Award-winning Cuban Studies Expert Provides First-hand Look at Impact of Long-standing Embargo

Following the release of an American contractor held in a Cuban prison for more than five years on spying charges, President Obama announced Wednesday the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba. Mr. Obama also declared an embassy will be opened in Havana for the first time in more than 50 years.

During the Readex ALA breakfast presentation in Las Vegas last June, University of Florida Professor Lillian Guerra shared her first-hand observations of how the long-standing embargo has impacted life in the island nation. See the full presentation here:


For more information about Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society, or to request a trial for your institution,
please contact readexmarketing[at]readex[dot]com.

Award-winning Cuban Studies Expert Provides First-hand Look at Impact of Long-standing Embargo

19th-Century Illustrations of African Americans by E.W. Kemble

Most famous for illustrating the first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Edward Winsor Kemble was highly regarded for his compassionate images of African Americans. Many of these illustrations can be found within Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia. Below are a few examples of Kemble's artwork from a diverse selection of books published at the end of the 19th century:

From Our Phil and Other Stories (1889) by Katharine Floyd Dana, who published more widely under the pen name Olive A. Wadsworth:

 

From Daddy Jake: The Runaway and Short Stories Told After Dark (1889) by Joel Chandler Harris, creator of the “Uncle Remus” stories:

19th-Century Illustrations of African Americans by E.W. Kemble

Call for Papers: Digital Americanists at American Literature Association 2015

The Digital Americanists Society (DAS) solicits abstracts (c. 200 words) for papers to be included in the Society’s pre-arranged sessions at the 2015 American Literature Association Conference (Boston, May 21-24). The Digital Americanists are eager to constitute panels of the most exciting DH work happening in and around American studies, literary and otherwise. If you have an idea for a panel rather than an individual paper, DAS would be happy to hear about it; email digitalamericanists[at]gmail[dot]com as soon as possible.

In keeping with the Digital Americanists’ commitment to a broad understanding of American literature, culture, digital media, and computational methods, DAS is pleased to consider submissions that address any facet of the relationship between those terms or that question the terms themselves. Submissions from early-career scholars and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged.

Deadline for submissions is Monday, January 19, 2015. Send abstracts (plain text, please, unless there’s a good reason to use something else) or questions by email to digitalamericanists[at]gmail[dot]com. For more information about the Digital Americanists Society, see http://digitalamericanists.org. For information about the ALA and the 2015 conference, see http://americanliteratureassociation.org.

Call for Papers: Digital Americanists at American Literature Association 2015

“Surgical Bugbears and Incongruities” — Military Health and Medicine during the American Civil War

 Painting by Edward Stauch (1830-?) of a wounded Civil War soldier Painting by Edward Stauch (1830-?) of a wounded Civil War soldier The December release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society contains many documents pertaining to military medicine during the war. These include works on providing immediate surgical care on the battlefield, maintaining the health of a standing army, helping to recuperate the sick and wounded, and raising funds to care for veterans.

 

Directions to Army Surgeons on the Field of Battle (1861)
By George James Guthrie, Surgeon General to the British Forces during the Crimean War

George James Guthrie’s directions were adopted by the United States Sanitary Commission and printed for the use of the Union surgeons. The directions include recommended treatments for gunshot and saber wounds to most parts of the body. Also included are extensive instructions on both when and how to amputate limbs.  One of the less grisly directions illustrates the state of surgery in the mid-19th-century, noting the difficulties of the practice and techniques to be discontinued:  

“Surgical Bugbears and Incongruities” — Military Health and Medicine during the American Civil War

Context Adds Complexity: Before and After the Attack on Pearl Harbor, as Seen in Major American Newspapers in the Pacific Northwest

Chinese Americans were given certificates to show that they weren’t of Japanese origin. (Click to open article in PDF.)Chinese Americans were given certificates to show that they weren’t of Japanese origin. (Click to open article in PDF.) Reliving a moment in history through the pages of America’s Historical Newspapers takes the event out of its place on the timeline of history and reinserts it into the messy context of its era. The details of the event aren’t altered, but what surrounds it makes you think, “Oh wow, that was going on at the same time.” Or, “Man, I didn’t know he was involved in this.” Or, “I never knew that happened.”

Sometimes even events that everybody knows about are seen in new ways. The response to the attack on Pearl Harbor is a case in point. One of the odd things is that Pearl Harbor seems to exist almost outside of the wartime context, even though Japan was at war in China. The bombs falling on Hawaii and the sinking of our ships dominate our memory of it, even though it had a greater role in Japan’s war strategy which sometimes seems forgotten.

In the pages of U.S. newspapers, life was going on as usual in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1940s. Sure, there was fighting in Europe and China, but that was there. Front pages had articles about the battles in Europe and the Pacific, but they weren’t solely devoted to it.

Context Adds Complexity: Before and After the Attack on Pearl Harbor, as Seen in Major American Newspapers in the Pacific Northwest

Rebellion, Riot, and Mutiny: Compelling Criminal Trials in Afro-Americana Imprints

A recent release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922, includes compelling accounts of several significant criminal trials. Five of these, spanning the years 1824 to 1851, are highlighted below.

Statement of the proceedings of the directors of the London Missionary Society, in the case of Rev. John Smith, missionary, Demerara. Extracted from the Missionary chronicle for March 1824 (1824)

The London Missionary Society, a nondenominational organization, was created in order to bring Christianity to native people living in British colonies throughout the world. This publication is the response by the society's directors to the trial and sentencing of one of their missionaries in what is now Guyana. The Demerara rebellion of 1823 swept through the colony for two days in August and involved more than 10,000 slaves. They were rebelling against poor treatment and the mistaken belief that they had been emancipated but were not being told that by their masters. As many as 250 slaves were killed; 27 of them were executed.

The Reverend John Smith was court-martialed, having been accused of inflaming the slaves and withholding knowledge of the planned rebellion from the authorities. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. He died in prison before a reprieve from the king reached Demerara. He was 33 years old. His death became a rallying cry for the abolitionist movement in Britain.

Rebellion, Riot, and Mutiny: Compelling Criminal Trials in Afro-Americana Imprints

Cutting the “Cord of Caste”—The Impact of British Activist George Thompson on American Abolitionist Societies

Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison and George ThompsonWendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison and George Thompson George Donisthorpe Thompson (1804-1878) was a British abolitionist who often pointed out America’s role in the perpetuation of slavery. Lecturing in the United States in 1834, Thompson attracted the attention of both abolitionists and slavery supporters. He left the U.S. “to escape the assassin’s knife,” a claim supported by the Hobart Town Courier, which reported that attempts to “burn and murder” Thompson had been made in several American towns. New abolitionist societies formed in the wake of Thompson’s speaking tour, and the November release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society contains the annual reports from three such societies, each of which was organized by women.

First Annual Report of the Ladies’ New-York City Anti-Slavery Society (1836)

In their first annual report, the Ladies’ New-York City Anti-Slavery Society referred to both Thompson’s role in their society’s organization and his unceremonious departure from the United States:

Cutting the “Cord of Caste”—The Impact of British Activist George Thompson on American Abolitionist Societies

“The Long, Wicked War”—Regimental Histories from the American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922

Many of the documents in the October release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society are histories of specific regiments. Some contain registers naming each member of the regiment. Others include photographs of their officers. But they all have unique perspectives and descriptions of their regiment’s particular “tramps and triumphs.”  

Testimonial to Col. Rush C. Hawkins, Ninth Regiment N.Y.V. (1863)

At a ceremony honoring Col. Rush Christopher Hawkins and the Ninth Regiment of New York Volunteers, also known as “Hawkins’ Zouaves,” Charles P. Kirkland contextualized the gravity of the Civil War. He considered it not only “a contest for a nation’s life” but also a “contest for the very existence of Republican Government, not only here but every where, for if our experiment fails, it surely can NEVER be repeated,—it is a contest… to determine the question of man’s capacity for self-government.” Kirkland continued:

“The Long, Wicked War”—Regimental Histories from the American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922

Just published—The Readex Report: November 2014

IN THIS ISSUE: Myth and fact mingle in early depictions of the Muslim world; history redeems a Justice of the Antebellum Supreme Court; and stitching together facts to visualize Colonial clothing.

The Muslim World in Early U.S. Texts
By Julie R. Voss, Assistant Professor of English, Coordinator of American Studies Program, Lenoir-Rhyne University

About a decade ago, I began researching representations of Islam in early national American literary texts; when someone would ask what the subject of my dissertation was, and I gave this answer, I often received responses along the lines of, “Was there any literature about Islam in the early U.S.?” Like my interlocutors, I was initially surprised when I stumbled upon the presence of Islam in early American writing.  Somehow, through the many American history classes in my education, I had missed learning about the Barbary conflicts that followed the Revolutionary War.  The Muslim world was never as separate from Europe (and Colonial America) as we moderns might believe, and between 1785 and 1815, Americans were intensely aware of Muslim North Africa in particular.  > Full Story

Finding John McKinley: Fresh Discoveries about a Forgotten Supreme Court Justice
By Steven P. Brown, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Auburn University

Just published—The Readex Report: November 2014

Folly, Falsehood, and Disfellowship: Religious Discord and Disunity in 19th-Century America

The October release of American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922: From the New-York Historical Society includes works that illustrate tensions between different religions, within Presbyterianism, and between believers and free-thinkers.  

An Exposure of the Folly and Falsehood of the Rev'd George C. Light (1829)
By Archibald Cameron

Archibald Cameron wrote this pamphlet in response to one titled, “True State of the Case, or Slander Repelled” by Reverend George C. Light. Light claimed Presbyterians were secretly traveling throughout the country arguing against the separation of church and state.  Cameron clarifies the Presbyterian position, saying:

The object…was to influence the public to choose good men for official stations in society. It seems to aim at giving a general influence to Christianity in all things over the minds of men; but not the union of church and state, or the establishment of Presbyterianism by state authority. Presbyterians know that their system is sufficiently obvious in the Bible and they think it more glorious it should make its way by its own intrinsic excellence than by any human authority. There is no threatening here as the Advocate says about “filling every office in the state and national government with a good orthodox Presbyterian.” What if Dr. Ely should prefer a sound Presbyterian to be a judge or ruler if he should otherwise be a man competent to occupy that station, there is nothing objectionable in it: has he not as much right to his own choice as those people who exclaim against him.

Folly, Falsehood, and Disfellowship: Religious Discord and Disunity in 19th-Century America

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