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Investigating the Investigators: The U.S. Bureau of Investigation Case Files Archives

case files

Founded in 1908 as the investigative branch of the Justice Department against the opposition of Congress by executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Bureau of Investigation was charged with the investigation of violations of federal statutes. As its powers and influence increased in the face of internal and external threads, the Bureau was repeatedly accused of acting outside the law. Eight years later the Bureau employed three hundred agents, a steep increase from the modest thirty-eight investigators hired in 1908. In 1916 the Bureau was charged with counterintelligence and the investigation of radical activities in the U.S. J. Edgar Hoover, who was appointed as the director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924, cleansed the Bureau of its corrupt elements. He remained in his position when the Bureau was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935.

The Bureau of Investigation case files are hosted on the EBSCO Fold3 platform. The files are labeled as FBI case files while the collection itself is called Bureau of Investigation case files. It consists of four series, Bureau Section Files, Mexican Files, Miscellaneous Files and Old German Files. Although browsing is an option, it is not a productive approach as file names consist mostly of numbers and personal names. The basic keyword search is a good starting point. Results can be filtered and searches can easily be modified. Scanning documents is at times challenging as the pages of some files are lined up from right to left.

pamphletThe case files cover the years 1909 through 1921 and contain reports and documents related to World War I and the surveillance of groups suspected of un-American activities. The Bureau’s agents regularly reported about labor organizations, the radical press and “Negro subversion.” The case files include pamphlets and magazines published by the “radical press,” such as complete issues of The Masses. Interesting examples from the collection include Babe Ruth, who was investigated as an “alleged slacker,” a.k.a. draft dodger, Joseph McGarrity, whose surveillance files are part of the Old German Files as he was considered a friend of the Germans, and Emma Goldman, the well known anarchist.  Margaret Sanger’s activities were closely watched as well. Her files include pamphlets about her speaking engagements and some of her publications. The short but politically turbulent time period covered by the case files will guarantee many interesting discoveries.

Links to the collection can be found in the online catalog, on the Databases A-Z list and on the history subject guide. Questions or comments? Contact me directly (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu) or post your comments online.

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Human Rights Studies Online and on trial

HumRights

A trial subscription of Human Rights Studies Online, from Alexander Street Press, is available until March 2. Human Rights Studies Online is a unique database of streaming video and text materials providing comprehensive, comparative documentation, analysis, and interpretation of major human rights violations and atrocity crimes worldwide currently covering the years1900-2010.  The collection includes primary and secondary materials (some publicly available materials) across multiple media formats and content types for each selected event, including Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Darfur, and more than thirty additional subjects.

Resources for each topic guide users through the full scope of the event, from the historical context that made such violations possible through the international response, prosecution of perpetrators, and steps toward rebuilding. Materials are meant to work together to help explore significant questions and themes, such as how human rights atrocities could have been prevented, common patterns associated with human rights crimes, and the impact that is made by government intervention.  Alexander Street Press reports that “the collection is growing to include 75,000 pages of text and 150 hours of video that give voice to the countless victims of human rights crimes in the 20th and early 21st centuries.”

Additional information is available online and in brochure form. A bibliography of documents currently included in the database is also available. Advanced search capabilities allow for seeking words anywhere, fulltext/transcripts, title/series, date written, date published, language and sorting options. Further search help is accessible.

Explore other Alexander Street Press subscriptions available through Falvey, such as Counseling and Therapy in Video, PBS Video Collection, Digital Karl Barth Library, North American Theatre Online , and search Oxford Bibliographies – Political Science, International Relations, also in trial subscription this semester.

For more information or comments, contact Falvey subject liaison Merrill Stein.

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Oxford Bibliographies: A Point of Departure

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Explore the political science and international relations bibliographies from Oxford University Press now through the 2014 academic year.  The bibliographies have their own editors, are peer-reviewed, annotated by leading scholars and designed to be starting points for research.

You can search one of these bibliographies by visiting the Databases A-Z list on the library homepage.

 OXBIB

 The bibliographies can:

* Introduce a research topicSimple and advanced search capabilities are available.  Subject bibliographies are browsable together or individually (political science or international relations) and updated approximately three times per year.

Search results can be exported to citation management tools such as EndNote, RefWorks, and Zotero.

* Provide examples of annotated bibliographiesSearch responses include an introduction and general overview, citations to the best articles, books, and a range of other online sources centered on a topic. 

 Where available, journal citations are linked to full-text via the  link and book citations are linked to Falvey via the  link.

* Direct researchers to multiple types of contentSearch responses can include books, journals, web resources, multimedia, primary documents, forthcoming and related articles.

The My OBO feature allows the user to set up a free account to save and annotate search results. Results are available online.

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Oxford Bibliographies was named one of the Top 10 Internet Resources of 2013 by CHOICE Reviews Online

Don’t forget to use other popular Oxford resources, available from Falvey Library,  such as Oxford Islamic Studies Online, select political science Oxford handbooks and history Oxford handbooks.

Find out more about it: from Falvey subject liaison Merrill Stein.

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The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest

intencofrevandprotestThe International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest covers all aspects of resistance, rebellion and revolution over the past 500 years with over 1,500 entries ranging from 250 to 5,000 words about events, people, organizations and movements. Annual updates ensure coverage of current events. Recent updates included articles about the Tea Party and Howard Zinn.

Entries range from the Prague Spring to the Velvet Revolution, from May Day to Solidarnosc, from Utopian communities to anarchism, from Greenpeace to Earth First!, and from civil disobedience and non-violence to fascism and terrorism. While most biographies are on the shorter end of the spectrum, those about key actors and thinkers from Marx  to Lenin and Mao provide a good overview. Major revolutions are well covered and linked to numerous related entries. In the case of the French Revolution these include separate articles on the counterrevolution, radical factions and organizations, women, and historians’ interpretations. The Encyclopedia is particularly helpful in researching more unfamiliar protest movements, such as Native American protests, the Québécois independence movement or the events of the red summer of 1919.

Contents are accessible via the A-Z list as well as through keyword searching. Search results can be narrowed by subject, place, period, people and key topics. The “China” place facet narrows the keyword search for China from 191 results to 41. This approach makes it easy for students to move beyond the article on the Chinese Communist Revolution to a quick review of the history of protest movements in China.

Current events seem to be adequately covered although the Encyclopedia lacks an entry about the Arab Spring while there are entries covering al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban. In a nod to the current interest in film studies, the reader will find articles about such classics as the Battle of Algiers, Battleship Potemkin and October. References and suggested reading lists are up-to-date and a great starting point for undergraduate students. Access to the online Encyclopedia is provided through the library’s catalog.

Questions or Comments? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Trial Access to the Stalin Digital Archive

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The Stalin Digital Archive contains 29,000 selected documents from the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI). RGASPI and Yale University Press collaborated in the selection and digitization. At the core of the digital archive are documents written by Stalin from 1889 to 1952, books from Stalin’s personal library with his marginalia and biographical materials.

Yale University Press also contributed digitized editions of its Annals of Communism series. Books in the series contain selected primary sources in the original Russian language together with English translations and editorial comments. For more information about contents, search interface and the document viewer, please consult the online Stalin Digital Archive User Guide.

Trial access to the Stalin Digital Archive will be available until March 23. We are looking forward to your feedback.

Related resources:
Print editions of the Annals of Communism series at Falvey.
The Current Digest of the Russian Press, 1949-

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New & Noteworthy: History Books Hot off the Press

Every month Falvey Memorial Library acquires new history books based on faculty recommendations and curriculum needs. Some of the new titles featured in this post have been hand-picked by the Department of History. Take a quick look and maybe one of them will inspire you to read outside your area of expertise. Use the New Items search feature of the library’s catalog to browse the complete list of new history books.

hunsKim, Hyun Jin. The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
“This book argues that the steppes of Inner Asia were far from ‘backward’ and that the image of the primitive Huns is vastly misleading. They already possessed a highly sophisticated political culture while still in Inner Asia and, far from being passive recipients of advanced culture from the West, they passed on important elements of Central Eurasian culture to early medieval Europe, which they helped create.”  From the publisher’s web site.
Available online via Cambridge University Press.

thirdRabinbach, Anson, and Sander L Gilman. The Third Reich Sourcebook. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013.
The impressive selection of documents in English translation in this hefty volume (923 pages) covers all aspects of life in Nazi Germany. Its companion volume, The Weimar Republic Sourcebook is likewise available at Falvey. Both titles are part of the Weimar and Now series published by the University of California Press.

suezLaron, Guy. Origins of the Suez Crisis: Postwar Development Diplomacy and the Struggle Over Third World Industrialization, 1945-1956. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2013.
Origins of the Suez Crisis describes the long run-up to the 1956 Suez Crisis and the crisis itself by focusing on politics, economics, and foreign policy decisions in Egypt, Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Based on Arabic source material, as well as multilingual documents from Israeli, Soviet, Czech, American, Indian, and British archives, this is the first historical narrative to discuss the interaction among all of the players involved-rather than simply British and U.S. perspectives.”  From the publisher’s web site.

ruleMcMahon, Keith. Women Shall Not Rule: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China From Han to Liao. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013.
“Keith McMahon, a leading expert on the history of gender in China, draws upon decades of research to describe the values and ideals of imperial polygamy and the ways in which it worked and did not work in real life. His rich sources are both historical and fictional, including poetic accounts and sensational stories told in pornographic detail. Displaying rare historical breadth, his lively and fascinating study will be invaluable as a comprehensive and authoritative resource for all readers interested in the domestic life of royal palaces across the world.”  From the publisher’s web site.

frenchParker, Lindsay A. H. Writing the Revolution: A French Woman’s History in Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Writing the Revolution is a microhistory of a middle-class Parisian woman, Rosalie Jullien, whose nearly 1,000 familiar letters have never before been studied. […] Her correspondence allows readers to enter her private world and see the intellectual, emotional, and familial life of a revolutionary in all of its complexity.”  From the publisher’s web site.
Jullien’s letters were published in Paris in 1881 under the title Journal d’une Bourgeoise Pendant la Revolution. An English translation of her letters appeared in the same year under the title The Great French Revolution, 1785-1793. Both books are available as free PDF files on Google Books.

chicagoDurica, Paul, and Bill Savage. Chicago By Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker’s Guide to the Paris of America. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2013.
Originally published in 1892 for visitors of the 1893 World’s fair. This “unofficial guide to the world beyond the fair [describes] pleasures [that] range from the respectable (theater, architecture, parks, churches and synagogues) to the illicit – drink, gambling, and sex.” From the publisher’s web site.
A digitized version of one of the 1892 copies is freely available from Hathi Trust.

vsiLast but not least, here is a selection of recent additions to the Very Short Introductions series by Oxford University Press: The British Empire, Diaspora, Colonial America, and The Silk Road. I invite you to consult the catalog for a list of titles available at the Library. This series lives up to its promise with concise and up-to-date introductions for the neophyte.

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The Washington Post Archive, 1877-1996

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By Merrill Stein

We are excited to announce the addition of Washington Post Historical to our databases. This archive, from the ProQuest organization, offers full-text searching of every available issue of the Washington Post and Washington Post/Times-Herald, from 1877 to 1996 with digital page and image reproductions. The historical coverage will expand annually, by one year. To seek recent (1977-present) Washington Post articles, see the Lexis Nexis Academic database.

How did this publication begin? The name stuck. The first issue contained this letter:
“To the Editor of the Post: I am heart and soul in sympathy with your enterprise, but I am sorry that I did not see you in time, to induce you to call your paper the Washington Statesman. However, the name that you have selected is good enough for me.”

Try your own search. See if history repeats itself. The first issue included an editorial from “Mr. Hayes recent message to Congress,” in which he comments on the eight year insurrection in Cuba and calls for the United States to do something besides abstain from intervention. Or see if this Italian stargazer’s New Year’s predictions for 1960 came true.

The Washington Post Historical archive joins the previously subscribed to Historical New York Times, providing full-text coverage of the New York Times from 1851 to the early 2000’s.

As an added bonus, both databases may be searched together:

1. Click on the yellow arrow at the top left corner of the search screen in either newspaper archive:
select database

 

2. In the drop-down database menu, select both archives and click “Use selected databases” at the bottom right after making your selection.
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Questions or comments? Contact us directly (merrill.stein@villanova.edu; jutta.seibert@villanova.edu) or post your comments online.

 

A list of all library databases is available at:
http://library.villanova.edu/Research/Databases.

 

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Medieval History Resources: News & Updates

Manchester Medieval Sources Online

elcidManchester University Press has recently expanded its well-received digital collection of medieval sources to twenty-four titles and updated its online platform. The Manchester Medieval Sources series (MMS) makes primary sources from the Middle Ages accessible to students through carefully translated and annotated editions. Among the thirteen new titles are collections of short primary sources focused on a single subject such as Popular Protest in Late Medieval Europe: Italy, France and Flanders, translated and annotated by Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., as well as single source editions such as Ottonian Germany: The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg, translated and annotated by David A. Warner. Chapters can be downloaded as PDF files. MMS can be searched on the title and the collection levels. Titles can be browsed on the MMS platform as well as in the online catalog.

Brill’s Medieval Reference Library

brillFalvey has acquired three online reference titles from Brill’s Medieval Reference Library:

The Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles in the British Isles, c. 450-1450, edited by Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth & Maria Hayward. This resource covers all aspects of medieval textile production from weaving technology to the wimple and from sumptuary laws to fashion.
(Sample entry: Scarlet)

The Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage, edited by Larissa J. Taylor et al. Coverage extends to all aspects of medieval pilgrimage from pilgrimage sites to the economy and from pilgrimage narratives to miracles and reliquaries.
(Sample entry: Urban tourism)

The Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle, edited by Graeme Dunphy. Entries cover about 2,500 medieval chronicles and chroniclers as well as layout and manuscript production.
(Sample entry: Women chroniclers and chronicles for women)

As with all online reference titles, a simple keyword search quickly retrieves the desired information. Each encyclopedia entry has a short bibliography which often lists relevant primary sources. Cross-references link to related content.
Access the online encyclopedias via the library’s catalog as well as via the  Medieval History Reference list on the history subject guide.

International Medieval Bibliography (Brepols)

Last but not least, a quick update about recent changes to the International Medieval Bibliography (IMB). To improve current and retrospective coverage, Brepols is increasing the number of new entries added from 11,000 to 16,000 per year.

brepols

A new metrics component features journal and author profiles and subject trends in medieval history. The journal profiles can identify the most suitable journals for your latest research.
If you have never set up an email alert for your favorite journals, maybe it is time to take another look. IMB will manage and email table of content alerts for your favorite journals.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu) or post your comments online.

 

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WorldCat for Beginners: How to Search the Global Library

If I had to make a list of the five most important library research tools for historians, I would put WorldCat at the top of the list without a moment’s hesitation. While in the past, scholars were limited to local libraries, print bibliographies and the occasional visit to other libraries, today WorldCat provides them a gateway to the global print collection. WorldCat thus levels the playing field between the top-tiers research libraries and smaller libraries, such as Falvey Memorial Library. Our history students can discover and request basically all the published books on any given topic with the help of WorldCat. If they would only knew about WorldCat!

Remember the student who told you that there is nothing published about her topic? Did she know about and search WorldCat? Remember the student who told you that the library does not have any books about his topic? Did he know about interlibrary loan and how to request books from other libraries via WorldCat? The majority of history students are unfortunately not familiar with WorldCat, and the few who do know about it are often intimidated by some of its unnecessarily complicated search features.

Falvey’s 2012 Research Center Intern, Matt Ainslie, has put together a Brief Introduction to WorldCat, a short online video tutorial that will introduce your students to WorldCat. His Brief Introduction to the Chicago Manual of Style has been widely popular with our students. At last glance, it was viewed more than 1,200 times. Given the unexpected popularity of the Chicago Style tutorial, I would like to hear your ideas and suggestions for additional tutorials.

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Cambridge Histories Online now in Shades of Deep Purple

Cambridge University Press re-designed the interfaces of two popular reference collections: Cambridge Histories Online and Cambridge Companions Online. The old interface had various usability issues, which left the user at times frustrated. The new interface is less cluttered, more user-friendly and its attractive design and color scheme are pleasing to the eye.

Did you know that Cambridge University Press continues to add new and old print titles to the Cambridge Histories Online collection? In 2012, six back-list titles and seventeen new titles were added. Noteworthy among the new titles is The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations: Dimensions of the Early American Empire, 1754–1865 by William Earl Weeks, not to be confused with the 1993 volume authored by Bradford Perkins. The remaining three volumes in the series are slated for publication later this year. Forthcoming in 2013 is the second volume of the Cambridge History of Science series entitled Medieval Science. New 2012 titles include:

The interface for Cambridge Companions Online mirrors the Cambridge Histories Online interface except for the crimson color scheme. The Companions focuses on philosophy, religion, culture, literature, classics and music.

When did you last browse either one of these remarkable collections? It may be time to take a fresh look.

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Last Modified: February 15, 2013