Digital Scholarship


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

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

Now Available on Video: “Learning to Look: The Interdisciplinary Value of Historical Visual Culture”

As Director of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture at the American Antiquarian Society, Nan Wolverton is a master at studying images, looking beyond what is readily apparent to uncover details that give fresh insight to a point in time or an aspect of society.

Speaking at a Readex breakfast event during the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Chicago, Wolverton demonstrated her expertise, analyzing newspaper advertisements, photographs, broadsides, political cartoons, and even sheet music. She pointed out details easily overlooked—what the tablecloth in a 19th-century breakfast scene says about America’s place in the global economy, what a walking stick reveals about a former slave’s position, and why the image of a mental institution came to be stamped on dinner plates. She encouraged librarians, faculty, and students to look more deeply and use visuals to enhance their own teaching and research.

“The visual is overlooked as an important source of evidence,” Wolverton said. “An image can enhance the written record but it also can teach us something significant about which the written record can be silent or ambiguous.”

Wolverton explained how she uses images in her American Studies courses at Smith College as a way to introduce students to themes and references they may not otherwise understand, like how the “striped pig” relates to alcohol:  
Now Available on Video: “Learning to Look: The Interdisciplinary Value of Historical Visual Culture”

Call for Papers: Digital Americanists at American Literature Association 2015

The Digital Americanists Society (DAS) solicits abstracts (c. 200 words) for papers to be included in the Society’s pre-arranged sessions at the 2015 American Literature Association Conference (Boston, May 21-24). The Digital Americanists are eager to constitute panels of the most exciting DH work happening in and around American studies, literary and otherwise. If you have an idea for a panel rather than an individual paper, DAS would be happy to hear about it; email digitalamericanists@gmail.com as soon as possible.

In keeping with the Digital Americanists’ commitment to a broad understanding of American literature, culture, digital media, and computational methods, DAS is pleased to consider submissions that address any facet of the relationship between those terms or that question the terms themselves. Submissions from early-career scholars and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged.

Deadline for submissions is Monday, January 19, 2015. Send abstracts (plain text, please, unless there’s a good reason to use something else) or questions by email to digitalamericanists@gmail.com. For more information about the Digital Americanists Society, see http://digitalamericanists.org. For information about the ALA and the 2015 conference, see http://americanliteratureassociation.org.

Call for Papers: Digital Americanists at American Literature Association 2015

Just published—The Readex Report: November 2014

IN THIS ISSUE: Myth and fact mingle in early depictions of the Muslim world; history redeems a Justice of the Antebellum Supreme Court; and stitching together facts to visualize Colonial clothing.

The Muslim World in Early U.S. Texts
By Julie R. Voss, Assistant Professor of English, Coordinator of American Studies Program, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Just published—The Readex Report: November 2014

Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age: Call for Papers

CFP: Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age

University of Delaware and the Delaware Historical Society, April 24-26, 2015

Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age: Call for Papers

African American Women’s History in the Digital Age: A Readex Breakfast Presentation

On January 26, 2014, during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, will present “Still Reading the Silences: African American Women’s History in the Digital Age.”

Prof. Dunbar’s talk will focus on the work of recovering early African American women's history, both before and during the digital revolution. She will examine the utility and limitations of digitization in early African American history. For many historians, the digitization of documents and images has allowed scholars wider access to important evidence. Yet for historians of women and people of African descent the evidence trail remains elusive. While digitization promotes the wider dissemination of historical evidence, it doesn't provide a remedy for absent voices. Dunbar will discuss the ways that historians of women and people of African descent must engage in new digitization technology as well as older techniques of gathering and interpreting evidence.

African American Women’s History in the Digital Age: A Readex Breakfast Presentation

Just published—The Readex Report: November 2013

IN THIS ISSUE: A pensive primer on the teaching of history research classes, a mysterious presidential embargo exemption sparks envy and anger, and a gifted group of Chinese students succumbs to Western ways.

Librarians and History Instruction: Getting the Most Out of the One-shot Session
By Alexandra Simons, History, Political Science, and Government Documents Librarian, University of Houston

Just published—The Readex Report: November 2013

Just published — The Readex Report: September 2013

IN THIS ISSUE: Scandal mars the mastery of a Native American sporting great; a plucky female editor redefines an iconic southern newspaper; a hulking hoax sparks a sizable 19th-century sensation; a star-crossed sedan slides into obscurity.

"The Great Upheaval": Tracking Jim Thorpe's Swift Fall from Grace after the 1912 Olympics

By Kate Buford, author of Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe

One hundred and one years ago this past summer, American Indian athlete Jim Thorpe was acclaimed around the world for winning, by huge margins, both the classic pentathlon and the decathlon at the Fifth Olympiad in Stockholm. The King of Sweden famously declared him “the most wonderful athlete in the world.”

Six months later, on January 22, 1913, a newspaper scoop in ... (read article

Just published — The Readex Report: September 2013

Now Available on Video: “Ethnic Studies in the Digital Age”

At the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Readex vice president Remmel Nunn shared his expertise on “Ethnic Studies in the Digital Age.” Drawing from the Archive of Americana and other resources, he presented multiple examples of how recently digitized materials have opened new doors for researchers. Remmel demonstrated how specific newspaper articles have provided fresh insight into such topics as the Emancipation Proclamation, the “Prayer of Twenty Millions,” and Lincoln’s colonization plans for African Americans. He also illustrated how new perspectives on the Civil War have arisen through the digitization of newspapers like The Black Warrior, a paper published by Black soldiers in the Union Army. 

Remmel also discussed the creation of new bibliographies, collection development challenges, oral history trends, and more. I hope you’ll appreciate the slides shown, which include compelling examples of the kind of historical images that are emerging as essential primary sources.

Now Available on Video: “Ethnic Studies in the Digital Age”

“Traveling Where the Air Is Like Wine”: The American Story of a White Buddhist Monk

One of the pleasures of using America’s Historical Newspapers is the ability to come across remarkable yet little known individuals like Theos Bernard. This Arizona native and Columbia University student went to India and Tibet in the 1930s to learn Tantric Yoga. 

The earliest newspaper article found to mention him begins:

"Across a gale-swept pass, 18,000 feet high in the Himalayas' perpetual snows, an Arizonian is struggling to bring out on the backs of yaks and 100 mules what he believes to be one of the world’s most precious cargoes.”

“Traveling Where the Air Is Like Wine”: The American Story of a White Buddhist Monk

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