posted by Mary Augusta Brazelton
A review of the Yunnan Provincial Archives (云南省档案馆) and the Yunnan Provincial Library (云南省图书馆), Kunming, China.
Archival research in Yunnan requires time, patience, and a lot of paper. Both the Yunnan Provincial Archives and the Yunnan Provincial Library are assets for scholars of local history, although they limit the use and reproduction of their holdings. During six months of dissertation research on biomedicine and public health in wartime Yunnan, I found the Provincial Library to be more open to access, while the Provincial Archives remain a unique local source of...
posted by Barbara J. Becker
A review of The Herschels: A Scientific Family in Training, by Emily Winterburn.
William Herschel and his family have long been subjects of interest for historians and popularizers. The Herschels were blessed with uncommon longevity: two event-filled centuries elapsed from the time of William’s birth in 1738 to the death of his youngest grandchild in 1939. The lives of the notable among them (William, his sister Caroline and son John) were rife with exciting tales of adventure, discovery and royal patronage that provided lessons on the value of adaptability, devotion and hard work. They...
posted by David Roth Singerman
A review of Plantation Technocrats: A Social History of Knowledge in the Slaveholding Atlantic World, 1830-1865, by Daniel Rood
It would be impossible to deny the role of slavery in the development of modern industrial capitalism. Slave colonies provided Europe with sugar and tobacco, with a source of labor, with a place to send its surplus population, and with an investment upon which to build merchant fortunes. But as Dan Rood points out in his ambitious Plantation Technocrats, in all accounts of slavery as an economic system it “prefigures, foreshadows, and props up, but is always prior-to...
posted by Jennifer Altehenger
A review of the Shijiazhuang Municipal Archives (石家莊市檔案館), Shijiazhuang, China.
In late March 2011, I spent four days in Shijiazhuang to conduct research in the Shijiazhuang Municipal Archives and in the Hebei Provincial Archives. The trip was unfortunately very brief as I had to schedule it in between terms and teaching commitments. Fortunately, the archivists at the Shijiazhuang Municipal Archive were very friendly and helpful. In two days, I could thus access and copy more materials than I had often been able to during longer archive visits to Shanghai and Beijing in 2008 and...