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An Independence-Minded Ally, Wistful Postbellum Memoirs, and a Forgotten Comic-Strip Savant: The Readex Report (November 2015)

Posted on 11/16/2015

In this issue: the heralded 19th-century return of an independence-minded ally; wresting insight from wistful Postbellum memoirs; and an entire genre fueled by a forgotten comic-strip savant.

Lafayette’s Return: An Early American Media Event

By Jonathan Wilfred Wilson, Adjunct Instructor, Department of History, University of Scranton

In summer 2015, a wooden frigate named the Hermione sailed from France to the United States. It was recreating one of the voyages that brought the Marquis de Lafayette to fight in the American War of Independence. The new Hermione was a painstaking replica of Lafayette’s ship, built with authentic eighteenth-century methods. Its voyage, however, became a modern multimedia spectacle—with international television coverage, a website, and a busy Twitter account. > Full Story 

Reading between the Lines: Exploring Postbellum Plantation Memoirists through Digitized Newspaper Collections

By David Anderson, Department of Political and Cultural Studies, Swansea University, Wales, United Kingdom

Late nineteenth and early twentieth-century plantation memoirs and reminiscences are an important, though often overlooked, genus of Lost Cause apologia. Printed by some of the nation’s leading publishing houses, these narrative sources tend to foreground a conspicuous nostalgia for the plantation-era South, adopting literary strategies that connect with discourses of paternalism and carefully fashioned vignettes on close affinities, real or imagined, between master and slave. > Full Story 

Concerning Sol Hess, Unsung Pioneer of the Continuity Comic Strip: New Findings from America’s Historical Newspapers

By John Adcock, creator of Yesterday’s Papers

The Gumps, a comic strip drawn by Sidney Smith and “watched daily by millions,” is generally credited as being the first continuity strip in which the characters’ situations continued from day to day. There had been continuity in strips before The Gumps began in 1917, particularly in the work of Harry Hershfield (“Desperate Desmond”) and Charles W. Kahles (“Hairbreadth Harry”), but it was The Gumps’ influence that led to the avalanche of soap and adventure comic strips appearing in the 1930s and after. > Full Story

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