Guest Blogger


About Author: 

Readex Guest Bloggers have included Reinette F. Jones, Librarian, University of Kentucky; Bruce D. Roberts, author of Clipper Ship Sailing Cards; David Rawson, creator of the “Index of Virginia Printing”; Barbara Shaffer, unofficial historian of Springfield, Massachusetts; and others. The Readex Blog welcomes ideas from prospective guest bloggers. Please send your ideas to readexblog@readex.com.

Posts by this Author

Benjamin Pogrund on the Rand Daily Mail: Former Deputy Editor Reflects on the Newspaper’s Critical Role in the Anti-Apartheid Movement

Guest post by

Benjamin Pogrund, former deputy editor, Rand Daily Mail

[Editor’s note: For decades Benjamin Pogrund served as the Rand Daily Mail’s African Affairs Reporter. He closely covered the issues and events that profoundly impacted South Africa’s black population, including the 1960 Sharpeville massacre. Pogrund later served as Deputy Editor from 1977 until the Mail’s closure in 1985. In the comments below, Pogrund—recipient of the 2005-06 Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award—provides firsthand insight into the outsized role the Rand Daily Mail played during the struggle to end apartheid.] 

The Rand Daily Mail was ahead of its time in reporting and exposing apartheid evils and in opposing oppressive government. This is why it was shut down. 

Benjamin Pogrund on the Rand Daily Mail: Former Deputy Editor Reflects on the Newspaper’s Critical Role in the Anti-Apartheid Movement

Black Periodical Studies: Call for Papers for a Special Issue of American Periodicals

Black Periodical Studies:

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of American Periodicals

Guest Editors:

Eric Gardner, Saginaw Valley State University, and Joycelyn Moody, University of Texas at San Antonio

Black Periodical Studies: Call for Papers for a Special Issue of American Periodicals

Black Studies Papers Launched with First Special Issue: Slavery Revisited

Black Studies Papers Launched with First Special Issue: Slavery Revisited

Editors: Dr. Carsten Junker and Dr. Marie-Luise Löffler, University of Bremen

Black Studies Papers Launched with First Special Issue: Slavery Revisited

Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age: Call for Papers

CFP: Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age

University of Delaware and the Delaware Historical Society, April 24-26, 2015

Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age: Call for Papers

Cultural Conflict and the Battle of the Sexes in Hispanic American Newspapers

In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, we are presenting this article by Nicolás Kanellos, published previously  in The Readex Report:

Cultural Conflict and the Battle of the Sexes in Hispanic American Newspapers
By Nicolás Kanellos, Brown Foundation Professor and Director of Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, University of Houston

Among the various types of writing in early-20th century Hispanic American immigrant newspapers was a genre essential in forming and reinforcing the attitudes of Hispanic communities. It was the crónica, or chronicle, a short, weekly column that humorously and satirically commented on current topics and social habits. In Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, the crónica had already been cultivated extensively and had helped to define national identity over the course of the 19th century.

In America, however, the crónica came to serve purposes never imagined in Mexico or Spain. From Los Angeles to San Antonio and even up to Chicago, Mexican moralists assumed pseudonyms (in keeping with the tradition of the crónica) and, from this masked perspective, wrote scathing satirical commentaries in the first person. As witnesses to both American and Mexican culture, the cronistas were greatly influenced by popular jokes, anecdotes and speech, and in general, their columns were a mirror of the surrounding social environment.

Cultural Conflict and the Battle of the Sexes in Hispanic American Newspapers

We Come from a Land Down Under: Australia’s Thrilling Victory in the 1983 America’s Cup

Our guest blogger is Louise Paolacci, Director, Bezi Publishing Services Pty Ltd, Australia

This September marks the 30th anniversary of Australia’s momentous victory in the America’s Cup yacht race. Australia II was the first foreign challenger to win the coveted trophy, breaking 132 years of U.S. domination.

The rivalry between the New York Yacht Club’s Liberty and the Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Australia II was the subject of feverish media attention throughout the summer of 1983, as captured in Readex’s 20th-Century American Newspapers.

From the outset, Australia II was viewed as one of the favorites among the foreign challengers to win the race.

We Come from a Land Down Under: Australia’s Thrilling Victory in the 1983 America’s Cup

Ford Fiasco: Tracking the Rise and Fall of the Edsel in American Newspaper Archives

 By Bruce D. Roberts, creator of Edsel Promo Time

Automotive sales tracker R. L. Polk & Co. recently announced that the Ford Focus was the best-selling passenger car in the world in 2012.  Impressive!

By contrast, Ford Motor Company’s ill-fated Edsel, sold for the 1958-1960 model years, is a dark icon of product failure even today.  Ford sunk $250 million into Edsel development; what on earth went wrong?

In 1948, Henry Ford II, Ford’s president and son of previous Ford president Edsel Ford, formed a committee to look into the viability of a new car in the expanding medium-priced segment of the automotive market.  General Motors, by far the largest of the Big Three auto makers, had Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick as entries in the medium-priced field, while Chrysler Corporation had Dodge, De Soto, and Chrysler.  Ford had only Mercury.

Ford Fiasco: Tracking the Rise and Fall of the Edsel in American Newspaper Archives

Pirates, Spies and Dark Nights of the Soul: Entering the Wacky World of Early American Studies

By Edward M. Griffin, Distinguished Graduate Professor of English, University of Minnesota

A few years ago, a graduate student told me, "I'm changing fields. I'm switching to the wacky world of Early American Studies."

A few weeks earlier, I had sent her to the microfilm rooms in the University of Minnesota's library with assignments she could complete only by plunging into documents she found there in the two Early American Imprints microfiche series. Commonly called "Evans" or "Shaw-Shoemaker" after the authors of the authoritative bibliographies on which the series were created, they include more than 70,000 items—all extant material printed in the colonies and early republic from 1639 to 1819.

After many hours peering at those curious old documents and their funny typefaces, she surfaced and announced that, despite expecting a wasteland of dry and stupefyingly boring texts, she had discovered in the microfiche a nearly unexplored world of writing that she called wacky but nevertheless found oddly wonderful. Her phrase recalls a famous article about student reaction to early American studies that Daniel Williams published in "Early American Literature": "Not enough Rambo Action."

I find that if I can get students into the actual early documents, they discover that it's all Rambo Action: pirates, soldiers, spies, kings, queens, revolutions, dark nights of the soul, invasions, war and peace, politics, captures and escapes and what we too casually would call religious fanatics. I could have told her so beforehand, but she probably wouldn't have believed me.

Pirates, Spies and Dark Nights of the Soul: Entering the Wacky World of Early American Studies

War of the Dictionaries

War of the Dictionaries

By Barbara Shaffer, unofficial historian of Springfield, Massachusetts

The Georgian brick building of the Merriam-Webster company on Federal Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, is considered by some world headquarters of the English language.  Scholars, heads of state and judges alike often deem the Merriam-Webster dictionary the final authority in spelling, pronunciation and definition.  That standing is the outcome of winning a long-fought conflict over a century ago. The company’s founders were brothers George and Charles Merriam, young printers who settled in Springfield in 1831 to print and sell books.  Their shop specialized in school books, Bibles and, curiously, wall papers.  The second-floor presses produced titles stocked by stores in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
Engraving of Noah Webster

 

War of the Dictionaries

Pages


Back to top