“The Disagreeable Practice of Shaving”: Highlights from Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920

The April release of Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes a history of the French and Indian War, a narrative of a global circumnavigation, and the diary of 19-year-old George Washington while traveling to Barbados.


The History of the Late War in North-America, and the Islands of the West-Indies, Including the Campaigns of MDCCLXIII and MDCCLXIV against His Majesty's Indian Enemies (1772)

By Thomas Mante

Thomas Mante was a historian and officer in the English army. He was also a spy for the French government. Mante was recruited by Jean-Charles-Adolphe Grant de Blairfindy in 1769 and became involved in British intelligence in the 1770s. He operated as a double agent until 1774 when the British, then aware of his disloyalty, ceased to pay him. His history of the French and Indian War is nearly as dramatic as was his life. Recounting the 1759 naval bombardment of French-held Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, Monte wrote:

“The Disagreeable Practice of Shaving”: Highlights from Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920

International Travels, Escapes and Adventures: Highlights from Black Authors, 1556-1922

Decembrist Revolt, a painting by Vasily TimmThe April release of Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes several autobiographical tales of danger and adventure. In these highlighted works, the authors describe foreign travels—to St. Petersburg in time to witness the Decembrist Revolt, to the Indian Ocean aboard a whaling vessel, and to war-torn Crimea on a mission of mercy.


A Narrative of the Life and Travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince (1853)

By Nancy Prince

Although born free in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Nancy Prince’s life was not without struggle. Her father died when she was an infant, and her mother soon remarried. Sadly, her stepfather also died during Nancy’s childhood which led to her mother’s emotional breakdown and left the family on the brink of poverty. She and her siblings picked and sold berries to support themselves and their mother before Nancy found work as a servant.

In 1824, Nancy married Nero Prince, a Mason Grand Master, and her life changed dramatically. They traveled to Russia where her husband worked as a footman at the court of the czar in St. Petersburg. About her audience with Czar Alexander, Nancy Prince wrote:

International Travels, Escapes and Adventures: Highlights from Black Authors, 1556-1922

“In Xandu did Cublai Can”: Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

April’s release of African History and Culture, 1540-1921: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes several fascinating 17th-century works from the Age of Discovery. This period of European global exploration led to the Columbian Exchange in which commodities, cultures, and communicable diseases were widely transferred between Eastern and Western hemispheres. In one of these books is the passage describing Xanadu that inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge—after waking from a drug-fueled dream—to compose one of his best-known poems.


The Golden Trade: A Discovery of the River Gambra, and the Golden Trade of the Aethiopians (1623)

By Richard Jobson




In 1620 English explorer Richard Jobson commanded an expedition to explore the Gambia River. Although he and his fellow adventurers failed to find the gold they sought, Jobson returned to England with a wealth of information about the region. Included in this book, the first European work to mention the board game Mancala, is a first-hand description of the legendary African trader Buckor Sano and this explanation of a previousoly unencountered method of trade:

“In Xandu did Cublai Can”: Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

“Separate the callapach from the callapee”: New Selections from Early American Imprints, Supplements from the American Antiquarian Society, 1652-1819

A rebus by Ben FranklinHighlighted below are four newly added items in the major new enrichment to the Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker collections.  These diverse works, now available for the first time in Readex digital editions of Early American Imprints, are from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society.

The Evans Supplement includes Daniel Boone’s autobiographical account of his early adventures in what was even then called Kentucky, and John Wesley’s reflections on the history of slavery to which he was opposed. The Shaw-Shoemaker Supplement includes Benjamin Franklin’s whimsical rebus for children, advising them to be thrifty, and a captivating cookbook by “an American orphan.”


Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boon, one of the original settlers of Kentucky: containing the wars with the Indians on the Ohio, from 1769 to the present time, and the first establishment and progress of the settlements on that river. Written by the colonel himself (1793)

Many Americans grew up thinking of Daniel Boone as one of the first rough-and-ready frontiersmen who discovered the easiest route through the mountains separating modern-day Virginia from Kentucky. It is surprising then to read this account and to appreciate the quality of his writing and the sensitivity of some of his observations. In a description of “a pleasing ramble” with a friend he writes:

“Separate the callapach from the callapee”: New Selections from Early American Imprints, Supplements from the American Antiquarian Society, 1652-1819

“But then it will be our turn”: Selected Items from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports

Astronaut Valentina Tereshkova at opening of the Lenin MuseumHighlighted below are four items found within the April 2015 release of Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994—a unique digital archive of Cold War-era English translations of foreign-language materials.

Background on the Flight of Valentina Tereshkova (1963)

The first woman to fly in space, in 1963 aboard the Vostok-6, was Valentina Tereshkova. She was born in 1937 into a peasant family. When her father was killed in World War II her mother supported three children as a textile worker. In her earlier remarks on the pioneering flight of Yuri Gagarin, she was quoted as saying “At first men will fly, but then it will be our turn.”  

Changes Wrought by the Yemeni Revolution of 1962 (1964)

Student uprisings. A despotic Imam relegated to living in caves. Armed forces supported by regional powers and furnished with foreign weapons. Then as now, Yemen is a battlefield, but following the 1962 revolution the writer claims, “It would be no mistake to call the outstanding trait of the people of Yemen their love of peace.”

Soviet test card used in TV broadcasts in the USSR after introduction of color Selection of a Color Television System (1964)

“But then it will be our turn”: Selected Items from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports

Silent Auction to Support 2015 GODORT Scholarship Now Open for Bidding

Established in 1994, the W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship provides financial assistance to an individual who is 1) currently working with government documents in a library and 2) trying to complete a master’s degree in library science.

Sponsored by Readex and GODORT (American Library Association’s Government Documents Round Table), the award is named after W. David Rozkuszka, a former Documents Librarian at Stanford University whose talent, work ethic and personality left an indelible mark on the profession. The scholarship award is $3,000, and has assisted 14 students with their library education since 1995. The two most recent recipients are Shelly (Michelle) Gilliam and Kelsey Michelle Cheshire.

Place your bid today to stay in beautiful Naples, Florida or charming Chester, Vermont. Auction bidding ends at 9 am EST on Monday, July 15, 2015.

Silent Auction to Support 2015 GODORT Scholarship Now Open for Bidding

“A Plain, Honest, Unostentatious Man”: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922

The April release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes a defense of the leadership style of General John Fremont, a Pennsylvania Republican's critique of a Pennsylvania Democrat's secessionist pamphlet, and a history of illegal arrests and political imprisonments during the conflict.


General Fremont, and the Injustice Done Him by Politicians and Envious Military Men (1862)

By William Brotherhead

In 1861, while serving as Commander of the Western Armies, John Charles Fremont issued a proclamation putting Missouri under martial law and ordering the emancipation of slaves belonging to rebels. Fremont had gained a reputation for unilateral decision-making and later that year President Lincoln relieved him of his command for insubordination. 

Fremont remains controversial. He is criticized as impetuous and overly ambitious by some and lauded as a military hero and political leader by others. Believing the latter, William Brotherhead in this work compares Fremont to the leadership of both the Union and Confederacy:

“A Plain, Honest, Unostentatious Man”: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922

Just published—The Readex Report: April 2015

In this issue: helping young African-American scholars move toward new academic heights; six-foot-under censorship in the honor-bound Old South; and a Founding Father's focus on frugality shapes the American dream.


Diversifying the Graduate School Pipeline with Under-Represented Scholars: An Innovative Program of the African American Literatures and Cultures Institute
By Joycelyn K. Moody, Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature, University of Texas at San Antonio, and Howard Rambsy II, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

For the last five summers, the two of us have coordinated the African American Literatures and Cultures Institute (AALCI)—a program for college students with interests in eventually pursuing graduate degrees. The Institute convenes on the campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for the month of June. The program has provided us with important opportunities to enhance undergraduate students’ learning and to orient them toward a broader as well as deeper realm of ideas concerning African American studies. > Full Story

Just published—The Readex Report: April 2015

“Behold him now the Pharaoh”: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

The April release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia includes the response by the American consul in Cuba to calls for his dismissal, a Southerner’s perspective on the destruction of a South Carolina city, and a Northern senator’s call to remove the American president from office.


Reply of N.P. Trist, Consul at Havana, to the Preamble and Resolutions, Adopted by the Meeting of Ship Masters and Ship Owners... and Transmitted to the President of the United States, as the Ground of Their Demand for the Instant Recall of Said Consul (1840)
By Nicholas Philip Trist

In the 1830s Nicholas Trist was appointed U.S. consul in Havana, Cuba, by President Andrew Jackson. Openly in favor of slavery, Trist became the subject of a British commission investigating violations of the treaty ending African slave trade. Trist was also suspected of corruption by New England ship captains who felt he was inadequately defending their interests in order to maintain good relations with Cuban officials, and by abolitionists who charging him with illegally profiting from false documents used to disguise the sale of Africans into slavery.

Trist answered the claims with righteous outrage and offense. Responding to allegations of having illegally earned fees for falsifying documents and for corruption in general, Trist countered:

“Behold him now the Pharaoh”: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

Six Highlights from the First Release of Early American Imprints, Supplements from the American Antiquarian Society, 1652-1819

The initial release of a major new enrichment to the Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker collections has just occurred. Rare items from the American Antiquarian Society, available for the first time in Readex digital editions of Early American Imprints, are highlighted below.


The Gosport Tragedy (1776)

From Early American Imprints, Supplements from the American Antiquarian Society

The Gosport Tragedy, or The Perjured Ship Carpenter, is a murder ballad set to the tune of Peggy's Gone Over Sea. The folk song tells of a young woman lured by her lover into the forest where she is killed and buried in a shallow grave. In this version of the story the woman, Molly, is murdered by a ship’s carpenter, William, who had promised to marry her after she became pregnant. When William returns to sea, he is haunted by Molly’s ghost and confesses to the murder before going mad.

Six Highlights from the First Release of Early American Imprints, Supplements from the American Antiquarian Society, 1652-1819

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