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New Electronic Resources Explore China Through Western Eyes

By Jutta Seibert

In the past, faculty and students interested in Chinese history depended mostly on Falvey’s book collection for primary sources, unless their research budgets allowed for visits to archives and libraries elsewhere. Now, as a large part of the book collection is temporarily unavailable because of campus access restrictions, the small subset of electronic books with primary sources related to Chinese history, while most welcome, leaves much to be desired.

New digital archives with a focus on relations between China and the West are heaven-sent additions to the Falvey collections. Each collection offers unique Western representations of Chinese life, politics, and culture covering 200 years of economic, cultural, and political relations. Digital surrogates of selected documents, artwork, maps, illustrations, and objects were sourced from originals held by a wide range of libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies. Interested scholars can search all Adam Matthew Digital collections simultaneously via the AM Explorer platform or focus on individual collections that match their distinctive research interests.

China: Trade, Politics & Culture, 1793-1980 features selected primary sources on China’s relationship with the West dating back to the first English embassy and covering most of the 20th century. The collection contains digital copies of official papers, personal accounts, letters, books, and periodicals as well as reproductions of illustrations, maps, artwork, and photographs that depict Chinese people, places, customs, and events. Events covered include the opium wars and the Boxer War, the Nanjing Massacre, the Communist Revolution, and Nixon’s visit to China as seen by British observers. Originals are held at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the British Library among others. Two essays by recognized scholars put the collection in its historical context while short biographies and search directories further facilitate discovery.

China, America and the Pacific: Trade & Cultural Exchange complements China: Trade, Politics & Culture with primary sources from US and Canadian libraries, museums, and historical societies. The collection explores trade and cultural exchange between China, America, and the Pacific region from the 18th to the early 20th century. Primary sources featured in the collection include digital copies of rare books and newspapers, personal accounts, diaries, letters, shipping papers, travel posters, historic maps, artwork, and images of material objects. The sources largely reflect North American viewpoints of China and the Pacific region. Essays such as Behind a Cup of Tea: The Commodities of America’s China Trade, 1784-1839 (John Rogers Haddad, Penn State Harrisburg) contextualize the contents of the collection. Short merchant biographies, a glossary, and subject index offer research assistance.

China: Culture and Society is based exclusively on pamphlets from the Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia at Cornell University Library. This unique collection of pamphlets on Chinese culture and society spans close to 200 years with the earliest pamphlets dating back to the mid-18th century. Also included are tourist guides, lecture notes, magazine articles, diaries, letters, and annual reports mostly written by Western diplomats, missionaries, merchants, scholars, and travelers. The collection was started by Charles W. Wason, a Cleveland based engineer, who developed a deep interest in China after a visit there. While some pamphlets, particularly those published in Britain and the US, can be easily found online in places like the Internet Archive, other pamphlets, especially those published in China, are rare and not available anywhere else in digital format. Contents range from English translations of Chinese poetry by Ezra Pound, to Sun Yat Sen’s “Kidnapped in London,” and tourist guides for Western visitors. Scholarly essays such as The Story of the Wason Pamphlet Collection (Liren Zheng, Cornell University) and a series of mini guides add historical context.

Scholars with an interest in China may also be keen to explore Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980, another Adam Matthew Digital collection with British government documents from The National Archives at Kew and Socialism on Film, 1918-1988, a streaming collection of documentaries, feature films, and newsreels archived at the British Film Institute, which includes films produced in China for distribution in the West.

Access to the collections is available via the Library’s Database A-Z list and its catalog.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Let’s Take a Trip! Primary Sources on the History of Travel and Tourism

By Susan Turkel

Stuck at home and feeling antsy? You’re not alone! Humans have experienced the travel bug for a long, long time. If you’d like to experience some armchair tourism, read on to learn about digitized collections that let us travel the world—and back into history—through the magic of library and archival collections!

Travel and tourism blossomed for Americans and Europeans during the 19th century, thanks to developments in technology and increasing prosperity for many people. The Villanova community now has access to an amazing set of primary resources that document this growth in tourism: the online collection Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture: The History of Tourism, produced by Adam Matthew Digital. This resource is linked from the Library’s Databases A-Z list.

Leisure, Travel, & Mass Culture: The History of Tourism (Adam Matthew Digital) splash page

This online collection is comprised of digitized guidebooks, brochures, leaflets, travel journals, maps, and promotional films sourced from a variety of libraries and archives in the US and UK. Key themes covered include accommodation, hospitality, and entertainment; the great outdoors; health and medical travel; historical, cultural, or religious travel; package tours, cruises, and organized travel; road, rail, and air travel; urban tours and city breaks; and women and tourism.

Inspired to dip a toe into this rich collection? Start with this online tour, and then read the essay Travel Chronicles: Tourism, Memory, and the Emergence of Modern America by Anthony Stanonis, PhD, lecturer in the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s University, Belfast, written specifically to provide context for this resource.

The collection includes online exhibitions focusing on eyewitness travels (detailed, illustrated accounts of travel by seven different adventurers); a comparison between two iconic seaside resorts, Coney Island, N.Y., and Blackpool, England; and a detailed listing of tourism businesses and organizations that are mentioned throughout the resource.

You might also want to visit the image gallery which allows browsing and searching of photographs, illustrations, and maps, indexed by key themes. Another useful feature is the interactive world map, which allows you to find documents by clicking through locations on a spinning globe.

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Can’t get enough of these historical travel materials? Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections holds a wide array of materials documenting travel and tourism, including hundreds of items that have been scanned and made available to the public via our Digital Library! Here are three online exhibits that feature such treasures.

Are We There Yet? exhibit sign

Are We There Yet? Travel, Tourism and Exploration is a digital exhibit that highlights many interesting items. This exhibit was co-curated by Kayla Van Osten (Digital Library Intern, Spring 2016) and Laura Bang (Distinctive Collections Librarian), with graphics by Joanne Quinn (Director of Communication and Marketing). It features narrative essays, images, and links to scanned documents on such diverse themes as modes of travel, guidebooks & travel narratives, around the world, religious travel, and imaginary travel.

Exhibit sign featuring a decorative scrapbook cover with the title.

Scraps for Keeps exhibit sign

You’ll also find travel memorabilia in our recent scrapbook exhibition, Scraps for Keeps: Scrapbooks and Photo Albums from Distinctive Collections, which was also curated by Laura Bang with graphics by Joanne Quinn. This exhibit includes scrapbooks and photo albums produced during the 19th and 20th centuries by people in the US and western Europe. The section on Travel & Tourism includes images of scrapbook pages highlighting postcards, photos, and colorful receipts collected during memorable trips. To find more scrapbooks that have been digitized by Falvey’s Special Collections team, try a keyword search in the Digital Library for scrapbook or album.

Finally, our digital exhibition Rambles, Sketches, Tours: Travellers & Tourism in Ireland, again curated by Laura Bang with graphics by Joanne Quinn, “highlights Irish travel narratives and related materials, primarily from the Joseph McGarrity Collection, in Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections. The site is broken into sections that highlight the methods of travel to and within Ireland, the motives of some of the most influential and popular writers, and the development of the tourism industry. In addition, there are five sections that look at some of the most popular travel destinations.”

In addition to these online exhibitions, you may wish to browse all of our Digital Library offerings with the subject label “Description and travel.” Highlights include a recently transcribed manuscript, Tour of Spain, 1896, in which the traveler provides a firsthand description of political unrest in Spain as well as observations about Spanish customs, architecture, and ancient Moorish ruins. This travel journal also includes hand-drawn route maps and ink sketches.

Enjoy your trip!


Susan Turkel is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. When this is all over, she hopes to travel to Italy.

 

 


 


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Aids for Teaching and Learning about Slavery and its Abolition

By Darren Poley

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Image: engraving of Toussaint L’Ouverture during the rebellion which led to the independence of Haiti.

Slavery, Abolition & Social Justice (Adam Matthew Digital) is a collection of primary and secondary sources on the topic from 1490 to 2007. It provides access to high quality images of many thousands of original manuscripts, court documents, pamphlets, books, paintings, and maps. All printed items are fully text-searchable and manuscripts have document-level indexing.

The collection also includes a variety of essays contributed by noted scholars, a chronology, a bibliography, and a visual sources gallery. It offers in-depth case studies of slavery and abolition in America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Cuba, along with important material examining European, Islamic, and African involvement in the slave trade.

It is designed for both teaching and research on themes, such as slave testimony and the varieties of slave experience (urban, domestic, industrial, farm, ranch, and plantation), resistance and revolts, the abolition movement and the slavery debate, legislation and politics, and the legacy of slavery and slavery today.

Warning: Given the subject matter some content and images may be considered disturbing.

The Villanova University community can access Slavery, Abolition & Social Justice (Adam Matthew Digital) remotely be means of the Databases A-Z list.


Darren G. Poley is Associate Director of Research Services and Scholarly Engagement, and Theology, Humanities, and Classical Studies Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. 

 

 



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Archival Research from a Distance: New Adam Matthew Digital Collections

By Jutta Seibert

The Library recently acquired over sixty unique digital primary source collections produced by Adam Matthew Digital.

The collections, which span from the 15th to the 21st century, can be accessed from the AM Explorer platform. Contents include documents, manuscripts, letters, books, newspapers, magazines, films, images, posters, and audio files. Each collection is curated by an editorial board, made up of leading experts in the field who contributed essays and, in a few cases, video interviews. The essays and interviews contextualize the materials offered in a collection.

The sheer size of the archive makes it impossible to do it justice in a short blog post, and the collections highlighted here are by no means representative. Interested readers can find a complete list of available collections online. Selected collections will be featured in future posts.

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 films gathered by British communist Stanley Forman. The films in the collection were versioned into English for distribution in the West. Scholars can assemble their own playlists and link to preselected snapshots or excerpts. Each film includes a transcript in English.

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]

The essay “‘See the Other Half of the World’: Stanley Forman, Educational and Television Films and Left Film Culture in Britain” by Alan Burton (University of Leicester) explores the history of Plato Films and its successor, Education and Television Films (ETV), two companies founded by Stanley Forman to distribute films from socialist countries in Britain. The Plato/ETV film library and archive was transferred to the British Film Institute National Archive after Forman’s retirement.

In “Documentary Film and the Role of Women in the USSR” Melanie Ilic (University of Gloucestershire) introduces the history of women in the USSR, encompassing women’s daily life and political progress. Graham Roberts (Leeds Trinity University) contributed an essay about “Ideology and Imagery in Socialism on Film,” in which he analyzes the ways in which ideology is presented in selected films from the collection. Besides the topical essays, the collection also features video interviews with leading experts who analyze selected films.

Popular Medicine in America (1800-1900) documents the history of popular remedies and treatments in nineteenth century America, including botanicals, homeopathy, phrenology, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, and sexual health. Sourced from the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the primary sources brought together in this collection range from print books, trade cards, and pamphlets to broadsides, posters, advertisements, and anatomy guides. The visually rich collection presents materials intended for the lay person rather than the medical professional.

Interested readers should start with a tour of the collection and read “Advertising Health to the People” by William H. Helfand, an essay originally written for the Library Company of Philadelphia exhibition “Every Man His Own Doctor.”

The collection includes a visual gallery of illustrations, advertisements, and posters as well as a glossary of medical terms including terms that are no longer part of everyday speech, such as Bright’s disease, chilblains, and iridology. Online exhibitions on “Family Health,” “Alternative Medical Practices,” and “From Nature to Manufacture” combine visual sources with primary documents and contextual information. The interactive chronology charts key dates in the history of popular medicine and links out to related source materials in the collection.

Explore other collections on the AM Explorer platform, or jump off the deep end and search across all collections. Links for AM Explorer, Socialism on Film, and Popular Medicine in America can be found on the Library’s Databases A-Z list.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 



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Last Modified: March 31, 2020