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Happy Fourth of July Independence Day🎉

Happy Fourth of July Independence Day🎉

Also referred to as Independence Day, the Fourth of July marks the anniversary of the then 13 colonies declaring independence from the British crown. It has a rich history of celebrations throughout the United States.

On July 2nd 1776, the then continental congress voted for independence. Consequently, two days later the 13 colonies adopted the declaration of independence. Thomas Jefferson famously drafted the document. The Fourth of July has been celebrated ever since. Fun fact, as it was the 2nd of July that congress passed the decision on Independence, future President John Adams refused to celebrate American independence on the fourth of July and marked celebrations on the second. He would die fifty years later on July 4th 1826 (History.com).

Celebrations range from family barbecues to street parades. In addition, firework displays are notorious and have been part of celebrations since 1777, with the first reported in Philadelphia. Early celebrations included having mock funerals for King George III, and the firing of muskets and cannons.  These were followed up by a public reading of the declaration of independence (History.com). In 1870, it was recognised by Congress as a federal holiday, although it was not until 1941, that it would be a paid holiday for federal employees. It was in the late 19th century with the rise of leisure time that family get-togethers and barbecues became more common celebrations (History.com)

Whatever you are doing this year have a happy fourth of July Independence Day!

Read about other celebrations on our blog such as St.Patricks Day and Chinese New Year

Want to learn more about American History? Try Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk for all sorts of information. Need to know how to use it? Read our Guide here.

By Maya Green

Photo by Paul Weaver on Unsplash

 

 

 

World Music Day 2022 🎵

World Music Day 2022: Fête de la Musique

Is there anything better than when your favourite song comes on? Whatever grey clouds are there, good music brings a little bit of sunshine. And that’s what World Music Day 2022 🎵 is all about.  An annual celebration that occurs every 21st of June, originating in France.

The first ever World Music Day took place in Paris in 1982, organised by the Minister of Culture for France. Its objective was to promote music by encouraging amateur and professional musicians to perform in the streets and organising free concerts to make more music accessible. Since it first began, over 130 countries have taken part in celebrations, as well as over 1000 cities worldwide.

Why not try out some World music events right here in Edinburgh this summer! Check out what’s on here.

Resources for World Music Day 2022 🎵

The library has a wide range of musical databases that celebrate musical talent which you can find at our LibGuides

Or search for the vast amount of music scores and CDs available through LibrarySearch 

And of course, our Spotify account!

SO why not spend this day wrapped up in music? Listen to all your favourite songs and dance like no one is watching!

By Maya Green

Find out more about what the Library has to offer over the summer here.

Photo by C D-X on Unsplash

Refugee Week 2022

Refugee Week : 20th-26th June 2022

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word refugee originates from two Latin words: “fugere” meaning to flee and “refugium” – a place to flee back to. But specifically, the word refugee was first noted in 1685. It referred to the 50,000 Huguenots, French Protestants who fled religious intolerance in their home country.

There are no identifiable Huguenots today, but that’s the point about refugees – as local, national and global circumstances change, so do the movement of people and the labels we attach to them. Wherever there is war, famine, natural disasters or a clampdown on human rights, there will be refugees.

So, there have been refugees since there have been established human communities around the world, but it wasn’t until 1951 that there was an international standard on how to treat them. The Refugee Convention defined a refugee as someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted.

A refugee’s journey can be long, dangerous and highly publicised, but in fact, most refugees don’t travel far. Most stay in neighbouring countries until it’s safe enough for them to return home. Those who travel the furthest often feel the most alienated and are often least welcome in their host countries.  With this in mind, Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival that celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

Refugee Week 2022 this year

This year’s festival runs from 22th-26th June. Its theme is healing – a celebration of community, mutual care and the human ability to start again. It will promote a programme of arts, cultural, sports and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns.

Here at Edinburgh Napier University, we have an amazing project designing refugee housing by Lara Alshawawreh. Check it out here.

In addition, if you want to get involved, please see here: https://refugeeweek.org.uk/

For more local information, get in touch with

https://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/

https://www.rst.org.uk

https://www.bikesforrefugees.scot

https://www.scottishactionforrefugees.org

In addition for information available in the library why not use librarysearch.napier.ac.uk

Need help using Librarysearch? Check out our article here.

By Lesley McRobb

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

Bike Week 2022: On yer bike!

Bike Week 2022: On yer bike!

No disrespect to Giovanni Fontana. I’m sure he meant well, but that bike he designed way back in 1418 really wasn’t practical.  For a start, it had 4 wheels and its gears were connected by rope. Still, he was on to something, and a mere 400 years later German baron, Karl von Drais, invented what is regarded as the first modern bicycle – or the steerable running machine as he called it. So what if it didn’t have pedals and the rider had to push it along the ground with his feet? It was the big bang of cycling – the realisation that mechanized personal transportation was a thing, and that thing was here to stay.

Not long afterwards the first pedal-driven bicycle with rear wheel drive was invented by a Scotsman – yay! He was either Kirkpatrick MacMillan or Thomas McCall. It’s been disputed since the 1860s – and that’s when cycling really started to, erm, motor.

Today, of course, bike technology is so advanced that there is a type and model for every type of cyclist, whether you’re into racing, mountain-biking, recreational weekend tootling, getting to work or just nipping down to the shops. And of course, cycling is not just a convenient way to get around, it’s healthy and good for the environment too.

According to charity, Cycling UK, British cyclists notched up 5.03 billion miles in 2020, and the trend is going up by an average of 3 billion every year.  We’re still lagging well behind our European neighbours, though.  Out of 28 countries surveyed, the UK came 25th for cycling.  So let’s all get saddled up and bump up those statistics.

Bike Week 2022

This month the national Bike Week takes place from the 6th to the 12th. To see how you can get involved, see here:

Bike Week 2022 | Cycling UK

And for more local information, check out: Edinburgh Festival of Cycling | Cycling UK

We at Edinburgh Napier are keen to promote safe cycling in and around the city.  To see what resources are available and how we can encourage you to get on your bike, please see here:

Cycling (napier.ac.uk)

By Lesley McRobb

Exercise is a great way to practise self care and get fit. For more ideas why not check out some of the books here.

Celebrating Pride Month

Celebrating Pride Month

The start of June is upon us which means the start of Pride month. After all, June is the month of pride. Why June you may ask? Well…

The History of Pride 🏳‍🌈🌈🏳‍🌈

Celebrating Pride month in June is to commemorate the Stonewall riots that happened on the 28th of June 1969. New York Police raided the Stonewall inn which was a prominent gay club in Greenwich Village in the early hours of the morning. As police turned violent, and a build up of social discrimination and continuous police harassment grew, the raid became a riot and a protest. Led by Marsha P. Johnson, it lasted for 6 days. It saw large media coverage and spilt out to the streets of Greenwich.   This was the ‘catalyst for gay rights and activism in the United States and the world’ (Source)

Known as ‘Mother of Pride’, it was Brenda Howard who organised the first pride march to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This became America’s first ever Pride parade. It was not until the 1990s however that Pride Month became more popular (Source). Bill Clinton became the first President to acknowledge June as Pride Month.

Pride Month is not necessarily recognised internationally. However, it is increasingly becoming more recognised outside the United States.

Avoiding Tokenism 

Here at the Library, we love to celebrate Pride month, but we acknowledge that working towards equality is something that needs to happen all year round. We are working hard to promote and diversify our collections to be inclusive of all people, and to redress the imbalances we find in our collections to become more representative of everyone.

Library Resources

The Library has a wealth of books and articles on the subject. From the history of LGBTQ+ rights to current Legal information to keep you informed. Use LibrarySearch to find what you are looking for, or contact us for help with any of your research needs. 

Here are some items available through the Library to get you started: 

Same-sex, different politics: success and failure in the struggles over gay rights

Lgbt Activism and the Making of Europe A Rainbow Europe  

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT) and the criminal justice system

University Support

If you are an LGBTQ+ student you can join Edinburgh Napier’s LGBTQ+ Society or find out more about the student LGBTQ+ community on the Queer Napier site. Staff can join the University’s thriving LGBTQ+ Network or visit our web pages to learn more about becoming an ally.

More Resources here on the Blog

Check out our Diversity Bookshelves to see some of the books we have available.

Or read more articles on Pride, LGBT+ History Month and Alan Turin.

By Maya Green

The Edward Clark Collection

Hidden treasures: The Edward Clark Collection

The Edward Clark Collection, housed in the library at the Merchiston campus, is not as well-known as it should be. It is one of the only two surviving examples of what was once a widespread phenomenon in Britain: printers’ libraries. The other survivor is St Brides Library in London.

The Edward Clark Collection consists of around 5,000 items illustrating the development of the book from the 15th century. More specifically, it concentrates on the development of typography, the techniques of printing illustrations, and fine bindings. The collection is located within the Campus Library at the University’s Merchiston Campus.

Printers’ Libraries

The first Edinburgh printers’ library was established in 1858. The technical and reference collections continued to be used up until the end of the 19th century, afterwich it is not clear what happened to them. Formal educational requirements for printing apprentices were established after World War I. The Clark Collection was put together as a teaching resource, mainly in the 1930s, to illustrate printing technologies, type design and book production from the 15th century to the present day. As well as the treasures highlighted on the Collection website it is a treasure trove for the historian of print.

Over the last 2 years, whenever access was possible, I have consulted type specimens, trade journals, company histories, technical manuals and books about print production and the design and making of books. These included James Watson’s History of Printing in Scotland (1713), Caleb Stower’s Printer’s Grammar (1808) and T.C. Hansard’s Typographia (1825), and looked again at a long-standing favourite of mine – John McCreery’s poem The Press, printed in Liverpool as a type specimen in 1802.

It is a privilege to work with this collection, and I am very grateful to all the library staff who have made this possible.

Dr Helen S Williams

Honorary Edward Clark Fellow

h.williams@napier.ac.uk

May Day The Beginning of Spring

Springtime

Is there anything that gladdens the heart of the city-dweller more than the glorious pink of cherry- and the wondrous white of apple blossom lining the grimy streets? Personally, I feel my spirits soar every time I wander along an avenue of blossom and turn up my face to the delicate petals raining down like confetti. Laburnum, too, delights with its brief but brilliant burst of yellow. (Okay, so it’s poisonous, but nobody was planning to eat it!) May really must be the most beautiful and optimistic month, as the light stretches and the air starts to warm up after those nippy April mornings.

The History of May Day

Maybe it’s this abundance of light, colour and new growth that inspired our pagan ancestors to celebrate the beginning of the month. They’d elect a May Queen and a Jack-in-the-Green to lead the festivities which included dancing around the maypole (every village had one), painting faces green and dressing up a local person in a caricature of a horse. The fun continued after the Christian church was established until those killjoy C16th Puritans banned maypole dancing as a heathen activity of drunken wickedness (which to be fair, it probably was).

Recent Times

In recent times, May 1st has become synonymous with something much less frivolous and decidedly more serious: work. Labour movements across the world have inspired action since the earliest days of industrialisation, but official commemoration of May 1st as International Workers’ Day began in Chicago when, in 1886, the American Federation of Labor implemented an 8-hour working day as a new standard of fair practice. In 1904 it was adopted around the world, and now May 1st is recognised by many as a workers’ holiday.

Scotland

Closer to home, Beltane is a Gaelic festival of fire that is traditionally celebrated on May 1st to mark the beginning of, um, summer. In Edinburgh, revellers usually make their way up Calton Hill before celebrating en masse. If you want to take part in the organised event, you’ll have to set off the night before.  See https://beltane.org/

You may be familiar with the old proverb “ne’er cast a cloot til the May be oot.” You’d be forgiven for believing that the May in this case refers to the month, but in fact, it specifically refers to the May tree, an old name for hawthorn, that beloved staple of hedgerows across the land that produces a gorgeous white blossom in May. Hawthorn is the only plant in UK vernacular to be named after the month in which it blooms.

We hope you enjoy this Mayday, whether you’re working, strolling through a garden of cherry blossom, dancing around a maypole or warming yourself against a roaring communal fire. Bring on the summer!

By Lesley McRobb

Read more articles on celebrations here on our blog:

St Patricks Day

Chinese New Year

Scottish traditions

St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all our Irish students and staff.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on 17th March. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but there are parades and parties worldwide due to the large numbers of people with Irish heritage spread across the world.

dog in st patricks day hat

Source

History of St.Patrick’s Day

Although there are no exact dates of his birth, it is believed that Patrick was born in the Roman-occupied north of England. and that he died on 17th March. His autobiographical work “Confessio” claims that when he was around 16, Patrick was taken from his home in Britain by Irish pirates who took him to Ireland as a slave. There he looked after animals for around six years and converted to Christianity. He fled captivity after hearing a voice telling him he would soon go home. He found passage on a ship and after several days walking he returned home. Following his return, Patrick studied Christianity in Europe-mostly in Auxerre, France and was ordained into the priesthood there. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary, and by the 7th century was already revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

The Irish Potato Famine

There are many people throughout the world with Irish ancestors due to the large numbers who emigrated because of the Irish Potato Famine. It started in 1845 when a fungus ruined around 75% of the annual potato crop, which most of the population relied on for food. Around one million Irish died before the end of the famine in 1852. Another million emigrated to countries such as Great Britain or the United States, and therefore you will find St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in many countries worldwide.

Celebrations

Today descendants of the immigrants celebrate their Irish heritage dressing up in colourful clothing in green and gold (the colours of the Irish flag), joining parades of pipe bands, cheerleaders, and floats. One of the biggest parades outside Ireland is in New York which held its first parade in 1762. This was a time when the wearing of green was a sign of Irish pride but was banned in Ireland. The parade gave participants the freedom to speak Irish, wear green, sing Irish songs and play the pipes to Irish tunes that were meaningful to the Irish immigrants of that time.

Aside from parades, many pubs and restaurants host events with live music and singing, and you shouldn’t have to look too hard to find one in Edinburgh!

By Vivienne Hamilton

Read more on world festivals and traditions with our articles:

Chinese New Year

Scottish Traditions: Burn’s Night

The Ethiopia Timkat Festival,

New Year Traditions from Around the World

Also, don’t forget you can find out more about everything mentioned in this article at Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk

 

 

Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day

“Imagine a gender equal world.

A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Together we can forge women’s equality.

Collectively we can all” #BreakTheBias.

(Source: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/)

History of International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day! A global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women. It took place officially for the first time on March 8, 1911 in Denmark, Austria, Germany and Switzerland (Source). Coinciding with the female suffragette movement at the time.

The United Nations started sponsoring International Women’s day in 1975 and the United Nations General Assembly stated it was…‘To recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security (Source)

March has since become the celebratory month of women’s contributions to history, science, culture and society. It started off as a week celebrated in California and eventually became a celebratory month recognised globally. The 1960s saw an increase in feminism movements which brought more attention to achievements and contributions made by women throughout history.

Break the Bias

This year’s theme is “Break the Bias”. It is asking us to stand up to the bias we see in the world and to take action! Read more on International Women’s Day at www.internationalwomensday.com/

Here at Edinburgh Napier University, there will be a number of activities taking place to show our support. We have an event on Women Working in Films & TV, this is an opportunity to network and to hear from a panel of experts in this field. The event takes place on Tuesday 8 March 2022, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm in the Glassroom at our Merchiston campus. More info here.

The ENU Women’s Network is inviting colleagues, irrespective of gender identity, to join them as they build on the network over the coming months. You can learn more and get involved here.

Further Reading

Want to know more about some amazing Scottish Women who have made incredible contributions, read our article Wonder Women of Scotland. Also, check out our other articles on Women’s History and Women in Science :

Women in Science

Women’s History

Women in Engineering

 

By Maya Green and Juliet Kinsey

🏳️‍🌈LGBT+ History Month 🏳️‍🌈

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month

February is the month we celebrate LGBT+ History here in the UK. It is a month-long celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements. In the United Kingdom, we celebrate it in February to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28.

What we are doing

Here at the Library, we think it is incredibly important to support and promote equality and diversity. Furthermore, we are working hard to create more inclusive collections and to support our LGBT+ users and staff. For example, we are currently creating a permanent LGBT+ virtual bookshelf here on our blog, and we are training our staff to be inclusive in their actions and the language they use.

Resources

If you are an LGBT+ student you can join Edinburgh Napier’s LGBT+ Society.   You can also find out more about the student LGBT+ community on the Queer Napier site. Staff can join the University’s thriving LGBT+ Network or you can visit our web pages to learn more about becoming an ally.

In addition, The Library has a wealth of books and articles on the subject. From the history of LGBT+ rights to current Legal information to keep you informed. Use LibrarySearch to find what you are looking for, or contact us for help with any of your research needs. 

Here are some items available through the Library to get you started: 

Same-sex, different politics: success and failure in the struggles over gay rights

Lgbt Activism and the Making of Europe A Rainbow Europe  

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT) and the criminal justice system

Equality

Pride Parades and LGBT Movements: Political Participation in an International Comparative Perspective

Similarly, want to know more about Pride Month?  Check out our article here.

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