A History of the Medical Book

When we analyze an early-modern medical book nowadays, we often read it on Early English Books Online (EEBO), Google Books, or a similar platform. While such digitization has opened up all kinds of scholarly opportunities, it has also meant that we less frequently encounter a historical medical book as a … Continue reading

Hungering for Power

Many today are familiar with Ireland’s Great Potato Famine, the ecological and social calamity (exacerbated by misguided British policies) that resulted in mass starvation and an exodus of immigrants to the United States in the 1840s. What is considerably less well known is just how prominently hunger, food shortages, and … Continue reading

Turning Points in the Civil War

The American Civil War witnessed dramatic shifts of momentum. As armies contended for supremacy on the battlefield, their successes and failures profoundly shaped politics and civilian morale on the home fronts. For more than 150 years, those who have written about the conflict—from members of the wartime generation to recent … Continue reading

“Frankenstein” Then and Now

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus first appeared in print 200 hundred years ago, when the author was only 20. Since 1818, her boundary-breaking novel has become the most famous “Gothic” and Romantic-era text ever written, one of the founding works of science fiction, the inspiration for … Continue reading

British Theater Censorship in the Georgian Era

I am convening a conference at The Huntington titled “The Censorship of British Theatre, 1737–1843,” which will take place on Jan. 12 and 13 in The Huntington’s Rothenberg Hall. Leading experts on 18th- and 19th-century theater will explore the implications of statutory theater censorship as Britain grappled with issues of … Continue reading

Globalizing the Protestant Reformations

The origins of the Protestant Reformations are often traced to the German friar Martin Luther (1483–1546), who on Oct. 31, 1517, posted a document with 95 theses against the indulgence trade—in which donors paid the Catholic Church to remit punishment for sins. These theses began to outline Luther’s disputes with … Continue reading

The Rise of the Newspaper

Between 1600 and 1900, the newspaper began to occupy a central position in the modern societies of Europe and North America. These publications helped make information current and critical, legitimate and public. They served as the focal point of daily reading, as the frame for opinion-gathering and opinion-making, as the … Continue reading

Early Modern Collections in Use

In the first half of the 18th century, Hans Sloane (1660–1753)—the collector, physician, and president of the Royal Society—was the acknowledged center of a web of international relationships that brought objects, letters, and visitors into his house in the London suburb of Chelsea. He was recognized by scholars across Europe … Continue reading

Mining the Archive of Octavia E. Butler

The papers of award-winning science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) came to The Huntington in 2008. By the time the collection had been processed and cataloged, more than 40 scholars had already asked for access. Today, the Octavia E. Butler Collection is one of the top two most actively … Continue reading