Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes: The U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal

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.

Daniel adds:

"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."

Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes: The U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal

The Dunlop Broadside a k a The Declaration of Independence

The Dunlap Broadside from Early American Imprints

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 Dunlop Broadside a k a The Declaration of Independence

Readex Twitter Feed, 24-30 June 2010

RT @Boston1775: How Benjamin Franklin helped get the mail through in mid-1700s America, from Eric Jaffe and The King's Best Highway http://bit.ly/c3b4us

RT @lincolnmullen: There is a Boston Massacre Historical Society, with a nice website: http://bit.ly/ckQGh3

Senior theses of the rich and famous. Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Kept-Up Academic Librarian http://shar.es/mDSPG

Legal Historian William Treanor named Dean at Georgetown: http://bit.ly/aYksRJ

Religion in American History: The Strange Career of Thomas Paine: http://bit.ly/9QyIj4  

New fellows' residence at American Antiquarian Society. Restored to original appearance. http://b2l.me/7kshq

New books on Early American topics, alphabetically by publisher. Society of Early Americanists http://bit.ly/9GHGwb

Ron Chernow on the Revolutionary origins of divisive discourse. The Feuding Fathers WSJ.com http://on.wsj.com/bbcJH1

Put History Back in the Conversation About Our National Heritage: http://bit.ly/9q7ZoC

A Library for Those With Plenty of Time to Read - http://nyti.ms/bxSq4D

1870 newpaper description of Mississippi senator Hiram Revels, first African American to serve in Congress: http://bit.ly/cyDRrl

Alphabetical List of Afro-American Authors and Their Works. Printed in 1900 Iowa State Bystander. http://bit.ly/avKZfP

Readex Twitter Feed, 24-30 June 2010

Shipwreck Found in Lake Michigan: The Sinking of the L.R. Doty as Covered in 19th-Century Newspapers

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. 

Dallas Morning News

Shipwreck Found in Lake Michigan: The Sinking of the L.R. Doty as Covered in 19th-Century Newspapers

Update from the Center for Research Libraries on the African Newspapers module of the World Newspaper Archive

Resources on Africa issue of Focus on Global Resources (Summer 2010)

In the summer 2010 issue of Focus on Global Resources, the newsletter of the Center for Research Libraries, James Simon, director of CRL’s Global Resources Network, provides an update on the African module of the World Newspaper Archive (WNA):

"The WNA’s latest module, African Newspapers, was released in January 2010. African Newspapers will make available more than 400,000 fully searchable pages of newspapers published in Africa between 1800 and 1922. The module features titles published in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Languages include English, German, French, Portuguese, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Sotho, and others.

"WNA Charter Participants, faculty members, and subject experts from the Cooperative Africana Microform Project (CAMP) all recommended titles. The final material, nearly 40 titles in all, was selected for breadth of coverage, diversity of viewpoints, and historical significance.

"At the time of this writing, African Newspapers contains more than 325,000 pages of content from the majority of intended titles (content continues to be released on a rolling basis)."

Update from the Center for Research Libraries on the African Newspapers module of the World Newspaper Archive

The National Digital Archive of American Print: New Additions from the Library Company of Philadelphia

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%."

Noting that the Library Company was one of the largest contributors to the national imprints microfilming project started by Readex and the American Antiquarian Society in 1955, Green outlines changes to the methodology employed in the mid-1960s to film imprints of the post-1800 period:

The National Digital Archive of American Print: New Additions from the Library Company of Philadelphia

The First Map of the Gulf Stream: Benjamin Franklin's Maritime Observations

From Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1980

Many of us have read about Benjamin Franklin’s scientific work with electricity, but few know that this Renaissance man is also responsible for a groundbreaking study of the Gulf Stream current.

On June 9, 2010, the following was posted by Ed Redmond (Geography and Map Reference Specialist at the Library of Congress) on MAPS-L listserv:

“With all the sad happenings in the Gulf of Mexico, there are a plethora of contemporary maps depicting the forecasted extent of the ‘event.’ 

"A historic map related to the Gulf that some may not be aware of is Benjamin Franklin's 1768 map of the Gulf Stream which can be found on the Library of Congress web site via: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g9112g.ct000753.

“Franklin's 1768 map can also be seen next to a modern map depicting the approximate flow of the Gulf current around the Florida peninsula via the Library's "Places in The News" website: http://www.loc.gov/today/placesinthenews/.

The First Map of the Gulf Stream: Benjamin Franklin's Maritime Observations

The Pope's Stone, Part Two: The Bloody Bedini Background

[The Pope’s Stone, Part One discussed the theft and destruction of a block of marble sent by Pope Pius IX in 1853 to be placed in the Washington Monument, under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This Part Two recounts some inflammatory background to that embarrassing episode in American history in the form of the perilous visit of a Vatican prelate just before the destruction of the stone.]

The announcement of his upcoming visit was short and succinct, in no way foreshadowing the waves of bigotry, chaos, and violence, which over the following seven months would accompany his progress through America. Baltimore’s Sunof June 27, 1853 reported simply:

"Monsignor Bedini, Archbishop of Thebes, former Commissary Extraordinary of the Pontifical Government to the Legations, has left Rome as special Envoy of His Holiness to the United States. He is charged by the Holy Father to pay a visit to the government at Washington, and also to hold interviews with different Prelates of the Church in the United States, and to acquire the most exact information respecting the interests and condition of the Catholic Church in this country. After making as along a visit as may be of advantage in the United States, Monsignor Bedini will go to Brazil, where he is to reside as Apostolic Nuncio near that Government."

Gaetano Bedini was born on May 15, 1806 in Sinigaglia, Italy, also the birthplace of Pius IX, not far from the Adriatic. After his ordination in 1828, Bedini was awarded a Doctor Utriusque Juris (i.e. doctorate in civil and canon law) and became secretary to Cardinal Altieri, Papal Nuncio at Vienna. In 1846 he was sent by the Pope to serve as Apostolic Internuncio [a sort of junior ambassador] to the Imperial Court of Brazil, where in the words of J.F. Connelley

The Pope's Stone, Part Two: The Bloody Bedini Background

"Tears in England": Will World Cup History Repeat Itself?

From the Springfield Union, July 1, 1950, page 18

England will meet the United States in the first game either team plays in the 2010 World Cup. The tournament begins this Friday, June 11, with the England vs. U.S. game occurring Saturday afternoon in the Eastern Time zone.

The first time the two teams met produced a stunning upset in 1950. The Springfield Union quoted British newspapers as saying that the loss "marks the lowest ever for British sport," and "is the biggest soccer upset of all time." A reporter for the U.K.’s Daily Graphic wrote: "It was pathetic to see the cream of English players beaten by a side (team) most amateur players at home would have beaten..."

A search within 20th-Century American Newspapers on "World Cup" and "soccer" in the year 1950 reveals only 10 articles in the pages of eight major U.S. papers. In contrast, this year ESPN and its family of networks will be broadcasting every game from the tournament. Times, and American interest in the sport, have changed.

The Personal and Poignant Stories of Civil War Soldiers: Uncovering the Claims of Veterans and Their Survivors in Government Publications

First Lt. Alonzo Cushing, shown in an undated photo provided by the Wisconsin Historical Society, is expected to get the nation's highest military decoration this summer--the Medal of Honor--nearly 150 years after he died at the battle of Gettysburg. (AP Photo/Wisconsin Historical Society)

On May 19, 2010, the Associated Press (AP) released a news story about a U.S. Civil War soldier being awarded the Medal of Honor by the U.S. Army 147 years after sacrificing his life at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. This belated recognition of First Lt. Alonzo Cushing was made possible by the determined lobbying of several people, including 90-year-old Margaret Zerwekh who lives on the Wisconsin land where Cushing was born and an admirer who created the Facebook page "Give Alonzo Cushing the Medal of Honor."

The Personal and Poignant Stories of Civil War Soldiers: Uncovering the Claims of Veterans and Their Survivors in Government Publications

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