Philadelphia Inquirer


The Brief, Wondrous Life of Lafcadio Hearn: Tracking the Author, Journalist and 19th-Century World Traveler through Historical Newspapers

Lafcadio_hearn.jpgAn American author and literary figure in the last quarter of the 19th century, Lafcadio Hearn was known for his fiction and his reportage from the Caribbean and Japan. His own life, however, was as fascinating as fiction itself, and his biography reads like a Charles Dickens novel that morphs into a Hemingway memoir.

Born to a Greek mother and an Irish father, Hearn was brought up in Greece, Ireland, England and France. After moving to Dublin when he was five, his parents divorced. His mother remarried and returned to Greece, while his soldier father was sent to India with his new wife. Hearn was left in Ireland with his aunt, Sarah Brenane, who sent him to a Catholic school in France on the advice of her financial advisor, Henry Molyneux.

495px-Lafcadio_Hearn.jpgFrom there, Hearn went to yet another school in England, but was forced to leave when Molyneux suffers some financial setbacks. His aunt died and Molyneux became her heir. When Hearn turned nineteen, Molyneux gave him a ticket to New York City. From there, he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where a relative of Molyneux’s was supposed to help him, but didn’t. Hearn lived in abject poverty. But thanks to his multinational upbringing, he was literate and knew several languages.

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Lafcadio Hearn: Tracking the Author, Journalist and 19th-Century World Traveler through Historical Newspapers

“America’s Rembrandt”: The Life of Thomas Eakins as Seen in America’s Historical Newspapers

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) is recognized as one of the greatest American artists of the 19th century. While receiving little official recognition in his lifetime, he created profound realist works whose influence persists to this day. 

Eakins also played a leading and controversial role in American art education, pioneering the study of the anatomy and the human nude. He was among the first to use photography to study the human figure in motion, and his innovations as director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts made it the leading art school in the United States.

Because he was out of step with the artistic sensibilities of his era, Eakins “sold only about 25 to 30 paintings in his lifetime,” as noted below in a review of a 1986 “American Masters” documentary, published in The Oregonian:

Things got so bad near the end of Eakins’ life that many people, after commissioning him to do portraits, rejected the final results, sometimes refusing to accept the paintings even when Eakins offered them free. Eakins painted what he saw, without cosmetic correction, so some of his subjects turned out to be less handsome or pretty than they had hoped and expected.

“America’s Rembrandt”: The Life of Thomas Eakins as Seen in America’s Historical Newspapers

New Webinars: Historical Perspectives on the American South, West and Northeast

Newspaper Archives for Academic Research and Training: A Series of Three Regionally Focused Webinars

American newspapers—with their eyewitness reporting, editorials, advertisements, obituaries and human interest stories—have preserved essential records and detailed accounts of nearly every facet of regional and national life. Now searchable online, these regionally diverse newspaper archives span centuries of social, cultural, political, military, business, sports and literary history, providing students and scholars with invaluable original reporting and fresh, local-level insights.

Newspaper Archives of the American Northeast

Thursday, October 18 -- 1 to 2 pm EST

Newspaper publishing in New England and the Mid-Atlantic stateshas had a long and proud history, going back to the colonial era. In this webinar we’ll explore the rich histories of prominent newspapers such as the Boston Herald, New York Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Springfield Republican, Trenton Evening Times, Washington Evening Star and others.

Newspaper Archives of the American South

Thursday, October 25 -- 1 to 2 pm EST

New Webinars: Historical Perspectives on the American South, West and Northeast

Freedom of Movement: The Shocking Life of Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan (May 27, 1877 - September 14, 1927). Image from America's Historical Newspapers

Freedom of Movement: The Shocking Life of Isadora Duncan

The World’s Greatest Aviator: Daredevil Lincoln Beachey and the Dip of Death

Lincoln J. Beachey (March 3, 1887 – March 14, 1915)

In the early 20th century, aviator Lincoln Beachey and his Curtis biplane amazed and delighted crowds with the “Dip of Death” and his mastery of “looping the loop.” Or by daring to fly upside down, which on one occasion shook $300 from his pocket and led him to quip,
I am willing to take a chance of losing my life flying upside down but it’s certainly tough to be torn loose from my bank roll, too.1
A groundbreaking aviator and breathtaking stuntman, he could boast of having performed for over 20 million spectators, or about one fifth of the U.S. population at the time. Yet 100 years later his name is largely unknown.

Source: Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Press; Jan. 30, 1914. Click open full article in PDF.

The World’s Greatest Aviator: Daredevil Lincoln Beachey and the Dip of Death

You are what you eat? Maybe, maybe not

Source: Morning Oregonian, Feb. 5, 1910

Low-fat? Low-calorie? Low-carb? Headlines seem to grab the public’s interest every day with warnings about what and what not to eat. With food-related health issues and rising obesity rates getting so much attention in the United States and around the world, it is tempting to think that mankind’s struggles with diet are new. But of course they aren’t!

Source: Rising Sun (Kansas City, MO), May 26, 1905. Click to open in PDF.

You are what you eat? Maybe, maybe not

The Bomarc Missile Plutonium Spill Crisis: Exercises in Propaganda and Containment in 1960 and Beyond

According to the Boeing Corporation’s history of its Bomarc missile,

Source: Boeing.com

The Bomarc Missile Plutonium Spill Crisis: Exercises in Propaganda and Containment in 1960 and Beyond

Illustrated Journalism: The Innovative Use of Maps by Northern Newspapers to Report Civil War Events

First map of Battle of Gettysburg, showing first day’s fighting. (Phil. Inquirer; July 4, 1863)

Illustrated Journalism: The Innovative Use of Maps by Northern Newspapers to Report Civil War Events

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