Just published—The Readex Report: February 2015 (10th Anniversary Issue)

IN OUR 1OTH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE: Civil War-era writers see biblical parallels in the American profile; students use primary sources to refine their research processes; and a heated debate rages on the effects of African-inspired inoculations.

Civil War Biblicism and the Demise of the Confederacy
By Eran Shalev, Senior Lecturer, History Department, Haifa University, Israel
Just published—The Readex Report: February 2015 (10th Anniversary Issue)

Tinkering Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

The February release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes an array of documents relatable to wars from nearly any era: the battlefield readiness of new military technology; prisoner mistreatment and battlefield atrocities; and the deadly threat of espionage from within.

Engineer Stimer's Report of the Last Trial Trip of the "Passaic": Unparalleled Attempt to Throw Discredit upon Superiors, Language Unbecoming an Officer, His Dismissal from the Service Demanded, the Public Probably Deceived as to the "Result" of the Experiment of Firing inside the Turret (1862)
By One of the People

Alban Crocker Stimers was a U.S. Navy Chief Engineer who assisted with the design of the Navy’s latest technological marvel, the ironclads. After the launch of the U.S.S. Monitor, the first ironclad warship commissioned by the Union Navy, and drawing on lessons learned from its performance, naval engineers quickly began designing the new Passaic-class ironclad.
Tinkering Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

Baker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Christopher Ludwick and the General Staff of Life

Before Napoleon averred that “An army marches on its stomach,” General George Washington was applying that maxim in the field against the British. And to ensure that the Continental Army was well supplied with its most basic staple, Christopher Ludwick was appointed Baker-General on May 3, 1777.



Upon receiving his commission, Ludwick was charged with “using his best endeavors to rectify the abuses in the article of bread.” But he rejected its initial terms of 100 pounds of bread from 100 pounds of flour in these words:

No, gentlemen, I will not accept of your commission upon any such terms. Christopher Ludwick does not want to get rich by the war. He has enough money. I will furnish 135 pounds of bread for every 100 pounds of flour you put into my hands.

Baker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Christopher Ludwick and the General Staff of Life

Now Available on Video: “Learning to Look: The Interdisciplinary Value of Historical Visual Culture”

As Director of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture at the American Antiquarian Society, Nan Wolverton is a master at studying images, looking beyond what is readily apparent to uncover details that give fresh insight to a point in time or an aspect of society.

Speaking at a Readex breakfast event during the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Chicago, Wolverton demonstrated her expertise, analyzing newspaper advertisements, photographs, broadsides, political cartoons, and even sheet music. She pointed out details easily overlooked—what the tablecloth in a 19th-century breakfast scene says about America’s place in the global economy, what a walking stick reveals about a former slave’s position, and why the image of a mental institution came to be stamped on dinner plates. She encouraged librarians, faculty, and students to look more deeply and use visuals to enhance their own teaching and research.

“The visual is overlooked as an important source of evidence,” Wolverton said. “An image can enhance the written record but it also can teach us something significant about which the written record can be silent or ambiguous.”

Wolverton explained how she uses images in her American Studies courses at Smith College as a way to introduce students to themes and references they may not otherwise understand, like how the “striped pig” relates to alcohol:  
Now Available on Video: “Learning to Look: The Interdisciplinary Value of Historical Visual Culture”

“It’s the Devil!”—Slavery, Civil War, and King Cotton

Among the 100+ works in last month's release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia are an antebellum account of Caribbean travel written by a New Yorker, slave narratives written before and after the American Civil War, and satirical works on U.S. history by 19th-century English humorists and cartoonists.

The Winter of 1840 in St. Croix, with an Excursion to Tortola and St. Thomas (1840)
By James Smith

As appealing as wintering in the Caribbean may sound, James Smith’s description of his voyage to the Danish colonies illustrates many of the harsh realities of the period. Sailing south of St. Bartholomew’s and Saba, Smith reports,
“It’s the Devil!”—Slavery, Civil War, and King Cotton

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