Tag Archives: Yugoslavia

An Inspirational Educator

I just came across this lovely blog post about Fred Singleton, by Mark Andrews, who was a student at Bradford University during the 1970s.   Fred Singleton was head of Yugoslav studies at the University.  Mark Andrews found Fred’s teaching and his enthusiasm for Yugoslavia and its people truly inspiring and this comes across in his post which neatly summarises Fred’s life and interests.

Fred Singleton teaching geography of Yugoslavia (archive ref UNI D18)

Fred Singleton teaching geography of Yugoslavia (archive ref UNI D18)

Fred Singleton helped in the reconstruction of Skopje after the 1963 earthquake, with a group of Bradford Institute of Technology students.  Special Collections contains objects presented to the students by their hosts and Fred’s own, very large, archive.

Collections of the Month: November 2009.

What has a 1970s guide to Bolton Abbey

Info about Bolton Abbey

in common with a scrapbook of 1980s press cuttings about anti-nuclear activities in Cambridge?

Press cuttings collection

They are part of our new collections of ephemera.  Such items can be fascinating and important primary historical sources and link us directly to the ideas and opinions of their creators in a way that more formal documents may not do.  This is particularly true of pressure groups such as those campaigning for nuclear disarmament, who use leaflets, posters and other informal sources to reach out and spread their message.

Some of our ephemera belongs to individual archives, for instance, the J.B. Priestley Archive is rich in programmes, playbills and posters for performances of Priestley plays.  But much of it does not fit into a particular archive, so we have decided to create distinct ephemera collections for key subject areas:

PEACE.  Organised using the Commonweal classification (ref: Eph PAC).  Mainly relating to nuclear disarmament campaigning in the UK, 1980s camps at Molesworth and Greenham, but all sorts of other interesting items are appearing.  Supplementing our extensive peace-related collections of books and archives.

YORKSHIRE, particularly our special interests, the Dales and the West Riding. (ref: Eph YOR). Organised by Dale or town.  Guides to towns, walks or caves, the story of a holiday cottage in Dentdale, mini maps.  Supplementing our Yorkshire collections.

Former YUGOSLAVIA and the Balkans (ref: Eph YUG). Historically, the University has had close links with this region, and the Library specialises in its social and economic history.  Hence interesting materials will come our way!  The first chunk is a collection of manifestos and other papers relating to elections in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Preserving the New Atlantis

We have just finished a project to improve the condition of the New Atlantis Foundation Archive, thanks to a very welcome donation of £5000 earlier this year. This Archive came to us in a damp state, in poor quality boxes and folders which were damaging their contents. We have been able to dry it out somewhat since but it was still very vulnerable.

The funding was used to purchase archival quality boxes, folders, tissue and other materials. The Special Collections Assistant, John Brooker, carried out the laborious work of re-boxing, replacing folders, removing rusty pins, staples and adhesive tape, and crafting individual containers for less straightforward items such as pipes, hats and artworks.  Photograph albums were interleaved with tissue.

A basic list of the contents of the Archive should be available later this year, though far more work is required to bring out the connections and richness of this complex Archive. It tells the fascinating story of Dmitrije Mitrinovic, the circle that grew up around him, their ideas, their everyday lives, and how they connected with the intelligentsia, artists and writers of their day.  We believe it will be a key resource for scholars researching inter-war ideas and politics.

Sad Archive

From this …

Happy Archive

… To this

Mitrinovic News 2

The online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography now includes an entry on Dimitrije Mitrinovic by his biographer Andrew Rigby. Mitrinovic lived in England from 1914 till his death in 1953 and. although he never became a British citizen, he was deeply involved in artistic and literary circles. The online DNB can be accessed by members of subscribing institutions – note that many UK public libraries offer their members remote access.

Mitrinovic News 1

“Dimitrije Mitrinovic”: a biography / by Andrew Rigby.

A new(ish) book relating to one of the most fascinating individuals whose archives are represented in Special Collections at Bradford.

In the early years of the First World War, a young Serb, Dimitrije Mitrinovic, appeared in the intellectual and artistic circles of London, arguing that the way to a harmonious world lay through the creation of a “world consciousness” in the minds of individuals. He launched a welter of groups, movements and other initiatives to promote and embody his vision of the world as an organic whole. Andrew Rigby describes in this book the substance of Mitrinovic’s vision and the fascinating story of efforts to translate it into practice.

Available from booksellers, price £9.99 (ISBN 01850723346) or direct from the publishers Sessions of York.

Other links: Mitrinovic Archive, New Atlantis Foundation (set up after Mitrinovic’s death to promote his ideas).

Skopje earthquake

The city of Skopje in Yugoslavia, now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, suffered a catastrophic earthquake on 26 July 1963.  The March 2008 Archives Hub focus on volcanoes and earthquakes shows online two photographs of the devastation in Skopje from albums presented to a team of students from the Bradford Institute of Technology (now the University of Bradford) who assisted in the reconstruction efforts.