Mine-Haha or Innocence?

One of the most unusual books that I have ever read is the novella Mine-Haha, or On the Bodily Education of Young Girls (Original German title is ‘Mine-Haha oder Uber korperliche Erziehung der jungen Madchen) which was originally published in 1903.

It describes the bizarre education and socialisation of a young girl, Hidalla, at a boarding school located in the idyllic ‘park’ which is isolated behind high walls. The lessons, taught by the older girls, consist of gymnastics, dance and music.

The ‘park’ is funded by the takings from a theatre where the girls perform nightly in ‘pantomimes’ of an adult nature which they do not fully understand. On the onset of menstruation the girls leave the school by an underground train to the outside world.

Nothing is clear cut in this book and events can be interpreted in several ways.

There is a copy available in the Education in Literature Collection. Why not read it for yourself and see what you think?

The author Frank (Benjamin Franklin) Wedekind (1864-1918) was a German playwright whose work often criticized bourgeois attitudes (particularly towards sex) and is considered to anticipate expressionism.

One attempt at a cinematic interpretation of the novella is the French film Innocence  (2004) directed by Lucile Hadzihaililovic and starring Marion Cotillard. The DVD is also in the Education in Literature Collection.

As with the majority of books in the Education in Literature Collection this novel may be borrowed for 3 weeks. The DVD may be borrowed for 1 week. The Collection is shelved  Library Teaching Room on Level Four of the Newsam Library and Archives.

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New LibGuide- ’Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Education Resources’

A new LibGuide has been created for our growing collection of online guidance. The guide, ‘Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Education Resources’ is a little late, as I had hope to launch it in time for Black History Month October 2014! This guide aims to highlight BME organisations relevant to education in England and also to complement the Women and Gender and the LGBT resources guide created by colleagues working in the Archives team. It is work in progress- I’ll continue to add to it throughout the year and highlight more resources I find in good time for Black History Month 2015, so do keep an eye on the ‘Forthcoming Events’ box for information about interesting lectures and activities taking place in London.
Additionally, I’m hoping to build on my own knowledge, so do send further suggestions of links to organisations that aren’t included.


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If you are interested in historical feminist campaigns…

‘The Woman Teacher – the Organ of the National Union of Women Teachers’

New resource available to read and download from our repository

Each issue of the journal has been scanned as one PDF. A sneaky bug we’re currently trying to fix means you can’t search within the documents from our interface, at present. So, if you want to search within them, you’ll need to open each one, and hit Ctrl+F to bring up a find box.

Or you can just read through the issues and getting an idea of what they contain. See the end of this post if you’re having problems making your way to the individual issues*.

Who they were and what they did

  • The National Union of Women Teachers (NUWT) was founded within the National Union of Teachers in 1904 as the Equal Pay League, the organisation was renamed the National Federation of Women Teachers in 1906. Lack of progress in securing NUT support for the equal pay campaign led to its establishment as an independent body, the National Union of Women Teachers, in 1920
  • The Union’s primary aim was the achievement of parity between men and women teachers’ pay and conditions of service. In 1955 the phased introduction of equal pay meant the NUWT’s primary aim had been achieved, and the decision was taken to close the Union at Easter 1961, when the final instalment would be paid

For some more “dynamic” content take a look at our blog, which was written by our NUWT cataloguer, and more recently, our Education Outreach Officer who used the collection as her focus to talk about equality and campaigning in primary schools http://nuwtarchiveioe.wordpress.com/

Anything else interesting?

Yes, plenty. Despite being principally a single issue campaign, the NUWT also interested itself in a wide range of issues relevant to the fight for equality;

  • In conjunction with other feminist organisations, the NUWT campaigned for women to have the vote on equal terms with men, on restrictions on the employment of married women, and the practice of appointing men as Head Teachers in most cases where girls’ and boys’ schools were amalgamated
  • They championed the extension of educational opportunities for girls, and their access to the professions
  • They campaigned for the general establishment of nursery schools
  • The use of corporal punishment was opposed
  • They supported the introduction of sex education in schools
  • In the 1930s links were developed with women’s organisations in other countries, and many NUWT members became involved in the peace movement
  • In the post war years attention was given to the radical changes brought about by the 1944 Education Act, and their professional and educational impact. It was concerned that girls should have the same access as boys to all technical subjects, and equal facilities for sports

Further reading ‘A history of the NUWT’, Emily Phipps, 1928
‘The story of the national union of women teachers ‘, Muriel Pierotti, 1963
‘Deeds not words – the lives of suffragette teachers’, Hilda Kean, 1989 – this contains information on a number of the founding and pioneering members of the NUWT

Also, our catalogue for the collection, with a fantastic history section (named AdminHistory), which gives a picture of what these women got up to.

*The screen our link sends you to should look something like this (apologies it’s so small).


Text underlined in blue are links. Click on one, and the scanned copy of the journal should open as a PDF.

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Featuring DERA at the 2nd Annual Histories Day 2015

History Libraries & Research Open Day

On 20th January Dan O’Connor and I will be promoting the Newsam Library’s Special Collections and Archives at the Annual History Libraries and Research Open Day 2015. ‘Histories Day’ as it is now referred to, is a one-day conference for postgraduate students and early career researchers, which provides the opportunity for researchers to learn about historical collections in libraries and archives and for historians to meet the librarians in charge of these special collections. The full list of libraries participating and the programme for the day is here. The day is an open history fair with information and advice about using historical collections and getting practical research skills in finding primary source materials. The day will also include training on reference management and digital imaging.

In addition to the Library’s Special Collections, on this occasion, DERA, the Newsam Library’s Digital Education Resource Archive is to be showcased as an example of a digital archive that is home-grown and open access.

About DERA : Digital Education Resource Archive

DERA Word Cloud

Digital Education Resource Archive

DERA was created in 2010 by a team of librarians at the Newsam Library and Archives to preserve born-digital policy, guidance and research documents issued and funded by the UK government, including quangos and various pressure groups that work in the area of education and the related social sciences.

Continue reading

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History Libraries & Research Open Day

histories day 2ndSave this date: Tuesday 20 January 2015! For anyone studying and researching history or related disciplines, this will be an important opportunity to locate key libraries, archives and collections. Following up on the successful 2014 History Day, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research Library will be hosting a second History libraries & research open day with the support of the School of Advanced Study. With the open history fair and one-on-one research clinics in Macmillan Hall and training sessions in a nearby seminar room, the event aims to match researchers and historians with the skills and collections they need. Keep an eye on the event website for further details and hope to see you here in January!

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And the Winner Is!

At this time of year many publications run competitions to find the book with the strangest title . I decided to see if  there were any books with unusual titles in the ‘Education in Literature Collection’.

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman was quite unusual but the oddest title I came across was Stripping Penguins Bare by Michael Carson.

Martin Benson is a student at Aberystwyth University in the 1960’s and he is struggling with his sexual orientation. A struggle which is compounded by the fact that homosexuality is illegal and his Roman Catholic upbringing.

The majority of novels can be borrowed for 3 weeks. DVDs ,which are usually on a 1 week loan, may be borrowed before the 23rd December and returned on the 6th January 2015.

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Wintery Chills in the Curriculum Resources Collection

Frosty trees landscapeIn spite of all its concrete and glass the UCL IOE Library is a remarkably cosy place to be at this time of year, but when it came to sourcing materials on the chilly subject of Winter and Cold Weather for our current display of Curriculum Resources, the choice was overwhelming.

If stories are your preference we have wonderful fiction and picture books. For older readers there’s Marcus Sedgwick’s snow-filled vampire tale My Swordhand is Singing and steeped in East European folktales, the gripping novel about the Russian Revolution, Blood Red, Snow White. In fact the ingenious plot of Sedgwick’s Revolver, set in 1910 north of the Arctic Circle, hinges on a particularly expert knowledge of the properties of cold and snow. Then again, you might want to remind yourself of those chilliest of children’s classics, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s tale of an American pioneer family in The Long Winter or Joan Aitken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. And don’t overlook the great folktales from our large selection, including at least four versions of The Snow Queen.

Snow scenes seem to provide endless inspiration for picture book writers and illustrators, and we have some terrific examples, see for example Jackie Morris’ stunning watercolours in The Ice Bear. If cuddly penguins are already the theme of Christmas 2014 for you, check out Mick Inkpen’s Penguin Small or the poignant story of friendship by Oliver Jeffers, Lost and Found. There are even books of exclusively wintery poetry.

But the frosty theme isn’t confined to fiction. The Curriculum Resources collection provides many different avenues for exploring the idea of Cold. There is material on polar explorers like Matthew Henson (Dewey no 910.9) and books on seasonal crafts (see 745.5). There’s By Truck to the North (919.8, guaranteed hit for fans of TV’s ‘Ice Road Truckers’) and books on seasonal changes in weather (551.6), cold habitats (591.99) and the science of winter (525).

So wha1412 Winter shelvestever approach you want to take, there will be something in the Curriculum Resources collection to support your teaching, and many of the items mentioned here are currently on display (and available for loan) on the display shelves on Level 4 near the foot of the stairs. Curriculum Resources books can be borrowed for 8 weeks and renewed 10 times if no one has requested them.


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