U.S. Congressional Serial Set


Make the Most of Your Readex Collections: Spring 2015 Training Schedule

Readex online training sessions for spring 2015 are organized around major Readex collection families. Register today for one or more of these sessions!

  • America's Historical Imprints [Register]

Collections covered include Afro-Americana Imprints; The American Civil War Collection; American Pamphlets; The American Slavery Collection; Early American Imprints, Series I and II: Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker; Supplements from the Library Company of Philadelphia; and American Broadsides and Ephemera.

  • America's Historical Newspapers and World Newspaper Archive [Register]

Collections covered include Early American Newspapers, American Ethnic Newspapers, Caribbean Newspapers, 20th-Century American Newspapers, American Newspaper Archives and the World Newspaper Archive series.

Make the Most of Your Readex Collections: Spring 2015 Training Schedule

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

Skylarking, Horseplay and Other Hazards of the Early 20th-Century Workplace: As Seen in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set

Just as an aimless stroll can allow you to find a new perspective on a project, casually browsing Readex’s Archive of Americana can lead to serendipitous discoveries. What began as an investigation of nautical terminology, specifically the term “skylarking,” ended by shedding light on several amusing judicial opinions reprinted in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set.

Originally, skylarking described the antics of sailors who climbed about their ship’s rigging and slid down its backstays for fun. The ancient word "lac" means "to play" and because the frolicking of these deckhands started high in the masts, the term "skylacing" was born. Over time the word changed to "skylarking" and was used to refer to horseplay in general.

At first, skylarking wasn’t used pejoratively. For sailors with free time, this boisterous activity was considered a better diversion than engaging in mutinous talk. However, by the mid-19th century skylarking in the U.S. Navy became an offense punishable by the lash. The term first appears in the Serial Set in the 1849 publication, “Report of the Secretary of the Navy, with returns of punishments in the Navy.”1 The punishment for skylarking was comparable to that given for disobedience of orders, fighting, taking grog, skulking, or drunkenness: three to ten “lashes with cats.”

Skylarking, Horseplay and Other Hazards of the Early 20th-Century Workplace: As Seen in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set

Preserving a National Treasure: A Partnership with the Dartmouth College Library

Serial Set volumes at the Dartmouth College LibraryIn 2003, Readex began a special partnership with Dartmouth College Library. Readex wished to scan a number of specific maps and color illustrations for our definitive digital edition of the 14,000-volume U.S. Congressional Serial Set—the crown jewel of American government publications. The Serial Set, which contains the Reports, Documents and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, is an exceptional source of primary material on nearly two centuries of American history. To ensure the comprehensiveness of our digital edition, our initial goal was to borrow and scan these items located in the Dartmouth volumes.

Serial Set Team at the Dartmouth College Library

In 2005, this Dartmouth-Readex partnership expanded from the initial request to a landmark project to preserve the complete print set at the Dartmouth College Library. In addition to enabling Readex to offer researchers the most accurate and comprehensive digital edition available, this unique partnership brought several benefits to the Dartmouth College Library: the cleaning and repair of more than 13,800 volumes, including the critical repair of spines and thousands of fold-out maps; creation of detailed item records for every volume; and invaluable first-hand experience with a large-scale digitization project.

Preserving a National Treasure: A Partnership with the Dartmouth College Library

Now Complete! The Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994

From its first session, Congress concerned itself with the publication of its own proceedings.  By 1815, a definite set of publication types along with a schema for numbering volumes and publications had been established.  The challenge of finding references in those volumes became the pursuit of several different attempts to index the rapidly expanding body of material.

 

Now Complete! The Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994

Here there be monsters, OR The Gloucester Serpent!

“Report of a committee of the Linnæan Society of New England relative to a large marine animal, supposed to be a serpent, seen near Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in August, 1817.” From Early American Imprints, Series II.

Upon opening your copy of The Salem Gazette on New Year’s Day, 1818, your continued patronage would have been solicited with a page in verse which included the following:

Salem Gazette, Supplement; January 1, 1818. Click to open. (From America’s Historical Newspapers)

Here there be monsters, OR The Gloucester Serpent!

Location, location, location!

Nothing says “home” quite like a map of Alaska and adjacent lands shown as Russian and British territory—with annotations in French! 

“Map showing Russian territory of Alaska and coastline of western Canada. Alaskan Boundary Tribunal” (1903). Source: U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Readex

Location, location, location!

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

Cutting-edge Biographers, Corporate Crimes, Seductive Cards and a Deadly Sport in the new Readex Report

In our latest issue: A recent New York Times op-ed posits digitized newspapers have "the potential to revolutionize biographical research"; digital archives expose corrupt corporate governance across history; how sailing cards leveraged an idealized picture of manhood and masculinity; and the lethal legacy of an ephemeral American sport—plus three featured posts from this blog.

The Biographer's New Best Friend

From The New York Times Sunday Review (Sept. 11, 2011) By Stephen MihmAssociate Professor of History, University of Georgia  

Cutting-edge Biographers, Corporate Crimes, Seductive Cards and a Deadly Sport in the new Readex Report

Top-Ten Articles Published in The Readex Report

The Readex Report is a quarterly e-newsletter that explores diverse aspects of both modern librarianship and digital historical collections. Through original articles by academic faculty and librarians, The Readex Report provides insights on topics as wide-ranging as those found in the following list of the most clicked-upon articles published since 2006. Preserving the Library in the Digital Age

By Benjamin L. Carp, Assistant Professor of History, Tufts University [Volume 4, Issue 4]

Heart or Muscle? The Library in the Digital Age

By Edward Shephard, State University of New York, Binghamton [Volume 4, Issue 3]

“Meet the Students”: Bringing Your Library’s Online Resources Into Your Students’ “Circle of Trust”

By Lynn D. Lampert, Chair, Reference & Instructional Services, California State University, Northridge [Volume 2, Issue 2]

Top-Ten Articles Published in The Readex Report

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