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When Good Literary Taste Was Part of a Bureaucrat’s Job Description

26 November 2015

Ānand Rām Mukhliṣ (1697?-1751) was a high-ranking courtier in Mughal Delhi in the first half of the eighteenth century. He came from a Punjabi Hindu family and followed his father into government service as had so many in the Khattri...

Discovering Visigothic Manuscripts at the British Library

26 November 2015

How to introduce something that should not require an introduction? It was the year 1878 when the then British Museum acquired a collection of fourteen manuscripts and incunabula from the Spanish Benedictine monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos. The addition...

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

26 November 2015

In terms of presidents, we normally think of FDR rather than TR when it comes to Thanksgiving; indeed, the portmanteau 'Franksgiving' coined by an Atlantic City mayor in 1939 is a reminder of the president's decision to move the holiday a week forward in a late effort to boost retail sales in the face of the Great Depression. American presidents had declared an annual day of Thanksgiving since Abraham Lincoln in 1863, but Teddy Roosevelt's 1905 proclamation, shown here (shelfmark 1865.c.7.(30.), image in the public domain), was the first to attribute the custom to the 'first settlers'. Before this date (and, indeed, until long after), States celebrated Thanksgiving in different ways, with by no means all invoking the story of Puritan settlers and American Indians.

Wojtek, the soldier bear from the Polish Army

25 November 2015

On 7th November an unusual ceremony took place in Edinburgh: a monument to a soldier bear was unveiled to hundreds of people gathered in the middle of town. The statue had been commissioned by the Wojtek Memorial Trust, an organisation...

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