We are excited to announce that our sixth annual History Day will take place on 27 November 2018. The event is aimed at postgraduate and undergraduate students, academics, early career and private researchers who are looking for advice on how to find and make best use of sources in their historical research. It brings together libraries, archives and other organisations, all showcasing their collections together in one place. It is a great opportunity for researchers to learn about diverse collections and chat with experienced, specialist staff about their research.
Jenna Pateman, a third year undergraduate student, recommended the event for all students of history, writing of History Day 2017, “The fair allowed attendees to speak one-on-one with representatives from these institutions, and discover the many possibilities open to researchers. Thanks to some of these conversations, I have had quite a few ideas for my dissertation as well as new ways to look at my research, and discovered new places where I can hunt for sources.”
Sandra Freshney, archivist from the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences described it as “a really fun day” where “over 200 attendees including undergraduates, postgraduates and established academics ‘shopped’ among the 56 tables”. Claire Titley from the London Metropolitan Archives recommended History Day as “a good chance to catch up with colleagues in other offices and see the range of activities being undertaken across different archives and libraries” and was inspired by the breadth of the collections present.
History Day 2018 will include talks throughout the day, detailing to researchers how to work successfully with research materials held by different repositories. We invite researchers and collections professionals to share their experiences and projects in an open call for papers. We are particularly looking for papers aimed at a general audience on broad topics, including cross-repository research, interesting methodologies, or collaboration. The deadline for submissions of abstracts for 15 minute presentations (by individuals or groups) is 8 June 2018.
The IHR library collections support a range of study on the subject of architecture, and the new collection guide highlights some of the areas to explore. As well as the obvious parts of the collection, it draws attention to some more hidden sources of information.
We have many secondary works on individual buildings, building types and localities. There is much on studying and understanding buildings as well as their conservation, public interpretation and display, for example in works on using material culture and digital technologies. An 1897 piece in the journal The Antiquary outlines a lecture given at the Society of Antiquaries on legislation in different countries for the preservation of ancient buildings. The Foreign Office had collated the information following the ‘disastrous’ rebuilding of the west front of Peterborough cathedral. (The Antiquary Vol. 33, 1897)
The library has strong holdings of primary sources across the subject. Travel writing and antiquarian histories include contemporary descriptions and impressions of the built environment. Celia Fiennes, for example, wrote about Ambleside in 1698:
“villages of sad little huts made up of drye walls, only stones piled together and the roofs of same slatt; there seemed to be little or noe tunnells for their chimneys and have no morter or plaister within or without; for the most part I tooke them at first sight for a sort of houses or barns to fodder cattle in. not thinking them to be dwelling houses” (Morris, C., The Journeys of Celia Fiennes, 1949, p.196)
Landowners, tenants, architects, policy makers and commentators are all represented in biographies, prosopographies and personal narratives.
Household and trade records give insights into the building trade. For example in the Household Books of John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, we learn of the steps taken to dismantle his Colchester house in 1481, store the timbers in a barn and move it to Stoke by Nayland where Richard Tornour, carpenter, “schal rere it and sett yt up there” (Crawford, A., The household books of John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, 1462-1471, 1481-1483, 1992, Household Book II, p.121).
Records of government highlight social concerns and the resulting legislation. In an appendix to a parliamentary paper of 1864 we find a description of the history and current state of rural housing in a Report by Dr. Henry Julian Hunter on the House-Accommodation had by Rural Laborers in the different parts of England. He wrote:
“One house, called Richardson’s, could hardly be matched in England for original meanness and present badness of condition. Its plaster walls leaned and bulged very like a lady’s dress in a curtsey. One gable end was convex, the other concave, and on this last unfortunately stood the chimney, which was a curved tube of clay and wood resembling an elephant’s trunk. A long stick served as a prop to prevent the chimney from falling. The doorway and window were rhomboidal.”
(Seventh Report of the Medical Officer of the Privy Council, with Appendix, 1864, 19th Century House of Lords Sessional Papers, 1865: section on Bedfordshire, p.148. From Proquest’s UK Parliamentary Papers).
Alongside the written material there is much accompanying visual material in the form of illustrations and plans. As well as illustrations in mainly textual sources such as government reports and antiquarian histories there are editions of illustrations ranging from monastic plans in The Plan of St Gall, various editions of plans and illustrations of individual architects and places, to The photography of Bedford Lemere & Co.
The title reflects the event’s two main aims: to bring together those working on past domesticities (and above all on the experiences of home life); and to focus especially on new and innovative research which explores how the home has been thought about, utilized and lived in. This focus on research and methodological enquiry will, we hope, become an important strand in future IHR events and conferences—in line with the Institute’s standing as a national centre for training in established and emerging forms of historical research.
Over two days in February 2018, ‘New Histories of Living’ will address four interrelated subject areas currently of particular interest to historians of domestic life. Each panel will comprise three papers relating to the principal theme, interconnected and set in context by a specialist convenor. Panels will bring together scholars whose work provides insights both into historical domestic experiences and historians’ approaches to these pasts.
Day One will offer two sessions, beginning with ‘Reconstructions: imagining domestic experience’—a survey of new ways to recreate medieval and early modern interiors, convened by Professor Catherine Richardson from the University of Kent. This will be followed by ‘Rooms’, which—under the guidance of Sonia Solicari, director The Geffrye Museum, London—considers how historians tackle the changing forms and uses of spaces to accommodate family life, from birth to death, and for cooking, cleaning, resting and entertaining. Given our interest in recreating the uses and experience of household artefacts and furnishings, museum designers and curators are an important constituency—as speakers and delegates—at this Winter Conference.
Day Two will begin with the ‘Home-work: reimagining gendered domesticity’ panel (Dr Lynne Walker, IHR), a survey of male and female domestic environments. The fourth panel, ‘Dream homes: alternative futures for residential experience’, is convened by Dr Elizabeth Darling of Oxford Brookes University. This session will consider the history of lives lived in the ‘homes of tomorrow’.
Alongside the themed sessions we have four plenary lectures. These will be delivered by Professor Jane Hamlett of Royal Holloway, University of London, a specialist in nineteenth-century domestic and institutional living; the art historian and BBC presenter Dan Cruickshank; the historian of early modern London, Professor Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck); and the architectural historian Owen Hatherley, whose latest book, Landscapes of Communism, is a history of a political ideal told through its buildings.
In addition to lectures and panels, the Winter Conference will offer ancillary events on the subject of research practice and methods. We also expect to make available new technologies for visualizing the historical home. Digital research tools are an interest shared by several of our panellists, and by IHR staff who’ll demonstrate how to make, and use, 3D images and printed models of household artefacts—as well as virtual reality (VR) recreations of complete interior spaces or structures.
Tickets for ‘Home: New Histories of Living’, the 2018 IHR Winter Conference, are now on sale. A small number of bursaries are available for Masters Students, PhD researchers and ECRs to help with conference fees and travel expenses. For more information on how to apply for this please visit the conference website.
UCL SSEES Library is very happy to participate in History Day 2017. We will be contributing to the Day alongside number of libraries which hold collections that are particularly strong in the field of History. The History Day will take place on the 31st of October at Senate House, University of London. As the date coincides with Halloween, the organisers of the Day propose to use this opportunity and to “celebrate all that is scary, eerie and magical in libraries and archives”.
[Trans-sylvania.Hondius,Jodocus, 1563-1612. Probably from an English ed. of Hondius’ Atlas minor (1635, 1637 or 1639). Map 189. From the collections of UCL SSEES Library. Copyright UCL Library Services, 2010, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England and Wales Licence. For further information on this Licence please refer to: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/%5D]
At UCL SSEES Library we decided to take this opportunity to focus on vampires! Although it may sound a bit unusual, we actually do have quite strong collection on vampires. In fact UCL SSEES runs a course for our students entitled: Vampires, society and culture: Transylvania and beyond. If you would like to tuck into the subject, you can find the complete reading list here.
But what actually are vampires? According to Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic myth and legend by Mike Dixon-Kennedy (the book is kept at SSEES: Gen.Slav.REF 3-e DIX) “the name itself is borrowed from the Serbian vampir, which is in turn related to the Turkish word ubir, “undead”, though some sources assert an association with the Slavic upir. In certain cases, the vampire had the ability to shift shape at will, its favourite animal manifestation being the wolf, although bats were also common. These vampires were known as vukodlak, which literally translates as “wolf’s hair”, a word that is still in common usage. Common superstition still holds that when a werewolf dies it becomes a vampire”.
The most well-known vampire character is of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula, whose archetype was Prince Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula or Vlad the Impaler. In SSEES Library we have everything you may want to know about Dracula starting with Bram Stoker’s book Dracula (Misc.XXIV.7 STO). If you would like to know more about the origins of the book, please check The origins of Dracula : the background to Bram Stoker’s Gothic masterpiece, edited by Clive Leatherdale (Misc.XXIV.7 STO ORI). Want to know more about Vlad Tapes the historical figure? Check Vlad the Impaler : in search of the real Dracula by M.J. Trow (Rou.IX.c TRO), or perhaps you are looking for a straight forward answer? Then maybe Dracula : sense & nonsense by Elizabeth Miller (Misc.XXIV.7 STO MIL) can help.
Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Báthory (born in 1560) may be a lesser known vampiric figure. However it is enough to say that she has been described as “the most vicious female serial killer in all recorded history” . If you would like to know more please check for example the following books: The bloody countess by Valentine Penrose (H.IX.c PEN) or Dracula was a woman: in search of the blood countess of Transylvania by Raymond T. McNally (Rou.IX.c MAC).
Of course there is much more in Eastern European folklore and mythology than vampires. If you are interested, please check for example A bibliography of Slavic mythology by Mark Kulikowski (Gen.Slav.II KUL), Russian myths by Elizabeth Warner (R.VIII WAR), The gods of the ancient Slavs : Tatishchev and The beginnings of Slavic mythology by Myroslava T. Znayenk (Gen.Slav.XVII ZNA), Mother Russia: the feminine myth in Russian culture by Joanna Hubbsand (R.XVIII HUB) and many others.
Finally if you would like to read about the Eastern Europe as seen by various travellers in XVI – XIX centuries, why not check out our digital collection of travel books? It contains a selection of printed accounts, dating from 1557 to 1860, focusing on journeys in Central Europe, South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. You can find more than three hundreds books here.
We are looking forward to seeing you at the History Day on 31st October!
 Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend / Mike Dixon-Kennedy. (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 1998), 298.
The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Changed the American Constitution
Speaker: Professor Eric Foner (Columbia University)
The preservation of the American nation and the destruction of slavery, the two most profound consequences of the Civil War, raised questions about the definition of American citizenship, the rights of the former slaves, and relations between the states and federal government. Three constitutional amendments were adopted during the Reconstruction period following the war which fundamentally changed the rights of citizens and the powers of the federal government. This lecture will consider the legal, political, and social consequences of amending the Constitution in the 1860s.
The lecture is free and open to all but advance registration is required
Date: 19 June 2017 Location: Beveridge Hall, Senate House Lecture: 6.00-7.30pm Reception: 7.30-8.30pm
Microhistory rose to prominence more than three decades ago after the publication of Carlo Ginzburg’s Cheese and the Worms (1976) and Natalie Davis’s Return of Martin Guerre (1983). It highlighted the agency as well as experiences of common people and challenged major narratives of historical change. By the 1990s its success in teaching history sparked anxiety that students might know more about Martin Guerre than about Martin Luther. This workshop brings together leaders in the field to chart current microhistorical practices. It explores how such approaches can inform a new global history, the history of emotions and intellectual history, the writing and teaching of history as much as creative collaborations with artists.
Great Britain and the Low Countries share a large part of their histories. There are countless stories of political and economic rivalries and wars, stories of religious and political exile in both directions, but also of cultural exchange and influence. Also the book business of the early modern era was characterised by an influx of printers, materials and books from the Low Countries to England. Rare books and manuscripts were eagerly collected by English bibliophiles and most of these collections are nowadays found in libraries all over the country.
This two-day symposium has a double goal. In a combination of papers and collection visits, it wants to bring these often overlooked collections to the surface, and it also offers an overview of the latest research on Low Countries books.
Arthur der Weduwen (University of St. Andrews)
Erik Geleijns (Museum Meermanno)
Jaap Geraerts(University College London)
Goran Proot (University of Udine)
Reinier Salverda (UCL and Fryske Akademy)
Marja Smolenaars(Koninklijke Bibliotheek)
Patrick Storme (Universiteit Antwerpen)
Steven Van Impe (Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience)
Catherine Wright (University of Oxford)
Heleen Wyffels (KU Leuven)
Delegates will also visit the following locations as part of the conference:
Lambeth Palace Library
Senate House Library
For the preliminary conference programme, please click here
Fees apply ( includes all refreshments and lunches on both days)
Full fee: £60
Concession Rate: (Student/retired/ IHR Friend): £40
Conference organised by: Stijn van Rossem (Institute of Historical Research) With support from the Government of Flanders and Scaliger Institute
Thomas Frederick Tout was a remarkable medieval historian who forged the distinctive and distinguished history school at Manchester University in the early years of the twentieth century. His own research made extensive use of the national archives (as opposed to the customary use of chronicle sources) and his major contributions were in the field of administrative history. He was, himself, a tireless administrator of many historical enterprises (including the Dictionary of National Biography) and his historical output was extraordinary. He spent the last four years of his life in London and is buried in Hampstead Parish churchyard. The time is ripe to reconsider his historical legacy.
Ralph A. Griffiths (Swansea University)
William Gibson (Oxford Brookes University)
Stuart Jones (University of Manchester)
Peter Slee (Leeds Becket University)
Christopher Godden (University of Manchester)
Henry Summerson (ODNB)
Ian d’Alton (Trinity College Dublin)
Seymour Phillips (University College, Dublin)
Paul Dryburgh (The National Archives)
Matthew Raven (University of Hull)
Jeff Hamilton (Baylor University)
Vance Smith (Princeton University)
DeLloyd Guth (University of Manitoba)
John McEwan (St. Louis University)
Elizabeth Biggs (University of York)
Nick Barratt (University of Nottingham)
Mark Ormrod (University of York),
Joel Rosenthal (Stony Brook University)
Tom Sharp (CBE, grandson of T.F.Tout)
For the preliminary conference programme, please click here
Fees apply ( includes all refreshments and lunches on both days)
2-day Full fee: £60
2-day Student/unwaged/retired/ IHR Friend: £40
1-day Full fee: £35
1-day Student/unwaged/retired/ IHR Friend: £25
Conference organised by:
Professor Caroline Barron (RHUL) & Professor Joel Rosenthal (Stony Brook University)
Russia’s Revolution and the Destruction of the Past
Speaker: Catherine Merridale
Annual lecture in memory of Professor Eric Hobsbawm. Catherine Merridale is the author of numerous award-winning books on Russian history. Her latest work, Lenin on the Train (Penguin Books), tells the story of Lenin’s famous journey to Russia in April 1917.
Attendance at this lecture is free, but advanced registration is required
Date: 22 May 2017
Location: The Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House
Lecture: 18:00-19:30 Followed by a reception
Thursday 18 May 2017, Wolfson Conference Suite, IHR
The IHR and British Records Association (BRA) invite you to attend this one day conference on Thursday 18 May 2017.
This conference aims to promote the understanding and collaboration between archivists and researchers; explore challenges posed by digital access to collections, and improve methodologies (e.g. education/training for researchers in what information is available from online catalogues, how archivists can improve catalogue descriptions so researchers can find relevant records more easily and how you can understand the context of records showing up in searches).
Nick Barrett (Univ of Nottingham)
Geoff Browell (Kings College London)
Maria Castrillo (Senate House Library)
Sophie Clapp (Boots)
Clare Cowling (IALS)
Jo Pugh (TNA & University of York)
Tom Scott ( Wellcome Collection)
Tamara Thornhill (TFL)
Jane Winters (SAS)
For a workshop provisional programme, please click here.