This quarterly e-publication explores diverse aspects of digital historical collections and provides insights into web-based resources, including the Archive of Americana.

The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass in Anacostia (Washington, D.C.) as told in the Washington Evening Star

From late 1877 until his death in early 1895, Frederick Douglass was the most prominent resident of Anacostia, the historic area located in Washington, D.C.’s Southeast quadrant. An internationally known writer, lecturer, newspaper editor, and social reformer, Douglass was a man of his neighborhood. He spoke regularly at nearby churches, invested in the area’s first street car line, and opened his Victorian mansion, Cedar Hill, to students from Howard University, where Douglass served on the Board of Trustees. Douglass’s many contributions to Washington, D.C. have been overlooked for too long.

With the digitization of the Washington Evening Star, researchers can now systemically track the growth of Anacostia, which became D.C.’s first subdivision in 1854, and the life and times of Frederick Douglass in the nation’s capital. Douglass moved from Rochester, New York, to Washington, D.C. in the early 1870s to publish and edit The New National Era, a weekly newspaper devoted to covering Reconstruction, the Republican Party, and black Washington.

Click image to view full pdf.

The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass in Anacostia (Washington, D.C.) as told in the Washington Evening Star


When Benjamin Franklin Came Home: A Look at the Media Coverage of His Return

In the late afternoon of July 12, 1785, Benjamin Franklin, along with his two grandsons, set out on the approximately 125-mile trip from his home in Passy to the port of Le Havre on the northern French coast. They arrived on July 18 and set sail for England on the morning of the 22nd. Landing at Southampton on the 24th, Franklin spent a few days, as he had throughout the trip, being entertained by friends, dignitaries, and various well-wishers. Finally, on July 28, they set sail for America. The passage was quite swift, with Captain Truxton’s ship, the London Packet, arriving in Philadelphia 48 days later on September 14. Franklin recorded the arrival in his diary: “My son-in-law came with a boat for us, we landed at Market Street wharf, where we were received by a crowd of people with huzzas, and accompanied with acclamations quite to my door. Found my family well.” [1]

Franklin's return to Philadelphia 1785

 

When Benjamin Franklin Came Home: A Look at the Media Coverage of His Return


Verses from Beyond the Grave

Thomas W. Piper was executed in Boston on May 26, 1876, concluding one of the city’s most sensational murder cases—the murder of five-year-old Mabel Young in the belfry of the Warren Avenue Baptist Church. It was the sort of dramatic story that had always inspired the poetry of Byron DeWolfe, who penned ballads on several New England murders. But DeWolfe died in 1873, two years before Mabel Young’s murder was committed, so it came as a bit of a shock when a poem written by Byron DeWolfe entitled “Verses Composed on the Confession and Execution of Thomas W. Piper, The Convicted Belfry Murderer” was published after the execution.

George Gordon Byron DeWolfe was known as “The Wandering Poet of New Hampshire.” Though he was born in Nova Scotia and spent much of his time traveling from state to state, DeWolfe called Nashua, New Hampshire, home. He wrote topical poetry about contemporary events and there was no subject too big or too small for Byron DeWolfe. His poems, printed in Boston as one-page broadsides and sold to the public, commemorated everything from a New Hampshire clambake to the assassination of President Lincoln. DeWolfe was also known as the “Steam-machine Poet” for the rapidity with which he wrote. Sometimes he would include the time it took to write the poem as all or part of the title, for example, “Verses, Given in Twenty Minutes,” and “The Great Eastern’s Coming. Composed in Forty-three Minutes.”

Verses from Beyond the Grave


Librarians and History Instruction: Getting the Most Out of the One-shot Session

A recent discussion on H-HistBibl—the H-Net list for the Study and Practice of History Librarianship—asked two questions related to the American Historical Association’s Tuning Project [1]: how do history subject librarians teach research classes, and what is the most accurate way to describe the nature of the activity, for example, information literacy or research methodology. Because I have been thinking about these questions myself and reading up on history instruction [2], I replied with insights based on my experiences over the past five years as the history, political science, and government documents librarian at my university. My response, which I have expanded on here, focused on two broad areas, collaborating with instructors and planning class sessions.

Collaboration with Instructors
To get the best results from an instruction session, especially one that is less than an hour long, the librarian and instructor should meet at least one week prior to the class, either face to face or via email, to decide on what the research component(s) of the class will be. The syllabus should be available; otherwise, the instructor should provide a basic outline of what needs to be covered. This allows the librarian to look at not only the scope of the class and the resources being used (textbooks, articles, primary and secondary resources) but also what is expected from students during the quarter or semester, i.e., annotated bibliographies, mid-terms, final papers, or other assignments. It is also important to learn how many students will be attending the class.

Some things to be aware of as you are planning research sessions:

Librarians and History Instruction: Getting the Most Out of the One-shot Session


Recent Issues

Twitter @Readex