Black History in Lincolnshire

This is the fourth and final in 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 @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post. 

We hope you have had a wonderful, inspiring, and educational Black History Month! Our final post in this series will offer some suggestions for online databases and library resources for researching Black history in the county of Lincolnshire. This post will come in two parts: in the first part, I will discuss researching Black history in Lincolnshire. In the second part of the post, I will point you towards local collections, archives, and online projects which may help in your investigation of local Black history.

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Studying Black British Poetry

This is the third 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 @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

If you have been on the ground floor of the library in recent weeks, you may have seen the Library Snippets platform just opposite the enquires desk. Each week of October, the plinth has been hosting recordings of answers to commonly asked questions about the library, as well as poems by Black poets, accompanied by a transcript. We hope you have enjoyed the chance to stop and read or listen to these works.

If you would like to know how to find out more about the poems and poets, read on! This post will discuss how library resources can be used to study the lives and works of black British poets. In the first half, I will discuss how to find the work of a particular poet. In the second half of the post, I will discuss how to find scholarship, secondary readings, and references works about particular poets.

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Black Musicians in the John Johnson Collection: the Bohee Brothers by Hope Williard (Part 3: the Bohee Brothers)

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.[1] 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.

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Black Musicians in the John Johnson Collection: the Bohee Brothers by Hope Williard (Part 2: How to Search 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:

    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. Popular prints: This includes landscapes, topography and artistic works.
    4. 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)
    5. 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.

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Black Musicians in the John Johnson Collection: the Bohee Brothers by Hope Williard (Part 1: What is the John Johnson Collection?)

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 library@lincoln.ac.uk, 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.

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Celebrating Black History Month

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.

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Disability and inclusive practice in the University Library

Picture of Daren (centre) and two members of the group (Tracey and Amanda)
Daren (centre) and two members of the group (Tracey and Amanda)

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.

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A warm welcome…..

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.