Antiques and the Arts Online recently reported the results of a Judaica auction held this past May that included important Americana items. Among the books sold was the first Haggadah printed in America (New York, 1837), which had been part of the Gratz College of Philadelphia’s library for nearly 100 years.
Bringing $12,300 was a June 19, 1790 issue of the Gazette of the United States, which contains this transcript of George Washington's four-paragraph letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Savannah, Georgia.
Congratulations to Esther Crawford, Rice University, and Michelle McKnelly, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, winners of the 2010 GODORT Silent Auction for the W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship. Esther had the winning bid for the seven-day stay in Chester, Vermont, and Michelle won the four-day stay in Naples, Florida. Enjoy the getaways!
Over $1,600 was raised to support the Rozkuszka Scholarship, which since 1994 has provided financial assistance to an individual currently working with government documents in a library and completing a master's degree in library science. GODORT and Readex would like to thank all the participants for their support of this worthy cause.
When one thinks of Prince Otto von Bismarck, 19th-century Germany’s Iron Chancellor, birthday cakes and greetings do not first come to mind. But they did — at least the birthday greetings — in perhaps an unexpected place and certainly in a most unusual way in a Chicago newspaper in 1874.
On April 1, 1874, Bismarck — still not fully recovered from a serious illness contracted the year before (not nervous exhaustion from overwork in redesigning the European continent but rather a case of gout) — celebrated his 60th birthday in Berlin amid much adulation from the new Germany, his enthusiastic nationalist supporters, and foreign dignitaries. Just a little more than a month later, the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper published on May 2, 1874 a macaronic poem [i.e. a poem, usually in Latin, interspersed with vernacular words or phrases] celebrating Bismarck’s birthday. It is, I think, a poem which raises at least a couple of questions.
A Readex breakfast event during the 2010 American Library Association annual conference included a presentation by Steve Daniel, an internationally known authority on government documents.
In "Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes," Daniel traced the history of the idea of a water route through Central America as it is documented in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Daniel writes:
"The building of the Panama Canal was without doubt one of the great engineering and technological achievements of the modern era, equal in every respect to the first transcontinental railroad and putting a man on the moon. Its completion in 1914 was the realization of a dream that dates back to the early years of European settlement in the New World.
"Because of the Serial Set’s importance as a collection of legislative history materials, the even greater importance of the 19th and early 20th century Serial Set as a fundamental resource for research on the major and minor issues of American political, economic and social history is sometimes overlooked. Highlighted here are only a small number of the hundreds of publications in in the Serial Set that might be cited on the Panama Canal."
Here is Daniel’s PowerPoint. A video of his live presentation will be available here soon.
"Whether it’s biographical research on Civil War generals and politicians, the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage in America, or the building an interoceanic canal, the Serial Set is a logical place to begin."
According to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, there are 26 known copies of the "Declaration of Independence," which is often referred to as the "Dunlop Broadside."
The name is attributed to the Philadelphia printer, John Dunlop, who was responsible for the first printing.
After Dunlop printed and distributed his broadside during the late afternoon on Thursday, July 4, several newspapers published this historic document, including Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6, 1776 and Pennsylvania Packet on July 8, 1776.
The Doty at the Soo Locks 1896 - Andrew Young photo courtesy of the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes
On June 24, the Associated Press (AP) distributed an article about the recent discovery of the L.R. Doty, a steamship that sank in Lake Michigan in 1898. The article begins:
A great wooden steamship that sank more than a century ago in a violent Lake Michigan storm has been found off the Milwaukee-area shoreline, and divers say the intact vessel appears to have been perfectly preserved by the cold fresh waters. "Finding the 300-foot-long L.R. Doty was important because it was the largest wooden ship that remained unaccounted for," said Brendon Baillod, the president of the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association.
When the L.R. Doty sank on October 27, 1898, the reports about its demise were numerous. A brief article in the October 28, 1898 issue of the Dallas Morning News only listed the names of the captain, the chief engineer, and the first mate.
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%."