Pauline Johnson-Tekahionwake : Trafficking Woman’. Anne Collett

‘Reading Shanawdithit’s Drawings : Transcultural Texts in the North American Colonial World’. Fiona Polack

‘Senauki : A Forgotten Character in Early Georgia History’. Julie Anne Sweet

The Life and Times of Mary Musgrove. Steven C. Hahn

‘The Transatlantic Pocahontas’. Gary Dyer

‘Translating Values : Mercantilism and the Many “Biographies” of Pocahontas’. Michael Tratner

 

Further resources available for Pocahontas on BBIH:

 

 

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Bibliography of British and Irish History updated (February 2017)

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An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 14 February. 4,901  new records have been added. Some 633 new records relate to Irish history while 246 deal with the history of London,  299 with the history of Scotland and 129 with the history of Wales.  The overall total of records available online is now 584,478.

In the past we’ve shown the range of material available on BBIH when we have published an update. We’ve covered the international aspects of BBIH as well as the number of references by year. In this instance we’ve charted the number of references by century using the period covered option on the simple and advanced search, and a chart showing our editorial period ranges.

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We expect the next update to be released in June 2017.

 

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John Morrill and the Bibliography of British and Irish History

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The opening lecture of this year’s IHR Winter Conference will be delivered by John Morrill, retired Professor of British and Irish History in the University of Cambridge – the theme of the conference is “Civil Wars” and John’s lecture will consider “The English Revolution as a Civil War”. To mark this event, I was asked to write something about John, and in particular his connection with the Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH), with which I have myself been involved since 1992.

The current online BBIH has its roots in the desire of the Royal Historical Society in the late 1980s to consolidate and update the various printed bibliographies of British and Irish history, amounting at that time to over 40 volumes, which had been produced by the Society and the Institute of Historical Research since the 1930s. The plan that emerged was for a project that would run from 1990 to 1995, and would result in the publication of the complete database (which would be as comprehensive as possible) on CD-ROM, with a series of select bibliographies appearing in print. As John himself observed in the introduction to the published CD-ROM, “No nation or state has hitherto attempted any such guide to historical writing about itself, and no other discipline has attempted such a synthesis of its accumulated scholarship.”[1]

The majority of the printed volumes which were consolidated into the 1998 CD-ROM edition of the bibliography (bottom right). The volumes with white labels are the copies that were scanned to produce the electronic data. View larger version.

In the establishment of all this, John was a driving force, recommending that the project should not seek simply to produce new printed volumes but should embrace electronic technology, finding funding (principally from the Leverhulme Trust), and even obtaining, from a colleague in Cambridge, the advice that resulted in the purchase of the MicroVAX 3100 on which the data was compiled (the machine still exists in the Cambridge Computer Museum.)[2] John became the project’s General Editor, assembling an advisory board whose first meeting, over an exceptionally hot couple of days in Cambridge, was said to have put the project’s entire expenses budget in jeopardy thanks to its copious mineral water consumption. Steps were taken to improve coverage in areas which it was felt had been under-represented in some of the printed bibliographies – Irish history, the history of the empire and Commonwealth, and the history of women.

The editorial process built upon the model established by Geoffrey Elton for the Royal Historical Society’s Annual Bibliography of British and Irish History in the 1970s – draft entries would be sent to a team of academic editors who would check details, add indexing, and suggest any additional items that ought to be included (John had, indeed, been one of the Annual Bibliography‘s academic editors for several years). Modifying this process to handle a large cumulative bibliography over a relatively short period involved, over the life of the project, recruiting and managing some 200 scholars (including several in the USA and Australia), a process that John likened to an academic “corvée”. Recruitment and management of this workforce was largely delegated to “volume editors”, each responsible for the team working on a particular period, but John was perhaps one of the few people who could have co-ordinated this exercise; thanks to his personal and academic generosity and sociability, he possessed much goodwill on which to draw. Despite this, it turned out that the ability of university teachers to contribute to the project had been over-estimated – they found the pressures on their time increasing during the 1990s and, in the UK, the Research Assessment Exercises did not make any allowance for work on long-term collaborative projects, obliging many to concentrate on their own publications.

The CD-ROM edition of the bibliography, published in 1998, with the manual open at a typical page. View larger version.

Other problems emerged. The electronic scanning of the printed texts, carried out by Papworth Industries at an early stage in the development of this technology, proved less accurate than expected – or, at least, levels of error that sounded acceptable when expressed as a percentage of the characters involved were soon seen to be significant (I recall ‘The Martello towers of Romney Marsh’ being mutated into ‘The Martello tourers of Romsey Marsh’). The amount of work which would have to be done by the project’s central editorial team was likely to overwhelm the one and two-thirds staff who had been appointed, even though a considerable amount of “hands-on” editorial work was done by John himself and by the project’s Executive Secretary, Julian Hoppit. As a result, while the “academic corvée” contributed an enormous amount, the life of the central office had to be extended by a year, and much work had to be put into the hands of paid research assistants. This in turn meant raising more money, in which John again played a leading part – ultimately, the project involved eighteen grant applications, of which sixteen were successful. The printed selections, which depended most on the judgement of the academic editors, never appeared, except for the volume on imperial, colonial and Commonwealth history edited by Andrew Porter.[3] On the other hand, it was recognized that, logically, the project had no end, and money was raised to set up a successor project to continue the work of revising the database and updating it with new publications. So, the publication of The Royal Historical Society Bibliography on CD-ROM: the history of Britain, Ireland, and the British overseas by Oxford University Press in 1998, containing around a quarter of a million entries, proved to be, not the end of the process, but the start of a new era; by the time of its publication the successor project was already underway – reflecting the changing landscape of reference publishing, it soon decided to publish future editions online and eventually evolved into BBIH. It had been decided that the successor project would be most appropriately based in the IHR and John’s direct involvement ceased at this point – but not before he had played a large part in designing the successor project and raising seed funding for it; in an interview conducted in 2008 he said that he thought that the bibliography was his “proudest achievement”[4] and I can testify that he continues to take an avuncular interest in it.

I recall the late Kevin Sharpe observing that, after a conference or similar meeting, John would sit in the bar talking all evening “like the rest of us” but, when the bar closed, John did not go straight to bed like his colleagues but would do a few more hours’ work first. Indeed, while serving as General Editor of the bibliography, John still found the time and energy to serve as Vice-Master of his Cambridge college, to lecture in the University, to supervise research students, and to continue to publish on his own research interests – of the 117 items by John currently listed by BBIH, 37 were published in 1990-6, while John was General Editor of the bibliography. Seven of these 37 were collections of essays edited (or co-edited) by John, a further reflection of his skill in bringing historians together in co-operative projects. Indeed, since John’s active involvement with the bibliography ceased at the end of 1996, this skill has been deployed, alongside his scholarly insight into the 17th century, as a Consultant Editor for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (dealing with over 6,000 17th-century lives), as one of three senior scholars who managed the preparation of an online edition of the depositions of witnesses to the massacres in Ireland in 1641, and now as General Editor of a project to produce a new edition of all the recorded words of Oliver Cromwell (covering both his written works and his recorded speeches) which is currently nearing completion.

[1] The Royal Historical Society Bibliography on CD-ROM : the history of Britain, Ireland, and the British overseas (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998), p.2 of accompanying booklet. Back to text

[2] The Museum’s website says that the machine was donated by me, which is true in the sense that I was the person who delivered it. Whether it was really mine to give is questionable, but it had lingered in my custody for well over a decade after the end of the project, by which time it seemed to deserve preservation. Back to text

[3] Andrew N. Porter, Bibliography of imperial, colonial and Commonwealth history since 1600 (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2002). Back to text

[4] http://www.history.ac.uk/makinghistory/resources/interviews/Morrill_John.html, accessed 13 Jan. 2017. Back to text

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From pseudocopulation to human flight – a BBIH 2016 top ten!

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As the year is drawing to an end, we thought we would compile a selection of the most interesting articles and books we have come across over the course of 2016. Some of them are amusing, some of them are touching, and some of them are downright disturbing, but we think that they represent the wide range of material that we cover in the Bibliography.

(The articles have been ranked chronologically and do not represent any favouritism on the part of the editors)

1. Off to a flying start, we have ‘Human Flight in Early Medieval England: Reality, Reliability, and Mythmaking (or Science and Fiction)’ an article by James Paz in New Medieval Literatures about Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Anglo-Saxon Benedictine monk. Supposedly, inspired by the story of Icarus, he took to the skies with some homemade wings, launching himself from the top of Malmesbury Abbey. Incredibly, he lived to tell the tale, and after gliding for a full furlong, landed almost intact, merely suffering two broken legs. The article examines the mythology surrounding the story, examining early medieval technology and questions whether there may be some truth in the tale.

2. Perhaps Eilmer would have benefited from the subject of our next article, ‘Evidence for the Continued Use of Medieval Medical Prescriptions in the Sixteenth Century: A Fifteenth-Century Remedy Book and its Later Owner’ in the journal Medical History. Margaret Connelly has studied a manuscript from the fifteenth century containing 314 medical remedies (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson c. 299) and has charted its progress into the sixteenth century, where it continued to be used and added to by a London lawyer who owned it. The article provides an interesting insight into medieval ailments, and also how manuscripts continued as useful, everyday objects in the era of print.

3.  Unfortunately, there is no known cure for our next subject, ‘We Should Dress us Fairly for our End’: The Significance of the Clothing Worn at Elite Executions in England in the Long Sixteenth Century’ a sobering article in History by Maria Haywood. The article discusses a neglected part of the process of trial and execution, and examines the possible statements aristocratic prisoners may have been making through their sartorial choices.

4. At number four, we have a collective volume, ‘The Senses in Early Modern England : 1558-1660’, edited by Simon Smith, Jackie Watson and Amy Kenny. The essays cover a wide range of genres such as literature, drama and art, considering each of the five senses and  examining how the sensory experience enhanced reactions to cultural life. Chapter headings such as ‘Thou art like a punie-Barber (new come to the trade) thou pick’st our eares too deepe’: barbery, ear-wax and snip-snaps’ throw an interesting light on early modern art and life.

5. Continuing the seasonal cheer (!), Steven Taylor’s article ‘Depraved, Deprived, Dangerous and Deviant: Depicting the Insane Child in England’s County Asylums, 1845–1907’, also from History, explores the developing ideas of childhood during the nineteenth century and how they related to mentally impaired children. The attitudes towards these children, both from the medical institutions and family members are discussed, and the possible motives that both sides may have had in institutionalizing minors.

train

Image from Wikipedia

6. Our sixth article ‘Shattered Minds: Madmen on the Railways, 1860–80’ also taps into the Victorian fascination with lunacy. In the Journal of Victorian Culture, Amy Milne-Smith describes the moral panic that ensued from a number of newspaper reports that travelling on the newly constructed railways could induce insanity among men. Although fear of train crashes may have been a reasonable anxiety, there was also a concern that perfectly sane men could go mad when faced with modern, industrialized culture. Milne-Smith discusses the attitudes towards the fragility of the mental health of the Victorian male in this fascinating article.

7. A festive theme for number seven, titled ‘The Christmas Truce : Myth, Memory, and the First World War’ is a book by Terri Blom Crocker, analysing the truces between German and Allied troops in the trenches in the First World War. Rather than being unofficial and defiant affairs, Crocker provides evidence that the ceasefires were supported by senior officers, and charts how the 1914 truces have been mythologised as heart-warming tales with little regard for the actual truth.

8. ‘Antipathy to Ambivalence: Politics and Women Police in Sussex, 1915–45’ by Derek Oakensen is our choice for number eight, featured in Sussex Archaelogical Collection. The article focusses on women’s changing role in society after the suffrage movement and the upheaval of the First World War, and whether this created greater opportunities in Sussex for women wanting to join the police force. Women  patrolling the streets was a serious change to the status quo, and Oakensen argues that due to the ambivalence and disjointed structure of the senior police force, women’s roles within the police force were not clearly defined until after 1945.

orchid

Mirror bee orchid. Image from Wikipedia

9. Departing from authority and moving onto a botanical theme, at number nine is ‘Deceived by Orchids: Sex, Science, Fiction and Darwin’ by Jim Endersby. Published in The British Journal for the History of Science, this interesting article discusses pseudocopulation (the biological trick plants play on male insects, pretending to be female insects to entice the male to mate, thereby enabling the spread of pollen from flower to flower), a phenomenon that earlier natural scientists such as Darwin had failed to spot, assuming that plants were passive. However, as part of to the infiltration of science into mainstream culture, writers such as Grant Allen and H.G.Wells portrayed plants in a new way, as having identities equipped with the means to pursue their own survival. It was these literary innovations in the depiction of plants which enabled early twentieth century scientists to make the  conceptual leap to understand plants as active agents, and helped them further unlock their biological secrets.

10. And finally, at number ten, we have ‘Went into raptures’: reading emotion in the ordinary wartime diary, 1941–1946’ in Women’s History Review. Alison Twells highlights the importance of social class when looking at emotion, an often understudied category. Analyzing the diary of a working-class girl in the Second World War, the emotional and romantic life of an ‘ordinary’ person gives an insight into the daily trials and tribulations of a woman in the twentieth century.

There were many articles that didn’t quite make the top ten, but equally as interesting, such as:

They tell me they were in fashion last year’: Samuel and Elizabeth Jeake and Clothing Fashions in Late Seventeenth-Century London and Rye

Masters of Healing: Cocaine and the Ideal of the Victorian Medical Man

Thumb Wars: Hitchhiking, Canadian Youth Rituals and Risk in the Twentieth Century

When the smoke cleared: Tobacco supply and consumption by the British Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918

Changing Conceptions of the “Poor Child”: The Children’s Country Holiday Fund, 1918–1939

‘Inequality’ and ‘value’ reconsidered? the employment of post office women, 1910–1922

From the Bibliography of British and Irish History, we wish all of our researchers a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year

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Searching for Jewish resources on the Bibliography of British and Irish History

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Codex Manesse, fol. 355r

This blog post aims to address some of the potential problems that may be experienced by users new to the bibliography.

We wanted to do this using an example, and so we thought we’d pick a popular topic of research, Jewish history, in which area recent publications include Sharks and Shylocks : Englishness and otherness in popular discourse on ‘the City’ 1870–1914, The Irish Free State’s first diplomats : jealousy, anti-Semitism and revengePerformance anxiety and the Passion in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament and Isaac and Antichrist in the archives. With such broad examples of subject matter, the following steps are designed to help you maximise the search features of the BBIH, and to tailor the search results to your specific interest.

For a simple search, covering all periods, the BBIH has 2692 entries:

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While this is informative for statistics and general coverage, the resources are too broad for those undertaking more specific research. Therefore narrowing down the period covered would filter the results further. For example, Jewish people in the medieval period:

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Which produces the following 486 results:

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Click to enlarge

This has narrowed the results down considerably. However, if your research interest is in a particular field, for example medieval Jewish women, you can locate exactly the right resources by going into ‘Advanced Search’. Choose ‘Jews’ from the Subject tree or type ‘Jews’ in the search box, then type ‘women’ in the Subject tree, making sure to select ‘and‘ rather than ‘or‘ from the Boolean functions:

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Insert the search terms (using the insert/close button) and once again apply the same date range. It is clear that the search results have narrowed considerably (to 28):

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Clicking on the search button then displays the details of the resources.

The SEE ALSO options on the main search for ‘All index terms’ can also provide prompts for other areas of exploration:

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Another useful tip for general browsing is to go into the record to see how the subject hierarchy has searched through the subject index to arrive at the result:

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To receive notifications of new resources, please sign up to our email alert option. The bibliography is updated three times a year, and you will be alerted to any new material in your chosen subject field. For additional medieval Jewish resources and reviews, see Dean Irwin’s Towards a Bibliography of Medieval Anglo-Jewry.

Initial image – full citation: Süßkind, der Jude von Trimberg (Süsskind, the Jew of Trimberg), portrait from the Codex Manesse.

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