Foreign Office Files for Japan: Module 1: Japanese Imperialism and the War in the Pacific, 1931-1945

Documents from British National Archives record series FO 371 (Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 1906-1966) and FO 262 (Foreign Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Embassy and Consulates, Japan: General Correspondence).

To be released in three modules:

  1. Japanese Imperialism and the War in the Pacific, 1931-1945 (available now)
  2. Occupation of Japan, 1946-1952
  3. Japan and Great Power Status, 1919-1930

Documents are mostly correspondence. Part of Archives Direct from Adam Matthews publishers.

Continue reading “Foreign Office Files for Japan: Module 1: Japanese Imperialism and the War in the Pacific, 1931-1945”

Celebrate Freedoms Safely!

May your 4th of July celebrations have been filled with great food, people, and festivities. Independence Day is an annual event that recognizes the landmark act of rebellion which led to the establishment of the United States of America. Festivities usually include parades, fairs, cookouts, and local fireworks displays.

Fireworks displays prove to be the highlight time and again for this National holiday. Each year prior to the 4th, national press and fire safety releases are issued to present helpful tips for staying safe while observing and/or shooting off fireworks. Each year following the 4th come in the reports of people losing fingers, eyes, or their lives due to the hazards that come with igniting explosive mortar and powder at close bodily range. In 2016 an estimated 11,100 people found themselves in the ER to treat injuries related to consumer fireworks.

To reduce the number of injuries which always bottle-rocket in the month of July, the US Consumer Products Safety Commission releases an awareness video along with safety tips. These safety tips are important to keep in mind, and their release arises from the work of firework safety advocates that stems back over 100 years!

Prior to campaigns and regulation, injuries due to fireworks included severe burns, tetanus, and death. This became a source of consternation to the medical community, and a few concerned citizens. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) began to compile statistics from 1903 to 1916, which led to the foundation of the Safe and Sane Fourth campaign. Advocates for this campaign featured articles in publications across the USA, including the Farmer’s Wife.

Title page, July 1, 1912.
Cover page, July 1, 1912.

The above image is the cover-page illustration of the July 1st, 1912 issue of Farmer’s Wife. The issue featured only one minor article pertaining to the Sane Fourth campaign, yet this image is presented throughout the entirety of the issue as a reminder to readers the dangers that firecrackers present to children.

Farmer's Wife, July 1, 1912, p 62.
Farmer’s Wife, July 1, 1912, p 62.

The mid-1910s served as the height of the Sane Fourth movement, in which advocates penned letters to their legislators, and promoted alternative activities such as plays and games that served to provide a safer outlet for celebration and a form of educational outreach. Examples of these advocates’ campaign material is available publicly online via the Hathitrust initiative. These efforts continue today in the form of parades, local displays shot off by professionals with firefighters on standby, and city ordinances regarding fireworks. For access to more information about Safe and Sane Fourth campaign influences, consult early 20th century July issues of the Farmer’s Wife, made publicly available via the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection.

Consult the links appended to this post for referenced articles and further reading:

2016 CPSC Fireworks Injuries Report

 CPSC Fireworks Safety Tips

Latham, Harold Strong. A Little Rebel: a “sane” Fourth of July Play … New York: Edgar S. Werner & Company, 1912.

Rice, Isaac L., Mrs. A Safe And Patriotic Fourth. New York: Dept. of Child Hygiene of the Russell Sage Foundation, 1910.

Smilor, R. W. (1980), Creating a National Festival: The Campaign for a Safe and Sane Fourth, 1903–1916. Journal of American Culture, 2: 611–622.


Ghana Labour

Ghana Labour (September 1960).
Ghana Labour (September 1960).

Yesterday we began processing a collection (over 300 boxes!) of labor newspapers acquired several years ago from Canada’s Department of Labour Library.

Already this morning we cataloged our first rarity: Labour, the official periodical of the Ghana Trades Union Congress. Our run goes from the very first issue (July, 1960), through the combined November/December issue for 1961. The periodical seems to have ceased in 1962.

The periodical’s prospectus describes itself as follows:

Ghana Labour is the official organ of the Ghana Trades Union Congress. The Labour will be a source of guidance and information reflecting the life and struggles of workers and will encourage exchanges of their experiences.

“If this journal is to be what you want it to be, then you, our readers, must give us a hand. By writing to us, by letting us know of what is going on in your areas, in the factories, construction sties, and the chief events in trade union life, your forms of struggle and progress of unity.

“In this way, these experiences will become known to workers in other parts of the country and the solidarity of the workers will become still more powerful.

“You can set your friends and relatives straight about the labour movement by helping them get their labour news first hand from the Ghana Labour.

“Through our efforts the voice of organised working class will make itself heard.”

Click here to see the other new titles as we add them to the collection.

Raise your glass and beat the heat!



As a heat wave strikes across the U.S. this week, leaving temperatures highin the 90s, it’s time to find ways to beat the heat for the moments when air conditioning is inaccessible or you just feel like sitting outside all the same. Perusal of the July, 1917 issue of Farmer’s Wife provides the a cool solution:

In this issue, Ms. Lyons presents two enjoyable and refreshing drink mix recipes. If you find that you have some lemons, water, and sugar on-hand go ahead and give this recipe a try:

Lemonade Recipe

The addition of pineapple and orange isn’t strictly necessary, although it does add additional sweetness and flavor. Alternate ideas include mashing and stirring berries together in with the lemonade to taste. If preferred, the beverage may be made in a recycled gallon jug and shaken, not stirred. Best served chilled or over ice.

Peruse other issues of the Farmer’s Wife made freely available online via the Farm, Field, and Fireside collection of the Illinois Digital Newspapers Collection.

Farmer’s Wife, 7/1/1917

New Agricultural Newspaper Collection

Readex’s American Business: Agricultural Newspapers is a valuable, but in many ways disappointing collection. When complete, it will contain 238 farm newspapers from the 19th and late 18th centuries, the heyday of rural America. About 20% of the projected 238 titles are forthcoming.1 Over half of the titles currently available are represented by ten or fewer issues;2 almost half of the titles currently available are represented by five or fewer issues;3 and 33% of the titles are represented by a single issue.4 Only 58 of the newspapers have fifty or more issues. Continue reading “New Agricultural Newspaper Collection”

New Resource: Socialism on Film: Wars & Revolutions

Is it enough to worry?
Is it enough to worry?

Newsreels, feature films, and documentaries from 1917 through the Cold War. Films were produced in communist and socialist nations, such as the Soviet Union, Vietnam, China, Korea, Cuba, East Germany, and nations of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Browse the collection by topical subject, person as subject, place as subject, era as subject, place of production, and more. Includes ample supplementary material, such as case studies, chronologies, and essays. All films have keyword searchable transcripts.

All footage comes from the collections of the British Film Institute.

Wars and Revolutions is the first of three modules to be published in the collection Socialism on Film. Module II (to be released in 2018) will cover Newsreels and Magazines; and Module III (to be released in 2019) will cover Culture and Society.

HPNL Browsings: Handbook of Denominations in the United States

Handbook of Denominations in the United States
Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 13th ed.

Handbook of Denominations in the United States is an excellent source of information on all major religious groups in America, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Baha’i. Within the Christian context, major denominations (such as Episcopal, Lutheran, and Mormon) are treated, as well as the “sub-groups” of these faiths, such as the Missouri Synod Lutherans and the Southern Baptist Convention. Major doctrines, practices, and histories of each denomination are clearly summarized, so as to make this work irreplaceable for a cursory examination of religious issues pertinent to the various faiths, or as a starting point for research into American religion. The handbook is reissued in a new edition every five to ten years or so, and thus its essential information is kept current, while the back volumes (dating back to 1956) provide a fascinating snapshot of American religion over the past half century. Statistical data are included for most denominations (and sub-denominations), making it possible to trace the rise and fall of different American religious groups. Not only is it useful for quickly obtaining reliable, balanced information about the various American religious groups, but it also makes for interesting recreational reading.

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS): Daily Reports

Covering the period September 4, 1941 through March 29, 1974, this digital collection is the first of three modules that form Readex’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). The FBIS is a branch of the United States government that has operated variously under the Federal Communications Commission, the War Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Continue reading “Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS): Daily Reports”

Newspapers of the New Deal Concentration Camps

With Executive Order 9066, President Franklin Roosevelt created the War Relocation Authority (WRA) and authorized the mass incarceration of Japanese-Americans living in designated “military areas” on the west coast. Roosevelt’s concentration camps were constructed and populated with a speed made possible in part by the magnitude of the American administrative state: the president’s New Deal had expanded both the power of the state, and its physical footprint across the nation. With the forced removal, detention, and subsequent incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans, one of the most repressive actions ever taken by the US government, Roosevelt’s executive branch demonstrated its capacity to project state power on a hitherto unimaginable scale.1 Continue reading “Newspapers of the New Deal Concentration Camps”

New Resource: Race Relations in America, 1943-1970

Race Relations in America, 1943-1970 comprises documents from the Archives of the Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries. The Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries was established for the purpose of bringing the expertise of social scientists to bear on the problem of race relations in the United States. Although the entire archive has not been digitized, the collection includes significant holdings of case studies, reports, audio recordings, scrapbooks, statistical data, academic studies, photographs, periodicals, correspondence, government documents, posters, and more. The collection also features extensive editorial apparatus intended to assist the user with exploring and interpreting the documents.

President's Committee on Government Contracts: Poster
President’s Committee on Government Contracts: Poster

The collection is organized into the following themes, each with its own guide:

  • Civil Rights
  • Voting Rights
  • Housing
  • Education and Training
  • Employment and Labor
  • Health, Welfare, and Poverty
  • Police, Community Relations, and Crime
  • Religion
  • Legislation and Legal Cases
  • Organizations, Associations, and Societies
  • The Institute
  • Arts and Culture