“And the winners are…” — 2014 GODORT Silent Auction for the W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship

Congratulations to the two winners of the 2014 GODORT Silent Auction for the W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship: Lori Gwinett, Government Documents Librarian, Georgia Southern University, and Judy Andrews, Reference Librarian, Portland Community College. Lori had the winning bid for the stay in Naples, Florida, and Judy won the stay in Chester, Vermont. Enjoy the getaways!

Over $1,800 was raised this year to support the Rozkuszka Scholarship, which since 1994 has provided financial assistance to an individual currently working with government documents in a library and completing a master’s degree in library science.

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“And the winners are…” — 2014 GODORT Silent Auction for the W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship

The Paradox of Self Government, Individual Rights, and Slavery: The Lecompton Constitution

The August release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes several speeches about the proposed constitutions under which Kansas, first as a territory and then as a state, would be governed. The Topeka Constitution of 1855, the first of four proposed constitutions, would have banned slavery in Kansas. In response to the Topeka Constitution, the territorial legislature, consisting mostly of slave-owners, met at the designated capital of Lecompton to produce a rival document. The Lecompton Constitution enshrined slavery, protected slaveholder rights, and provided for a referendum that allowed voters the choice of allowing more slaves to enter the territory. Free-state supporters, who comprised a large majority of actual settlers, boycotted the vote. In fact, the proposed Lecompton Constitution was so divisive that territorial Governor Robert Walker, a strong defender of slavery but opposed to the blatant injustice of the constitution, resigned rather than implement it.

The Paradox of Self Government, Individual Rights, and Slavery: The Lecompton Constitution

Neutrality or Piracy? International Law, Great Britain, and the American Civil War

The August release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society contains several items about international law and neutrality, specifically British neutrality. Prior to the American Civil War, British Prime Minister Viscount Palmerston urged a policy of pragmatic neutrality. His international concerns were focused in Europe where he had to balance both Napoleon III’s ambitions in Europe and Bismarck’s rise in Germany. However, the Confederate strategy for securing independence was largely based on the hope of military intervention by Britain, a hope that was nearly realized in the wake of the Trent Affair.

International Law: Case of the Trent. Capture and Surrender of Mason and Slidell (1862)
By Joel Parker
Neutrality or Piracy? International Law, Great Britain, and the American Civil War

Faith. Will. Power: Astrology, Hypnotism and Animal Magnetism in the 19th Century

Many people highly educated individuals in the 19th century conducted scientific inquiries into astrology, hypnotism, and mesmerism. Then, as now, people were divided in their convictions and beliefs regarding these subjects. In the following selections of pamphlets extolling or condemning these phenomena, hypnotism and mesmerism, which was also called animal magnetism, sometimes seem interchangeable, while astrology appears independent of the others. 

Psychography, or, The Embodiment of Thought; with an Analysis of Phreno-magnetism, “Neurology,” and Mental Hallucination, including Rules to Govern and Produce the Magnetic State by Robt. H. Collyer, M.D. (1843)
Faith. Will. Power: Astrology, Hypnotism and Animal Magnetism in the 19th Century

"Finding the Real Cuba: Citizen-Entrepreneurs and the Communist-Capitalist State Today" — A Readex ALA Presentation on Video

When Prof. Lillian Guerra declared she would start her Readex-sponsored presentation at the 2014 American Library Association (ALA) annual conference with a joke, I was concerned:

Now, I must admit, my reaction was unwarranted.  Guerra’s anecdote about life in the island nation of Cuba proved to be not only funny, but also telling of the many restrictions Cubans face every day and the steps some are willing to take to openly express opinions.

Considering tight travel restrictions and the United States’ long-standing embargo against the Republic of Cuba, many Americans have a limited view of the island nation and few have stepped foot there themselves.

At a special ALA breakfast event in Las Vegas, Guerra drew back the curtain and provided a first-hand view of Cuba most in attendance had never seen. In a follow-up survey, attendees wrote:

“Dr. Guerra used a combination of scholarship and personal experiences to give us an overview of this fascinating country.”

“The speaker was excellent.  She's one of the best I heard at the conference.”

“It was probably the most interesting session I attended at ALA.  I left feeling pleased that I had gone and am now interested in Dr. Guerra's research.”

"Finding the Real Cuba: Citizen-Entrepreneurs and the Communist-Capitalist State Today" — A Readex ALA Presentation on Video

Space Race Research by the Soviet Union: English-Language Translations from JPRS Reports

For most of the second half of the twentieth century, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in serious competition on many fronts.  Perhaps the most popular and comprehensible manifestation of this competition was the space race.  It is not surprising that a significant effort was made by the Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) to gather and translate a wide spectrum of scientific and technical articles published by the Soviets.  From the July release of JPRS Reports, we highlight advances in space science and space travel research.

The Space Age: Exploration of the Moon

This report was published less than three years before the United States landed men on the moon and Neil Armstrong took “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” The author states,

The first five years in space (1957-1962) passed under the sigh of triumphal attainments of the USSR in all fields of space research, including lunar exploration.

He defines the American space program largely by its failures, while extolling the steady stream of Soviet accomplishments. However, he does credit American research, particularly photographing the moon's surface but asserts that the photography could not answer critical questions that only a successful soft landing on the moon's surface could satisfy.

Space Race Research by the Soviet Union: English-Language Translations from JPRS Reports

The Utterly Sad Anniversary of the “War to End All Wars”: A Look Back Through America's Historical Newspapers

August 2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of what we now call World War I. The wars in Europe since 1815 had been brief affairs. The expectation was that this would also be brief. The Colorado Gazette of August 23, 1914, called it “the Biggest Family Row of History.”



The war would last four years and mark the end of what some historians call the long 19th century, which they date from the French Revolution to 1914. It was the beginning of the end of several European societies; the empires of Russia, Austro-Hungary and Germany did not survive the conflict. Eastern Europe was completely reshaped politically by the war and the peace that followed it. Great Britain struggled with its economic consequences. The European conflicts of the 1930s and World War II are direct results of it, too. America’s Historical Newspapers can help students and scholars explore and understand this conflagration in new ways.

The crisis that started it actually began six weeks earlier, when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by Serbian nationalists. Other European royalty and government officials had been assassinated in the three decades previous to this killing, but they did not set off a general European war. This killing of the archduke, and the death of his wife in the same attack, would.
The Utterly Sad Anniversary of the “War to End All Wars”: A Look Back Through America's Historical Newspapers

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