Bodleian New History eBooks – May 2020: The History of the British Isles

Bodleian New History eBooks – May 2020: The History of the British Isles

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise…

(William Shakespeare, Richard II, II.1, 40-43)

The “British Isles” are defined by the Encyclopaedia Britannica simply as the “group of islands off the northwestern coast of Europe” consisting of the two main islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and numerous smaller islands and island groups, including the Hebrides, the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands, the Isles of Scilly, the Isle of Man, and possibly also the Channel Islands. The accompanying illustration of the “Terminology of the British Isles”, however, already contradicts the seeming simplicity of the definition.

In addition the expression itself is of course politically controversial, particularly for many people in Ireland – prompting General Editor Paul Langford in his Preface to the Short Oxford History of the British Isles to make the disclaimer that in the series they “use the words British Isles solely and simply as a geographical expression” and to reassure the readers that “[n]o set agenda is implied”. Considering the number of different peoples who at one point or another colonised, invaded, annexed, left or were driven out of various parts of the island group, and the various kingdoms, colonies or republics they founded (as illustrated beautifully in this video), the difficulty in establishing a sense of unity among these changing sovereignties and shifting boundaries is readily understandable.

Such difficulty also extends to the subject of the History of the British Isles and its scope: scholars and students of English History are often accused of ignoring the History of Britain as a whole, while those who study the History of Britain are often accused to take the inclusion of Ireland for granted, and those who want to write on or study specifically the History of Scotland, Wales or Ireland quickly find that such exclusivity can be difficult to achieve. To quote Paul Langford again, “What constitutes a concept such as British history or four nations history, remains the subject of acute disagreement, and varies much depending on the period under discussion.”

The plethora of such periods that can potentially be discussed, stemming from a recorded history of over two millennia, is not helping either – the “short” Oxford History of the British Isles spans 11 volumes from The Roman Era and Vikings and Normans to The British Isles since 1945, with individual volumes covering the 12th/13th, 14th/15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and two full volumes dedicated to the 20th century. The subject of the History of the British Isles in the Further Honours School here at Oxford on the other hand is subdivided into seven eras from “The Early Medieval British Isles, 300-1100” via “The Late Medieval British Isles, 1330-1550” and “Liberty, Commerce and Power, 1685-1830” to finally “Changing Identities, 1900 to the present”. In short, the options for subdividing the 2000 years of history into thematically coherent segments of widely varying length are legion, from Pre-Historic Britain to The Anglo-Saxon Era, The Elizabethan Age, The Tudors, The Victorians, The Long 19th Century, The Edwardian Era, The World Wars, The Inter-War Period, Britain Post-1945, The Cold War, The Sixties, The Thatcher Era, or The 21st Century, to name only a few possibilities.

In the face of this, this blog on the new eBooks arrived at the Bodleian on the subject of the History of the British Isles cannot hope to be anywhere near comprehensive, or touch on every important, let alone every interesting era or aspect of these 2000 years. This edition, then, features a somewhat eclectic (but hopefully interesting) rather than representative sample of the various books on the wider topic which are newly available for online access. You can find all our new eBooks on our LibraryThing shelf here, and all our books tagged “Great Britain” here.

The envy of less happier lands

The 2000 years of British History have seen a lot of armed conflict, some of it occasioned by, some of it causing the changes or shifts of borders. I have chosen just three studies on the topic, two from the early modern and one from the modern era, to highlight here.

Paul E. J. Hammer’s Elizabeth’s Wars charts several of the politically and materially costly but ultimately successful military conflicts England engaged in between 1544 and 1604 under Elizabeth I. Starting with the gradual rebuilding of England’s military power on both land and sea against the double threat of France and Spain at the beginning of her reign, the study covers England’s great war with Spain in the 1580s and 1590s with its campaigns spanning the Low Countries, northern France, Spain and the Atlantic, as well as the famous Armada campaign of 1588; and also touches on the last Irish resistance to English domination which was crushed towards the end of Elizabeth’s reign. Ann Hughes’ 1991 The Causes of the English Civil War, one of the standard textbooks on the subject, is also now available online through SOLO in its second, revised edition. Hughes offers an accessible and  comprehensive guide to the historiographical debates surrounding the middle of the 17th century, with discussion not only of the political leaders and their parliaments, but of the wider European context, the general political and religious background of the era, and relevant social and cultural issues and aspects. For the 20th century, Angus Calder examines The Myth of the Blitz as a piece of World War II propaganda in a detailed discussion of the events of 1940 and 1941. While acknowledging its sustaining powers in Britain’s “finest hour”, his close scrutiny inevitably dispels a good part of a myth which rested upon the assumed invincibility of an island race distinguished by good humour, understatement, and the ability to pluck victory from the jaws of defeat by team work, improvisation and muddling through.

Dear for her reputation through the world

There is inevitable overlap with the topic of warfare in the studies of England’s and later Great Britain’s international relations, which am turning to next.

A collection of new studies on Tudor international relations, Tudor England and its Neighbours analyses important changes and continuities in England’s foreign policy between 1485 and 1603. Taking into account recent developments in cultural, gender and institutional history, the contributors discuss Tudor England’s relations with Germany, France, Spain or Scotland, examining such wide-ranging subjects as Henry VII’s pursuit of peace with France, the impact of the break with Rome and the introduction of Protestantism on England’s relations with other countries, and, yes, the inevitability or otherwise of war between Elizabethan England and Spain. The British dimension of the whole span of the American Revolution, from its origins to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and its aftermath, is the topic of another collection of essays newly available online, Britain and the American Revolution. The nine contributions discuss Britain’s response to the blow the Revolution represented both to her Atlantic empire and to her position as a great colonial and commercial power, as well as the importance of the Revolution in the dynamics of British politics in the later 18th century. The chapters cover the problems governing the American colonies, Britain’s diplomatic isolation in Europe over the war, the impact of the American crisis on Ireland, ideological dimensions and public opinion, and the consequences of the loss of America for Britain. Imperial Britain is also the subject of Andrew S. Thompson’s beautifully titled The Empire Strikes Back?, which looks at the influence of the global superpower Britain on its colonies in Africa, Asia and America not only in terms of politics and government, but in aspects of life as varied and wide-ranging as culture, religion, law and order, health and sexuality. More than that, however, the study shows how the dependent states hit back, affecting and changing British social life and class, economics and domestic politics, and British identity itself.

Bound in with the triumphant sea

Or, as Flanders and Swann phrase it in their 1963 parodistic “Song of Patriotic Prejudice”, a work “calculated to offend practically everybody”,

The rottenest bits of these islands of ours
We’ve left in the hands of three unfriendly powers:
Examine the Irishman, Welshman or Scot,
You’ll find he’s a stinker, as likely as not!

True to this prompt to examine these nations (but obviously with rather different outcomes!), several of the new eBooks focus specifically on the history of Wales, Ireland, or Scotland.

Kathryn Hurlock’s Medieval Welsh Pilgrimage examines the Welshmen with respect to this most popular expressions of religious belief in medieval Europe, looking both at the historical and religious significance of the Welsh holy pilgrimage sites to explore what motivated pilgrims to visit these particular sites, and at Welsh pilgrims to both local and overseas pilgrimage destinations – their expectations, their engagement with pilgrimage both practically and ideologically, and their experiences and emotions on the journey and in the achievements of their ultimate goals. A very close examination of a fascinating group of Irishmen and Irishwomen is offered by R. F. Foster in Vivid Faces, which deal with the “revolutionary generation” of 1890-1923, surveying the lives and beliefs of the people who made the 1916 Irish Revolution, and their shared youth, radicalism, subversive activities, enthusiasm and love. Working from contemporary diaries, letters and reflections, Foster brings to life the members of the student societies, theatre groups, feminist collectives, volunteer militias, Irish-language summer schools, and radical newspaper offices who made the revolution, as well as the disillusionment in which it ended. Finally, Tom Devine’s 2017 Independence or Union turns to the Scots, and looks closely at the vexed and uneasy relationship between Scotland and England which has shaped the island since the Middle Ages though a continuous exchange of inhabitants, monarchs, money and ideas, both in peacetimes based on consent and mutual advantage, and in wartime characterised by force and antagonism. Devine’s study explores the relationship between the two countries from the 17th century to the present, weighing up benefits, and raising the question which has become possibly more pressing than ever since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

This happy breed of men

British Society, and the Brits themselves, are the object of a number of widely varied nwly available studies in the fields of social and cultural history.

Authority, Gender and Emotions in Late Medieval and Early Modern England collects essays on situations of authority, governance, and influence related to gender before 1600. Investigating how gender and emotions shaped the ways different individuals could assert or maintain authority, or indeed disrupt or provide alternatives to conventional practices of authority, the contributions explore case studies of women and men’s letter-writing, political and ecclesiastical governance, household rule, exercise of law and order, or creative agency.

Ideology is at the heart of two further new eBooks on British culture, both focusing on the 20th century: The Culture of Fascism explores the cultural history of fascism and the Far Right with a view to British fascism from the early 1900s not just as a political movement, but one that established a wide-reaching fascist culture reaching into film, theatre, music, literature, the visual arts and mass media. The contributions offer discussions of fascist marching songs and “Aryan” music, fascism in science, the cult of the New Fascist Man, and fascist masculinity and femininity. Peter Clarke’s Hope and Glory also looks at British society in the 20th century, considering a number of diverse aspects of three generations who lived through a century of unparalleled change. He offers a wider examination of the political, social, cultural and economic changes throughout, and how issues such as jobs and prices, food and shelter, and education and welfare have shaped the society we live in.

Finally, fundamental questions of Britishness and British identity in the 21st century are raised in Afua Hirsch’s Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, a provocative exploration of the personal experiences of a mixed-race British woman living in a nation in denial about its imperial past, and about the racism that plagues its present. Described as a memoir with social analysis and a political and social challenge of unconscious biases, or as part historical exploration, part journalistic exposé of racism and class disadvantage in modern Britain, Hirsch’s book looks at the real world impact of concepts such as ‘racism’,  ‘prejudice’, and ‘disadvantage’ on the lives of real people, placing her own lifelong search for identity against the backdrop of a national identity crisis, and offering insights on the issues of race, identity and the multiple meanings of Britishness.

New: The War of 1812: Diplomacy on the High Seas

Our wonderful colleagues in the Vere Harmsworth Library have also arranged permanent access to the eresource collection The War of 1812: Diplomacy on the High Seas.

They write:

“We’re delighted that once again thanks to a generous donation, we now have access to another new eresource collection: The War of 1812: Diplomacy on the High Seas.

Part of the Cengage Archives Unbound platform, this collection contains records and papers from the US National Archives and US State Department. The bulk of these date from 1812-1814 and include letters of marque to private vessels engaged in the conflict, passenger lists, passport records, and correspondence relating to prisoners of war.

Access is available via SOLO or Databases A-Z. University members can use single sign-on for remote access.”

New: The American Revolution from a British Perspective, 1763-1783 – Congressional Hearings 1824-1979

Our colleagues in the Vere Harmsworth Library have arranged permanent access to the online The American Revolution from a British Perspective, 1763-1783. 

They write:

“We are delighted to announce that thanks to generous donations, the Bodleian Libraries now have access to the following new eresources for American history:

The American Revolution from a British Perspective, 1763-1783

A collection of pamphlets published in Britain between 1763 and 1783 relating to American affairs and providing a British perspective on the American Revolution.

Congressional Hearings, 1824-1979 (ProQuest Congressional)

Includes the full text of published committee hearings from the US Congress from 1824-1979. Published hearings are the official record of committee hearings proceedings held to enable committees to gather opinions and information to help Members make decisions regarding proposed legislation or to help them fulfill their oversight and investigation responsibilities. Official hearings publications may include: written and oral statements of witnesses, transcripts of question-and-answer sessions, reports and other materials submitted for the record, and correspondence and other materials submitted by interested parties.”

The collections may be accessed via SOLO or our new Databases A-Z listing; University members can use single sign-on for remote access.”

New: Country Life Archive (1897-2005) & Country Life Picture Library

country-life-cover-29-may-1969

Front page. (1969, May 29). Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), ProQuest, accessed 21 Sept. 2016

I am pleased to report that Oxford historians now have access to Country Life Archive, covering 1897 to 2005.

Country Life is a well-known weekly British culture and lifestyle magazine, founded in 1897 by Edward Hudson, friend of Gertrude Jekyll and patron of Edwin Lutyens.

It focuses on fine art and architecture, the great country houses and their interiors, church and historic buildings, landscapes, rural living and leisure pursuits such as antique collecting, farming, hunting, shooting, horse riding and gardening.

country-life-photo-of-mrs-cooper-key-18-jan-1941

Country Life (1941, Jan 18). Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), ProQuest.

The magazine also reported on national events, governmental policy relating to agricultural affairs as well as society affairs of rural gentry.

Country Life is rich in advertising of, for instance, properties and as such is a valuable source in retracing the history of houses as well as finding images of them. Other advertising includes services and equipment needed for country living.

A highly visual resource, every page is full-text searchable, and reproduced in high-resolution and full colour.

The advanced search functionality includes the ability to search for specific images such as photos of interiors and exteriors or architectural drawings / plans.

country-life-advert-18-jan-1941

K L G. (1941, Jan 18). Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), ProQuest, accessed 21 Sept. 2016

Country Life Picture Library contains images of country houses and gardens, interiors and architectural details, historic buildings and churches from the photo-archive of Country Life magazine. All images reference the original Country Life articles for which they were commissioned. Please note that images themselves can only be used upon registration, ordering and payment.

Both the Country Life Archive and Country Life Picture Library are now available on Databases A-Z to our readers. It will be added to SOLO shortly.

EPPI and BOPCRIS*: What happened next?

[Re-blogged from https://officialpapersuk.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/eppi-and-bopcris-what-happened-next/]

“The Hartley Library at the University of Southampton has an extensive collection of printed British official publications, known as the Ford Collection.  The collection is named after the late Professor Percy Ford and his wife Dr Grace Ford who brought the initial collection, which we continue to build, to the University of Southampton in the 1950s.  The Fords compiled ‘breviates’ or ‘select lists’ of official publications, in seven volumes covering the years 1833 – 1983.   Their work was the impetus behind our later activities when technology and external funding enabled us to work collaboratively with other libraries  in order to provide a selection of full-text digitised British official publications, free for all to use.  Sadly, storage and delivery of such an immense amount of data is not without costs and we had to abandon our web services, EPPI and BOPCRIS, but we have worked to find ways to continue free access to the documents.

We are now moving the materials to Internet Archive.  We have established two subsets,  ‘British Parliamentary Publications’  and ‘British non-Parliamentary Publications’ .  These hold previously digitised EPPI and BOPCRIS papers, with some additional non-Parliamentary publications which have been scanned by the in-house Hartley Library Digitisation Unit (LDU).  In total, there are about 16,000 documents, including the full EPPI collection which comprises 13,700 documents.  Other highlights include some very hard-to-find older departmental publications, e.g. a 1991 consultation on aircraft noise, https://archive.org/details/op1278555-1001 .  Our current hope is to continue adding more non-Parliamentary materials from our collection, as we are aware that this is the area of least on-line provision.

We chose Internet Archive for many reasons, but here are just two.  For researchers, it is now a well-known source and is free for all to use.  For libraries wishing to share their open access digital collections, it offers a free and sustainable delivery mechanism.

An article with more detail has been submitted to Refer, the journal of the Information Services Group of CILIP.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit by e-mail, digitise@soton.ac.uk 

* EPPI: Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland, 1801–1922  and BOPCRIS: British Official Publications Collaborative Reader Information Service

EPPI can also be accessed at: http://www.dippam.ac.uk/eppi

Joy Caisley
Law and Politics Librarian, Hartley Library, University of Southampton”

Bookmarked on HFL Diigo:

The ‘British Parliamentary Publications’  and ‘British non-Parliamentary Publications’ collections in the Internet Archive are now bookmarked on HFL Diigo.

Trial until 24 Oct: Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War

Oxford users are now invited to trial Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War which is now available via OxLIP+ and SOLO.

This resouTrench journal trial - logorce provides online access to digitised rare magazines published by service personnel of the First World War. Published by every type of military and support service unit, from every involved nation, trench journals were a means of expression through which men and women engaged in all aspects of World War I could share their thoughts and experiences.

It will be useful to those researching literature, history, war studies, cultural studies, and gender studies of the First World War period. The sources include over 1,500 periodicals, drawn from the holdings of major libraries and research collections, including the Imperial War Museums and the British Library.

While the majority of the magazines are English, the collection includes 188 French magazines, 182 German magazines, 10 Italian magazines, etc. In term of geographical spread, most Unit magazines comes from the Western Front and Great Britain, but there are some from Egypt, India, the Eastern Front, Gallipoli‎, etc.

The Illustrated War News 93 p7 May 1918 - Army Music at Kneller Hall School (Proquest: Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War)

The Illustrated War News 93 p7 May 1918 – Army Music at Kneller Hall School (Proquest: Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War)

You can search for publications by Unit names, Unit types or Unit locations. In Advanced Search you can also limit your search to types of content, such as cartoons, editorials, poem and drama, but also statistics, photographs, musical scores, etc.

Please leave feedback at History databases desiderata & trials or email isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Trial until 14 May: 19th Century British Newspapers Parts III and IV

The Bodleian Libraries is now running a trial for 19th Century British Newspapers Parts III and IV [now known as British Library Newspapers, Parts III and IV] Access is via OxLIP+.

BNCN_bannerrightFollowing on from the existing subscription to 19th Century British Newspapers, this trial provides access to new content which private subscribers to the British Newspaper Archive can already access.

Parts III and IV, covering 1750-1950, further extends the range of English regional newspapers and expands the views represented in the series. Examples of new additions cover all areas of Britain and include, for instance, The Cornishman 1878-1950, Norfolk Chronicle, 1776-1867, Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 1749-1950, Sheffield Daily Telegraph 1855-1904, etc.

Newspapers are a fascinating source material, providing both news and views and a running commentary of many aspects of our society.

BNA 3 & 4 trial - search examplePlease send feedback to Isabel Holowaty or leave a comment at History databases desiderata & trials by 14 May 2015.

Catalogue of the papers of Harold Macmillan, 1889-1987 – now online

Harold_Macmillan_number_10_officialYou’ve never had it so good.

The catalogue of Harold Macmillan’s papers, held in Bodleian’s Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, now online.

Previously there was only a typescript catalogue.

Please note that there are strict access conditions but they are available for research.

Undergraduates can use the Bodleian’s Special Collections but will need to register first.

> Catalogue of the papers of Harold Macmillan, 1889-1987

Macmillan online catalogue

Overview of his papers:

A    Diaries, 1915-1986

B    Constituencey papers, 1924-1986

C    Ministerial and Prime Ministerial papers, 1940-1963

D    Political papers, 1924-1986

E    General correspondence, 1912-1986

F    Miscellaneous papers, arranged by subject, 1916-1987

G    Speeches, 1925-1986

H    Interviews and broadcasts, 1942-1985

I    Memoirs and literary papers, 1918-1986

J    Printed material

K    Photographs, 1889-1984

L    Press cuttings, 1950-1984

M    Audiovisual material, 1949-1987 and n.d.

Related resource:

Macmillan Cabinet Papers 1957-63 [Oxford subscription]

Macmillan Online offers direct access to documents from the highest level of Government during the Macmillan Administration. Topics covered include the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, the Commonwealth Immigration Act, 1962, and the Profumo Scandal, June 1963. With some 30,000 images of original documents, taken from CAB 128 and CAB 129 as well as selected files from PREM 11 and CAB 124, this project is as important a source for world history as it is for British politics.

Trial until 12 October: Daily Mail Historical Archive, 1896-2004

Oxford users are now invited to trial Daily Mail Historical Archive, 1896-2004.

The Daily Mail is a well-known British daily tabloid which was first published on 4 May 1896 by Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, later Lord Northcliffe, and his brother Harold, later Lord Rothermere. This resource provides access to more than 100 years of this publication, which boasts a circulation now of over 2 million.

It can be viewed in full digital facsimile form, with copious advertisements, news stories and images that capture 20th century culture and society.

Let us know what you think!

Comments can be left on the History databases desiderata site or sent to isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk by 12 October when the trial ends.

Newspapers, newspapers, newspapers

The online historical archive of the Daily Mirror, another tabloid, is already available to Oxford users.

Check what other historical newspapers are available online in Oxford.

Newly bookmarked: Richard Heaton’s Index to Digitalised British and Irish Newspapers Online Beta

This beta site, last updated on 25 August 2013, looks very useful indeed to those working with 19th and 20th century British and Irish newspaper sources. It has now been bookmarked on HFL Delicious along with many other newspaper resources.

Richard Heaton’s Index to Digitalised British and Irish Newspapers Online (Beta)

The website is a list of all the titles in all of the Digitalised Online British and Irish Newspapers that Richard Heaton, a researcher, is aware of and which, he says “may be a helpful guide to identify whether a title is available online and, if so, what dates could be available and where you can locate it based on the data provided by the various sites (see link below). The Lists are split England (excluding London), London (which splits between Local newspapers and National Titles), Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man. They are sorted by County and then Town except London (which being a very large file) which I have chosen to sort by title (which means titles from the 17th Century could be next to those for the 20th Century).”

Local London newspapers, from Richard Heaton's Index to British and Irish newspapers.

Local London newspapers, from Richard Heaton’s Index to British and Irish newspapers.

Related links:

More HFL blog posts on historical newspapers

Start searching in:

17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers (Oxford users)

19th Century British Library Newspapers (Oxford users)

Times Digital Archive (1785-2007) (Oxford users)

Guardian (1821-2003) / Observer (1791-2003) (Oxford users)

Illustrated London News Historical Archive (1842-2003) (Oxford users)

Daily Mirror (1903- ) (Oxford users)

British Newspaper Archive

Welsh Newspapers Online (1844-1910)

Scotsman (1817-1950) (Oxford users)

Irish Times (1859-2011) / Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958) (Oxford users)

Irish Newspaper Archives (INA) (1738- ) (Oxford users)