The Hermit of Massachusetts and Other Selected Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

The April release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia includes autobiographies by slaves as well as by an abolitionist, a detailed description of the Yoruba people of West Africa, and much more.

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1816)
By Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano’s story includes his kidnapping in Africa, the horrors of a slave ship, and his wonderment at snow upon his arrival in England. He goes on to describe how he survived a naval battle, a shipwreck in the West Indies, and two earthquakes. Equiano’s autobiography is an adventure tale fit for Hollywood.

Life and Adventures of Robert, the Hermit of Massachusetts, Who Has Lived 14 Years in a Cave, Secluded from Human Society (1829)
By Robert Voorhis
The Hermit of Massachusetts and Other Selected Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

Afro-Americana Imprints in the Classroom: A Special Issue of The Readex Report (April 2014)

In this issue: A professor challenges her graduate students to craft historical narratives fueled by discoveries within Afro-Americana Imprints; their inspired articles reveal the potent research potential of a unique resource.

Dirty Searching and Roundabout Paths: Using Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922, in a Master’s Level Seminar
By Susanna Ashton, Professor, American Literature, Clemson University

Would you consider sealing your next envelope with a sticker that read: “Be not partakers in other men’s sins.” More pointedly if you received such a missive, by ripping the seal would you be endorsing or decrying the maxim? I’m not sure, myself. But I was glad to learn about and see the page of gummed Abolitionist labels that my student placed within the discourse of indulgence and sin during the nineteenth century.

Afro-Americana Imprints in the Classroom: A Special Issue of The Readex Report (April 2014)

“A Confederate Girl’s Diary” and Other Wartime Perspectives: Selected Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

This month’s release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes wide-ranging works with unique wartime perspectives. Examples include an 1862 adventure-romance novel, a personal narrative of battlefront conditions by a young Union private, an 1874 volume of illustrations by English artists that capture an international view of the conflict, and more.
 
The Rattlesnake; or, the Rebel Privateer (1862)
By Ned Buntline

This novel by the prolific and multitalented Ned Buntline tells the story of Miss Fluta Winchester’s fiancé, Will Ashton. After Miss Winchester, daughter of a Boston shipping magnate, discovers Mr. Ashton’s loyalties lay with the Confederacy, she breaks off their engagement. Ashton then joins the rebellion as a privateer and commander of the Rattlesnake, a vessel designed to surprise and defeat Union ships.

My First Campaign (1863)
By Joseph Grant

Joseph Grant’s narrative presents his personal story as a volunteer who served as a private in the Twelfth Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers from Oct. 1862 until July 1863. In My First Campaign, Grant recounts the experiences of his regiment during that time, writing in summary:
“A Confederate Girl’s Diary” and Other Wartime Perspectives: Selected Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

American Slavery through the Voices of Politicians, Pamphleteers, and Novelists

The April release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes an 1848 speech by U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis, an illustrated French translation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a response to a Southern pamphleteer’s claims of injustice, material from Ulysses S. Grant’s 1868 presidential campaign, and more.

Speech of Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, on the Oregon Bill (1848)

Prior to becoming the President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis served as the United States Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce and earlier as both a Representative and Senator from Mississippi. In 1848 Davis delivered a speech in the U.S. Senate against prohibiting slavery in the Territory of Oregon. He argued that citizens moving from different states to the territory would not be treated equally; specifically, he had in mind citizens of slave states who moved to Oregon with their human property. Davis lamented:

Now, for the first time in our history, has Congress, without the color of compact or compromise, claimed to discriminate in the settlement of Territories against the citizens of one portion of the Union and in favor of another.

Reality Versus Fiction. A Review of a Pamphlet Published at Charleston, S.C. Entitled, “The Union, Past and Future, How It Works and How to Save It.”(1850)

By Elias Hasket Derby

American Slavery through the Voices of Politicians, Pamphleteers, and Novelists

Anarchists, Talking Gloves, Fraternal Owls, and a Feline Brigand: Highlights from American Pamphlets, 1820-1922

American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922: From the New-Historical Society offers an exceptional cross section of one hundred years of American society. The March 2014 release includes pamphlets providing a sympathetic review of the case against the anarchists involved in the bombing of Chicago’s Haymarket Square, an innovative tool for aiding blind and/or deaf veterans returning from World War I, and the rather bizarre initiation ceremony of a New York social club. Other intriguing items include a bookkeeping handbook full of clever tips and an illustrated children’s story that may have even caused the Brothers Grimm to blanch.

The Robber Kitten (1863)
By Comus

While the do-not-steal theme of this children’s book is timeless, its relatively graphic violence would likely horrify many of today’s parents and teachers. After shooting a chicken and robbing a cat, this book’s kitten “gets his due reward in the form of a wallop to the head at the paws of a dog.

Anarchists, Talking Gloves, Fraternal Owls, and a Feline Brigand: Highlights from American Pamphlets, 1820-1922

The Letter from Birmingham Jail: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Tradition of Nonviolence

In April of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested for participating in a series of demonstrations against racism and segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. At the time of his arrest, King had come under criticism for focusing his efforts on fighting racial inequality in the streets rather than in the courts. During this time, King wrote a letter defending the marches and sit-ins as a means to fight racism and injustice.

In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King argued that not only was civil disobedience justified in challenging unjust laws, but that resistance to injustice was a moral obligation deeply rooted in Western traditions. Considered one of the most important documents in American history, the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” not only expresses King’s personal articulation of non-violence as a means to resist unjust laws, but also the spirit of opposition to injustice that is part of the American progressive tradition.

The Letter from Birmingham Jail: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Tradition of Nonviolence

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