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Just published—The Readex Report: February 2015 (10th Anniversary Issue)

Posted on 02/24/2015
IN OUR 1OTH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE: Civil War-era writers see biblical parallels in the American profile; students use primary sources to refine their research processes; and a heated debate rages on the effects of African-inspired inoculations.

Civil War Biblicism and the Demise of the Confederacy
By Eran Shalev, Senior Lecturer, History Department, Haifa University, Israel
The Georgian newspaper The Macon Daily Telegraph and Confederate published a New Revelation in the bleak fall of 1864, when the doom of the Confederate States of America seemed to draw closer by the day. The revelation, a pamphlet of 12 pages, was an extraordinary piece of American Old Testamentism that recast the central narratives of the Hebrew Bible as chronicles about America: North America, “the birthplace of mankind,” was sanctified, or rather Canaanized, and became the geographical center of the biblical drama: “the river that went out to water the garden of Eden…was the Mississippi-Pison, the river compassing the land of Havilah, the Arkansas; Gihon, the river lining the boundary of Ethiopia, is the Ohio. Hidekel, the Missouri, and Euphrates, the Upper Mississippi.” The New Revelation wholly conflated the biblical and American landscapes, with “the Hebrew Canaan [identified as] the United States, Mexico and Central America.” “Joshua,” the revelation’s author, could even identify “the site of the present city of New York” as the place where Noah built his ark and made preparation for his voyage. > Full Story

Teaching Bibliography and Research: Using Early American Imprints in an Online Graduate Class
By Mark L. Kamrath, Professor, Department of English, University of Central Florida

The Charles Brockden Brown Electronic Archive and Scholarly Edition is currently preparing for its archive nearly 900 periodical texts, many of which were published anonymously or under a pseudonym. Our goal is to identify these texts, and make them available electronically in the archive. During the course of locating Charles Brockden Brown’s political pamphlets on the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and Jefferson’s Embargo (1807), I first came to use the four Archive of Americana collections of Early American Imprints. That initial encounter with Early American Imprints, Series II and its Supplement from the Library Company of Philadelphia (LCP) would lead me to incorporate its companions—Early American Imprints, Series I and its Supplement from LCP—into my online ENG 5009 Bibliography and Research class and to explore how all four series can complement the assignment on library research tools. > Full Story

A "Doubtful and Dangerous Practice": The 1721 Boston Inoculation Controversy, and Uncovering African Medical Knowledge in Early American Newspapers
By Kelly Wisecup, Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of North Texas

In 1721, residents of Boston began to fall ill with smallpox, in what would become the city’s sixth such epidemic since 1630. At this time, neither physicians nor laypeople conceptualized disease in terms of discrete entities such as germs or viruses; instead, they held that illness originated in physical imbalances, often caused by unhealthy environmental conditions or dietary choices. Additionally, many colonists believed that illness was a divine judgment upon people that could be healed through prayer and repentance. Consequently, Boston city leaders ordered 26 free Africans to wash the streets in hopes of preventing smallpox from spreading. Their efforts were unsuccessful, for the disease infected over half of the city’s population of 11,000, eventually killing over 800 citizens in just over a year. > Full Story

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