Chapter 5 analyses perceptions by light therapists of the suntan (pigmentation) as the external sign of stored solar energy in the body, of the body visualised as literally ‘photogenic’ (light-generating). It does so by focusing specifically on advertisements using colour to convey the glowing tans and radiant smiles of healthy mothers, thriving babies and virile men, who consume light in the battle against ‘sun-starvation.’ Both sunlight and artificial light were directed onto mothers’ malfunctioning breasts to restore lactation, onto ‘backwards’ children to correct normal brain functioning, and onto injured soldiers to disinfect and heal their fetid battle wounds. In the regeneration of these highly-valued subjects, physicians and politicians alike perceived light as an aid to national salvation. Yet in encouraging citizens to emulate the dark skins of ‘primitive’ races, they conveyed ambivalent attitudes towards the merits of suntanned skin. This chapter investigates suntan as simultaneously a visual marker of recharged health and a troubling act of racial transgression during a period of heightened eugenic fervour in Britain and Europe.
The research for this book has taken me to three continents and seemingly countless archives, libraries and record offices. It has been a rewarding and enjoyable adventure in which I have made many acquaintances, both personal and professional, and cemented a few lasting friendships. In the course of researching and writing this work I have been ably assisted by many talented professionals. The librarians and staff of the following collections were very understanding: the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa; the Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto; the Public Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg; the Saskatchewan Archives Board, Saskatoon and Regina; the Glenbow-Alberta Archive, Calgary; the McGill University Libraries, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Montreal; and the Robarts Library, University of Toronto. I would also like to give a special thanks to Glenn Wright of the National Archives for his invaluable assistance while on a brief sojourn to Ottawa in 1987.
Australia proved extremely rewarding. In Canberra, thanks must go to the librarians, archivists and their staffs at the Australian Archives, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Library of Australia; and to Mr Tom Roberts, office manager at the national headquarters of the Returned Services League of Australia who gave me permission to consult their papers at the National Library of Australia. In addition, I must thank the Australian Archive in Brighton, Melbourne, which contains official military documents. Special mention must be noted for the co-operation received at the Archive Office of New South Wales, Sydney; the Archive Office of Tasmania, Hobart; the Battye Library and Western Australian Archive, Perth; the Queensland State Archive, Brisbane; the South Australian Archive, Adelaide; the Victorian Public Record Office, Melbourne; the La Trobe Library, Melbourne, and the Mitchell Library, Sydney.
South Africa provided a rich and previously untapped source of primary material. More importantly, the librarians and staff of the Jagger Library, University of Cape Town; the Cape Archives Depot and South African Library, Cape Town; the Cory Library for Historical Research, Rhodes University, Grahamstown; the National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown; the Killie-Campbell Africana Library, University of Natal, Durban; the Johannesburg Public Library; the Central Archives Depot and Transvaal Archive Depot, Pretoria; and the National War Fund, Johannesburg, were always forthcoming and eager to help. A special thanks must be expressed to Anna Cunningham of the William Cullen Library, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and Maryna Fraser of the Barlow Rand Archive whose expertise and genuine interest were much appreciated.
British librarians and archivists were very supportive and co-operative as well. I am indebted to the House of Lords Record Office; the Public Record Office, Kew and Chancery Lane, London; the British Library; the India Office Library; the Imperial War Museum; the National Army Museum; the British Library of Political and Economic Science; the Greater London County Record Office; the Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic, Durham University; the Wiltshire Record Office, Trowbridge; the Norfolk Record Office, Norwich; the Modem Records Department, University of Warwick; the University of Sheffield Library; the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London; the Bodleian Library and Rhodes House Library, Oxford; the National Registry of Archives, London; and the National Archives of New Zealand, Wellington. A very special thanks must be expressed to Donald Simpson and his successor as librarian, Miss Terry Berringer, for their able assistance at the Royal Commonwealth Society Library; the institution where I first started this project. I am equally grateful to the Warden and Fellows of New College and to the Keeper of Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library for permission to consult and to quote from the Milner Papers, to Lord Delamere for permission to examine and to quote from the Hewins Papers, and to Julian Amery MP for permission to consult and to quote from the Leo Amery Papers and Diaries. Finally I would like to thank the editors of Histoire sociale – Social History, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, War and Society and Manchester University Press for permission to use portions of material I have previously published with them.
Throughout my research and travels I have been generously supported by a series of fellowships, scholarships and travel grants. They include the B. J. Sanderson Fellowship, University of Saskatchewan; the Overseas Research Scholarship administered by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, the Department of National Education, South Africa; the Australian War Memorial, Canberra; and the research committee of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the West of England, Bristol. I am eternally grateful to Dr Duff Spafford of the Department of Economics, University of Saskatchewan, who suddenly produced much needed funding at a critical time during the research for my doctoral thesis.
Many friends and relatives throughout England, Australia, Canada and South Africa contributed in one way or another to this work. Their hospitality, friendship and moral support has been unending and deeply appreciated. However, there are a few individuals who deserve special mention. Dr Stephen Constantine, University of Lancaster, has provided me with a tremendous amount of insight into emigration history. His grasp of the subject matter and his knowledge of its broader aspects and implications have been extremely useful. Dr Dane Kennedy, University of Nebraska, has been an enthusiastic sounding board for a variety of ideas. I learned much about South Africa, its rich sources and troubled history from long conversations with Eric Haynes, Richard Bouch and Chris Tapscott. Professor Michael Roe, University of Tasmania, Dr Joe Powell, Monash University, Dr Carl Bridge, University of New England, Professor Peter Dennis and Dr Jeff Grey, Australian Defence Force Academy, University of New South Wales, were of invaluable assistance regarding Australian sources and historiography. Anita Burdette and Bill Russell, archives officers at the Canadian High Commission in London, and Dr Rae Fleming were a constant source of help regarding Canadian archival material. I would also like to thank John Barnes of the Government Department, London School of Economics, for his friendly advice and help in gaining access to the Amery Papers.
I also welcome this opportunity to express my sincerest thanks to Dr Robert Boyce, who supervised my doctoral thesis on which this book is based; and for his guidance, constructive criticism, and above all, patience during those labourious years. A mention must be made to my long-suffering colleagues in the School of History at UWE, Bristol; in particular Dr Martin Thomas whose painstaking editorial comments helped me to clarify many issues and ideas. Finally, I am indebted to my wife Gudrun whose love, support and assistance has been my greatest asset.