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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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A Closer Look at the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant

By Jutta Seibert

Locating and working with the papers of American presidents can be unexpectedly difficult. Copies are generally easy enough to locate, but sifting through the plethora of resources and finding the best format for a specific research question can be a veritable challenge. The papers of Ulysses S. Grant are a case in point. They are easy enough to find with a simple internet search, but it takes some patience to understand what is available.

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Ulysses S. Grant (portrait by Walter Allen, 1901)

There are the original manuscripts of his correspondence, speeches, military records, and other types of documents, which are spread across many libraries, historical societies, and personal collections, among them the Library of Congress and the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at the University of Mississippi. The Library of Congress digitized all its Ulysses S. Grant papers and made the digital facsimiles available online. The unique merits of this collection include marginalia, unique handwriting characteristics, and other information gleaned from the physical artifacts. However, this collection does not allow full text searching and lacks transcriptions and annotations.

Most research needs are better met by a comprehensive, annotated, and transcribed edition prepared by academic specialists. Such an editorial project was undertaken by the Ulysses S. Grant Association (USGA) in 1967, under the leadership of John Y. Simon, and completed in 2012. The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant were published over a span of 45 years by Southern Illinois University Press. The Library has all 32 volumes of the print edition featuring over 30,0000 individual documents. The Papers are organized in chronological order and do not include facsimiles of the original documents. Each volume includes transcribed documents, annotations, and an index. This massive editorial project is unsurpassed and served as the basis for the digital edition published by the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at the University of Mississippi and the one published by the University of Virginia Press as part of its American History Collection.

Scan showing Ulysses S. Grant’s assignment to command the armies of the United States

Ulysses S. Grant’s assignment to command the armies of the United States,
signed by President Abraham Lincoln, March 10, 1864.
(Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)

The digital edition of the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant published by the USGA and available via the website of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library is a facsimile of the print edition. The advanced search options allows a search of all volumes simultaneously and groups search results by volume. Readers can download individual pages as well as PDF files of complete volumes. (Note: readers should be aware that the USGA retains its copyright to all content.)

The Library recently acquired the digital edition of the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, published by the University of Virginia Press. The collection is part of the American History Collection on the Rotunda gateway. It has some unique features that the free version published by the USGA lacks. The HTML text is easy to read, and annotations are hyperlinked in the text. Page breaks are clearly identified and link back to facsimiles of the original print edition. The advanced search capabilities of the Press’s Rotunda gateway include faceting that limits search results to the text or the annotation apparatus, controlled author and recipient lists to disambiguate individual names, date limits, and date and relevance ranking of results. It also includes an index with hyperlinked page numbers as an additional access point. Most of all, the collection can be searched simultaneously with all or selected collections on the Rotunda gateway. For example, readers can select the papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson, and Daniel Webster and search all three collections for shared keywords or correspondents. The Rotunda gateway also includes the text of Grant’s Personal Memoirs, which are in the public domain and available online in numerous archives. Falvey also owns the annotated edition, which was produced under the aegis of the USGA and published in 2017.

For a quick overview of Grant’s life consult James M. McPherson’s short biography in American National Biography Online. Other collections available through the Library on the Rotunda gateway include the papers of John and John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James and Dolly Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Marshall, Andrew Jackson, Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriot Pinckney Horry, and the diaries of Gouverneur Morris.


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

 

 

 


 


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Regulating Religious Minorities in the Middle Ages

By Jutta Seibert

Two Soldiers Leading Two Moors before a King.

Two Soldiers Leading Two Moors before a King.
Illumination from the Vidal Mayor manuscript, Ms. Ludwig XIV 6, fol. 244.
Courtesy of the Getty Museum Open Content Program.

It is generally accepted that diverse religious groups coexisted in medieval Europe, often in close vicinity, but scholars still dispute whether coexistence was sustained through peaceful or violent means. A rich corpus of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic legal texts archived by the RELMIN project sheds light on the regulation of interfaith relations in the medieval Euro-Mediterranean world.

The project focused the efforts of a dedicated group of scholars on collecting, studying, and publishing ten centuries worth of documents related to the legal status of religious minorities in the Middle Ages. From 2000 to 2015, the project built a database that compiled a unique corpus of legal texts with financial support by the European Research Council.

RELMIN logoThe Advanced Search feature offers a controlled keyword list that takes most of the guesswork out of search term selection. It also offers a format facet that distinguishes between close to fifty different document types, among them legal opinions, hadith, responsa, royal charters, papal bulls, fatwas, and assizes. The documentation for each legal text includes the text in its original language, English and French translations, common English and French titles together with the original title and a descriptive title, known author(s), a reference to the sources from which the original text and the translation(s) were taken, document type, topical keywords, and estimated or known date. Project collaborators contributed historical context and summaries, secondary sources, and, in some cases, a publication history.

The RELMIN database also includes an author index with links to author biographies with cross-references to other texts by the same author. Similarly, the contributors index links to all contributions by collaborating scholars. Dr. Rebecca Winer, Professor of Medieval History at Villanova University, contributed to the archive. There are some signs of neglect such as broken links and images, but the archive is otherwise functional. A tip sheet with detailed instructions can be consulted online.

RELMIN conferences proceedings were published under the series title Religion and Law in Medieval Christian and Muslim Societies in collaboration with Brepols. The proceedings are available in the French open research archive HAL and records with links can be found in the Library’s catalog.


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

 

 

 



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Last Modified: January 28, 2020