Category: Political History

“A Great Blow to All Truth”: The Dreyfus Affair of Turn-of-the-Century France
08 October 2019 by Grayson Van Beuren


“A Great Blow to All Truth”: The Dreyfus Affair of Turn-of-the-Century France

“[…] what a spot of mud on your name—I was going to say on your reign—is this abominable Dreyfus affair! A council of war, under order, has just dared to acquit Esterhazy, a great blow to all truth, all justice. And it is finished, France has this stain on her cheek, History will write that it was under your presidency that such a social crime could be committed.” –Section from “J’Accuse…!,” open letter from Émile Zola to (read more)




“Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick”: The Short but Significant Life of the First Multi-Page Newspaper in the Americas
18 September 2019 by Grayson Van Beuren


“Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick”: The Short but Significant Life of the First Multi-Page Newspaper in the Americas

“It is designed, that the Country shall be furnished once a month (or if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener,) with an Account of such considerable things as have arrived unto our Notice.” Opening lines of Publick Occurrences, 1690     On Thursday September 25, 1690, a singular event occurred in Boston. A collaboration between a publisher, Richard Pierce, and a Londoner-turned-colonial editor, Benjamin Harris, came to fruition in the printing of a (read more)




“A Want of Dignity Wholly Unworthy of the Government”: James Smithson, the Annual Report, and the Question: “Should the Federal Government Participate in Scientific Investigation?”
04 June 2019 by Grayson Van Beuren


“A Want of Dignity Wholly Unworthy of the Government”: James Smithson, the Annual Report, and the Question: “Should the Federal Government Participate in Scientific Investigation?”

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC recently named Lonnie G. Bunch III as its fourteenth Secretary, the first African American to hold the position. In celebration of this occasion, let’s explore the beginnings of the Smithsonian.   The Smithsonian Institution is a remarkable institution. Founded in 1846 and sometimes called “the nation’s attic,” the institution brings millions of visitors in contact with science and history each year. Scholars (read more)




Government Reports and Colloquial Confusion: Capturing the Ephemeral with the “Popular Names” Index
06 December 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


Government Reports and Colloquial Confusion: Capturing the Ephemeral with the “Popular Names” Index

“Since many government publications become known by short titles that appear nowhere on the piece, and since libraries catalog them under institutional titles, a device for tying the two together is needed.” - Donald F. Wisdom, Foreword to Popular Names of U.S. Government Reports, 4th ed., 1984 A recurring challenge for historians is so-called “common knowledge.” Too often insights into day-to-day life, descriptions of extinct practices, and material (read more)




“A Deficiency in our Political Annals”: Rivals of Early Congressional Reporting
27 September 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


“A Deficiency in our Political Annals”: Rivals of Early Congressional Reporting

Exploring the Register of Debates and the Congressional Globe… Today we will look at two mainstays of early Congressional reporting: the Register of Debates and the Congressional Globe. Both dominated the journalistic world of Congress and politics in the decades before the Government Printing Office began producing its official account of Congress—the Congressional Record—in 1873. And because the two overlapped in coverage, many assumed they were partisan rivals. But (read more)




Sources as Windows to Narrative: Political Cartoons – Easy to Access, Easy to Deceive
16 August 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


Sources as Windows to Narrative: Political Cartoons – Easy to Access, Easy to Deceive

The primary source is the historian’s most prized asset. However, sources taken on their own are not necessarily interesting; it is how the researcher can see in them and through them, placing them in context to piece together historical narrative, that makes them intriguing. When used effectively, sources can truly be windows into history, and—like windows—they can be clear, dirty, foggy, even distorted and deceptive. Political cartoons are an example of a relatively (read more)




“A High Indignity…and Notorious Breach of Privilege”
23 May 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


“A High Indignity…and Notorious Breach of Privilege”

Exploring Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates... At Paratext, historical sources—primary, secondary, and tertiary—are our business. Not all historical sources are immediately intuitive, and many hide fascinating stories. This is the first post in our “Exploring” blog series, which will delve into various useful sources available to researchers and scholars at all levels. We address issues of historical context, illuminate methods of use, and parse out biases (read more)




Adam Matthew Content Now Accessible via 19th Century Masterfile: 1106-1930
21 June 2016 by Paratext Editorial


Adam Matthew Content Now Accessible via 19th Century Masterfile: 1106-1930

Paratext is pleased to announce that extensive content from Adam Matthew is now accessible via 19th Century Masterfile: 1106-1930. Adam Matthew, an imprint of SAGE, is an award-winning publisher of digital primary source collections for the humanities and social sciences, covering subject areas from medieval family life to 20th-century history and culture. Nearly 100,000 links from 33 collections are being added to 19th Century Masterfile’s Image/Media section, broadening research (read more)




Public Documents Masterfile Update: SuDoc Numbers, Ames and new ERIC records
10 October 2011 by Paratext Editorial


Public Documents Masterfile Update: SuDoc Numbers, Ames and new ERIC records

Public Documents Masterfile customers will be happy to learn that Paratext has added SuDoc numbers, LC card numbers and Item Numbers to many of the citations included in the GPO Monthly Catalog Subject Indexes (1895-1976).  Due to this inclusion, all government documents included in this index from 1947-1976 will now be considerably easier to access for Public Documents Masterfile users. Expanding the coverage of historical primary sources, we’ve also just added (read more)




New Content and over 8 million full text links now in Public Documents Masterfile
18 May 2011 by Paratext Editorial


New Content and over 8 million full text links now in Public Documents Masterfile

We’ve added the index to the Congressional Globe to the Annals of Congress and Register of Debatesalready found in the Congressional Record file in Public Documents Masterfile, bringing Congressional coverage up to 1867. In addition, we’ve recently updated many thousands of records to federal documents to be discovered via Public Documents Masterfile in the following: Post-1976 GPO Public Documents (1976-current)  (read more)




Congressional Globe and more now indexed in 19th Century Masterfile
26 April 2011 by Paratext Editorial


Congressional Globe and more now indexed in 19th Century Masterfile

As we’ve all been recently reminded of the important role Congress plays in ensuring the day to day functions of democracy, it can be useful to keep in mind the history of one of our most influential government institutions. 19th Century Masterfile now includes the indexes to the Annals of Congress, the Register of Debates and much of the Congressional Globe, bringing our coverage of Congressional papers up to the 39th Congress in 1867, with greater coverage (read more)




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