A Business student in the Archives…
By Alex Marlow
As part of my Sports Heritage and Legacy Management module of my masters programme, I was tasked with producing a detailed look into the history of the Ski Club of Great Britain between 1903 and 1933 [see the post below for Alex’s assignment]. As the internet was several decades away from being invented, I required a different source of information for which to write our assignment from, and this came in the form of the DMU Archives and Special Collections.
Having come from a Business background with no experience of working with archival material before, I was unsure of what to expect and how I was going to turn 70 year old books into an acceptable piece of post-graduate work, however the staff in the Archives made it a very easy and pleasant experience. Katharine and her team were always on hand to assist us when looking at the material, and this included showing me how to handle both books and images to ensure the quality wasn’t compromised, whilst also helping me to find books relating to my allocated years amongst the thousands of books in the Archives. Our class also received a dedicated two hour workshop on how to use archival photography and images, which saw us look at a number of interesting objects including old negative SCGB images and photo albums relating to our assignment. This workshop also showed us how to caption pictures and images correctly, which was vital when it came to our assignment.
Overall, my experience of working with DMU Archives and Special Collections was an enjoyable one, and I was impressed by the vast array of books and wide range of objects. The staff were extremely knowledgeable and helped me towards achieving a good grade in my assignment, and I would encourage all students to go and take a look at what the Archives has to offer.
Ski Club of Great Britain – 1933-1934
by Alex Marlow
A number of Business Management in Sport MSc students from Leicester Castle Business School have recently used the Ski Club of Great Britain collection as part of their Sports Heritage and Legacy Management module. The students were tasked with preparing a brief history of two years of the Club’s operation, using archive materials such as committee minutes, year books and photographs. Below is the history of the years 1933-34, by Alex Marlow:
1933 was an important year in the history of the Ski Club of Great Britain, as the club faced an uphill struggle to finance their operations as the country tried to recover from the Great Depression of 1929.
Despite the majority of Ski Club members being affluent members of society who were likely to be less affected by the Great Depression than the rest of the country, the Ski Club decided to seek additional revenue streams in order to solidify and improve their financial position. In light of this, the club published a ski guide, titled ‘Guide to Valais and The Haute Savoie’, which generated revenue of £75 for the club (as shown in the picture below), an extremely welcome windfall, with that sum being worth almost £5,000 in 2018 terms[i].
Alongside generating revenue through publication, the ski-club sought ways in which to generate revenue in the off-season where snowfall was minimal, such as holding dry-skiing classes. In the club’s AGM of 1933, club president Sir Claud Schuster (pictured below) noted that the debut of the dry-skiing classes in Autumn 1932 were extremely successful, returning £138 in class entrance fees[ii], and encouraged the council to organise further classes for Autumn 1933.
The July 1933 AGM also saw a change to longstanding Ski Club terminology. The council recommended that the word ‘’skier’’ be substituted for the word ‘’ski runner’’ throughout the SCGB rules. Despite strong protest from E.C Richardson, the council’s recommendation was put to the vote and was passed with a majority of 11-5, bringing in terminology which is still used around the world today. Other rule changes suggested by the council at the 1933 AGM can be seen in the photo below.
1934 saw the departure of retiring President Schuster, with the council expressing that they were under great debt for the time he gave for the Ski Club and everything he achieved in his two-year tenure. Schuster was replaced by Sir Eric-Holt Wilson (pictured below), who began his term by attempting to address a number of issues which were causing friction within the organisation.
One of the issues that faced the council was the appointment of club officials at ski resorts around Europe. It had become apparent that club officials had been appointed at ski resorts in 1933 despite there being a lack of work to be done for the SCGB, making the trips an unnecessary expense for the Ski Club. Honorary Secretary Mr Seligman was particularly unhappy with this, suggesting a change to Rule 17 that meant ‘’no appointments be made merely in order that a member of the club should obtain a free or cheap holiday but that such appointments be restricted to cases where there was definite work to be done for the SCGB[iii].’’ It was decided that a formal letter be sent to all members who were guilty of obtaining a ‘free or cheap holiday’, setting out the standards expected of them, complete with an acknowledgement slip to be sent back to the SCGB.
There was also discontent among some of the council relating to payments of £200 and £74 made to the secretaries of the Editors of the ‘Ski Notes and Queries’ book. Mr E.H Houghton controversially suggested that the Editors and their secretaries be replaced by members who would be able to carry out the work without requiring payment, since the work of the Editors was not arduous. Despite Mr Houghton feeling passionately about the subject, President Wilson would not allow Mr Houghton the opportunity to air his views further as there was no mention of his issue on the agenda.
[iii] The Ski Club of Great Britain – Winter Arrangement Minutes 1931-1949. De Montfort University Special Collections. Leicester. England.
[ii] The Ski Club of Great Britain – AGM Minutes 1930-1935. Income and Expenditure Account. De Montfort University Special Collections. Leicester. England.
[i] Browning, Richard. “Historic Inflation Calculator: How Value of Money Changed since 1900.” This Is Money. January 31, 2018. Accessed April 23, 2018. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1633409/Historic-inflation-calculator-value-money-changed-1900.html.
Mother’s Day and Mothers in Children’s Literature
By Elizabeth Stubbs
This Sunday will be Mothering Sunday, and although not always celebrated on the same date, days have been allotted to the celebration of mothers and motherhood in over a hundred countries across the globe. In addition to their role as mothers, it’s important to remember that all carers are individuals too, with their own interests, careers, and passions.
However, this has not always been recognised, and no where is the historic conventionalising of child-carers more evident than in children’s literature.
At the turn of the 20th Century, women were beginning to play a larger role in children’s literature, fantasy stories, and nursery rhymes. While from a modern perspective this change was arguably a step forward, the representations of these women were scarcely progressive.
Writing in 1971, Alleen Pace Nilsen referenced a phenomenon she described as a ‘cult of the apron.’ Although writing at a later date, she discovered that of all the books she surveyed, only 25 featured images of women, and for 21 of those women were apron-clad child-carers, and the rest were attending to housework.
Interestingly, it was frequently only the dour demeanour of maids that separated them from the gentle mother, while mothers and elder sisters often fulfil a similar child-caring role and appear practically indistinguishable. As we approach Mother’s Day, it’s good to remember and celebrate the role of all the women who cared for us during our lifetime, related or not.
Finally, Mother’s Day is equally a time to celebrate the individuality of those who raised us – our mothers and carers are no longer expected to be the doting, apron-clad women of children’s literature, and we are therefore able to celebrate their lives in full recognition of the traits and qualities that make them special to us.
100 Years of the Representation of People Act
6 February 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the Representation of People Act 1918, in which women over 30 who met the property requirements were given the right to vote. To mark this occasion, here are a few items from our collections which showcase the women’s Suffrage movement.
First up are images from Punch Magazine. The first image is from January 28 1918 and was made to mark the Act. The second image is from 1911 and highlights the jiu-jitsu phenomenon that was developing in Edwardian Britain as well as the militancy of some Suffragettes.
“Of course, the vote is now given on different terms from those on which we have always asked for it. Our claim has always been “Votes for women on the same qualification as they are given to men.” I still believe that this would have been a much better basis. It would have enfranchised all women…”
The Briggs-Blake-Zurbrugg Memorial Library collection also contains writings which discuss the women’s suffragette movement. More information on this collection can be found here https://dmuspecialcollections.our.dmu.ac.uk/the-briggs-blake-zurbrugg-memorial-library/ .
“It was born of the frustration of women being prevented from doing what they could do, and what they longed to do” ( ‘A Women’s place 1910-1975’ by Ruth Adam, 1975, page 32)
“It requires unusual moral courage as well as disinterestedness in women, to express opinions favourable to women’s enfranchisement until, at least, there is some prospect of obtaining it.” (‘Strong minded Women, Janet Horowitz Murray, 1984, Page 34-35)
Blog post by Gursharan Hayre
The Josephy Slide Collection
My name is Molly and I am a current student at DMU on the Photographic History MA, volunteering here at the archive! I wanted to become a volunteer as the Archive is currently undertaking a project to catalogue the V&A National Arts Slide Library (NASL) which came to the university in the early ’90s. The NASL was a slide lending service that began in 1898 in which people applied to borrow slides. Magic Lantern slides and later, 35mm positive colour slides would usually be taken out to illustrate teaching and lectures. The collection, although made up of many different kinds of slides, mainly depicted items of Art History and items at the V&A.
When I first came across this collection, I had been asked to choose a box of slides to catalogue and had to choose wisely; I was going to be working on these for a while so was best to choose something interesting otherwise I would get bored! I chose a box of ‘aesthetically pleasing’ images but the more I studied them, the more I found them strange. They were… ordinary and appeared to be holiday photographs. What were a bunch of tourist photos doing in a NASL?
I later came across the acquisition file for these pictures when rummaging through the NASL documents, looking for materials to work from for an essay. They revealed where they came from, who made them and how they ended up here. The box was part of a much larger slide collection donated to the V&A in 1987 by Miss M H Borman, the executor of the estate of Miss F.L Josephy. Frances Josephy or ‘Jo’ Josephy was a liberal party activist, the British representative in the European Union of Federalists and a keen amateur photographer. The collection boasts approximately 3,400 slides and documents Josephy’s travels over a span of twenty years (from 1956-1976) over 20 different countries.
The range of images produced by Josephy portrayed many places that had not been represented in the NASL, thus the donation was accepted and placed into the library. It is unsure whether or not these images were ever used by the public but since its revaluation and rediscovery in the DMU Archive and Special collections, we have begun to piece together the story and author of the images.
English Adventures in the Archive
Post 2: Finding the story…
From an adaptations perspective where a new story begins and how an adaptor talks back to a text, is a key consideration. For any English student who wants to understand more about how an adaptor approaches a source text, the Bryony Lavery and Andrew Davies collections are great places to start.
In both collections, there is a wealth of original, unique notes and correspondence that can only be viewed by be accessing the material at DMU’s Special Collections. They can be used to enlighten us on the creative considerations and cultural decisions made during the adaptive process.
The original drafts of Andrew Davies are particularly interesting from an adaptation point of view. Many of the individual works he has been involved in or wrote is itemised in a catalogue that is currently being transferred to Archives Hub with each entry having its own individual item description- meaning that a visit to view this collection can quickly unearth exciting finds.
In the documents relating to Davies’ screenplay of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, within minutes one can access items relating to the drafting process, including re-workings of the scripts which show the revisions made by Richard Curtis. The creative minds amongst you will be excited to learn that it is possible to access a letter that reveals some of the discussion had around what the adaptation wanted to sustain- such as ‘comic opportunities’ and whether these were being missed, and how maybe ‘more “embarrassing” relationship moments’ needed to be injected, along with considerations of the things the adaptation wanted to avoid, the treatment of characters, subplots and lots of ‘should we’ or ‘shouldn’t we’ considerations. Exciting stuff!!!
Other items that can enhance our learning about the adaptation process can be found in the material held on Lavery’s Ophelia– a re-telling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet from Ophelia’s perspective.
When piecing together items from this collection it is possible to ascertain how ‘the play started to arrive’. For example, in her programme notes Lavery talks about her first experiences of Ophelia as the ‘obedient girl’ that she herself had ‘obediently accepted as a teenager’, through to her apparent later realisation that Ophelia had her own story to tell. In this explanation, we can begin to understand how the past has informed the present, and deeper investigation into the collection reveals how subsequently Lavery ‘found a new route into Elsinore and the story began’.
Further insight into Lavery’s treatment of Ophelia and her story, can be gleaned by perusing her drafting process, alongside her letters. Together, this material offers a unique understanding of where Lavery positioned Hamlet in contemporary society, why she felt that Ophelia had her own story to tell, and how she shaped Ophelia as a character. In one of her letters to a critic she exclaims that Shakespeare ‘never puts in enough women’ and that her re-telling presents Ophelia in a ‘more positive light’, one in which she attributes her with ‘strong, positive, womanly virtues…virtues, incidentally, which help to destroy her in the old world’. From this collection thus, we can quickly begin to piece together the emergence of a feminist text- an Ophelia rescued ‘from her male constructed prison’.
If after reading this you would like to use original source material in your work in a similar way, do come in and appreciate for yourself the vibrancy of the Archive and the artefacts held!
English Adventures in the Archive
Hello and welcome to English Adventures in the Archive! My name is Gemma, and I am a DMU English student working in the archive on a placement for the English in the workplace module. Over the coming weeks I will post a series blogs on what I discover about how the Archive and Special Collections can be used in an English degree.
Post 1: First impressions
On first walking into the Archive and Special Collections department, I was overcome with a feeling of discovery. Met with row upon row of incredibly old books, and what could be mistaken for boxes of secret treasure, for a fleeting moment I felt that I should not be there…that I had stumbled upon rarities that belonged to someone else and thus had not ought to touch. Yet, I am sure you can imagine where human curiosity takes such a find! Katharine Short (Archivist and Special Collection Team Manager) was quick to correct my common misconceptions and reassure me that my desire to open the boxes and explore was not only normal, but engagement with the collections is positively encouraged!
Like most newcomers to the Archive I wondered if finding material would require hours of searching through boxes, yet I could barely contain my excitement as I was shown around for each aisle is neatly organised by collection, with box lists and entries available on the Archive hub. It began to dawn on me that I had discovered a very special place, a fantastic ADH resource where as an English student my research could be taken in fresh, exhilarating directions.
For those of you who have never ventured into the Archive my upcoming series of blog posts will introduce you to some of the hugely exciting material held here. Over the coming weeks I will dispel the myth that archive material is dusty, boring or buried treasure that is simply to be stored and preserved, when rather it is a goldmine of already unearthed unique and original material that is held to be used, perused and enjoyed. On the lower ground floor of our very own Kimberlin Library, in a climate controlled room, the collection housed is brimming with incredible material that can be used to open the imaginations, inspire, enrich and enhance the studies of all ADH students. There is absolutely something for everyone here- including a particularly welcoming and helpful team. I certainly wish I’d found it sooner.
So come on, lets begin! To give you a flavour the Archive houses the recently catalogued papers of Andrew Davies (screenwriter), a fabulous collection of women’s magazines dating back to 1690, the papers of Bryony Lavery (playwright), The Theatre Archive Project (acquired by our VC, Dominic Shellard and an absolute must see for all Shakespeare enthusiasts) and many Early Printed Books.
Look out for next my blog post where I will reveal some of the fabulous items held in the Bryony Lavery and Andrew Davies collections. The feminists amongst you will not be disappointed…