Jenny Lind – the Swedish Nightingale

Eduard Magnus (1862): ”Jenny Lind”,
Reading Time: 6 minutes

| By Pauli Kettunen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki |

Whilst it is undoubtedly quality entertainment, the 2017 Hollywood film The Greatest Showman should not be taken as an accurate history lesson… However, among all the drama, singing and dancing, it does portray some facts; P.T. Barnum did start small and end up as a household name; he did bring ‘The Swedish Nightingale’ to the United States and make her tour a success like never before. Indeed, the concert tour amassed him a sizeable fortune, and the humble Scandinavian singer donated her own share – which was by no means small – to charities of her choice.

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Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld – A Great Arctic Explorer of the Nineteenth Century

Reading Time: 6 minutesBy Pauli Kettunen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki
I am a second-year student in a programme ambitiously titled ‘Society and Change’ – there is not enough space to describe it here, if you had started wondering! At the University, my main interests are in Political History, in addition to all the other things concerning the History of Civil Society. In my free time I like cooking, reading, exercising, complaining about politics, and gaming. My latest addiction is reading science fiction by Alastair Reynolds.

One hundred and forty years ago, the world was speculating about the survival of a significant arctic exploration party. One can read, for example this article in The Western Daily Press, one of the periodicals included in Gale’s British Library Newspapers. With Professor Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld leading the expedition, the steamer Vega had departed on August 27th, 1878 for the Northeast Passage, the shipping route to the Pacific Ocean along the Arctic Ocean coasts of Norway and Russia. As radio technology had not yet been developed, there were no means for the press to get in touch with Nordenskiöld and his crew. In the reporter’s words, “More than seven and a-half months have…now elapsed and nothing more has been heard of him.” Nevertheless, the newspaper firmly believed that the expedition would be safe, possibly having stopped to spend the winter at “the sheltered bay of Kulynchinska.” Without faster means to confirm this, organisations that had invested in Nordenskiöld’s expedition, or were otherwise interested in the Northeast Passage, were planning to send out search parties to look for the Vega.

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Sir Bertram Ramsey – Britain’s Unsung War Hero

Reading Time: 4 minutesBy Matt Chivers, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I am in my third year studying History at the University of Liverpool. I am obsessed with golf and regrettably even more obsessed about football. But at school, History took my interest; throughout sixth form and university I have loved studying the Cold War and, for my dissertation, the nuclear arms race. I am keen to pursue a career in sports writing and journalism – I couldn’t think of anything better than being paid to watch and write about the biggest sporting events in the world! I like film and tend to binge-watch a series or two.

If you hear the phrase ‘War Hero’ names such as Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower would naturally come to mind, as they were the key leaders in the Second World War that were instrumental in coordinating the Allied victory. I feel there is another leader who deserves recognition for his vital work during these significant years; Sir Bertram Ramsay.

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A Male Contraceptive Pill – could this bring greater gender equality?

Reading Time: 5 minutesBy Lily Cratchley, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham
I am a second-year student currently completing my joint honours degree in English Literature and American and Canadian Studies. This multidisciplinary course allows me to study varying aspects of modern American literature, history and culture as well as old English writing, including poetry by Wyatt and plays by Shakespeare. In term-time I love to keep myself busy by volunteering for a society that helps local, disadvantaged children, preparing for a year abroad in North America, visiting the attractions that England’s second city has to offer with friends, and, of course, working as an Ambassador for Gale.

International Women’s Day was celebrated on Friday 8th March this year, and, as always, it provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the ongoing female fight for universal suffrage, freedom and equality. Several defining moments stand out in women’s history, having shaped our ability to lead the lives we do today, including: gaining the right to vote in 1918, the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1970 and, of course, the legalisation of the oral contraceptive pill in 1961, enabling women to finally have a say over their reproductive rights.

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Exploring news coverage and media discussion of sexual violence

Reading Time: 6 minutesBy Grace Mitchell-Kilpatrick, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter
I am a fourth-year student at the University of Exeter. I studied BSc Politics and International Relations with proficiency in data analysis at undergraduate level. As a Masters student studying Conflict, Development and Security, my interests lie in conflict zones but I am also an advocate of sustainability and feminism. Besides studying, when I’m not snowed under with work, I like to run and binge watch Netflix.

What constitutes ‘feminism’ and to class oneself as a feminist is highly contentious and politicised. It is, however, a concept which does not fall solely in the private or public sphere, and for that reason it is necessary to consider what the cause defends. I thought it would be interesting to use Gale Primary Sources to aid an investigation into the issue of rape and sexual violence, an issue which feminist sentiment advocates to eliminate.

Read moreExploring news coverage and media discussion of sexual violence

The Myth of the Rhinoceros

Reading Time: 5 minutesBy Lyndsey England, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
I am a second-year student at Durham University, studying a joint degree in English Literature and History. My main areas of interest are African history and post-colonial literature, but when I’m not tucked away behind a stack of books in a corner of the library or promoting Gale, I’m busy with Durham Student Theatre, working backstage and on the production team for a number of performances each year. In amongst all this, I also try to find the time to write, because I am currently juggling a shamefully large amount of works in progress.

In 1769, writing his ‘Description of Three Hundred Animals’, a document included in Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Thomas Boreman presented the rhinoceros as follows:

“He has two girdles upon his body, like the wings of a dragon, from his back down to his belly … his skin is so hard, that no dart is able to pierce it, and covered over with scales, like the shell of a tortoise.”

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Dead Men are Red, Violets are Blue: The Bloody History of St. Valentine’s Day

Reading Time: 3 minutesBy Emily Priest, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth
Emily, otherwise known as Emily the Writer, is a Creative and Media Writing (BA Hons) student at Portsmouth University with interests in travel writing and creative marketing. She is also a freelance writer and performance poet. After her degree, she plans to take a Digital Marketing MA and pursue a career in marketing or journalism.

Valentine’s Day is generally known for chocolate, cards and big fluffy hearts, but 90 years ago today the colour red wasn’t for love but blood. In Chicago in 1929, seven members of the Chicago North Side Gang were ambushed, lined up against a wall, then shot in cold blood. Who was responsible? None other than the notorious crime lord Al Capone.

Read moreDead Men are Red, Violets are Blue: The Bloody History of St. Valentine’s Day

Turbulent Times: A look back on the European Community Membership Referendum of 1975

"European Community." Times, 7 Oct. 1975, p. IV+. The Times Digital Archive, Accessed 27 Jan. 2019

Reading Time: 4 minutesBy James Garbett, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter
I’m a third-year English student at the University of Exeter. I’m a huge fan of all things film, theatre and journalism, whilst also continuing to examine the changing forms of masculinity within Gender Studies. When not attempting to play drums, you can find me interviewing various individuals of the music and film world and working for the student newspaper, radio and television station.

As the situation regarding Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union continues to unfold, it’s intriguing to glance back several decades, to when Britain had just entered the European Economic Community in 1973 under the Conservative government. The question poised to the public in 1975 – whether or not to withdraw – was the first national referendum ever held throughout the entire United Kingdom. It’s fascinating to note the parallels between these two distinctive times in British history using Gale Primary Sources such as The Times and The Daily Mail archives.

Read moreTurbulent Times: A look back on the European Community Membership Referendum of 1975

Being Creative in an Academic World

Being Creative in an Academic World

Reading Time: 5 minutesBy Emily Priest, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth
Emily, otherwise known as Emily the Writer, is a Creative and Media Writing (BA Hons) student at Portsmouth University with interests in travel writing and creative marketing. She is also a freelance writer and performance poet. After her degree, she plans to take a Digital Marketing MA and pursue a career in marketing or journalism.

When I tell people that I am studying a Creative Writing degree, they always look at me with squinted eyes, furrowed brows and a twisted mouth that questions, ‘does such a thing exist?’ It is a relatively new degree, and only a few universities in the UK offer it, but surely it isn’t that strange? When I get this reaction, I think people are more confused by why it exists – and its place within the academic world.

Creative Writing seems to live on the fringe of academia. Although creative writing students read as much as any other, there is less focus on journals and articles and more on prose and poetry. Our submissions include short stories or poetry rather than long essays and our marking criteria relies on subjective opinion. It’s certainly fun but seems less serious. This poses the question – where do us writers fit within the academic world? Can we even fit in it at all?

Read moreBeing Creative in an Academic World

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