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Discover Amazing Historical Treasures with AM Explorer

The Library has trial access to the complete Adam Matthew digital archive until December 14. The archive includes over sixty unique digital collections spanning from the 15th to the 21st century. Contents include documents, manuscripts, letters, historical books, newspapers, magazines, films, images, posters, and audio files. All collections are curated by academic editorial boards and include contextual essays written by recognized scholars and in some cases video interviews. These introductory materials facilitate access to the collections for undergraduate students. The sheer size of the archive makes it impossible to describe it in a short blog post. The collections highlighted here are by no means representative. Interested readers can find a complete list of available collections online.

Socialism on Film (1918-1988) is a collection of newsreels, documentaries, and feature films from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the former GDR, China, Vietnam, Korea, and Latin America. Sourced from the archives of the British Film Institute, this collection features the films gathered by British communist Stanley Forman. The films in the collection are dubbed in English for distribution in the West. Scholars can assemble their own playlists and link to preselected snapshots or excerpts of each film. They can also create their own custom clips. Each film includes a transcript. For example, the Lenin & the Russian Revolution sub-collection “features over 80 documentary and feature films that present and explore the dramatic rise of communism and formation of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. Created to bolster and celebrate the communist cause, as well as to kindle and ignite the political passions of new generations of revolutionaries, these films make for powerful propaganda tools.” [Excerpt from the collection description] Denise J. Youngblook (University of Vermont) contributed an essay on “The Soviet Documentary and Cold War Propaganda” to the collection.

Under the Banner of Peace still image

Under the Banner of Peace, 1969, Moscow Popular Science Film Studio.

The Food and Drink in History collection was sourced from a wide range of institutions world-wide including two local archives: The Winterthur Library and the Hagley Museum & Library. Primary sources in the collection range from the 16th century to the early 21st century and include a variety of formats such as cookbooks, food marketing materials, trade cards, food labels, and cooking magazines. Beth M. Forrest (Culinary Institute of America) contributed an essay that discusses “Performing History Through Food: Interpreting Recipes and Cookbooks.”

Save Waste Fats for Explosives, poster,

Save Waste Fats for Explosives, poster, color, 20 x 28 in., USGPO, 1943.

Everyday Life & Women in America “comprises thousands of fully searchable images of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes. The collection is especially rich in conduct of life and domestic management literature, offering vivid insights into the daily lives of women and men, as well as emphasizing contrasts in regional, urban and rural cultures.” [Excerpt from the collection description] The primary sources featured in this collection come from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History at Duke University and The New York Public Library. Judith Mattson Bean contributed an essay about “Women Talking about Themselves: Changing Discourse in American Advice Literature.”

Race Relations in America explores “three pivotal decades in the struggle for civil rights in America through the eyes and work of sociologists, activists, psychologists, teachers, ministers, students and housewives. Sourced from the records of the Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, housed at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans, this resource provides access to a wealth of documents highlighting different responses to the challenges of overcoming prejudice, segregation and racial tensions. These range from survey material, including interviews and statistics, to educational pamphlets, administrative correspondence, and photographs and speeches from the Annual Race Relations Institutes.” [Excerpt from the collection description] The collection includes an interactive chronology and a map that allows the reader to identify primary sources by geographic location. An essay by Katrina M. Sanders (University of Iowa) delineates the history of the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University.

Race Relations in America Map

A word of warning before you start exploring the Adam Matthew Explorer archive. Don’t enter unless you have plenty of free time on hand. It is easy to lose track of time and get lost in the wealth of primary sources. Contact Jutta Seibert (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu) if you would like to recommend the complete archive or selected collections for acquisition. Trial access to the archive will be available until December 14. The link to the collection is available under Databases A-Z on the Library website for the duration of the trial: http://www.am-explorer.com/. Enter PALCI2019 as user name and as password.


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Last Modified: November 4, 2019