Our guest blogger today is Bruce D. Roberts, author of Clipper Ship Sailing Cards (2007) and Mechanical Bank Trade Cards (2008). His new article on "The Development of the American Advertising Card" appears in the April 2011 issue of The Readex Report.
In the mid-nineteenth century, clipper ships sailed from New York and Boston to San Francisco. Shipping lines advertised voyages of clipper ships via sailing cards, most of which were issued between 1856 and 1868. The American Civil War fell right in the middle of this span, and Civil War imagery is seen on many cards. The examples below are found in American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series I, a Readex digital archive created in partnership with the American Antiquarian Society.
In the spring 2010 issue of Occasional Miscellany, a newsletter for members and friends of the Library Company of Philadelphia, James Green discusses his organization’s recent completion of an initiative "to catalog some 3,250 pre-1820 American imprints of which the Library Company holds the only available copy."
Writing about Early American Imprints, Green comments:
"By adding full-dress descriptive and subject catalog records to the national bibliographic database, we have made these unique items accessible for the first time. Readex...has long been in the business of publishing digital libraries of early American imprints, and they have just begun scanning the imprints we cataloged under the NEH grant to create supplements to their two digital collections of early American imprints, the Evans series (1639-1800) and the Shaw-Shoemaker series (1801-1819), named after the venerable printed bibliographies on which they are based. These are in effect the national digital archive of American print, and our additions will increase it by more than 3%."
Most librarians must shudder at the thought of marginalia, since writing in books must be near the top of their taboo list. But many instances of marginalia have been hugely important (the scribblings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Pierre de Fermat come to mind), and the other day I thought I might have tripped across some very interesting ones penned by Samuel Johnson. Granted, this was not the good Doctor himself, but the respected American philosopher who became the first president of King’s College (now Columbia University).
Perusing Johnson’s Elementa Philosophica (1752) in Early American Imprints, Series 1: Evans, I noted the marginalia immediately, and also saw that it appeared to be signed by the author in the same hand. How very exciting! (The copy of this work that Readex digitized for this database came from the American Antiquarian Society, whose holdings contain many works donated by their authors, so this made sense.) Here is what I was looking at: