Suffragette banners on the march!

We recently came across a piece of historic film on the British Film Institute website, showing a Suffragette march through Newcastle in 1909. Clearly on view near the beginning of the film is the banner of the Newcastle Women’s Suffrage Society. A second banner can be seen later in the film.

View the video from the British Film Institute here.

One of these banners may be the one made by Newcastle’s first female GP and suffragist Dr. Ethel Williams in about 1905. These banners were carried on national demonstrations, not only in Newcastle, but also in London.

Ethel William’s suffragette banner (Item reference: GB 186 EWL/3/5) is part of our Ethel Williams Archive, which you can find more information on here.

banner300dpi

The IRON Press archive is here!

IRON Press is a North East-based independent press which publishes poetry, fiction and drama from the region and elsewhere, with a particular focus on publishing new authors.

The press began as IRON Magazine which was established in 1973, and was funded by Northern Arts. It featured art work, reviews, short stories and poetry. The magazine ran for 26 years, ending in 1997. Across 82 editions, it published more than 1200 writers world-wide.iron-820iro

IRON Press published its first book in 1976, Three North-East Plays by C.P. Taylor, Tom Hadaway and Leonard Barras. The press has been funded by Northern Arts, and Arts Council England North. It seeks to publish four or five new titles annually, as well as hosting festivals and literary events in the North-East.

Newcastle University Special Collections is now home to both the IRON Press archive – which includes published and submitted works, as well as administrative, marketing, sales and publicitiy material – and the IRON Press collection, which includes a copy of every magazine and book published by the press.

Researchers can browse the contents of the collection in more depth and order items to view in the Reading Room here.

Dissertations and Projects – Tips from the Special Collections Team!

Fancy using some primary source items in your dissertation or project?  An original edition print or records from the archives?  Here are some tips to get you started.


Research Tip # 1: Primary → Secondary → Primary

OK so this is slightly against normal advice, which is to start with your secondary sources before you move to your primary sources, but I promise I have a reason!  You don’t have an unlimited amount of time to complete this dissertation … there is some danger in deciding on a very specific topic and trying to find evidence to prove a specific point: you may draw conclusions that are not supported by the sources, or miss more important or interesting information, and perhaps most importantly waste a lot of time looking for something very specific which simply does not exist, or which does exist but which can only be accessed in person in Australia, not that convenient…

So:

  • Then step away, and go to your secondary sources and start reading around your subject: books, journal articles, trusted websites, your lecture notes! This is going to give you the background knowledge you need in order to get the best out of your research.  You will acquire a general knowledge of your topic, you will develop a sense of the areas that have been thoroughly covered and those aspects that need further study, you will begin to formulate the questions and ideas that will provide the focus for your work and you will also pick up the names, places, events and dates which will be essential for providing the access points to the primary source material you consult.  Importantly you will also be able to see what primary sources published authors have used in their own research.
  • Then return to our archival and rare book collections and start to find and choose the primary sources which you will use.

Research Tip # 2: Finding Rare Books

Our rare book collections here at Newcastle University have been entered onto the library catalogue, so that can often be the best way to start your topic search.  Subject search terms work as they would for modern books, and then refining your search using ‘date of publication’ or ‘location’ (“Special Collections”) will get you to those rare and unique, old or limited print run titles. To locate rare books beyond the Newcastle region, the best place to start is the Copac website, where you can search the rare book catalogues of 90 specialist research libraries in the UK.

Research Tip # 3 Finding Archives

Archives are business records, diaries, letters, email threads, photographs, research notes, government publications, annual reports, web pages…  They are not published books and they are not stored and catalogued in the same way that books are.  All those great tricks for finding books, which you have got really good at over the last few years, will not necessarily help you to find archive records.  Don’t panic!  You just need to learn some new tricks.

Subject searches sometimes work, but not always.  Why?  Imagine someone’s diaries. They might have written about your topic once, on the 3rd of April, a long and fascinating account perhaps, but it is unlikely that anyone has subject indexed every single page of every single diary.  So how will you find this precious page?

Well what do you know?  Imagine you are interested in an event held in Newcastle and you are interested in the public response and reaction.

  • You know the date of your event, so that’s the first useful piece of information.
  • You know the location of the event, so that’s the second useful piece of information.
  • You know you are interested in the public reaction, not the official record. So what type of archive will contain this?  Well newspapers might, someone’s diary might, a letter might.  You’re nearly there, but not quite!
  • Who will have created these things? Individuals will have produced letters and diaries, whose names you do not know, so you are probably at the end of this line of enquiry.  You could therefore try to find a letter or diary collection, using ‘diary’ as a search term and making sure that you include your specific date range.  For newspapers you can go a little further.  Do you know the names of newspapers for your time period?  Is there an archive for that newspaper title?  Who holds it?

So that’s the general idea, don’t rely on search terms, think things like:

  • What type of archive am a looking for (letters, a government document, a political pamphlet, company minutes or annual reports, scientific research notes …)?
  • Who, or what type of person or type of company, produced this type of record?
  • What sort of archive or museum or library holds records for that type of person or company?
  • What is my date range?
  • Do I have a geographical limit?

And if you are new to this type of search process, remember that the staff in Special Collections are happy to give advice.

Good luck and here are some collections held here at Newcastle University to get you thinking.

Ideas For Your Dissertation! #1

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17th December 2015 – A Leadenhall Christmas

Leadenhall Press
This faux-antique cover and advertisement are taken from the Leadenhall Press reprint of a 1740 booklet of Christmas-related tales, dating from about 1883.

The publication promises:

‘Christmas entertainments : wherein is described abundance of fiddle-faddle-stuff, raw-heads, bloody-bones, buggybows, and such like horrible bodies, eating, drinking, kissing & other diversions, witches, wizards, conjurers, and their merry pranks, fairies, spectres, ghosts & apparitions, a right merrie tale, the story of Jack Spriggins and the enchanted bean, curious memoirs of Old Father Christmas : illustrated with many diverting cuts.’

The Leadenhall Press was founded by Andrew Tuer (1838–1900) and was based at 50 Leadenhall Street, London The firm began as printers and stationers in 1862, when Tuer joined with Abraham Field (1830–1891). Tuer invented Stickphast Paste, which became the standard office paste and which was still in production in the mid 20th century.

Profits from this and other inventions allowed Tuer to pursue his eccentric publishing ambitions. The Leadenhall Press output reflected his imagination, curiosity, and interest in printing and book production techniques. He used antique typefaces and crude woodcuts, employing artists such as Newcastle upon Tyne’s Joseph Crawhall II, and produced bindings that would not have looked out of place in previous centuries.

The page on the right is a quaint, punning typographic ad for Field and Tuer, Ye Leadenhalle Presse. It displays some Victorian decorative type of the period.

The book can be found in our 19th Century Collection, 398.268 CHR.

Ideas For Your Dissertation! #11

Idea #11 Grey (2nd Earl) Tracts

Subjects:   History  /  Politics

The Grey Tracts reflect the interests of their former owner, the 2nd Earl Grey (1764-1845) whose Whig government was responsible for the 1832 Reform Act, 1833 Factory Act and the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. The pamphlets cover a broad range of historical, social and economic subjects including colonial policy, public finance and banking, the Corn Laws and agriculture, poor relief, slavery, Catholicism, Ireland and the Greek Revolution.

Date Range of Material
19th Century

Size of Collection
9 linear metres

Collection Reference Code
Grey Tracts

How To Order Items From This Collection
# First, use the library catalogue link below to see a list of the individual books we have within this collection.
# If you find some books you would like to consult, click on each item and you should find yourself in the Request section of the catalogue.  Then simply hit the ‘Request to consult in Special Collections’ button, complete the order form, and the book will be brought out of the stores for you.  You will receive an email from us as soon as they are ready for you.

Library Catalogue Link

A complete list of items within the Grey Tracts collection is available via the Library Catalogue.

Handy Links

Guide to finding and using Archives and Rare Books

More Archives and Special Collections for History, Classics and Archaeology students

More Archives and Special Collections for Politics students

Ideas For Your Dissertation! #10

Idea #10 Sharp (Thomas) Archive

Subjects:   Town Planning

GB186/THS/6 Plan for Port Eynon and Horton

GB186/THS/6 Plan for Port Eynon and Horton

The papers of Thomas Sharp (1901-1978) were largely gifted by his sister, Rachel Sharp and had been rescued from Sharp’s Oxford house by Professor Brenikov of Newcastle University. Further material has been acquired for the collection from Patrick Horsbrugh.

Sharp was a significant figure in town planning and a major influence on the development of ideas of townscape and on the forms that town and countryside should take through such publications as Town and Countryside (1932), Town Planning (1940) and Town and Townscape (1968). His plans for historic cities such as Durham, Oxford and Exeter in the 1940s were also potent.  The collection contains information and correspondence on plans and texts, including unpublished works; original plans; documentation on key planning cases; press-cuttings; documentation relating to unsuccessful commissions; typescripts, including that of an unpublished autobiography; personal correspondence and creative writing.

This impressive archive documents the progression of Sharp’s thinking throughout his career, draws attention to the important issues which underpinned the planning commission process at the time, provides information on how commissions were received and offers material showing how arguments and ideologies of urban evolution were advanced.

Date Range of Material
1932 – 1984

Size of Collection
4 linear metres

Collection Reference Code

GB186/THS

How To Order Items From This Collection
# First, use the finding aid below to search through a list of the individual items we have within this collection.
# If you find an item you would like to consult in the Special Collections reading room, simply make a note of the reference number and title of the item(s) you are interested in (for example GB186/THS/6 Plan for Port Eynon and Horton).
# You can then place your order by linking to our request form.

Finding Aid
A catalogue of the Sharp (Thomas) Archive is available via Archives Hub.

Handy Links

Guide to finding and using Archives and Rare Books

More Archives and Special Collections for Architecture, Planning and Landscape students

More Archives and Special Collections for Geography students

Ideas For Your Dissertation #9

HL-4-5-1-2 P6-2

HL-4-5-1-2 P6-2

Idea #9 The Loebl (Herbert) Archive

Subjects:   Electrical Engineering  /  Medical Engineering   /  Medical Laboratory Analysis Technology  /  Technology Transfer   /  Business  /  Exports  /  Local History

Herbert Loebl moved to the North East of England as a refugee from Nazi Germany and remained in the area for the rest of his life, becoming an important industrialist in the region and a major employer.  Loebl specialised in the production of high-tech scientific equipment focussed mainly on the newly emerging medical laboratory analysis market.

This collection consists of business records for the various engineering and knowledge transfer enterprises with which Herbert Loebl was involved in his lifetime, and also a collection of personal records which cover a large range of topics including local events in Newcastle upon Tyne and Northumbria and events within the local Jewish community.

Date Range of Material
1939 – 2012

Size of Collection
8 linear metres

Collection Reference Code
GB186/HL

How To Order Items From This Collection
# First, use the finding aid below to search through a list of the individual items we have within this collection.
# If you find an item you would like to consult in the Special Collections reading room, simply make a note of the reference number and title of the item(s) you are interested in (for example GB186/HL/2/4 Newcastle Technology Centre File 1985-1990).
# You can then place your order by linking to our request form.

Finding Aid
A catalogue of the Loebl (Herbert) Archive is available via Archives Hub.

Handy Links

Guide to finding and using Archives and Rare Books

More Archives and Special Collections for Electrical and Electronic Engineering students

More Archives and Special Collections for Biology students

More Archives and Special Collections for Business Students

More Archives and Special Collections for Politics students

Ideas For Your Dissertation! #8

Idea #8 Bloodaxe Books Archive

Subjects:   Literature   Creative Writing   Poetry Publishing

The Poetics Of The Archive bloodaxe.ncl.ac.uk

The Poetics Of The Archive bloodaxe.ncl.ac.uk

 

The Bloodaxe Books archive is considered one of the most exciting archives for contemporary poetry that exists. The material in the collection includes 592 boxes of original typescripts, editorial work, correspondence, and examples of marketing, business and financial records dating from the 1970’s to the present day. These records represent authors and books that have won virtually every major literary award given to poetry, including the T.S. Elliot Prize, Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize.  Bloodaxe is also known for its work with translated collections and American poetry, and have published responsively to cultural change in Britain, publishing some of the finest writers in the British-Caribbean and South-Asian diaspora.   Another significant achievement is that Bloodaxe publish more female writers than any other British poetry publisher, at a 50:50 male:female ratio.  The company has opened up poetry to thousands of new readers and the material held in the archive demonstrates how Bloodaxe Books has been able to achieve this.

Date Range of Material
1978 – Current

Size of Collection
103 linear metres

Collection Reference Code
GB186/BXB

How To Order Items From This Collection
# First, use the finding aid below to search through a list of the individual items we have within this collection.
# If you find an item you would like to consult in the Special Collections reading room, simply make a note of the reference number and title of the item(s) you are interested in (for example GB186/BXB/2/3/9 They Made Tyneside Great).
# You can then place your order by linking to our request form.

Finding Aid
A catalogue for the Bloodaxe Books archive is available via Archives Hub.

Handy Links

Guide to finding and using Archives and Rare Books

More Archives and Special Collections for English Literature, Language and Linguistics students

Ideas For Your Dissertation! #7

Idea #7 Theatre Royal Play-Bills

Subjects:   Culture  /  Theatre /  Design

RB792(4282)

RB792(4282)

A collection of play-bills from Newcastle’s Theatre Royal dating from 1770 – 1820.

Date Range of Material
1770 – 1820

Size of Collection
2 volumes

Collection Reference Code
RB792(4282) and RB792(4282)NEW

How To Order Items From This Collection
# This item is held within the Rare Books collection (Ref Code RB).
# You can place your order by linking to our request form.  The reference code and title will be ‘RB792(4282) Collection of Play-Bills and Notices 1770 – 1820’ and ‘RB792(4282) NEW Collection of Play-Bills, 1806-1807’

Rare Books Finding Aid
A complete list of items held within the Rare Books Collection is available via the Library Catalogue.

Handy Links

A Guide to finding and using Archives and Rare Books

Archives and Special Collections for Arts and Cultures students

Ideas For Your Dissertation! #6

Idea #6 Letter from Charles Algernon Parsons to George Johnstone Stoney concerning mathematical work undertaken by one of Stoney’s daughters.

Subjects:   Mathematics  /  Engineering  /  History

GB186/MSA/2/22

GB186/MSA/2/22

An intriguing insight into the mathematics behind the construction of Newcastle’s famous ‘Turbinia’ steamship.  And who is this (female) mathematician, who seems to get little mention in the history of the Turbinia?

Date Range of Material
1903

Size of Collection
1 letter

Collection Reference Code
GB186/MSA/2/22

How To Order Items From This Collection
# This item is held within the Manuscript Album (Ref Code GB186/MSA).
# You can place your order by linking to our request form. The reference code and title will be ‘GB186/MSA/2/22 Letter from Charles Algernon Parsons to George Johnstone Stoney concerning mathematical work undertaken by one of Stoney’s daughters.’

Manuscript Album Finding Aid
A complete list of items held within the Manuscript Album is available via Archives Hub.

Handy Links

Guide to finding and using Archives and Rare Books

More Archives and Special Collections for Mathematics students

More Archives and Special Collections for Mechanical Engineering Students

More Archives and Special Collections for History, Classics and Archaeology students