Archive for the ‘Collections’ Category

Mary McIntosh (1936-2013)

February 5th, 2013 by Sinead Wheeler

I recently joined LSE as archives assistant, and one of my first tasks has been listing and describing additional papers of the sociologist and activist Mary McIntosh for addition to the Archives. It’s been an interesting and enjoyable job (although very sad, following news of Mary’s death – see Sue’s message below). Mary’s research and activism covered a great deal of ground, and the papers reflect this – hence the long-ish post here. Mary made an initial deposit of her personal archive with us in 2001, and last year made two further deposits; the most recent, in November, was prompted by a general sort out in preparation for a house move. Below I’ve outlined some of what’s included; it’s also worth noting that beyond the documentary facts of her work and activism, the notes and correspondence (both personal and ‘business’) carry a lot of Mary’s good humour, energy and determination.

From MCINTOSH/M3765/15 - original GLF activists Mary McIntosh (far right), Juno Jones (left) and Nettie Pollard (centre) at the 1995 anniversary event for the first Gay Liberation Front protest

From MCINTOSH/M3765/15 - original GLF activists Mary McIntosh (far right), Juno Jones (left) and Nettie Pollard (centre) at the 1995 anniversary event for the first Gay Liberation Front protest

Spanning 1955 to 2004 the papers, including correspondence, research notes, campaigning materials, journals and pamphlets, document her time as a graduate student (and protestor) at Berkeley; research into the sociology of homosexuality, and the homophile movement; research into prostitution and prostitutes’ rights campaigns; involvement with the women’s liberation movement and socialist-feminist groups; gay rights activism and time with the Gay Liberation Front; and race equality campaigning.

From MCINTOSH/M3765/15: Sticker with logo of the Womens Liberation movement, and poster promoting the '5th Demand'

From MCINTOSH/M3765/15: Sticker with logo of the Womens Liberation movement, and poster promoting the '5th Demand'


LGBT History Month 2013

February 1st, 2013 by Sue Donnelly, Archivist
First Gay Pride march in London

First Gay Pride march in London

February 1 marks the beginning of LGBT History Month in the UK and I thought I would flag up a few things that the Hall-Carpenter Archives will be involved with and attending.

Tonight I’m off to the opening event of Out Proud and Fierce at the City of London Gallery. This exhibition of portraits of under-35 black, British born LGBTQ artists, activists, poets and writers by Ajamu who is a member of Rukus! will be at the Guildhall Art Gallery until 14 April. This evenings free event will include live music, spoken word cabaret and cocktails.

If you are down in Bristol from 2 February – 3 March M Shed has an exhibition Revealing Stories telling the hidden histories of Bristol’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities through images, artworks, oral history and memorabilia. The exhibition is a collaboration with Outstories Bristol and includes items from the Hall-Carpenter Archives relating to Bristol Gay Liberation Front and Bristol Gay Switchboard. The exhibition opens tomorrow with a talk by the writer and director Neil Bartlett.

On 16 February I’ll be speaking at Brave New World, the 10th LGBT history conference organised by London Metropolitan Archives. I’ll be part of a panel composed of community members and archivists discussing the future of collecting LGBT archives and studying the history.

Meanwhile on the otherside of the world the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco is opening Queer Lives, Queer Archives from Around the World. Curated by artist in residence E.G.Crichton the exhibition features materials from archives around the world, including material from Antony Grey’s archive and the Homosexual Law Reform Society taken from the Hall-Carpenter Archives. There is also a short video of me talking about our experience of working with LGBT archives over the past 20 years. So if you are lucky enough to be in San Francisco the exhibition is on until May 2013.

LSE students get the ‘Third Degree’!

January 31st, 2013 by Ellie Robinson

One of the tasks I’ve taken on recently is to review the Archive’s accessioning procedures (i.e. what happens when new material arrives in the Archive) and see how they can be bettered. In practice this means that I often get sight of new material before anyone else, and I get to do a bit of detective work establishing what it actually is.

This is precisely what happened with a recent transfer of material from LSE’s Conferences department. Dispersed among various copies of The Beaver and newspaper reports on ‘The Troubles’ were a number of black and white photographs of what appeared to be a party and of some sort of BBC broadcast. A small minority of pictures had some sort of name on but nothing to indicate the date or occasion. Intrigued, I decided to put my detective hat on.

Third degree002
Third degree001

The names written on the back of the photos were ‘Marion Griffiths’, ‘A. D. Baume’ and ‘J. Bishop’, and a quick search of our student database revealed that these people were students at the LSE in the period 1965-1970, so that at least narrowed down the time period and some of the people involved, but not the occasion. Armed with the knowledge that these people were at least members of LSE, I deduced that if they had done something with the BBC, they may have got a mention in The Beaver.

Happily, our copies of The Beaver have recently been digitised, and are fully text searchable online. It didn’t take long to find this entry from 1968, which revealed that the students had participated in BBC Radio’s ‘Third Degree’ quiz show, and that they had done quite well. On the basis of this article I’m happy to deduce that the party photos are celebrating the team’s success (as everyone looks pretty happy), confirmed by this final picture of the team with their trophies.

Third degree003

Do any former students remember this occasion, or the team members? Do let us know if so!

Christmas Cards and Christmas Closure

December 19th, 2012 by Catherine McIntyre, Archives Assistant

The Archives reading room, along with the rest of the Library, will be closed from Friday 21st December 2012 until Tuesday 1st January 2013 inclusive, re-opening on Wednesday 2nd January 2013 at 10am. Our opening hours can be found on our web site here and information about planning a visit to the Archives can be found here.

When I was listing the correspondence series of the Walter Raeburn collection in 2011, the Christmas cards caught my eye. His correspondence was so meticulously arranged by year and then divided into categories that sometimes included sections for his Christmas cards. I thought there was no better time to share them and it fascinates me how both similar and different they are from today’s cards, which themselves are changing in the face of ever-increasing digital communication.


From RAEBURN/1/12

This one is from 1917 and features a recognisably festive image of holly and robins.


From RAEBURN/1/16

This traditional nativity scene card is from 1918 and was sent to Raeburn by the Reverend of his local church, where Raeburn would often deliver special sermons.


From RAEBURN/1/18

From 1919, when moonlit lakes were considered Christmassy.


From RAEBURN/1/25

This one is from 1920 and looks quite similar to a card I received yesterday. Snowy village scenes are always popular, it seems.


From RAEBURN/1/32 (Click image for bigger version.)

There is an absence of Christmas cards in 1921, which is made up for in 1922 with an abundance of good ones. The first one above features red riding hood and the wolf. The second is a stark countryside scene that wouldn’t look out of place on the mantlepiece of a contemporary home.


From RAEBURN/1/39

This one, from 1923, features an image we wouldn’t necessarily class as Christmassy these days, although the message of being grateful for what you have certainly fits with Christmas.


From RAEBURN/1/43

More horses in the snow, this time from 1924.


From RAEBURN/1/47

And lastly, from 1925, a little girl “laden with good wishes” (i.e. presents) wearing what looks suspiciously like a Santa Claus-themed outfit. My favourite part of this card is the little dog by the girl’s feet.

Merry Christmas, from everyone at the Archives Services Group of LSE Library.

World AIDS Day 2012

December 6th, 2012 by Ellie Robinson

Slightly belatedly, I thought it would be good to do a blog post on some of our HIV/AIDS collections, to mark last week’s World AIDS Day.


Lisa Power is an activist for lesbian and gay rights, and also the policy director for the Terrence Higgins Trust. A founder member of Stonewall, her papers include many articles on gay rights, as well as diaries, photographs and papers from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, among many others.

The collection has been briefly listed and is open to researchers. Although the overall theme of the collection is campaigning, there are some files on HIV/AIDS such as HCA/POWER/20, which contains a diary from a World AIDS conference, and HCA/POWER/17, papers from the Investment in Health meeting in Latvia in 1993. There may well be further material that could be revealed with more detailed cataloguing, so if you’re interested in using this collection then do let us know.


The AIDS Care Education Project (ACE) began in south-west London in 1988, as a response to the AIDS epidemic of the time. A membership organisation intended to help those with HIV/AIDS and prevent the spread of infection, it was also designed so that those affected by HIV/AIDS would have control over the policy and practice of the organisation, without having their HIV/AIDS status revealed. In the 1990s it became evident that HIV/AIDS was not exclusive to gay men, and the ACE project recognised this by extending their services to other communities, notably African refugee women.

We hold the company records of ACE, such as annual reports, constitution, committee papers and staff records (currently closed). We also have some legacy born-digital material in this collection, including some databases (HCA/ACE/3/5)  that could potentially have great research value.


Similar to ACE, Body Positive was set up in 1985 to provide support, particularly counselling, to individuals with HIV. This included a telephone service, a hospital visiting group and a drop-in centre, as well as awareness-raising and advocacy. The papers include committee minutes, newsletters and publications, and correspondence.


Simon Watney, gay activist and art historian, has dedicated much of his working life to the fight against AIDS. Since 1986, when he left academia to concentrate on campaigning, he has chaired the Policy Group and the Health Education Group of the Terrence Higgins Trust, and was a founder-Trustee of The National AIDS Manual and of Gay Men Fighting AIDS. He has also written several books and articles on the subject.

The Watney archive is one of the largest in our Hall-Carpenter collection. Within the collection is Watney’s research materials and notes; articles, speeches and reports written by Watney; organisations with which Watney was involved, such as the GLF, OutRage! and the Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust; and a large number of materials regarding AIDS and art.

For more information about World AIDS Day please do look at the very informative More information on our Hall-Carpenter collections can be found at

Death in the pot

August 31st, 2012 by Anna Towlson, Assistant Archivist

Cheap food can come at a high price. Frederick Accum’s Treatise on adulterations of food and culinary poisons, published in 1820, details a wide range of unpleasant and often dangerous food additives that were in common use at the time. The ‘fraudulent sophistications’ detailed by Accum included the use of copper to colour pickles, alum to whiten bread and lead to clarify white wine.

Accum’s book marked a turning point in the history of food safety. At the beginning of the 19th century there were few effective controls on what could or couldn’t be added to food, or on how food and drink should be labelled for sale to the public. The industrialisation of food production, an unstable economy, high food prices had all combined to create an economy in which the adulteration of foodstuffs flourished. Complaints and accusations about the poor quality of food available in London were commonplace, but tended to wild exaggeration, for example that bakers routinely used ground-up human bones to make their flour go further. Scientific advances provided new ingredients and processes for fraudsters, but also provided Accum, a chemist, with the means and methods to seriously research the nature and extent of food fraud. His book records some of the scientific experiments he used to expose food fraud, but he also saw the problem of food adulteration as a failure of political will, and used his book to argue for stricter government controls to regulate the sale and production of food and drink.

Accum used powerful language and imagery in support of his cause. He adopted as his slogan the Biblical quotation ‘there is death in the pot’, while the cover of his Treatise shows a fly caught in a spider’s web, surrounded by a border of snakes and topped with a skull and crossbones.

Accum used powerful language and imagery in support of his cause. He adopted as his slogan the Biblical quotation 'there is death in the pot', while the cover of his Treatise shows a fly caught in a spider’s web, surrounded by a border of snakes and topped with a skull and crossbones.

The book was a popular success, but Accum’s campaign against food fraud soon ran into the ground. The suggestion of government regulation was unacceptable at a time when Britain was embracing with enthusiasm a laissez-faire approach to the economy; the production and sale of food was a matter of commerce, a transaction between buyer and seller, and there was no place for state interference. Accum also suffered a personal disgrace soon after its publication: he was accused of (whisper it!) mutilating books in the library of the Royal Institution and fled to Germany to escape trial. It was not until the 1850s that the cause was taken up again and brought back into the spotlight, this time by the physician Arthur Hassall.

Serious food frauds of the kind detailed by Accum may now be illegal, but they are still with us, from counterfeit alcohol in the UK to fake milk in China. Indeed they may well become more widespread as food prices rise.  And the wider debate about food safety and food additives that Accum began continues today: what is it acceptable or not acceptable to add to food? How should food be labelled? When and how should the government intervene?