* Adam Matthew Publications. Imaginative publishers of research collections.
jbanks
News  |  Orders  |  About Us
*
*   A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z  
 

MASS OBSERVATION ARCHIVE

Papers from the Mass-Observation Archive at the University of Sussex
Part 5: Topic Collections on Welfare and Social Conditions, 1939-1949 and

Part 6: Topic Collections - the Home Front during World War Two

Introduction to the Topic Collections by Dorothy Sheridan

The primary material generated by Mass-Observation’s studies from 1937 onwards have been grouped together by subject matter in Topic Collections (TCs). Although every effort has been made to retain the original arrangement of the material and keep all the papers relating to one study together, the groups are to some extent artificial, especially where several years are spanned within a single TC. In most cases, every TC contains the papers resulting from one or two major studies but other papers which are closely related have been included. It has been very difficult to reconstruct an original order with these papers because Mass-Observation itself over the years re-arranged material, and annotated older papers when repeating a study years later. In some cases, unfortunately, papers from the same main study can be found in separate TCs. Please note, however, that the full handlists can be searched electronically for key words and phrases.

The boxes contain a range of forms of material: reports, drafts of reports and plans for proposed books, descriptions of people, places and events, accounts of interviews, project plans, instructions to investigators, questionnaire replies, internal memoranda, correspondence, printed booklets, photographs, graphs and diagrams, maps, posters, tickets, bills, advertisements and press cuttings. The Topic Collections are predominantly the work of paid fuller part-time investigators, and do not normally include material sent in by the volunteer panel. However, where diaries and directive replies have been analysed for inclusion in a particular study, typed extracts from panel material may be found.

Links to the publications and the Files Report sequence

The relationship between the File Reports and the Topic Collections is close but not exactly parallel. Not all studies were written up as File Reports or books. In some cases, the primary material behind a study has not survived. There is no system of cross reference, but handlists for both groups of papers may be searched electronically.

Codes and abbreviations

De-coding Mass-Observation’s symbols, abbreviations and terminology is a creative task and the key offered here should be taken as guidance only. Over the years, different members of the M-O team used different systems of recording.

“Directs”: responses on a theme elicited directly by M-O investigators from members of the public

“Indirects” responses on a theme elicited by a M-O investigators in the course of an informal conversation with a member of the public

“Overheards” snatches of conversation gathered by a M-O investigators without the person being aware of being recorded

“Follows” descriptions of a person’s behaviour while being followed by a M-O investigator (used mostly in pre-war work)

A simple system of coding was used for visual identification of social class:

A “Rich people”
B “The Middle Classes”
C “Artisans and skilled workers”
D “Unskilled workers and the least economically or educationally trained of our people"

Thus “F30B” refers to a thirty year old middle class woman (F=female) and “M20D” refers to a twenty-year old unskilled man. This code is listed at the beginning of the M-O publication War Factory (1943).

Initials with the date at the top of a page usually refer to the M-O investigator (or “Inv”) who wrote the report or carried out the interview.

Referencing items from the Topic Collections in publications

Cite the Topic Collection title, followed by the box number and file letter.
Example:
M-OA: TC Air Raids, 3/C
You can add further details as follows: e.g. Observation in an air raid shelter, Sept 1940.

The Topic Collection numbers

There is no significance to the numbering given to the Topic Collections. Each Topic Collection was allocated a number as it was sorted and listed.

Topic Collections by number

TC Topic
1 Housing 1938-48
2 Reconstruction 1941-43 *Pt 4
3 Family Planning 1944-49 *Pt 4
4 Shopping 1939-63
5 Evacuation 1939-44
6 Conscientious Objection & Pacifism 1939-44
7 Happiness 1938
8 Astrology and Spiritualism 1938-47
9 Korea 1950
10 Labour Party Campaign “Ask Your Dad” 1948
11 Juvenile Delinquency 1946-47
12 Sexual Behaviour 1939-50
13 Health 1939-49 *Pt 4
14 Famous Persons 1938-52
15 Demolition in London 1941
16 Live Entertainment 1938-48
17 Films 1937-48
18 Personal Appearance and Clothes 1938-54
19 Day Nurseries 1941-46 *Pt 4
20 Reading Habits 1937-47
21 Co-operative Stores 1939-47
22 Commercial Advertising 1938-47
23 Air Raids 1938-45
24 Browns of Chester 1942-55
25 Political Attitudes & Behaviour 1938-56
26 “Britain Can Make It” Exhibition 1946
27 Work: Registration and Demobilisation 1938-46
28 Dreams 1937-48
29 Forces (Men) 1939-56
30 Bird-Nesting 1951
31 Blind People 1947
32 Women in Wartime 1939-45
33 Art 1938-49
34 Science 1938-47
35 Air Raid Shelter Competition 1939
36 Adult and Higher Education 1937-48 *Pt 4
37 Magazines 1940-53
38 Music, Dancing & Jazz 1939-41
39 Picture Postcard Analysis 1940-41
40 Post War Hopes 1944 *Pt 4
41 Games & Jigsaws 1937-41
42 Posters 1939-47
43 Propaganda & Morale 1939-44
44 Public Administration & Social Services
in Wartime 1941-42 *Pt 4
45 Radio Rediffusion Surveys 1949 & 1955
46 By-Elections 1937-47
47 Religion 1937-50
48 Squatting 1946
49 Victory Celebrations 1945-46
50 World Outlook 1945-50
51 Youth 1937-43
52 Photography 1940-44
53 Beveridge Report Surveys 1942-47 *Pt 4
54 Police, Law and Invasion Preparations 1939-41
55 Gas Masks 1939-43
56 Peace and the Public Survey 1956
57 The Budget, Money Matters & Household Budgeting 1939-50
58 Holidays 1937-51
59 Children & Education 1937-52
60 Press 1938-42
61 Newspaper Reading 1937-62
62 Anti-Semitism 1939-51
63 Smoking Habits 1937-65
64 Coal Mining 1938-48
65 London Survey 1940
66 Town & District Surveys 1938-49
67 Food 1937-53
68 Fuel 1937-47
69 Royalty 1937-60
70 Transport 1937-43 and 1963
71 Road Safety 1946-55
72 Capital Punishment 1938-56
73 Poetry 1939-40
74 Radio Listening 1939-48
75 Industry 1940-55
76 General Elections 1945-55
77 Jokes 1939-47
78 Commodities 1941-64
79 Dogs in Wartime 1939-42
80 Leisure 1940-47
81 “Meet Yourself on Sunday” 1948-50
82 Sport 1939-47
83 Voting Attitudes 1944
84 Local Council Elections 1937-51
85 Drinking Habits 1939-63
86 Gambling 1937-51 (in preparation)
87 Wall Chalkings 1939-43

Those marked with an asterisk are covered in this fourth part of the Mass-Observation Archive.

If you wish to search the listings for all of the Topic Collections (and other sections of the Mass-Observation Archive such as the File Reports), please go to the Mass-Observation Archive web-site at:

http://www.susx.ac.uk/library/massobs

<back

 
 
 

* * *
   
* * *

* *© 2019 Adam Matthew Digital Ltd. All Rights Reserved.