“Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge”—a new book about the risks one young woman took for freedom—was published yesterday. Author Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Distinguished Blue and Gold Professor of Black Studies and History at the University of Delaware, explores not only the 22-year-old’s courageous escape from the Philadelphia home of the first First Family but also the subsequent efforts George Washington took over many years to have her recaptured.
Writing about Dunbar’s new work, Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of “The Hemingses of Monticello,” says, “There is no way to really know the Washingtons without knowing this story.” In a discussion at a recent Readex-hosted American Library Association event, Prof. Dunbar shared the story of Ona Judge:
As explained above, Prof. Dunbar’s sources include historical newspaper coverage spanning Judge’s escape “from the household of the President of the United States,” as described in a 1796 runaway slave advertisement, to articles such as this 1845 item reprinted in the National Anti-Slavery Standard:
That’s the lesson David Goldfield, the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at University of North Carolina, Charlotte, taught at the Readex breakfast presentation at the 2017 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta. Prof. Goldfield supported this short declaration with several poignant examples.
While our minds tend to enjoy simple, clear-cut, good-versus-evil narratives, the reality is much more complex, Goldfield argued. He used his research surrounding U.S. religious and Southern history to provide a new look at the causes and outcomes of the American Civil War, first explaining why he finds the often-told story of the war “woefully incomplete.” He asked his audience of academic librarians to entertain a very different perspective on the war.
Throughout his presentation, Goldfield challenged the usual chronicle surrounding the war—the familiar debate of states’ rights and slavery—and instead focused on the consequences of righteousness and the effects of removing the barrier between church and state. According to Goldfield, the Civil War represented the failure of our political system, caused by the injection of religion.
On January 12, 1888, an unexpected blizzard rushed across the American Northwest. The storm arrived on a relatively warm day and many people were unprepared when the temperature plunged that afternoon. Under the headline, “Midnight at Noon,” the Boston Daily Advertiser reported:
At Fargo…mercury 47’ below zero and a hurricane blowing….At Neche, Dak. the thermometer is 58’ below zero.
Reports in Early American Newspapers include many accounts of adults and children caught in the lethal blizzard. Although relatively few of its victims were schoolchildren, the historic event is now commonly referred to as the Schoolhouse or Schoolchildren’s Blizzard. The plight of schoolchildren was an immediate focus of the reporting. On Jan. 13, the Duluth Daily News wrote:
“The storm came up suddenly and it is feared that many school children who were out on the prairie are lost. Whistles were kept blowing all day as signals to the unfortunates.”
On the same day, the Boston Daily Journal added more details:
The proliferation of fake news during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election continues to make fresh headlines. Although today’s delivery system is different, the creation and sharing of fake news itself is not a new problem. Early American Newspapers, Series 1-13, contains dozens of mentions, as seen in these late 19th-century examples.
Readex is delighted to announce a partnership with Irish Newspaper Archives Ltd., of Dublin, to be the exclusive seller in North America of a new product titled Irish Historical Newspapers.
Irish Historical Newspapers contains 15 essential papers from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland spanning more than 250 years—from 1738 to 2004. Most of the papers are extremely long runs—for example, the Freeman’s Journal (a major national daily) runs from 1763 to 1924, and The Belfast Newsletter (another major national daily) covers the years 1738 to 1890.
Also included are The Nation (1842-1897), which offers detailed coverage of the Great Irish Famine, and the Skiberreen Eagle (1882-1922), which features first-hand reporting on the 1916 Rising, and nearly a dozen other invaluable titles.
In this issue: using yesteryear’s advertisements to inspire contemporary classroom research; a compelling profile of a portrait-painting virtuoso; inferring the political intentions of a prominent Founding Father.
By Carl Robert Keyes, Associate Professor of History, Assumption College
In January 2016 I launched the Adverts 250 Project, a daily blog that features an advertisement published 250 years ago along with analysis and historical context. This project grew out of my current research, a book tentatively titled Advertising in Early America: Marketing Media and Messages in the Eighteenth Century. Publishing a blog as a supplement to the book offers several advantages, including the ability to share more of my work more frequently and to broader audiences. It also opened up new opportunities for integrating my research into the undergraduate classroom, enriching both my scholarship and my teaching. > Full Story
Readex is exhibiting its newest African Studies resources at the 59th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA) in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1 to 3, 2016. Please visit booth 209 to explore online collections of digitized newspapers and books covering centuries of African history and culture. If not attending, please use the links below to request a trial for your institution. To arrange a meeting with a Readex representative during ASA, please click here.
Van Gosse, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Franklin & Marshall College
I am finishing a history of antebellum black politics, a little-studied topic for which many of the usual sources are unavailable: white politicians did not record their correspondence with black men, and the latter rarely donated personal papers to libraries, for obvious reasons. However, America’s Historical Newspapers (AHN), used with precision, can produce extraordinary insights into the quotidian fabric of American politics and culture, evidence otherwise unavailable.> Full Story
Every four years the American political parties gather to nominate their presidential candidate. The months preceding the conventions are often the most fractious periods in American politics as spring turns to summer and internecine squabbles turn to feuds. This was particularly true in 1864.
As the National Union Party convention in Baltimore neared the young Republican Party was at risk of being torn apart. An uncompromising faction of the party, the Radical Republicans, opposed nominating President Lincoln for a second term and even held their own convention in Cleveland. They objected to the president’s policy on slavery, his administration of the war, and his post-war plans which they found too lenient.
Most Radical Republican leaders expected the Confederates to be treated severely after the war. In early January 1864, under the headline “The Logic of History: Bloodthirsty Venom of the ‘Loyalists,’” the Wisconsin Daily Patriot printed the following:
During the summer of 1863, according to the Washington Chronicle, Jim Lane, a Republican United States Senator from Kansas, made a speech in Washington, in which he gave utterance to the following bloodthirsty sentiments:
“I would like to live long enough to see every white man in South Carolina, in hell, and the negroes inheriting their territory.”