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.
Many of the works in the February 2015 release of American Pamphlets concern slavery and the American Civil War. Included are narratives about former slaves, arguments that slavery is ordained by God, arguments against slavery and for abolition, an essay on how to manage one’s slaves, and a detailed accounting of the cost of the Civil War to each town in one New England state. Among the authors of these pamphlets are two great writers, Victor Hugo and John Greenleaf Whittier.
Although men constitute a preponderance of the authors of the more than 25,000 American pamphlets in the New-York Historical Society’s extraordinary collection, many works written and published by women are also included. From the most recent release of American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1822-1922, here are brief descriptions of three gripping personal narratives by American women:
The life and adventures of Ann Eliza Dow being a true narrative written by herself (1845)
From an earlier release of Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994, we recently highlighted five reports concerning religion and atheism in the USSR in the 1960s. The September 2014 release of JPRS also includes translations from the Soviet Union on this same broad topic with particular attention paid to Islam.
The first four decades of the 19th century were a time of increased religious activity known as the Second Great Awakening. One of the most widely recognized religious activists of this time was William Miller (1782-1849) who lived in the border area between Vermont and New York State. As a young man in Poultney, Vermont, Miller was a confirmed and public Deist; however, as a result of his experience in the War of 1812, particularly in the Battle of Plattsburgh, where the significantly outnumbered Americans were victorious, Miller concluded this victory was the result of an interventionist deity.
Many people highly educated individuals in the 19th century conducted scientific inquiries into astrology, hypnotism, and mesmerism. Then, as now, people were divided in their convictions and beliefs regarding these subjects. In the following selections of pamphlets extolling or condemning these phenomena, hypnotism and mesmerism, which was also called animal magnetism, sometimes seem interchangeable, while astrology appears independent of the others.
Psychography, or, The Embodiment of Thought; with an Analysis of Phreno-magnetism, “Neurology,” and Mental Hallucination, including Rules to Govern and Produce the Magnetic State by Robt. H. Collyer, M.D. (1843)
For most of the second half of the twentieth century, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in serious competition on many fronts. Perhaps the most popular and comprehensible manifestation of this competition was the space race. It is not surprising that a significant effort was made by the Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) to gather and translate a wide spectrum of scientific and technical articles published by the Soviets. From the July release of JPRS Reports, we highlight advances in space science and space travel research.
The Space Age: Exploration of the Moon
This report was published less than three years before the United States landed men on the moon and Neil Armstrong took “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” The author states,
The first five years in space (1957-1962) passed under the sigh of triumphal attainments of the USSR in all fields of space research, including lunar exploration.
He defines the American space program largely by its failures, while extolling the steady stream of Soviet accomplishments. However, he does credit American research, particularly photographing the moon's surface but asserts that the photography could not answer critical questions that only a successful soft landing on the moon's surface could satisfy.
The latest recent release of American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922, includes many publications concerning health and treatments for a host of physical and mental complaints. Some of these pamphlets are almost 200 years old and yet they seem almost current in their concerns and causes, if not in their use of language, to contemporary American life.
Cautions to Young Persons Concerning Health, in a Public Lecture Delivered at the Close of the Medical Course in the Chapel at Cambridge, November 20, 1804; Containing the General Doctrine of Dyspepsia and Chronic Diseases; Shewing the Evil Tendency of the use of Tobacco upon Young Persons; More Especially the Pernicious Effects of Smoking Cigars. With Observations on the Use of Ardent and Vinous Spirits. By Benjamin Waterhouse, M.D., Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic, and Lecturer on Natural History in the University of Cambridge, New England (1822)
The June release of Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994, includes a number of topical translations from the mid-1960s concerning religion and atheism in the Soviet Union. Below are five examples:
Need for Special Atheist Courses for Students of Higher Education Institutions (1966) In this article by a history department professor and his student, the writers argue that it is necessary for university students to be taught a more robust atheism in order to be able to refute the beliefs of sectarians and cultists. It is not enough to be an atheist; a young educated person has to know enough about religion—Christianity—to be able to make a logical argument against it. The authors suggest that comparing what is written in the gospel Mark to what is said in Matthew and Mark about the same instance will act as a wedge. The believer must choose among apostles as to whom to believe. Thus is doubt provoked. Knowing these “little things" about religious doctrine and practice can be more effective in winning the argument than “the most extensive discussions on general themes."
This May release of American Pamphlets includes several 19th- and early 20th-century publications that explore a wide range of scientific topics, including animal behavior, botany, evolution and others.
Joseph Brown's Advertiser of Philosophical and Astronomical Apparatus (1835) This 48-page catalogue is richly illustrated with the apparatus that Mr. Brown designed and constructed. It includes an infant school set of learning tools and ranges upward to sophisticated mechanical tools for the advanced scientist of the day. The catalogue incorporates a second catalogue describing and illustrating philosophical apparatus designed by the firm of Claxton and Wightman, also of Boston, which specialized in hydraulics, pneumatics, steam, and chemistry.