The April release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes an Englishman’s perspective on the slave trade, opposition to the Fugitive Slave Law from both sides of the Atlantic, and a speech before the House of Representatives urging the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.
Records of a Voyage to the Western Coast of Africa (1833) By Peter Leonard
In 1830, His Majesty’s frigate the Dryad set sail as part of a British “naval force employed on the African station for the suppression of the slave trade.” Peter Leonard, the author of this work, served as the ship’s surgeon and upon his return to England in 1832 wrote about his experiences. He aimed “to make known the horrors which attend the Slave Trade…[and] to expose some of the defects of the laws and treaties, having for their object the suppression of the disgraceful traffic in human beings…”
…that the aboriginal inhabitants of Africa continue to be forcibly dragged from their homes; and…sold as any other commodity might be, and lorded over by their miscalled Christian brethren of creation, because, forsooth, their physical and moral perception has not been furbished by the chicanery and cunning of artificial society, and because, in them, the “human face divine” happens to be of a darker shade, and their facial angle less accordant with our ideas of symmetry and fair proportion.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the advertising campaign for Tareyton Cigarettes upset grammarians, teachers and others. “Us Tareyton Smokers Would Rather Fight Than Switch,” the ad copy proclaimed. The accompanying pictures showed smokers with a black eye.
In the late 70s, when Tareyton introduced a light cigarette brand, the copy became “Us Tareyton Smokers Would Rather Light Than Fight.” The black eyes were replaced with a white patch in the same shape.
This was a long way from how the cigarette was marketed in the early part of the 20th century, as seen in this example from the 1918 Seattle Times. To begin with, Tareyton had a first name—Herbert! And the tag line was “There’s something about them you’ll like.” There was a centered portrait, presumably of Herbert himself. He wears a top hat and suit, has a monocle in his right eye, carries a walking stick and, of course, smokes a cigarette. He’s an urbane gentleman out for the evening. “Twenty for a Quarter” completed the copy. Smoke Herbert Tareytons, the ad seems to say, and you too can be a gentleman.
The Voskhod program was primarily designed to produce spectacular firsts in space flight. In October of 1964 the Soviets launched the first Voskhod mission. It was the first spacecraft to carry more than one cosmonaut, and among its three-man crew was a medical doctor. His presence aboard and the decision not to wear space suits were also firsts in the space race. The first spacewalk occurred during the Voskhod’s second and final flight in March 1965.
Account of the Voskhod Flight (1964)
This is a first-hand account of the mission by two of the Voskhod cosmonauts as told to two correspondents from Pravda. Consequently, it is in the first person and has a rather vernacular appeal. The men begin by talking about the night before the launch, revealing personal relationships among the crew and among all of the other personnel engaged in the program.
When the crew had been raised by elevator to enter the capsule, they paused to look down at the crowd below them:
At parting, the heart always aches a little. Involuntarily, all three of us cried out one and the same thing: Goodbye, Comrades!
The March release from the New-York Historical Society’s collection of American pamphlets features several publications that focus on Native Americans. Generally using the terms Indians or Indian tribes, these pamphlets depict their lives both before and after European migration into their historic lands. Included in the current release are treaties between the United States government and specific tribes, accounts of travels to, and encounters, with various tribes, tracts about systems of reservations and Indian education, and even a pamphlet promoting tourism.
Massasoit's Town. Sowams in Pokanoket. Its History, Legends and Traditions (1904)
By Virginia Baker
During the Pilgrims’ first years in what became the Massachusetts Bay Colony they were befriended by Wampanoag Indian chief Massasoit. The author of this pamphlet, in the course of attempting to ascertain the precise location of Massasoit’s place of residence, recounts much of the early history of the relationship between the native inhabitants of what became New England and the English colonists who would largely displace them. It is also a tribute to Massasoit who is described admiringly for his wisdom and generosity. One example is revealed in an episode when Roger Williams had been banned from Salem 1636 and sought refuge in Massapoit’s lands. “[I]n a bitter winter season” he “fled from the savage Christians of Massachusetts Bay to the Christian savages of Narragansett Bay.”
The initial release of Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes the first widely-read slave narrative, an early history of African-American patriotism, and Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom.
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1816) By Olaudah Equiano
Olaudah Equiano’s story, one of the first widely-read slave narratives, includes his kidnapping in Africa, the horrors of a slave ship, and his wonderment at snow upon his arrival in England. He describes how he survived a naval battle, a shipwreck in the West Indies, and two earthquakes.
Aboard the slave ship, Equiano lived under wretched conditions, often witnessed violence, and became familiar with death. For some captives, death was preferable to enslavement:
The initial release of Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes an 18th-century account of natural disasters in the West Indies, an early 19th-century description of sugar cultivation and rum production, and a later report enumerating the terrible punishments meted out under the Danish crown to insubordinate and recaptured slaves.
A General Account of the Calamities Occasioned by the Late Tremendous Hurricanes and Earthquakes in the West-India Islands, Foreign as Well as Domestic (1781)
The Great Hurricane of 1780 is the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, killing between 20,000 and 22,000 people. The hurricane struck the Lesser Antilles with winds possibly as strong as 200 mph leaving extensive damage to the many islands’ coastlines as well as causing heavy losses to the British and French fleets patrolling the area.
Within this account the devastation is described as:
…perhaps the most complicated and universal catastrophe that ever yet befell the islands under our immediate contemplation.
The natural disaster was so destructive this imprint concludes with an advertisement seeking support throughout Great Britain for the storm victims: