New issue of The Readex Report available

In the September 2010 issue: the dark descent of an American literary icon; using 19th-century government documents to right wrongs against Native Americans; and a private collector’s zeal adds depth and diversity to an eminent historical collection. From Mascot to Militant: The Many Campaigns of Seba Smith’s Major Jack Downing By Aaron McLean Winter, National Tsing Hua University Readers of the Washington, D.C. newspaper The Daily National Intelligencer witnessed a strange and disturbing transformation in 1847, when the nation’s most popular literary character freely admitted that he had become a greedy, cynical killer. Soon enough this beloved American hero, whose name was synonymous with Yankee Doodle, would threaten to stage a military coup to seize the Capitol and overthrow Congress!  Continued...
New issue of The Readex Report available

How Uncle Wiggily Taught Me to Read

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Oct. 30, 1955)

How Uncle Wiggily Taught Me to Read

America's Historical Newspapers reviewed in new issue of Journal of American History

The September 2010 issue of the Journal of American History—the quarterly journal of the Organization of American Historians—features this review of America's Historical Newspapers

America's Historical Newspapers reviewed in new issue of Journal of American History

Exploring Mexico's Revolutions in American Newspapers

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the initial uprising that would lead to the independence of Mexico from Spain.  2010 is also the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution of 1910, which overthrew President Porfirio Diaz.  Both revolutions lasted around a decade. The 1810 uprising is traditionally thought to have begun on September 16. This article published on December 20, 1810 in Boston’s Independent Chronicle shows how early news of the uprising was presented in the United States. It’s short and to the point.
On February 23, 1811, Baltimore’s Federal Gazette contained this translation of an article from the November 20, 1810 issue of the Spanish-language Mexico Gazette. The original article is a first-person account by Brigadier Don Felix Calleja of his actions in the field against the insurgents. Everything traveled slowly then, not just news. Publishers had no fear of reprinting materials from wherever they could get them.

Exploring Mexico's Revolutions in American Newspapers

Who Wants Yesterday's Papers? We Do!

Where do all those papers in Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers come from? The majority of the issues in the seven series of Early American Newspapers were originally filmed over many decades in partnership with the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. However, a variety of libraries, museums, universities, and historical societies have also contributed a great many issues, as have several current-day publishers with historical back files.

From America's Historical Newspapers

Who Wants Yesterday's Papers? We Do!

Women's Suffrage: The Frontier Background

"Spirit of the Frontier" by John Gast (1872)

Women's Suffrage: The Frontier Background

Hapless Orphans?: Anonymity and Authorship in the Early American Novel (1789-1820): A Society for Early Americanists Conference Panel

Panel Chair: Duncan Faherty, Queens College & the CUNY Graduate Center As Cathy Davidson registers in Revolution and the Word, "at least one hundred novels were produced in America between 1789 and 1820." Since the initial publication of Davidson’s Revolution and the Word in 1986, our sense of the variegated contours of that archive has dramatically increased. Indeed "rediscovered" texts which barely received consideration even a decade ago — like Leonora Sansay’s The Secret History (1808) — are now central parts of our rapidly expanding canon. This panel aims to explore a still largely ignored subset of these novels: the dozens of novels published anonymously during the period. Texts such as The Hapless Orphan (1793), The History of Constantius & Pulchera (1795), St. Herbert (1796), Moreland Vale (1801), and Humanity in Algiers (1801) have much to tell us about the development of early American literary history and cultural practices, yet, perhaps, because of the lack of biographical inroads, they continue to be overlooked. This panel seeks to redress that issue by considering the challenges and potential rewards of writing about anonymously published novels.
  • Do we need a different critical approach to fully consider the complex circumstances of "anonymous" novels?
  • Do we habitually over-privilege biographical contexts?
  • Are contextualized readings of anonymous novels suspect because of methodological difficulties?
  • How did the reception or understanding of some works — such as The Power of Sympathy (1789) or The Gleaner (1798) — change when their authorship was revealed?
  • What is the cultural capital of anonymity?
  • How does anonymity function as a rhetorical move or as a political position?
Hapless Orphans?: Anonymity and Authorship in the Early American Novel (1789-1820): A Society for Early Americanists Conference Panel

Materials and Methods in Early American Religion: A Society of Early Americanists Conference Roundtable

Panel Chair: Chris Phillips, Lafayette College Scholarly interest in early American religions has greatly expanded in recent years across a variety of disciplines. This panel is intended to generate discussion about how ideas about doing research on religious topics has changed, and how scholars can best use archives, both digital and physical, many of which are only newly available. The chair invites one-page proposals for 10-minute talks (not formal papers) from any field, including interdisciplinary studies. Possible questions may include: • What is a religious artifact? • What can we know from what we find in the archive? • How do issues of access (cataloging, access costs, research funding, etc.) inform or limit research in these areas? • What might the future relationship between digital and physical collections look like? • Do digital forms of research and delivery offer new paradigms for understanding religions? • How do contemporary notions of religiosity and secularity affect work on early American religion? • How do we deal with “gaps” in the archive? • What new paradigms or metaphors, beyond recovery, reconstruction, etc., might we use in studying this topic, especially in the context of women, children, and ethnic minorities? • What are the possibilities for studying the place of orality in American religions? How do we bring the study of religion to our students? Please send proposals to Chris Phillips, Assistant Professor of English, Lafayette College (phillipc@lafayette.edu) by September 20, 2010.
Materials and Methods in Early American Religion: A Society of Early Americanists Conference Roundtable

Right to vote for U.S. women approved August 1920

 

Proposing the 19th Amendment

In her recent NewYork Times column titled "My Favorite August," Gail Collins wrote about women getting the right to vote in August 1920.  The previous year—on May 19, 1919—both Houses of the 66th Congress had approved House Joint Resolution 1, proposing the 19th amendment to the 48 states. The Joint Resolution was only two sentences long: 
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." 
The following summer, on August 18, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify what many referred to as the "Susan B. Anthony federal suffrage amendment."

Right to vote for U.S. women approved August 1920

Sayyid Qutb in the pages of the FBIS Daily Report and in The Economist's review of a new biography of Qutb

John Calvert’s forthcoming book Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism (London: Hurst & Co., 2010) was anonymously and seemingly fairly reviewed in The Economist, July 15, 2010. Qutb, according to The Economist’s review, and I summarize here, flirted with Sufism but became a secular nationalist in the 1940s, opposed to British rule in Egypt and "Zionist colonization in Palestine." After completing his first major book, Social Justice in Islam, Qutb spent two years in the United States where, according to Calvert (or Calvert’s anonymous reviewer), his final conversion to radical Islamism was solidified. He returned to Egypt and joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1953, a year after Gamal Abdel Nasser and a group of officers overthrew the pro-Western government of King Farouk. Following a 1954 assassination attempt on him, Nasser struck out against the Muslim Brotherhood, and Qutb was one of those arrested and tortured. While in prison he wrote not only his influential book Milestones but also a multi-volume commentary on the Qur’an. In 1966, largely for his statements in Milestones Qut’b was tried, convicted and hanged, thus becoming "a martyr for the cause." He continues to stir up passions as martyrs are wont to do. In the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Report, published in print from 1941 to the third quarter of 1996 and now full-text digitally searchable in the Readex FBIS Daily Reports, we find many references to Sayyid Qutb which show to some degree both how he was perceived at the time and how his legacy was received and perhaps misconstrued by terrorist organizations like al-Quaeda.
Sayyid Qutb in the pages of the FBIS Daily Report and in The Economist's review of a new biography of Qutb

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