William Stearns


About Author: 

William is Senior Editor, Readex Digital Collections. He has been Editor of the Readex edition of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set since its early days. Previously, he was Editor of NewsBank Global Products and Assistant Vocabulary Editor. For the past ten years, he has also trained numerous NewsBank and Readex indexers.

Posts by this Author

Disastrous Events, Sorrowful Sam and a Wayward Fish: Early 19th-Century Tales for Children

December’s release of Early American Imprints, Series II: Supplement 2 from the American Antiquarian Society includes several instructive stories designed to set children on a worthy path in life. Some are prose while others are poetry, and some are illustrated. All are rare.


 

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The Disastrous Events which Attended Joe Dobson: Illustrated with Sixteen Elegant Engravings (1817)

This imprint was published in Philadelphia in 1817 and sold for twenty-five cents. The National Library of Australia provides the only citation on-line other than the American Antiquarian Society. It states that it was “First published in London with title, Cobler [sic], stick to your last, or, The adventures of Joe Dobson / by B.A.T.” The AAS citation also refers to the earlier London publication noting that it appeared in 1809. The complete manuscript appears to be unique to this collection.

Each page of text is illustrated with an engraving, each of which is clearly reproduced. It begins:

Joe Dobson was an Englishman

     In Days of Robin Hood

A Country Farmer, eke was he

     In forest of Sherwood

 

Joe Dobson said unto his Dame,

     I vow that I could do,

More household work in any day,

Disastrous Events, Sorrowful Sam and a Wayward Fish: Early 19th-Century Tales for Children

‘What a Bummer knows’ and Other Newly Added Books in The American Civil War Collection

Berne 4 a.jpgThe December release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes: the first-hand account of one of Sherman’s notorious bummers—the nickname used to describe the men under Sherman’s Union army who took food from Southern homes; a short work of wartime fiction from a New England woman; and the history of a monument erected in remembrance of the Massachusetts men who died on North Carolina battlefields.


 

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Bentonville: What a bummer knows about it. Prepared by companion Brevet Major Charles E. Belknap, U.S. Volunteers, read at the stated meeting of January 4, 1893 (1893)

The 21st Michigan Volunteer Infantry website provides an obituary for Captain Charles E. Belknap (1846-1929) and this inscription on his memorial in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

‘What a Bummer knows’ and Other Newly Added Books in The American Civil War Collection

Stearns on Stearns: ‘The Universal Kalendar’ for 1784

The November release of Early American Imprints, Series I: Supplement from the American Antiquarian Society includes a Revolutionary Era almanac created by a complicated, autodidactic scientist and physician whose life was defined by his Tory sympathies during and after the Revolution. He also happens to be a distant relative.


The Universal Kalendar, and the North-American's Almanack, for the Year of our Lord Christ, 1784: Calculated for the Latitude and Longitude of the City of New-York (1783)

By Samuel Stearns, professor of mathematicks and physic

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Containing,

(Besides the usual Astronomical Calculations)

The most excellent and comprehensive Tide Tables, ever published in North-America—Observable Days—Physical Receipts—Remarkable Events—and An Account of the Times, the Battles have happened in the late War; with many other Things, very useful and entertaining.

 

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Stearns on Stearns: ‘The Universal Kalendar’ for 1784

‘The Passions of the People’: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

Exercises illustration 4.jpgThe November 2016 release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes a personal history of a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church who spent three post-war years in Virginia attempting to reunite the Southern breakaway church with the Northern communion, an account of the erection of a monument to the Union’s first hero of the war, and the observations of people and events witnessed by a telegraph operator in the Department of War.


Virginia After the War: An Account of Three Years’ Experience in Reorganizing the Methodist Episcopal Church in Virginia at the Close of the Civil War by Rev. S. L. M. Conser (1891)

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Rev. Solomon L.M. Conser (1812- ?) was a cleric in the Episcopal Methodist Church for 30 years. Prior to the Civil War he had served as a circuit preacher in southern Virginia. During the war he was a chaplain in the Union Army for two years. 

‘The Passions of the People’: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

Three 19th-Century Tourist Guides to Civil War Battlefields

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Among the newly digitized works from the American Antiquarian Society in The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922 are travel guides for tourists visiting the Gettysburg and Petersburg battlefields after the Civil War.


Danner's Pocket Guide Book with History of the Battle of Gettysburg (1884)

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This promotional pamphlet encourages visits to the iconic battlefield. In addition to an account of the battle, it includes illustrations, anecdotes, and advertisements, especially for accommodations. The City Hotel, which details its best features and services, boasts of having “Toilet rooms on first and second floors” and “Electric light and bells.” Additionally, it advertises:

Battlefield a specialty. Dinner with drive over the Battlefield with for (sic) or more, $1.35 each. Field Glasses go with every team. Six Battlefield Guides connected with Hotel.

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Another advertiser is W.H. Tipton, “Battlefield Photographer,” who writes, “I have been constantly on the field since July, 1863.”

Three 19th-Century Tourist Guides to Civil War Battlefields

Contraband, Conspiracy, and Political Cartoons: New Works in The American Civil War Collection

154FE302DA7FE3C8.jpgThe current release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society, includes:

  • an unusual Christmas story instructive of the need for faith,
  • an elaborate account of the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln,
  • and a lithographic collection of caricatures, or political cartoons, from the years surrounding and including the Civil War.

Contraband Christmas. By N.W.T.R. With illustrations by Hoppin. (1864)

N.W.T.R are the initials for Nathaniel William Taylor Root (1829-1872) who appears to have been particularly interested in preparing Civil War-era boys for military service. The illustrator is Augustus Hoppin who has previously been featured here for his comical works Carrot-pomade and Hay Fever.

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This tale takes place in Rhode Island and entails the Greene family and their three children the eldest of whom is a soldier in the Union Army. When he had last visited his family on leave, he had brought with him a black man who remained with the family to whom he was introduced as Chrismus. When asked, he explained that his former master had named him thus because he was born on Christmas Day twenty years earlier.

Contraband, Conspiracy, and Political Cartoons: New Works in The American Civil War Collection

The Sylvan Retreats of Early American Gentry: A Newly Available Work in the American Antiquarian Society Supplement

pl_007062016_1001_53420_15_Page_02.jpgIncluded in the July release of newly digitized material from the American Antiquarian Society’s Supplement to Early American Imprints: Shaw-Shoemaker is a collection of intaglio prints created by artist William Russell Birch.  In this important work he depicts many of the elegant country estates of early 19th-century American gentry.


The Country Seats of the United States of North America, With Some Scenes Connected With Them (1809)

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William Russell Birch, an engraver and an enamel portraitist, was born in England in 1775. In his youth he was apprenticed to a jeweler as well as portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds. Birch emigrated to the United States in 1794, and in 1809 he published this influential collection of intaglio prints of elegant country homes of prominent Americans.

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This imprint contains little text, but the prints are enchanting in their portrayal of sylvan retreats of America’s earlier gentry. The pleasure of the collection rests entirely on the beauty of his work, which helped shape American style in architecture and landscape design.

The Sylvan Retreats of Early American Gentry: A Newly Available Work in the American Antiquarian Society Supplement

“Glory to God! See the Vermonters go it!”: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

Other CW 2 sm.jpgThe current release of imprints from The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes an intimate recollection of the first Union general to die in the war, an account of a nostalgic return of aging veterans to the scenes of their service in the war, and a remembered account of a peculiar phenomenon experienced by Union soldiers in Louisiana.


Personal Recollections of General Nathaniel Lyon. Prepared by Companion Brigadier-General William A. Hammond, U.S.A. (1900)

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This imprint is striking, in part, because of the biographies of the author and his subject. Nathaniel Lyon was a general in the U.S. Army early in the Civil War. He had served in both the Second Seminole War and Mexican-American War. He was killed in Missouri on August 10, 1861 at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek becoming the first Union general to die in the conflict. William A. Hammond, a physician, served as the Surgeon General of the United States Army from 1862 to 1864. After the war he became the first American to dedicate his career exclusively to neurology authoring many books and articles on the subject. Late in life Hammond authored this memory of his time with Lyon in the years before the war when both men were posted at Fort Riley.

“Glory to God! See the Vermonters go it!”: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

“My knees then smote one against the other”: Highlights from Supplement to Early American Imprints, Shaw-Shoemaker

Monument at Hubbardton Battlefield, Hubbardton, Vermont, commemorating Revolutionary War battle of 7 July 1777.This month’s release of new material in the Early American Imprints Supplement from the American Antiquarian Society includes:

• a biographical account of a young American rebel who was wounded and captured by the British in the Battle of Hubbardton

• an odd tale of a vision experienced by a traveler in the early 19th century

• and an appeal from the Shakers in New York, pleading for their status as conscientious objectors to military service. 


 

“My knees then smote one against the other”: Highlights from Supplement to Early American Imprints, Shaw-Shoemaker

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