New eresources for 20th century history: World War I, British Union of Fascists files, Northern Ireland, Middle East, Soviet women, world news

We are pleased to announce access to six major eresources which are useful for 20th century historians. They cover key historical events in British, European and world history and contain a great range of sources, from newspapers, government and diplomatic documents, maps, to digitised newsreels. Most resources are strong in international relations and political and diplomatic history, while two resources (Soviet Women, World Newsreels Online) also have a social, gender and cultural aspect, to varying degrees.

Oxford researchers, you can also access these resources remotely with your SSO.

The British Union of Fascists: Newspapers and Secret Files, 1933-1951

Homepage of the resource, depicting a black and white photo of Oswald Mosley walking past supporters showing the fascit salute.

Homepage of
The British Union of Fascists: Newspapers and Secret Files, 1933-1951, British Online Archives

Part of British Online Archives’ Politics and Protest series, the resources contained within this collection chart the rise and fall of fascism in Britain during the 1930s and 1940s, with a particular focus on Oswald Mosley’s blackshirt movement.

The bulk of the documents are official BUF publications, including Fascist Week¸ The Blackshirt, The East London Pioneer, and Action. In addition, there are hundreds of government documents relating to Mosley’s internment under Defence Regulation 18B during the Second World War. Geographical coverage includes Great Britain and the United States.

The series covered include: CAB 127 (Cabinet Office: Private Collections of Ministers’ and Officials’ Papers); HO 45 (Home Office: Registered Papers); HO 262 (Ministry of Information: Home Intelligence Division Files); HO 283 (Home Office: Defence Regulation 18B, Advisory Committee Papers); KV 2 (The Security Service: Personal Files); PCOM 9 (Prison Commission and Home Office, Prison Department: Registered Papers: Series 2); and PREM 4 (Prime Minister’s Office: Confidential correspondence and papers).

The Middle East Online Series 2 – Iraq 1914-1974 (Archives Unbound)

Lists details of two out of almsot five thousand documents in the collection.

Screenshot from Middle East Online: Iraq 1914-1974.

Drawing on the collections from the National Archives at Kew, UK, these documents cover the political and administrative history of the modern state which has emerged from the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia.

Like Series 1 (Middle East Online: Arab-Israeli Relations, 1917-1970), this database offers conference reports, ministerial memos and diplomatic dispatches, as well as official letters of correspondence from regional leaders, press releases and arms deal reports. This collection will also appeal to those with an interest in economics, politics and peace studies.

Series 2 on Iraq covers these events:

  • The war in Mesopotamia and the capture of Baghdad in 1917
  • Introduction of the British Mandate and the installation of King Faisal in 1921
  • Independence and Iraq’s membership in the League of Nations in 1932
  • Coups d’état in the 1930s and 1940s
  • The Baghdad pact of 1955 and the military coup of 1958 leading to the establishment of a republic
  • Oil concessions and the threat to Kuwait
  • The rise of Ba’athism and Saddam Hussein
  • The USSR-Iraq Treaty of Friendship in 1972
  • Iran-Iraq relations

The vast majority of the almost 5,000 documents are in English with c 100 in Arabic and c 160 in French.

Northern Ireland: A Divided Community, 1921-1972 Cabinet Papers of the Stormont Administration (Archives Unbound)

Lists details of two out of more than 1500 documents in the collection.

Screenshot from Northern Ireland: A Divided Community.

The history of Ireland in the twentieth century was dominated by the political and sectarian divide between the north and the south, leading to sustaining armed violence over several decades. 2021 markes the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland in May 1921.

This resource provides access to Government documents of the British administration in Northern Ireland 1921-72 (CAB/4) offer what have been described as the best continuous record of government activity and decision-making in the world, and shows “how government actually worked”. The papers are a complete digital facsimile of the Cabinet Conclusion files of the Northern Ireland Government, filed as CAB/4 at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). These CAB/4 files contain a full record of every debate and transaction for the entire duration of the Stormont administration, the devolved government of Northern Ireland. Separate files exist for each Cabinet Meeting and include minutes and memoranda. The discussions and decisions reflect the wide range of problems and activities involved in making the new administration work.

Topics debated and reported in just one sample year of the Troubles (1970) include: policing, arms and explosives, social need, prevention of incitement to religious hatred, army occupation of factories, road spiking, routing of Orange Day parades, dock strikes, law and order, riots, and the roles of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Paris Peace Conference and Beyond, 1919-1939

An image of the resource' s homepage, depicting 4 key statesmen (Foch, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Orlando)

From left to right: Marshal Foch, George Clemenceau (French PM), David Lloyd George (British PM), Vittorio Orlando, (Italian PM), from Paris Peace Conference and Beyond, 1919-1939, homepage, British Online Archives (accessed 9 Aug 2021)

Drawn chiefly from the UK National Archives, including selected FO 608 files, these Foreign Office records for the first time offer an emphatic and comprehensive coverage of the various peace treaties signed at the end of the First World War. The Treaties of Versailles, Saint-Germain, Sevres, Trianon, Neuilly and Lausanne are all covered in great depth. They collectively saw to the redrawing of boundaries, the stripping back of German military might and the effective end of the Ottoman Empire. These records are supplemented by the personal papers of Robert Cecil and Arthur Balfour – held at the British Library – both of whom played prominent roles during the course of the Conference.

The papers include cabinet papers, agenda, records of conversations, memoranda, dispatches, telegrams, confidential reports, maps, treaties, and selected news clippings.

This resource has a global reach. Use it to explore and learn how the Allied Powers scrambled to create a diplomatic epilogue to ‘the war to end all wars’.

Soviet Woman Digital Archive (1945-1991)

Front cover of Soviet Women, Nov 1989, depicting a woman with 2 fluffytoy animals.

“FRONT COVER” Soviet Woman. 1989.

Established in the aftermath of WWII in 1945, the magazine Soviet Woman proclaimed on the cover of its first issue its fundamental mission: “A magazine devoted to social and political problems, literature and art…”

Published initially under the aegis of the Soviet Women’s Anti-Fascist Committee and the Central Council of Trade Unions of the USSR, it began as a bimonthly illustrated magazine tasked with countering anti-Soviet propaganda by introducing Western audiences to the lifestyle of Soviet women, including their role in the post-WWII rebuilding of the Soviet economy, and their achievements in the arts and the sciences. The Soviet Woman digital archive contains all obtainable published issues from the very first issue, comprising more than 500 issues and over 7,500 articles.

Over the years the magazine developed regular sections covering issues dealing with economics, politics, life abroad, life in Soviet republics, women’s fashion, as well as broader issues in culture and the arts. One of its most popular features was the translations of Soviet literary works, making available in English, (and other languages) works of Russian and Soviet writers that were previously unavailable, allowing readers worldwide a peek inside the hitherto insular Soviet literary world. An important communist propaganda outlet, the magazine continued its run until the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

World Newsreels Online: 1929–1966

In December of 1941, cinema audiences around the world—from New York to Tokyo, Amsterdam to Paris—waited expectantly for news of Pearl Harbor. This resource lets  historians see what those audiences saw and more, by delivering more than 500 hours of newsreels content instantly.

A screenshot of a girl on crutches

“February 28, 1944.” , directed by Anonymous , Universal Pictures Company, 1944. Alexander Street, https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/universal-newsreels-release-272-february-28-1944.

The vast majority of newsreels come from Polygoon-Profiti and Universal Pictures Company. Footage also includes 87 documentaries and commercial announcements. About 3000 reels are in Dutch and just over 2000 are in English, with a few hundred in French and Japanese. While newsreels focus on conflict during this time, but there is also content on children, sport, culture, social life, the environment, science and technology.

Reels come with searchable transcripts, tools to share and embed elsewhere, and tools create and export citations.

World War I and Revolution in Russia, 1914-1918: Records of the British Foreign Office (Archives Unbound)

Lists details of two out of almost 3,500 documents in the collection.

Screenshot from World I and Revolution in Russia, 1914-1918

This collection documents the Russian entrance into World War I and culminates in reporting on the Revolution in Russia in 1917 and 1918. The documents consist primarily of correspondence between the British Foreign Office, various British missions and consulates in the Russian Empire and the Tsarist government and later the Provisional Government.

Drawing on the National Archives, UK, collection within Foreign Office 371: Records of General Political Correspondence – Russia, this resources gives online access to almost 3,500 documents. This collection comprises the complete contents of the former Scholarly Resources microfilm collection entitled British Foreign Office: Russia Correspondence, 1914-1918. The vast majority of documents are in English, with c 450 in French and a very small number in other European languages.

New: Bloomsbury Medieval Studies

Following a successful trial in October 2019, I am pleased to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to Bloomsbury Medieval Studies (SSO required for off-campus access).

This purchase is made possible thanks to the generosity of Jonathan Glasspool, Managing Director, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. and the Madeline Barber Bequest.

This is an interdisciplinary digital resource with a global perspective covering the medieval period. It brings together high-quality secondary content with visual primary sources, a new reference work and pedagogical resources into one cross-searchable platform, to support students and researchers across this rich field of study.

Specifically, the resource contains over 150 scholarly works (incl. primary texts, research monographs, companions) which have been published by Bloomsbury and other publishers such as IB Tauris, Arc Humanities Press, Amsterdam University Press.

It also contains a newly published reference work (The Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Age) and over a 1000 images sourced from collections in the British Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Senate House Library (London).

Explore articles written by top international contributors in the newly commissioned and exclusive reference work, the Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages.

New: Military Architecture 1600-1900

S. Vauban, Traité de l’attaque et de la défense des places (La Haye, 1743). Military Architecture 1600-1900 (Leiden, 2018), accessed 8 July 2019, http://primarysources.brillonline.com/browse/military-architecture-1600-1900.

I’m pleased to report that Oxford researchers now have access to Brill’s Military Architecture 1600-1900.

This online resource contains 99 printed works which represent the revolutionary developments in fortification in Early Modern Europe in theory and in practice.

The collection covers not only military architecture, but to some extent also the military arts (artillery, army camps, siege) and military and some naval history. While it focuses on early modern history, there are translations of works from Ancient Rome and there is at least one book on medieval military architecture (A. Hamilton Thompson, Military Architecture in England during the Middle Ages. London, 1912). A number of early modern printed books were published before 1600.

It’s possible to search the full-text of the entire collection or of individual books, but bear in mind that the collection comprises works in different languages, including Latin, and may use old language and orthography. Likewise, the rendering of the text from early modern print-type has not always been successful, so it pays to browse the books and read texts to get a sense of the content.

Many works will include illustrations of buildings, fortifications, harbours, etc. It does not appear to be possible to search for these separately.

Obsedio Bredana Armis Phillippi IIII (Antwerpen, 1629), p.9. Military Architecture 1600-1900 (Leiden, 2018), accessed 8 July 2019, http://primarysources.brillonline.com/bowse/military-architect

You will be able to copy the OCRed text of any selections or of a page; you can also download the ebook, or selections of it, as a zipped file; and you can share the link to the resource via email and social media.

Citations can be saved to Endnote and RefWorks, but also seem to work with Zotero.

More about the content

“Similar to the arts, military architecture was split up in national schools or styles, so called fortification manners.The works of Busca, Cattaneo, De Marchi, Tensini, Theti, Zanchi, reflect the Italian School, Errard and Perret the French one and Specklin’s Architektur von Vestungen is an adaptation of the Italian school in Germany.

Stevin’s Sterctenbouwing discusses Cattaneo, Theti and Specklin to assess the benefits of their fortification systems for the Low Countries. The later French school is well represented by Pagan and the works of probably the most famous engineer of all times, Vauban. His various “fortification manners” were applied all over Europe and beyond.

While these works in Military Architecture 1600-1900 allow for a comparative analysis in text and image of European fortification schools, others focus on more local conditions such as Stevin’s works in Dutch and French on the role of pivoted sluices in the fortifications of various harbor towns.

Moreover, Military Architecture 1600-1900 provides insight in the training of fortification in theory and practice for multiple “user-groups”. While the works of the classical authors Caesar, Valturius and Vegetius were used for the philological study of the military arts at universities, the reality of warfare required for training of practical skills for engineers and landsurveyors in the field. Translations of Euclid, works on the practice of geometry and landsurveying (Mallet, Nienrode, Metius, Sems&Dou) were filling that gap. Although Military Architecture 1600-1900 represents the protagonists of the history of fortification, it also includes lesser known authors such as Bruist, Capo-Bianco, Gaya, Gerbier and Pfeffinger. Moreover, the selection does not limit itself to military architecture, but includes the military arts (artillery, army camps, siege) and history.” (Military Architecture, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2018, accessed 8 July 2019 http://primarysources.brillonline.com/browse/military-architecture-1600-1900).

The breakdown of titles per country is as follows:

  • Netherlands: 46 titles
  • France: 25 titles
  • Italy: 14 titles
  • Germany: 13 titles
  • England: 1 title

Military Architecture 1600-1900 is now accessible via SOLO or via Databases A-Z. Enjoy!

New: The Grand Tour

I am pleased to report that Oxford researchers now have access to The Grand Tour (Adam Matthew Digital). Use your SSO for remote access.

As thousands of British tourists are currently enjoying their holidays in Europe, no doubt Facebooking and Instagramming their experiences and sights, it is worth reflecting back how travel accounts used to be written and at a time when European travel was reserved to the aristocratic and wealthy young men of the eighteenth century and seen as part of their education.

The Grand Tour, a term first used by J. Gailhard, The compleat gentleman, or, Directions for the education of youth as to their breeding at home and travelling abroad (1678)*, was a phenomenon which shaped the creative and intellectual sensibilities of some of the eighteenth century’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers. Now researchers have access to digitised accounts of the English abroad in Europe c1550-1850.

The source materials in The Grand Tour highlight the influence of continental travel on British art, architecture, urban planning, literature and philosophy. They are also useful for the study of daily life in the eighteenth century, whether it be on transportation, communications, money, social norms, health, sex or food and drink. Furthermore, the material covers European political and religious life, British diplomacy; life at court, and social customs on the Continent, and is an excellent resource for the study of Europe’s urban spaces. This resource will be useful for those studying history, history of art and architecture, British and European literature.

There is a wealth of detail about cities such as Paris, Rome, Florence and Geneva, including written accounts and visual representations of street life, architecture and urban planning.

What is included?

The Grand Tour provides full-text access to a curated collection of manuscripts, printed works and visual resources. The materials draw on collections held in a number of libraries and archives, including many in private or neglected collections. Assembling these in a single resource will allow researchers for the first time to better compare the sources.

In particular the scanned and indexed materials include letters; diaries and journals; account books; printed guidebooks; published travel writing; but also visual resources such as paintings and sketches; architectural drawings and maps. Palaeographical skills are needed to decipher manuscript letters. Some images of scanned manuscripts are challenging to read.

Using an interactive map, researchers can also locate any sources related to a town or city:

Also included is an online version of John Ingamells (comp.), Dictionary and Archive of Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 (New Haven, 1997). This well-known publication lists over 6,000 individual Grand Tourists, provides biographical details and details of their tours.

For those needing an introductory and historiographical account of Grand Tour research, there are essays by Professors Jeremy Black, Edward Chaney and Rosemary Sweet.

Other supplementary aids include a chronology of 18th century European events, a political chronology of Italy, and a list of Italian rulers, as well as a selected bibliography for further reading.

The Grand Tour is accessible to Oxford researchers and Bodleian-registered readers via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

Also useful

ANSELL, Richard, Foubert’s academy : British and Irish elite formation in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Paris and London, in Beyond the Grand Tour : Northern metropolises and early modern travel behaviour; edited by Rosemary Sweet, Gerrit Verhoeven and Sarah Goldsmith. (London: Routledge, 2017)

GOLDSMITH, Sarah, Dogs, Servants and Masculinities : Writing about Danger on the Grand Tour, in Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 40:1 (2017) 3-21, DOI: 10.1111/1754-0208.12342.

*Oxford English Dictionary, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/80717, accessed 17 August 2017

Trial until 24 April: Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture – the History of Tourism

Oxford researchers are now invited to trial Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture – the History of Tourism. This resource provides access to a highly diverse collection of material on well-known, little-known and far-flung travel destinations across the world between 1850s and 1980s.

It can be accessed via SOLO or OxLIP+. Please note that PDF downloads are not available during this trial.

From Adam Matthew Digital, http://www.amdigital.co.uk/m-products/product/leisure-travel-and-mass-culture-the-history-of-tourism/detailed-information/, accessed 27 March 2017

Collections come from multiple archives, including Thomas Cook, provide a multi-national perspective on the evolution of affordable tourism between 1850 and the 1980s. It offers researchers an interesting insight into social and cultural history, such as the growth and expansion of travel agents and transport companies and the integral role they played in the accessibility of destinations across Britain, Europe, North America and around the World.

Key subject themes include:

  • Beachfront
  • Historical, Cultural or Religious Tourism
  • Road, Rail and Automobile Travel
  • Children and Families
  • Women and Tourism
  • The Great Outdoors
  • Planning and Business
  • International Relations
  • Package Tours
  • Cruises and Organised Travel
  • Accommodation, Hospitality and Entertainment
  • Health and Medical Travel
  • Urban Tours and City Breaks

The resource features a wide range of different document types, including:

From http://www.amdigital.co.uk/m-products/product/leisure-travel-and-mass-culture-the-history-of-tourism/detailed-information/, accessed 27 March 2017

  • Travel diaries and journals
  • Scrapbooks
  • Photographs
  • Guidebooks
  • Film
  • Posters
  • Postcards
  • Leaflets and brochures
  • Correspondence
  • Periodicals
  • Maps
  • Government documents
  • Printed books
  • Ephemera
  • Prints, engravings, illustration and sketches

 

 

 

The coverage of countries is global, with documents covering the Arctic, Asia, Africa and Americas, Caribbean, Middle East and of course Europe.

Send feedback to isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk by 24 April.

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.

New: Women, War and Society, 1914–1918 (Archives Unbound)

Following a successful trial last year and thanks to the very generous donation by John and Jean Dunbabin, Oxford historians now have access to Women, War and Society, 1914–1918 (Archives Unbound).

This resource fully documents the essential contribution of women during the Great War as well as the revolutionary and permanent impact the War had on the personal, social and professional lives of these women. It is an important collection for research into 20th century social, political, military and gender history.

Women, War and Society, 1914–1918 - screenshotThe resource reproduces primary source material (115,225 images) brought together in the Imperial War Museum, London, and originally published by the Air Ministry, League of Mercy and War Fund, Purple Cross Service, Russian Relief Fund and many other organizations. This definitive digital collection of charity and international relief reports, pamphlets, photographs, press cuttings and more is fully searchable.

Poster: The Babies' Candidate. Mrs. How Martyn's Election Address. Suffrage And Politics. N.d. The Women at Work Collection, Imperial War Museum, London. The Imperial War Museum, London, United Kingdom. Archives Unbound. Web. 15 July 2016

Poster: The Babies’ Candidate. Mrs. How Martyn’s Election Address. Suffrage And Politics. N.d. The Women at Work Collection, Imperial War Museum, London. The Imperial War Museum, London, United Kingdom. Archives Unbound. Web. 15 July 2016

On behalf of the library and the Committee of the Library Provision and Strategy (CLiPS) in History, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to JOHN and JEAN DUNBABIN for donating sufficient funds to permanently add this resource to the library’s holding and ensure that future generation of historians have access to important source material on this period and topic.

Other useful resources:

Remembering V.E. Day – Reginald McCarthy’s donation of Nazi books to the Bodleian Library

Today, on 8 May, seems an appropriate moment to mark the 71st Victory in Europe Day, or V.E. Day, by publicly acknowledging, thanking and remembering a kind bibliophile for donating some Nazi publications to the Bodleian Library. Such material should continue to be made accessible and preserved, ideally in a library, as a reminder to subsequent generations of the horrors of the Third Reich and the Second World War. Photos of Hitler posing with children make for very uncomfortable and unnerving viewing as do shots of the German navy, however excellent the German photographic skills and equipment are.

As so often, libraries are the vehicles through which members of the public, scholars and students can benefit from the generosity of other members of the public. My warmest thanks must therefore go to Mr Andrew McCarthy for his kindness in donating the following books, which once belonged to his father Mr Reginald McCarthy, to the Bodleian Library:Deutscher Fuhrer Deutsches Schicksal - cover

Hans Heinz Mantau-Sadila (Hrsg.), Deutsche Führer, Deutsches Schicksal : das Buch der Künder und Führer des Dritten Reiches. (München : Steinebach, 1934)

Hans Weberstedt, Kurt Langner, Adolf Hitler & Kurt Langner, Gedenkhalle für die Gefallenen des Dritten Reiches. (München : Zentralverlag der NSDAP, Franz Eher Nachf., 1935)Hitler with boy

Heinrich Hoffmann (Hrsg.), Jugend um Hitler : 120 Bilddokumente aus der Umgebung des Führers. 1.-30 Tsd. (Berlin : Zeitgeschichte-Verl., Nationalsozialismus, 1935)

Fritz-Otto Busch, Die deutsche Kriegsmarine im Kampf: Schiffe und Taten. 1. – 20 Tsd.(Berlin : Vier Tannen Verlag, 1943)Feind Im Fadenkreuz 8

Norbert von Baumbach, Ruhmestage der Deutschen Marine: Bilddokumente des Seekrieges.  (Hamburg : Broschek, 1933)

Werner Hartmann, Feind in Fadenkreuz: U-Boot auf Jagd im Atlantik. Mit einem Vorwort vom Befehlshaber der U-Boote, Vizeadmiral Karl Dönitz. (Berlin : Verlag Die Heimbücherei,  1942)

Josef Pöchlinger, Das Buch vom Westwall. 2. Aufl. (Berlin : O. Elsner, 1940)Deutscher Jugendklang 3

Heinrich Pfannschmidt, Arthur Schmidt & Otto Roy, Deutscher Jugendklang. T. 1. Liederbuch f. VI-OI. Mit e. kurzen Elementarlehre d. Musik. 3. durchges. Aufl. (Berlin Trowitzsch, 1938)

Edwin Erich Dwinger, Zwischen Weiss und Rot : die russische Tragödie 1919-1920  (Jena : Diederichs, 1930)

Apart from the historiographical interest, those interested in the history of photography will likewise find some of the visual content noteworthy.

Below, Mr Andrew McCarthy reflects on his father’s life, his interest in German culture, his loathing of Hitler and keen book-collecting but also book-donating habits to school libraries and German prisoners of war. He sounds a fascinating and multi-faceted man.

Isabel Holowaty, History Librarian

REFLECTIONS ON MY FATHER

by Andrew McCarthy

Reginald McCarthy. © Reproduced by kind permission of Andrew McCarthy.

Reginald McCarthy. © Reproduced by kind permission of Andrew McCarthy.

I cannot remember a time when I was not surrounded by books.  My father, Reginald McCarthy, bought and read books all his life.  He taught me to read when I was four, and as soon as I could read, he bought books for me.  He was born in 1896 and died in 1982.  He served in the East Yorkshire Regiment during the Great War, and was wounded at Passchendaele.  He spent most of his working life as an architect, surveyor, and estate agent. In the 1930s he owned and edited a local weekly newspaper, the “Hornsea and District Bulletin”, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.  No copies are known to survive.

My father spoke fluent German, which he had taught himself in an era when German books were printed in Gothic type.  He would walk around the house declaiming Heine’s “Die Lorelei”, which he knew by heart.

He loathed the Nazis, Hitler, and all that he stood for, but he would buy almost anything in German if it looked interesting. I grew up seeing the books which I have given to the Bodleian Library sitting next to “Andersen’s Märchen und Geschichten”, German editions of Shakespeare,  “Im Westen Nichts Neues”, “Die Kreuzerfahrten der Goeben und Breslau”, and my boyhood favourite, “Auto, Schiff und Flugzeug.”

He was an obsessive collector, who believed that money spent on bookshelves could be better spent on books.  There were piles of books all over our house.  If my father needed a book which was at the bottom of a pile, he would pull it out carefully.  The pile would wobble, but stay upright, only to fall over days later, often in the middle of dinner.  In 1977, there were over 3,500 books in our house.

My father loved collecting, but he also enjoyed giving books away to school libraries, or anyone else who might appreciate them.  I don’t think he ever imagined that some of his books would end up in the Bodleian.  He gave books to the libraries of the schools I attended.  I have 28 letters (I’ve just counted them!) from Sister Augustine, the Headmistress of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Nottingham, thanking him for books.  She said:

“I think soon the Library will have to be known as the McCarthy library…  Mr Crawley has already absorbed the books into the library, and, as I have said before, thanks to you it is building up into something truly worthwhile.” 

© Reproduced by kind permission of Andrew McCarthy.

© Reproduced by kind permission of Andrew McCarthy.

I also have some letters which were sent to him in 1946 and 1947 from the Commandant of the Prisoner of War Camp in Wollaton Park, in Nottingham, thanking him for several donations of books.

The Second World War had only just ended, but my father felt sorry for the German prisoners, so he gave them books in German.  He loathed the Nazis, but he’d fought against German soldiers on the Somme in 1916 and at Passchendaele in 1917, and was able to see “Jerry”, as he always called the German soldier, as a human being.

It’s interesting to learn how the system at the Prisoner of War Camp worked.  My father was asked if he would send the Commandant the full details of any books he wanted to give to the camp library, so that they could be approved (or not) by “the appropriate department in London”.  “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” was welcomed with enthusiasm, but “ANILIN” was on the banned list.

© Reproduced by kind permission of Andrew McCarthy.

© Reproduced by kind permission of Andrew McCarthy.

My father’s record-keeping was chaotic – just like his shelving of books – but I am fairly sure that he bought the Nazi books from Foyle’s on the Charing Cross Road in the 1930s.  He told me that the staff kept them on one side for him.  When a young British Nazi, or Fascist, had repeatedly asked if they had any books about Hitler and the Nazis.  Foyles’ staff pretended that they didn’t.  They were keeping the books for my father, because they knew he hated Hitler.  My father was a loyal reader of the “Daily Telegraph”, which, along with the “Manchester Guardian”, reported the activities of the Nazis in the 1930s fairly accurately.  The editor of the “Times”, Geoffrey Dawson, was an appeaser, and would suppress or modify news stories which might anger Hitler.

From 1922 until 1932 my father lived in Hornsea, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.  He was an architect, surveyor, and estate agent.  He owned and edited the local weekly newspaper, the “Hornsea and District Bulletin.”  As if he didn’t have enough to do, he also ran a private library.  This was in his office in Newbegin, Hornsea.  Books could be borrowed for a small annual subscription.  This was the heyday of the private library, when Boots and and W.H. Smith’s branches would lend books for a small fee.

From "Beverley Guardian", 8 February 1930

From “Beverley Guardian”,
8 February 1930

 

From 1927 until 1931-1932, my father was a member of the Hornsea Urban District Council.  He said that there were: “Three Colonels, a major, a plumber, a cobbler and a postman M.P.  Politics were banned, they sat round the table classless, for the good of their town.”

In 1930, the council proposed establishing a public lending library.  At first, my father objected, because Hornsea ratepayers would have to bear some of the cost, as this cutting from the “Beverley Guardian”, of February 8th 1930, explains.  When the East Riding County Council offered a library of one thousand books, paid for by the County, my father withdrew his objection.  The library, in the Town Hall, opened on March 14th, 1930.  It opened 101 times in its first year, and 29,542 books were issued.  Some residents were not as conscientious as they should have been.  In June, 1931, the Waterworks, Fire Brigade, Museum and Library Committee decided to write “strong letters to persons who had failed to return books within the allotted time”.

My father’s obsession with books lasted all his life.  He would have been astonished and delighted to learn that some of his books have ended up in the Bodleian.

 

Andrew McCarthy is the author of “The Huns Have Got My Gramophone: Advertisements from the Great War”, Bodleian Library Publishing, 2014. http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley/news/2014/jun-24

Bodleian Libraries paintings on BBC Your Paintings website

Your Paintings is a website created by the BBC and the Public Catalogue Forum, which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real. It is made up of paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions around the country.  There are around 212,000 records for paintings from over 3000 locations on the site.  Most records have a digital image of the painting, along with details of where the original painting is located.

your paintings

The site can be browsed by painting title, artist or the geographical location of the collection or gallery, and also searched by keyword.  This free resource will be of interest to historians from a variety of fields, as well as history of art scholars.  Keyword searches reveal paintings of World War One trenches, many medical-related images and key figures in history from across the globe.

your paintings Bod Page

(c) BBC Your Paintings

Painting from the Bodleian Libraries and other places in Oxford

The Bodleian Libraries section of the site contains over 330 oil paintings.  These are mainly portraits of people linked  to the Bodleian Libraries, royalty and images of the decorated ceilings in the Bodleian Library.

There are also collections from other parts of the University (e.g. Pitt Rivers Museum), colleges and halls (including Oriel, Brasenose, St Stephen’s) and Oxford Brookes University.  Many other places in Oxfordshire have also contributed images including municipal buildings, schools and museums.

Related Links Bodleian Libraries homepage | Oxford History of Art Department | Art and Architecture LibGuide

ARTstor news: Additional images of European architecture and sculpture images by Sarah N. James

These ARTstor additions should be of interest to historians of medieval and early modern English and European history:

“ARTstor is collaborating with Sarah N. James to add more than 450 images of Italian architecture and painting and more than 400 images of English art and architecture to the Digital Library. The new images will join James’s collection of more than 600 images of Italian and English architecture. The collection currently centers on England, including cathedrals and parish churches from the Norman Romanesque period; ecclesiastical buildings in the early English, decorated, and perpendicular styles; medieval secular architecture including castles, marketplaces, and town halls; perpendicular gothic collegiate buildings; and Tudor, Elizabethan, baroque, and neoclassical country houses and churches. Photographed in situ during James’ travels throughout Europe, the images provide contextual views of sculpture and architecture from various angles.

View the collection in the ARTstor’s Digital Library:

For more detailed information about this collection, visit European Architecture and Sculpture (Sara N. James) collection page.”

[ARTstor 11 April 2011]