Digital Scholarship


Seductive Spies, a Quest for Friendly Fumes, and a Lethal Love Triangle: Readex Report (October 2017)

In this issue: feminine charms reveal Civil War strategies; a dismembered body linked to a racially charged love triangle; and the dicey dealings of early American anesthesiologists.


Two Women Who Spied During the American Civil War: Going Undercover with Belle Boyd and Pauline Cushman in the Archive of Americana

Bruce D. Roberts, author of Clipper Ship Sailing Cards

Two Women 1b.jpgIn July 1861—just three months after the bombardment of Fort Sumter—unabashed Southern sympathizer Rose O’Neal Greenhow of Washington, D.C., was already engaged in espionage on behalf of the Confederacy. Well-placed in Washington society—and adept at bleeding information from the many men who found her attractive—Greenhow learned that Union troops under General Irvin McDowell would attack Rebel forces in Manassas, Virginia, within days... > Full Story

Seductive Spies, a Quest for Friendly Fumes, and a Lethal Love Triangle: Readex Report (October 2017)

Readex Congratulates Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar Whose New Book Has Been Nominated for a 2017 National Book Award

never-caught-9781501126390_lg.jpgCongratulations to Erica Armstrong Dunbar whose new book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, has been long-listed for the 2017 National Book Awards.  It is one of ten non-fiction nominees for this year’s prize which will be announced on November 15. Dr. Dunbar is the Director of the Library Company of Philaelphia’s African American History Program and the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University.

Never Caught was described by Columbia University Professor Eric Foner as “a fascinating and moving account of a courageous and resourceful woman. Beautifully written and utilizing previously untapped sources it sheds new light both on the father of our country and on the intersections of slavery and freedom.”

Readex Congratulates Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar Whose New Book Has Been Nominated for a 2017 National Book Award

Announcing “Undergrads Doing History: Using Digital Primary Sources to Motivate Students” – An Upcoming Webinar by Prof. Carl Robert Keyes

banner top.JPG“How can I better incorporate my own research into the undergraduate courses I teach?”

College and university professors grapple with this question every semester.  In this 45-minute webinar, Prof. Keyes will reveal how he adapted two digital humanities projects—drawn from his own research on advertising in early America—into classroom exercises that challenge students to actively “do” history rather than merely learn about the past.

Register to attend this and learn how to:

• develop alternative assignments that engage student interest yet also enhance skills associated with traditional essays

• improve information literacy by identifying and assessing primary sources and secondary sources

• create research projects based on extensive collections of digital primary sources

• avoid pitfalls when developing digital humanities projects for undergraduate students

The webinar will conclude with an open Q & A session, and all registrants will receive a link to the recorded session.

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Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm Eastern

Announcing “Undergrads Doing History: Using Digital Primary Sources to Motivate Students” – An Upcoming Webinar by Prof. Carl Robert Keyes

Historian Paul Finkelman Provides New Context to U.S. Immigration Debate at Readex-Sponsored ALA Event [VIDEO]

We are a nation of immigrants, but sometimes it seems we forget that. Professor Paul Finkelman offered a stark reminder of this at the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, and attendees of his Readex-sponsored talk left with a fresh lens through which to view today’s immigration debate.

From Hollywood to Silicon Valley, from baseball stadiums to boardrooms, immigrants and their children enhance our daily lives and culture. Consider the contributions of Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell and Albert Einstein. Immigrants, including Irving Berlin, Greta Garbo, Sophia Loren and Joe DiMaggio, have enriched our music, art, and entertainment. Think of the impact more recent innovations by immigrants—like the founding of Google and the creation of the Pentium Micro-Processor—have had on our world.

Ten percent of the first Congress was foreign-born, and immigrants continue to fill critical leadership roles in our government today.

“From the beginning to the present, immigrants and the children of immigrants have played a fairly significant role in American politics,” Finkelman said. “In the last half century we’ve had two Secretaries of State who were immigrants.”

Add to that a foreign-born Secretary of the Treasury and two ambassadors to the United Nations. As Dr. Finkelman noted, unless you are 100% Native American, you are of immigrants.

But how quickly, as a nation, we forget.

Since the late 19th century, the Statue of Liberty has symbolized freedom, standing as a welcoming beacon to millions of immigrants reaching America’s shore. The poem at the base of the statue, written by Emma Lazarus, declares: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddle masses yearning to breathe free.” 

Is the United States still a welcoming haven?

Historian Paul Finkelman Provides New Context to U.S. Immigration Debate at Readex-Sponsored ALA Event [VIDEO]

The Russia Connection: Historical Proposals to Reestablish a Land Link across the Bering Strait

There’s general agreement that as recently as 11,000 years ago the Asian and North American continents were connected by a land bridge over which hominids and other animals crossed. Today, the Bering Strait is only about 50 miles wide at its narrowest point, and less than 200 feet deep.

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Two small islands are situated midway between the continental land masses. Big Diomede Island belongs to Russia; Little Diomede Island belongs to the United States. The islands are separated by approximately two miles—and the International Date Line.

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For reference, the English Channel, between the United Kingdom and France, is about 20 miles wide and similar in depth to the Bering Strait. An undersea tunnel was proposed there during the 19th century, and has since been completed. The Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean, was built in 1869. The Panama Canal was completed in 1914. In keeping with these ambitious projects, some structure across or beneath the Bering Strait has long been suggested as both practical and possible.

The Russia Connection: Historical Proposals to Reestablish a Land Link across the Bering Strait

Announcing the Readex 2017 ALA Breakfast Event: “A Nation of Immigrants and a History of Anti-Immigration”

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On Sunday, June 25, Readex will host a special breakfast presentation titled, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” Except Them: A Nation of Immigrants and a History of Anti-Immigration.” An open discussion will follow the talk by Prof. Paul Finkelman, a leading authority on American legal history, race relations and religious freedom.

About the Presentation

Americans take pride in being a nation of immigrants and a “melting pot.” But as early as the 1640s, some leaders in the American colonies were complaining about the “wrong” kind of immigrants. This timely talk lends historical perspective to current controversies with refugees, walls and executive orders.

Man ALA 2017 Breakfast Invite.jpgFinkelman will explore the long history of lamentable anti-immigration activity in the United States, including anti-Catholic political parties; “No Irish Need Apply” signs used by Boston businesses;  murderous attacks on Irish, Chinese, Italian, German and Jewish immigrants; and more. Various restrictions and laws limiting citizenship—as well as court decisions enforcing them—will be covered. And Finkelman will reveal how primary source materials in Readex collections can be used to dive deep into immigration history—a boon to students and scholars in history, sociology, political science, anthropology, literature, journalism, and ethnic studies programs.

Announcing the Readex 2017 ALA Breakfast Event: “A Nation of Immigrants and a History of Anti-Immigration”

Signing Jackie Robinson, Malpractice in South Africa, An American Bohemian: The Readex Report (March 2017)

In this issue: the seminal inking of an African American baseball legend, Apartheid-era doctors under fire for neglect, and the unexplained loss of a literary luminary.


The Robinson Interregnum: The Black Press Responds to the Signing of Jackie Robinson, October 23, 1945-March 1, 1946

Thomas Aiello, Associate Professor of History, Valdosta State University

jackie 2.jpgThere is little about the life of Jackie Robinson that historians do not know. Each part of his saga has been analyzed time and again. Among the periods sometimes given short shrift, however, is the time between the seminal event of his signing with the Montreal Royals, AAA farm team of Branch Rickey’s Brooklyn Dodgers, in October 1945 and his arrival in Sanford, Florida, for his first spring training in an unapologetically racist South….Each of those accounts uses major black weeklies to create a picture of Robinson’s actions and the black response, but looking at smaller black weeklies, less trumpeted than the Pittsburgh Courier and Chicago Defender, a more nuanced picture of that response helps color the solid scholarship that already exists. > Full Story


Medicine on the Rand: The Biko Doctors and South Africa’s Sharp Dissection

Signing Jackie Robinson, Malpractice in South Africa, An American Bohemian: The Readex Report (March 2017)

‘Primary Sources Now: A Conversation with Professor David Goldfield’ [VIDEO]

Readex recently sat down with David Goldfield, the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and author of America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation. In our short discussion, Goldfield described how his extensive study of U.S. religious and Southern history—including newspaper editorials, church sermons and other primary source documents—enabled him to identify a critically important aspect of the American Civil War not often discussed by other historians.

Professor Goldfield also explained why he uses digitized primary sources in his teaching to excite and engage students. Watch the interview to learn how online resources like The American Civil War Collection help students gain a wider view of history based on a variety of perspectives.

Contact us for more information about The American Civil War Collection or other primary source collections for classroom use.

‘Primary Sources Now: A Conversation with Professor David Goldfield’ [VIDEO]

Announcing a 2017 ALA Midwinter Breakfast Presentation: ‘American Tragedy: Assailing Common Assumptions about the Civil War’

 

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During the upcoming American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, Readex will host a special Sunday breakfast presentation. Prof. David Goldfield, an exciting speaker and acclaimed authority on the American South, will present “American Tragedy: Assailing Common Assumptions about the Civil War.”

About the Presentation

Goldfield 3.jpgFor the past 50 years historians have achieved a consensus on the interpretative narrative of the American Civil War: that slavery was the primary cause of the conflict, and that the war—while bloody—produced two great results: the abolition of slavery and the salvation of the Union. Beyond the war itself, the same narrative asserts that Reconstruction was a noble but failed attempt to bind up the Union and provide the basic rights of citizenship for the freed slaves. There is nothing inherently wrong with this account, but it is woefully incomplete and, therefore, misleading.

Announcing a 2017 ALA Midwinter Breakfast Presentation: ‘American Tragedy: Assailing Common Assumptions about the Civil War’

Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment [Webinar on Demand]

In a recent webinar, Dr. Julie Voss, Associate Professor, Department of English, Lenoir-Rhyne University, shared her experience using a digital archive of 18th-century books, broadsides and pamphlets to fascinate and challenge an undergraduate class of English majors. Using the Readex Early American Imprints collection, she asked her students to select an out-of-print text and then create an original modern edition of the work. Throughout this process, they experienced the joys and frustrations of working with rare old books, expanded their repertoire of research skills, and, in the end, began to see themselves as legitimate scholars.

Attendees told us they were hoping to:

  • Gain new ideas for engaging students in research using primary sources
  • Learn practical ways for using this kind of assignment in the classroom
  • Hear about collaboration between faculty and librarians

According to our follow up survey, their expectations were met!

“I especially appreciated learning new ways of assessing students’ knowledge. I knew a standard English research paper was not appropriate, but didn't know how to design a project.”

“Prof. Voss's project has given me ideas for expanding current student projects.”

And attendees left with ideas for implementing primary source research at their institutions:

“We look forward to expanding this project to include not only items from digital archive databases, but documents and manuscripts from our physical archives.”

Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment [Webinar on Demand]

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