My name is Tundun Folami, and I am the Institute of Historical Research Library’s current graduate trainee.
In an exercise designed to improve understanding of what it’s like to use the collections, each of the IHR library staff have been undertaking different research projects using the library. This exercise was particularly beneficial to me to see how easy it is to access the collections, as I only started at the IHR library a week ago.
Using the library catalogue
I chose espionage during the Cold War as my research topic and as a starting point for my research, I searched the library catalogue using ‘Cold War’ as a keyword.
Searching ‘Cold War’ by keyword brings up 88 results. Some examples included:
The first five results were most relevant to my research; three of which were books available on open access and two were e-books.
I felt narrowing down my search to Cold War espionage didn’t yield enough results, so I scrolled to the bottom of the page and found a link to the IHR library E-Resources page. Here I found a list of links to online resources available onsite. I went through the list and ultimately, the most relevant results were retrieved from JSTOR and Times Digital Archive. These included journal articles, reviews and newspaper articles.
Working in the IHR Library (Wohl Library – Lower Ground)
My topic for this exercise was on Cold War espionage and so I chose to work on the lower ground level of the Wohl Library, as this is where the International Relations collection is held. I sat at the desk closest to the entrance as it had a PC which I could use to browse the library catalogue and it was near to the rolling stacks holding the International Relations collection.
Working in this area was comfortable and quiet, though occasionally the noise from reception on the floor above would disturb the silence. The room housing the International collection was also poorly lit, especially further in towards the window.
The library has a large amount of material on the general topic of the Cold War, both in the library itself and online as e-books and e-resources. When I narrowed down my research topic to Cold War espionage, the majority of titles found were from a U.S perspective. A smaller number of titles were retrieved for the USSR, France, Germany, Italy and Latin America. I felt it would’ve helped my search if there had been a sub-category in either the Military or International Relations collection guides on the website. There were a few issues regarding noise and lighting were the International Relations collection is held, but overall, working in the IHR library was pleasant and largely problem free, and an ideal place to start research on the topic I’d chosen.
Those who read English history in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries encountered significant coverage of Wales. English readers of late fifteenth-century chronicles, however, found little sense of the situation of Wales, even regarding its role in the invasion through Wales of Henry VII, a king with Welsh ancestry. This change suggests there were limits to English fifteenth-century preoccupations with Welsh threats. It also accentuates the significance of the rediscovery of Welsh pasts that took place from the fifteen-thirties, due to the monarchy’s Welsh identity and the importance in English historical writing of men with marcher connections like Richard Grafton and Edward Hall.
The 2017 Historical Research/Wiley lecture was designed to raise some general issues about the nature of ‘civil wars’ as a prelude to a conference that looked at many examples across time and space. It takes the events of the sixteen-forties across Britain and Ireland and notes that very few participants accepted (at least publicly) that they were engaged in one or more civil wars. There was widespread seventeenth-century understanding that the term ‘civil war’ (bellum civile) had been developed in late republican and early imperial Rome but as just one of several terms used to analyse and describe internal wars and conflicts. This article explores the implications of this for our understanding of the first great crisis of the Stuart kingdoms.
This article investigates office-holding and private enterprise in eighteenth-century Sicily through a case study of the activities of Baron de Piro, a native of Malta. Based on documents held in Maltese and Sicilian archives, the article demonstrates how political developments in the kingdom both opened up and circumscribed the opportunities within which an upwardly-mobile household sought its fortune by identifying the social, political and economic contexts in which they operated. In doing so, it delivers insights into the impact of successive regime changes on the socio-economic landscape in Sicily as it passed from the Austrian Habsburgs to the Bourbons of Naples.
Princess Elizabeth Tudor’s holograph letters have long been prized, but often reveal more about her education than about her life before she became queen in 1558. Her scribal letters, by comparison, can offer more matter-of-fact insights into these years, showing how Elizabeth negotiated with the governments of her brother Edward VI and sister Mary I, how she managed her household and estate, and how she sued for property for herself and patronage for her servants. The article presents diplomatic transcriptions of seven scribal letters, written between 1547 and 1556, adding significantly to our understanding of her life during these years.
This article examines the evidence of the early medieval Latin Physiologus manuscripts for compilatory practices within the context of Carolingian ecclesiastical and educational reform in the period c.700–1000. It argues that miscellany manuscripts, in which the Physiologus is exclusively found in this period, represent a conscious and highly organized encyclopaedic drive that created multi-purpose manuals as part of the response to programmatic social change at a local level. Miscellanies are therefore a key and overlooked source for the use of knowledge in monastic writing centres, and for early medieval intellectual history more generally.
When Simon de Montfort took control of the government of England in 1264, he replaced the sheriffs appointed by Henry III. The new sheriffs were relatively obscure and have been little studied. The baronial reform movement raised expectations that sheriffs should be honest, and natives of the counties they governed. De Montfort’s sheriffs largely met these requirements, as their backgrounds and careers demonstrate. Unpublished exchequer records show that they were sometimes surprisingly successful as administrators in a time of disorder. They were men of the knightly class, serving their counties, rather than being ideologically attached to the reform movement.
This article examines how some key Conservative leaders conceptualized the problem of ‘the future’ in the final stages of the Second World War. It contends that the mental map employed by senior Conservatives for navigating the challenges of post-war national renewal has remained significantly misunderstood. The article conducts a close reading of Conservative positions on a range of issues – from economic modernization and constitutional propriety to geopolitical tensions – and highlights some previously neglected dimensions to domestic political debate. It concludes that the arguments developed by Conservative leaders were more sophisticated and coherent than has often been recognized.
Please note: There will be a service for Michael on 14 September at St Helen’s church in Wheathampstead at 3pm. The service will be followed by tea at Anne and Michael’s home in Holly Cottage, Sheepcote Lane, Wheathampstead, A14 8NJ.
It is with very great sadness that the Institute of Historical Research announces the death of Professor F. M. L. (Michael) Thompson who was Director of the Institute between 1977 and 1990. Michael was a much-admired and much-loved historian, teacher and mentor. He was born in 1925 and educated at the Bootham School in York. After war service with the Indian artillery he read History at the Queen’s College, Oxford where he shared rooms with the future historian of the United States, Jack Pole. After taking his doctorate at Oxford he was successively Lecturer and Reader in History at University College, London; Professor and Head of Department at Bedford College, London; and Director of the IHR. He was also a most active figure in the historical profession, serving as President of the Economic History Society (1983-86) and then of the Royal Historical Society between 1988-92. He was editor of the Economic History Review 1968-80, and he gave the Ford Lectures in English History in Oxford in 1995.
His first book, English Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century (1963) opened up the subject that he was to shape and make his own across the whole of his career, the history of the land, including the history of its owners and tillers, in the modern era. It was a brilliant start, mixing hard economic history with entertaining anecdote in an always lucid style. Michael Thompson went on to publish equally important studies of the landed classes in the twentieth century, the subject of his presidential lectures to the Royal Historical Society; to produce a history of Hampstead, Hampstead: Building a Borough, 1650-1964 (1974) as full of fascinating details and historical byways as is the place itself; to write the social history of the nineteenth century in The Rise of Respectable Society: A Social History of Victorian Britain, 1830-1900 (1988); and to publish his Ford Lectures as Gentrification and the Enterprise Culture: Britain 1780-1980 (2001). He was the editor of the 3-volume Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950 (1990). There was even time for a history of the University of London – The University of London and the World of Learning (1990) – which he had graced for the whole of his teaching and research career. All the while he was also publishing articles in learned journals, chapters in books, and delivering formal lectures in which he tried out new ideas and excavated small corners of his very large field. These pieces, some 24 in total, have been collected together and have just appeared in two volumes entitled English Landed Society Revisited published by Edward Everett Root (www.eerpublishing.com). The last of the essays chronologically, a brilliant account of the decline of ‘land’ as a political issue in the early twentieth century, was published as late as 2010 when FML was well into his ‘eighties. It was fitting and altogether satisfying that Michael’s collected essays should have been in his hands a few weeks before his death.
The thoughts and condolences of the whole IHR community are with Anne, Michael’s wife, and all his family.
The IHR Library holds a wealth of resources for the history of Mexico-United States relations, covering the period succeeding the Mexican-American War up until the twentieth century. A range of sources, such as, treaties, diaries, autobiographies and letters, are included in English, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages.
Following the ongoing reclassification project for the Latin American collection and the upcoming Mexico-U.S exhibition, some interesting volumes have been discovered within the library’s holdings. This blog post is the third in a series that will focus on the IHR Library’s holdings of material concerning the history of Mexico-U.S relations, focusing on the Mexican Revolution.
The Madero Revolution which overthrew the regime of Porfirio Diaz had its organisational and military beginnings in the United States. While the root cause was the unrest within Mexico itself, the Diaz government in 1910 was still strong enough to control internal dissension and maintain itself in power. Only the activities of the Mexican revolutionaries, organised and operating from a sanctuary above the U.S border, brought about the violent crack that was to force President Diaz from office. Wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero challenged Díaz in the 1910 presidential election, and following the rigged results, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Potosí. Armed conflict ousted Díaz from power and a new election was held in 1911, bringing Madero to the presidency.
Volume I – The Origins of the Revolution in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California, 1910-1911.
This work consists of 9 volumes, with each volume covering a different time period during the revolution. The documents in this collection have been selected from the many thousands of papers on the Mexican revolution preserved in the United States National Archives. The documents include letters and reports prepared by U.S diplomats, the Mexican ambassador, special agents of the Department of Justice, state governors and private citizens. The first volume of this work includes important original writings and works of the Mexican revolutionaries that embrace subjects such as political and revolutionary writings, public and foreign reaction and U.S recognition of Madero.
Volume V – Blood Below the Border. American Eye-witness Accounts of the Mexican Revolution.
The fifth volume in this series consists of twenty reports, letters and documents written by Americans in Mexico during the first years of the Mexican Revolution. They included Americans in business, diplomats, visiting statesmen and mine managers. This volume sheds light on the concerns Americans had about their safety, investments and future in Mexico during this period, and how their views helped shape United States policy towards Mexico.
This memoir details the experiences of an American family caught in Revolutionary Mexico. The book contains information about the Revolution, life as a foreign national in Mexico, the silver mining industry, and social and cultural aspects of Revolutionary Mexico.
Based on personal documents written by Richard Herr’s older brother, this memoir covers a critical period in Mexican history, beginning in the Porfiriato and continuing through the 1920s, from the point of view of one family. An American family in the Mexican revolution illustrates the economic expansion of the United States into Mexico in the late nineteenth century; relations between foreign managers and Mexicans of all social classes; the foreign colony in Mexico; the development of a working class in Mexico; various aspects of the Mexican revolution (including its contribution to the debate about the degree to which foreigners and their enterprises stirred revolutionary discontent); the impact and changes brought about by the revolution; and Mexican-United States relations during the entire period.
This work details the experience and correspondence of the Austro-Hungarian ambassador to Mexico, Kálmán Kánya, during the Mexican revolution. It is translated into Spanish from Hungarian and follows Kánya’s experiences and relationships with Mexican officials from his appointment as ambassador to Mexico to his return to Europe in July 1919.
For more information on the IHR Library’s holdings on Latin American and United States history more generally, please refer to the following guides:
Even more unexpected is the history of Irish involvement with baseball. As Jerrold Casway notes in his biography, Ed Delahanty in the emerald age of baseball – “Baseball for Irish kids was a shortcut to the American dream and to self-indulgent glory and fortune”. The Irish in baseball: an early history surveys the contribution of the Irish to the American pastime and the ways in which Irish immigrants and baseball came of age together. It looks at the role of the Irish in Boston, Chicago and Baltimore. Anti-Irish job discrimination circa 1880 : evidence from major league baseball shows that Irish players outperformed non-Irish players both on average and at the margin and were generally relegated to less central positions in the field but were less likely to be hired as managers. Finally there is the chapter, “Slide, Kelly, slide” : the Irish in American baseball in New perspectives on the Irish diaspora and Glimpses of the Irish contribution to early baseball by John P. Rossi in the journal Éire-Ireland (1988).
However, it was not entirely a one-way road as the chapter by Sara Brady, Playing ‘Irish’ sport on baseball’s hallowed ground: the 1947 All-Ireland Gaelic Football Final makes clear (in After the flood: Irish America 1945-1960).
Recent additions (both due to appear in the October update) include Nine innings for the King: the day wartime London stopped for baseball, July 4, 1918 by Jim Leeke and his article Royal match: the Army-Navy service game, July 4, 1918, based on the same event, in NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture. For historians and baseball fans this journal covers a wide range of topics from racism in the sport (including the Ku Klux Klan), media representation (radio and film) the various baseball tours including Japan and Taiwan and, of course, Babe Ruth.
This article challenges the influential revisionist interpretation of the impeachment of the duke of Buckingham in the parliament of 1626. It argues that Buckingham’s enemies sought to remove him from power rather than ‘reform’ his errors or reach a compromise settlement whereby he would give up some offices. It explores the relationship between M.P.s and their patrons in the house of lords, the ideological and religious significance of the impeachment and the reasons for the dissolution, arguing that the attack on Buckingham was much more radical, polarizing and uncompromising than has previously been acknowledged.
Since the nineteen-seventies public history has emerged as an increasingly coherent discipline in North America, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and, latterly, in a wider European context. In all of these places it has had a connected but distinctly different gestation, and the nature of how history is applied, constructed, proffered or sold for public consumption is unique to each society. In Ireland, and within the history profession connected to it, its meaning is yet to be fully explored. Recent talks, symposia and conferences have established the term in the public imagination. As it is presently conceived public history in Ireland either relates specifically to commemorative events and the effect historians might have on official discourse relating to them, or to a series of controversial and contested historiographical debates. This article, by contrast, seeks a wider, more inclusive definition that includes the ‘public’ as an actor in it.
Viking re-enactors at the Battle of Clontarf millennium commemoration, Saint Anne’s Park, Dublin, April 19th 2014
Getting out of jail: suicide, escape and release in late medieval and Renaissance Bologna. Trevor Dean
The 1553 succession crisis reconsidered. Paulina Kewes
Whose city? Civic government and episcopal power in early modern Salisbury, c.1590–1640. Catherine Patterson
‘I was no “master of this work” but a servant to it’? William Laud, Charles I and the making of Scottish ecclesiastical policy, 1634–6. Leonie James [open access]
Between tension and rapprochement: Sunni-Shi‘ite relations in the pre-modern Ottoman period, with a focus on the eighteenth century. M. Sait Özervarlı
One of the best men of business we had ever met’: Thomas Drummond, the boundary commission and the 1832 Reform Act. Martin Spychal [open access]
Charles Mason, the ‘king of China’: British imperial adventuring in the late nineteenth century. Catherine Ladds
‘That racial chasm that yawns eternally in our midst’: the British empire and the politics of Asian migration, 1900–14. Cornelis Heere
Invasion, raids and army reform: the political context of ‘flotilla defence’, 1903–5. Richard Dunley
‘And those who live, how shall I tell their fame?’ Historical pageants, collective remembrance and the First World War, 1919–39. Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Paul Readman and Charlotte Tupman [open access]
The Pollard Prize is awarded annually for the best paper presented at an Institute of Historical Research seminar by a postgraduate student or by a researcher within one year of completing the PhD.
Winner: Kenneth Duggan of Kings College, London, for ‘The Limits of Strong Government: Attempts to Control Criminality in Thirteenth-Century England’, paper given to the European History Seminar 1150-1500
Runner up: Imogen Peck of the University of Bristol, for ‘A chronology of some memorable accidents’: the representation of the recent past in English almanacs, 1648-1660, paper given to the History Lab seminar
The papers will be published in Historical Research
The Ottoman empire is known for its ethnically and religiously pluralistic social fabric, but also for defending the mainstream Sunni branch of Islam in opposition to its Iranian Safavid rival. This article revisits the Ottoman construction of Sunnism and suggests that, despite strict state policies from above to exclude Shi‘ites and communal pressures from below in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, channels of dialogue could not be closed down in the long term. By focusing on a specific intra-religious dialogue of 1743, that aimed at reconciliation between Sunnis and Shi‘ites, this article highlights a probable case of ‘de-confessionalization’. Close examination of the textual account of this inter-communal meeting demonstrates how the Ottomans were torn between defending their Sunni identity and the need for rapprochement to avoid further sectarianism in broader Muslim society.
In response to the pressure of the invasion debates of 1903–1905 the Admiralty developed a new strategy, ‘flotilla defence’, to counter arguments brought forward by the War Office. This concept was a purely political one; it was a cynical bid to mislead the Committee of Imperial Defence in order to secure naval funding. By placing ‘flotilla defence’ in this context this article will demonstrate that it was not, as has been claimed, a revolutionary naval strategy, but part of the polarization of defence policy which led to a breakdown in relations between the army and the navy.
This article examines the ways in which the First World War was represented in historical pageants during the interwar period. Pageants in this period are often overlooked as sites of commemoration and dramatic representation. Three types of pageant are identified: those that portrayed the war hyper-realistically, those which relied on symbolism and allegory to convey messages about war and peace, and those which sought to incorporate the war into the longer histories of the communities whose pasts they depicted. The article argues that ‘traditional’ forms of representation of the past proved to be resilient features of popular commemoration and remembrance.