The Nineteenth Century Entertainment section of the John Johnson collection is a rich resource for examining the history and cultures of all different kinds of performance in nineteenth-century Britain. One of the types of performance feature in this collection is the minstrel show. These performances, in which white performers blackened their faces and sang British audiences ‘a distorted and appropriated form of black music’, had been popular in Britain since the 1830s. The blackface minstrel appeared on Victorian Christmas cards, and music from minstrel shows was regularly performed in Victorian drawing rooms—examples of both can be found in the John Johnson collection.
In using the John Johnson collection to put together this post, I found it fascinating to use the ‘Browse’ function. Upon clicking that tab at the top of the page, you are taken to an expandable menu featuring the five main collections:
- Nineteenth century entertainment: This includes both theatrical and non-theatrical performance. It can be used to study both the history and development of different forms of entertainment, as well as high and popular culture
- The Booktrade: Bookplates and publishing materials, useful to those studying the publishing trade as well as trying to look at the dissemination of different kinds of information during these periods
- Popular prints: This includes landscapes, topography and artistic works.
- Crime, murder, and executions: This includes broadsheets and pamphlets. It is useful for historians who study crime and punishment and well as historians of certain kinds of printing (such as woodcuts)
- Advertising: This section of the collection contains a wide variety of advertisements and can be used to study economic and social history as well as consumerism.
This is the first in a series of four posts about using library collections for the study of black history, literature and culture, in Britain and abroad. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us at (main library twitter), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.
James Douglass Bohee (1844-1897) and his brother George (1857-1930) were among the earliest black musicians to record their music. Even though these recordings are seemingly lost today, we can use the John Johnson Collection, a digitised archival collections to learn more about their performances and careers. Part 1 of this post explains what the John Johnson Collection is and part 2 explains how to use it. In part 3, I explore the evidence of the Bohee Brothers’ lives and careers found in the John Johnson Collection.
October is Black History Month! Our Students’ Union is running many wonderful events and the University Library will be celebrating with a number of events and activities throughout the month. Grains of Knowledge will be hosting a weekly series of posts about using the library to study Black history, culture, and literature. We hope that these will serve as a resource you will enjoy not just during October but throughout your studies and research with us.
The University has named the Schools of Health and Social Care and Psychology building after Sarah Swift, in recognition of her services to nursing. Sarah’s greatest achievements were in organising nursing services during the First World War and founding the Royal College of Nursing.
Subject Librarian, Daren Mansfield, chairs the Library Disability Group which was founded a year ago in June 2017. Meetings are held in the Library roughly every five weeks to discuss disability issues. The group currently consists of eleven members, which amounts to 16% of all Library staff. Daren feels that this shows that people are engaged and want to do everything they can to support students with disabilities.
Imagine being able to search through medieval manuscripts to select illustrations of monsters as part of your job. The Special Collections Librarian, Claire Arrand, was notified about the Monsters Conference to be held at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) in June and contacted by Renee Ward, a Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Lincoln, to contribute to Lincoln as Medieval Classroom week in March for our English and History students. This was a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the monsters featured in Lincoln Cathedral Library.
The aim of the University Library blog is to connect the University of Lincoln community with information related to them locally within the institution and the Library, but also regionally and nationally. We would like to promote and communicate a variety of initiatives, resources, developments and interesting stories that are meaningful in both the local University and wider community.