</a><p>LINOTYPE: THE FILM, a new documentary by Doug Wilson, is now being screened across the U.S.</p></div>
The word Etaoin, which looks a bit like a strange name, appears many times in 19th and 20th century newspapers. This Etaoin was no relation to the virgin St. Etaoin, who lived near the Boyle and Shannon Rivers in western Ireland and whose feast—today a little remembered fact—was celebrated by medieval Irish Catholics on July 5 according to the <em>Martyrology</em> of Donegal. No, our Etaoin first appears in print, mainly but not exclusively in newspapers, after the introduction of the Linotype machine. Etaoin, sometimes found with the apparent surname of Shrdlu, was in fact the Linotype’s equivalent of the block-and-delete function in contemporary word processing programs except that the block, a block of solid type in fact, was often not deleted. Here is how Etaoin was born; but first a necessary word about the Linotype machine itself.
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Nothing says “home” quite like a map of Alaska and adjacent lands shown as Russian and British territory—with annotations in French!
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</a><p>“Map showing Russian territory of Alaska and coastline of western Canada. Alaskan Boundary Tribunal” (1903). Source: U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Readex</p></div>
Where would America be without maps? In cases where the United States purchased significant portions of its domain from other countries, the transactions would have been a hard sell without detailed maps showing boundaries, landmarks—and possibilities. Likewise for territory acquired in resolution of conflicts, maps were crucial in determining sovereignty and peaceable relations with potential adversaries.
Consider the following map as a realtor might: Where would you put a fort? A port? Is the land timbered? Any navigable rivers? How’s the neighborhood? Can the previous owner offer clear title, or will there be a war? Will the financing come through? And after all that—is the acquisition constitutional? This is no place for buyer’s remorse!
<p>Old Evening Star Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. -- Source: Carol M. Highsmith Archive (Library of Congress)</p></div>
This spring <a href="http://www.readex.com/readex/" target="”_blank”">Readex</a> will begin releasing a complete 70-year span of <em><a href="http://www.readex.com/readex/product.cfm?product=384" target="”_blank”">The Evening Star</a></em>—one of the most influential newspapers in U.S. history. For more than a century, historians have regarded <em>The Evening Star</em> as the newspaper of record for the nation’s capital. Today, curators from leading newspaper repositories cite this long-running afternoon daily as one of their most heavily researched papers.
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<p>Lincoln J. Beachey (March 3, 1887 – March 14, 1915)</p></div>
In the early 20th century, aviator Lincoln Beachey and his Curtis biplane amazed and delighted crowds with the “Dip of Death” and his mastery of “looping the loop.” Or by daring to fly upside down, which on one occasion shook $300 from his pocket and led him to quip,
<blockquote>I am willing to take a chance of losing my life flying upside down but it’s certainly tough to be torn loose from my bank roll, too.<sup>1</sup></blockquote>
A groundbreaking aviator and breathtaking stuntman, he could boast of having performed for over 20 million spectators, or about one fifth of the U.S. population at the time. Yet 100 years later his name is largely unknown.
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