In this issue: The first American vessel to reach exotic China sparks nationwide wonder; nineteenth-century Canadian blacks find their voice in the American press; and an unheralded hero from a forgotten American war.
In this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we’re taking a break from overheated rhetoric on both sides of the Iron Curtain to draw attention to the extraordinary attractions of the former Soviet Union. If, as Tip O’Neill maintained, “all politics is local,” then surely some travel is beneficial for discovering the soul of Russia beyond the slogans and soundbites.
Guidebook to Moscow Clubs and Houses of Culture (1961)
Behold, a comprehensive reference to such diverse institutions as the Central House of the Architect, the Club of the Moscow Liquor-Brandy Distillery, the Club of the Low Gas Consumption Automobile Factory, and hundreds of other social and industrial societies circa 1961. This guide comes complete with addresses, telephone numbers, transit connections, and summary paragraphs of the attractions. For an adventurous traveller, it would provide an unorthodox and fascinating means of exploring Moscow off the beaten track and from a unique historical perspective. (163 pages)
Instructions for Patients at Health Resorts in the Ukraine (1962)
The April release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia includes an English minister's examination of the "United States of America and of the European Settlements in America and the West-Indies," published in 1796. This work includes the color plate of a tobacco plant seen to the right. Also highlighted below are works printed in London offering two perspectives on the slave trade between Africa and the Caribbean.
An Historical, Geographical, Commercial, and Philosophical View of the United States of Americaand of the European Settlements in America and the West-Indies (1796)
[Editor’s note: This week the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in History was awarded to T. J. Stiles for “Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America.” One of America’s most accomplished independent scholars, Stiles won the 2009 National Book Award in Nonfiction and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for “The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt.” In this previously published Readex Report article, he discusses his use of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set—the single most important series of American government publications—for biographical research.]
Commodore Vanderbilt: Patriot or War Profiteer?
By T.J. Stiles, author of Custer’s Trials, The First Tycoon, and Jessie James: Last Rebel of the Civil War
The March release of the American Antiquarian Society’s Supplement to Early American Imprints: Evans includes several accounts of men and women who were executed in the last decades of the 18th century. Each of these narratives appears to have been intended as a cautionary lesson. The three selected items below are but a small representation of such jailhouse conversions to Christianity found in Early American Imprints, Series I and II.
The Adventures and Death of William M'Ilheney: Of the District of Ninety-Six in South-Carolina, who after a very Profligate life, was executed at Prince-Edward Court-House, in Virginia, on the 15th of October, 1789, with Frederic Briggs, and died a penitent (1792)
Publisher William Glendinning, a “Preacher of the Gospel,” introduces the reader to William M’Ilheney in the first paragraph as a man whose
Join an upcoming training and discussion session on Readex AllSearch—a streamlined, mobile-friendly platform for efficiently searching across the Readex collections available at your institution. By consolidating digital collections and document types—historical imprints, newspapers, and government documents—Readex AllSearch enables users to make new and unexpected discoveries. Among the cross-searchable collections are America’s Historical Imprints, America’s Historical Newspapers, U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Reports, Joint Publications Resarch Service Reports, World Newspaper Archive and others.
To be held on Thursday, April 28, from 2:00 to 2:45, this session provides an overview of the fully integrated AllSearch platform; its relationship to individual Readex collections; the benefits of cross-searching multiple families of Readex collections; and common teaching and research applications. Training covers key features of the platform, including simple and advanced searching, collection selection, results lists, and document viewing. Also covered are workflow features and the mobile-friendly design.
Introducing Nat Turner’s confession, Thomas R. Gray describes how he acquired it and provides evidence of its authenticity. Gray was given access to the imprisoned Turner, who had been captured by “Benjamin Phipps, armed with a shot gun well charged,” and
…finding that he was willing to make a full and free confession of the origin, progress and consummation of the insurrectory movements of the slaves of which he was the contriver and head; I determined for the gratification of public curiosity to commit his statements to writing, and publish them, with little or no variation, from his own words. That this is a faithful record of his confessions, the annexed certificate of the County Court of Southampton, will attest.