Contraband, Conspiracy, and Political Cartoons: New Works in The American Civil War Collection

154FE302DA7FE3C8.jpgThe current release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society, includes:

  • an unusual Christmas story instructive of the need for faith,
  • an elaborate account of the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln,
  • and a lithographic collection of caricatures, or political cartoons, from the years surrounding and including the Civil War.

Contraband Christmas. By N.W.T.R. With illustrations by Hoppin. (1864)

N.W.T.R are the initials for Nathaniel William Taylor Root (1829-1872) who appears to have been particularly interested in preparing Civil War-era boys for military service. The illustrator is Augustus Hoppin who has previously been featured here for his comical works Carrot-pomade and Hay Fever.

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Contraband, Conspiracy, and Political Cartoons: New Works in The American Civil War Collection

A ‘Nation of Slaveholders’: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

The August release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia includes publications with differing religious perspectives on American slavery. Highlighted here are works by one of the founders of the United States General Convention of Universalists, Elhanan Winchester, and by two lesser-known authors.


The Reigning Abominations, Especially the Slave Trade (1788)

By Elhanan Winchester

Elhanan Winchester was an itinerant preacher, five-time husband, and a founder of what became the Universalist Church of America. He was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1751 and was ordained a Baptist minister 20 years later. During his ministry, Winchester travelled to South Carolina and Virginia preaching to both blacks and whites and sharing openly the gospel with slaves. In 1781 his congregation was excommunicated by the Baptist Church.

Describing his experience in Virginia, Winchester writes:

Though I have been in Virginia but a few days, I have seen and heard that which greatly affects my heart, and I shall therefore take notice of some of those abominations which, I fear, greatly prevail in this country, and which threaten it with ruin and desolation, unless repentance and reformation prevent.

A ‘Nation of Slaveholders’: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

New Webinar! Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment

Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment

Presenter: Julie R. Voss, Associate Professor of English, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Voss webinar image.JPGA unique joy lies in the study of rare old books—the compelling promise of imaginative typefaces and yellowed pages, the intoxicating flow of the language, marginalia inscribed centuries before by an original reader, the thrill of making a fresh discovery. Most students aren’t aware of what can be found in their library’s rare book room; indeed, many never explore these revered repositories. But thanks to the magic of digitization, professors can easily share the delights of antiquarian works with their undergraduate students in powerful new ways. 

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New Webinar! Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment

The 1864 GOP National Convention and ‘the Little Squad of Bolters’

250px-Republican_presidential_ticket_1864b.jpgEvery 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.”

[Loud applause.]

The 1864 GOP National Convention and ‘the Little Squad of Bolters’

'In the Shadow of Conventions:' Gender Equality in Islamic Society


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The scope of Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, is much broader than politics and national security; social issues are also well represented. In the four reports excerpted below we proceed from general to particular. The first, which includes the cartoons here, is a diverse collection of articles from Arabic-language sources; the second a travel diary of a woman visiting oases in Egypt. The third and fourth items both concern the conflict of Muslim traditions in the former Soviet Union—the latter report specifically with regard to the nomadic culture of Kazakhstan. Together they offer valuable insights into the role of women in Muslim countries, both in urban and rural settings.

The first report, Near East/North Africa Report, No. 2620, Status of women in Persian Gulf countries (JPRS-81769, 09/15/1982. 90 pages) touches upon such contemporary topics as age discrimination, suffrage, driving, marriage and divorce, employment, education, dress, and East/West cultural differences.

'In the Shadow of Conventions:' Gender Equality in Islamic Society

Dangerous Ground: Competing Interests and Intentions in the South China Sea

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Do you know how the many islands, shoals, and reefs were formed? It is a great miracle of nature.

Thus begins Chapter 2 of the book Our Country’s South Sea Archipelagoes (JPRS Report 18424, 3/28/1963) by Ch’en Tung-k’ang, published in 1962. In light of recent developments a revised edition might be warranted, for today that “miracle of nature” involves large-scale dredging and the impoundment of sand and coral into areas large enough to support permanent Chinese military bases and claims to the surrounding waters.

The “Rich and Beautiful Treasure Islands” referred to in the book’s table of contents are increasingly seen as fraught, perilous, and treasured by competing parties in the international arena.

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It's tempting to view China’s island-building program as a recent phenomenon, begun in response to the America's “pivot” to Asia. But Ch’en's book claims, “Ever since ancient times, these islands and islets in the South Sea have been the territory of our country.”

Dangerous Ground: Competing Interests and Intentions in the South China Sea

Running Amuck: Following a Phrase in Early American Newspapers

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Running amuck is one of the terrors of the East, but is far less common than it formally was….The word amuck is a corruption of amoak, Javanese, to kill, and the thing is simply a miscellaneous, indiscriminate killing. The natives of those Eastern lands become, from long continued, excessive use of opium, ferociously frantic, and their frenzy is often intensified by religious fanaticism. Then, absolutely mad, they rush into the streets—frequently nude—cursing, biting, and stabbing…whomever they encounter.[1]

Although the inspired description of the act of running amuck, as described in this 1880 article, is dubious, its definition and derivation are on firmer footing. The article, continuing its flair for the dramatic, concludes:

Nothing is as formidable as an amuck-runner, and it is not strange that he is mercilessly slain….A European or American who has seen an amuck is very apt to remember it.[2]

Running Amuck: Following a Phrase in Early American Newspapers

Make the Most of Your Readex Collections: Interface Training for Fall 2016

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Readex interface training sessions present a brief overview of collection content, highlight key interface features and functionality, and offer suggestions for classroom instruction. Specific examples of how faculty and students use the content are also provided.

Interface training sessions are organized around major Readex collection families.  Register today for one or more of these webinar-based sessions!

inset-AHN-readex2.jpgAmerica’s Historical Newspapers and World Newspaper Archive

REGISTER for September 6 session

Training covers Early American Newspapers, African American Newspapers, Caribbean Newspapers, all World Newspaper Archive series and other newspaper collections.

inset-AHI-readex.jpgAmerica’s Historical Imprints

REGISTER for September 13 session

Training covers Early American Imprints, American Civil War Collection, American Pamphlets, American Slavery Collection, Afro-Americana Imprints, and related collections.

Make the Most of Your Readex Collections: Interface Training for Fall 2016

New and Improved: Personal and Political Reform in Socialist States

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-L0822-0026,_XX__Olympiade,_DDR-Turnerinnen,_Training Caption Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L0822-0026. Gahlbeck, Friedrich. CC-BY-SA 3.0.jpgEast and West, self-improvement is a human project in which the state has a vested interest. In the West, the idea of a liberal education resulting in conscientious, informed citizens has been the goal. In socialist states, the tendency has been to link the personal with the political taken collectively rather than individually.

In this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we offer a selection of best practices drawn from countries in which the U.S. government had a healthy interest.

Residues of the Islamic Religion and Methods for Eliminating them

Voprosy Filosofii (Problems in Philosophy) No. 5, May 1961

The United States is just the latest nation where Islam has become a political issue. Communism has always had an argument with organized religion as leading to “false consciousness” and inhibiting adherence to proletarian goals and identity.

This report relates the proceedings of a conference in Dagestan wherein the rationale and methodology is laid-out for eliminating the Islamic religion from the Soviet population. And they don’t mince words:

New and Improved: Personal and Political Reform in Socialist States

"Equal power and privileges": Victoria Woodhull, First Woman Nominated for President of the United States


In 2016 Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a major political party’s nomination for U.S. president. While she campaigns this year to earn the votes of as many men and women as possible, the first woman to run for America’s highest office did so at a time when only men had the right to vote. Although Victoria Woodhull knew her 1872 bid for the U.S. presidency would be considered outlandish, she understood that a female bid for the presidency would be seriously considered in the future.

In the presidential election of 1872 Woodhull faced Republican Party nominee Ulysses S. Grant, Liberal Republican Party nominee Horace Greeley, and several others.  Coverage of the Woodhull campaign, as found in Early American Newspapers, gives a unique perspective of the public response to her audacious role in American politics.

Reporting reveals Woodhull to have been an electrifying public speaker who expressed her opinions, no matter what the response. The press seemed to have enjoyed making a spectacle of her public speeches and depicted them as well-attended, rowdy events:


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