When the League of Nations - the first worldwide cross-government peace organisation - was set up in 1920 as part of the agreement of the Treaty of Versailles, it had one main mission; maintain world peace. Certainly no easy task.
Following an interview with Clare George, Project Archivist at Senate House Library, for BBC Radio 4’s progamme Beating Hitler With Humour (broadcast Sat 31 Aug 2019), about Martin Miller’s extraordinary parody which helped to bring down Hitler, we're sharing the original documents and the audio recordings we have in our archives.
Seventy years ago, on the 8 June 1949, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was published here in London. Over the years, the imaginative dystopian world created by Orwell would have a huge influence on our language and become an important part of London’s literary history.
In our current exhibition, Staging Magic - The Story Behind The Illusion, one of our themes is ‘Masters of Magic and Their Influence.’ Here you can see items relating to some of the great conjurors: John Henry Anderson and Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, who popularised magic as a theatrical art in the 19th century, female magicians Adelaide Herrmann and Mercedes Talma, and the masters of the American stage such as Howard Thurston and Harry Houdini.
The Vye donation is significant for the University of London. It is the first bulk donation of books and the first group of antiquarian books to have entered the University, arriving as early as 1838, only two years after the University’s foundation. As Nathaniel Vye (1791-1840), a medical practitioner in Ilfracombe, Devon, was not a University man, the gift indicates early good will among the wider British public towards the University.
Successfully performing a magical illusion demands a wide range of knowledge and skill. This includes an understanding of certain scientific principles and embracing the advances technology brings: magic, like science, is always changing but similarly many of its fundamental principles stay the same.
Senate House Library staff have discovered a very rare book detailing what appears to be a unique benefit concert held in the 18th century.
Happy International Women's Day! As part of the Staging Magic - The Story Behind The Illusion exhibition, staff have started a project to develop and diversify our magic collection, specifically focusing on female magicians and women practising magic, dedicating some funds from the 'staff collection development scheme' to acquire materials.
For this year's World Book Day, Senate House Library staff share some of their favourites from our collections...
Some British Ballads (1919?) by Francis James Child & It A Come (1986) by Michael Smith
Was Mary, Queen of Scots an innocent victim or a wily traitor and agitator? The dramatic potential of her imprisonment and death under Elizabeth I of England, the subject of the new film Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, has long been exploited.
Shelagh Delaney, born 25 November 1938, brought a new and vibrant voice to the 1950s English stage: female, teenage, working class, and northern. On 27th May 1958 the play A Taste of Honey was first performed at the Theatre Royal, Stratford. Written by the 19-year-old Shelagh Delaney A Taste of Honey would later transfer to the West End and transform into a film which became symbolic of the late 1950s / early1960s ‘kitchen sink drama’.
For me, it all began with discovering a 19th-century letter housed 3,500 miles from Senate House Library, while I was sat in the New York Public Library.
On World Animal Day, it seems appropriate to celebrate perhaps the most devoted literary friend that the animal kingdom could ever have had pressed upon it.
Over 250 languages are spoken across 44 countries in Europe and to promote this diversity of languages throughout the continent, an annual ‘European Day of Languages’, is celebrated on 26 September.
In the summer of 1773, 245 years ago, cultural revolution was in the air in London. It had been a year after the landmark Mansfield ruling that would begin to see slavery gradually outlawed in England. At the same time, over in Boston in the US, the American Revolution was gathering pace, with the Boston Tea Party only a few months away. With war bubbling in the background, relations between London and Boston were tense but one young girl would rise above it.
Unlocking the power of youth: Clara Grant and her pioneering educational work in the East End of London
“The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance — all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth”, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
Elizabeth Maslen, who has a long career within English literature academia, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies (School of Advanced Studies) and has written widely on women’s writing.
Today, 27 July 2018, marks 51 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality through The Sexual Offences Act 1967. The partial decriminalisation in 1967 was influenced by the conclusions of the Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution, published 10 years earlier in 1957.
New e-resource: Access LGBT archive of 1.5 million pages from over 35 countries dating back to the 1940s
On the 200th anniversary of the publication of The Fairchild Family by Mary Martha Sherwood (1775-1851), we take a look at the prolific, didactic, evangelical author, whose writings dominated education for half a century and whose first generation of readers grew up to shape the Victorian world.
In art and literature of the last 130 years, few works have proven as controversial, as enduring, or as intrinsically queer as Oscar Wilde’s one-act play Salomé. Dr Will Visconti examines quite why there are such strong links between the figure of Salomé and queer or camp art, subculture and performance.
I never set out to become a book collector. As a teenager, stories fed my escapist fantasies; back in Melbourne I must have read a good half of the school library. In short I don’t think I ever developed an ‘interest’ for books – as that sounds awfully cold and detached – but rather I fell in love with reading during my formative years, and the natural consequence of that was becoming a book collector.
500,000 Inca Valley photos and papers by pioneering female archaeologist digitised for 50th anniversary
Queer Between the Covers co-curator, Leila Kassir, takes a look at some of the exciting events taking place during the 22-week exhibition season, including music, a guided walk and film screenings.
August's Feature of the Month looks at Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, two hundred years after this influential periodical was established.
An interview with Clara Tait - the winner of this year's Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize (2016).
This guest blog by Deborah Madden of the University of Sheffield, provides a round-up of a conference and accompanying exhibition commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War.
This event is aimed at postgraduate students who are interested in the study and research of London in all its varied literary and historical forms.
Annalisa Ricciardi discusses her experience as the ‘Shakespeare Project’ cataloguer at Senate House Library.
To Bee Theatre Company are group of students from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama who are working with Senate House Library for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. In this guest blog they tell us more about their story and the workshops they will be running as part of the Shakespeare: Metamorphosis season.