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Twelve Years a Slave (1859)

- January 14, 2014 in collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Internet Archive, Library of Congress, memoir, memoirs, slave plantations, slavery, solomon northup, texts, Texts: 19th, Texts: Memoirs, Texts: Non-fiction, true story, twelve years a slave, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

The memoir by Solomon Northup upon which the recent much acclaimed feature film, Twelve Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen, was based. The narrative tells the harrowing true story of Northup, who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana.

Letters to my sister of our experiences on our first trip to Europe, 1913

- December 29, 2013 in 1913, collections, diary, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Europe, first world war, Internet Archive, texts, Texts: 20th, Texts: Non-fiction, Underlying Work: PD US, University of Toronto Libraries, world war one, ww1

Letters to my sister of our experiences on our first trip to Europe 1913, by Lilian McCarron; publishing date most likely 1914, publisher unknown. A book of letters written by (the American or perhaps Canadian) Lilian McCarron to her sister detailing a trip she made around Europe in the latter half of 1913. A year later and Europe would be plunged into the beginnings of the First World War which would last 4 years and claim the lives of more than 9 million soldiers and devastate the lands on which it was played out. A certain sense of dramatic irony permeates the diary entries now, in which she describes the “pleasant” and “charming” cities of France and Germany, knowing as we do the horrors that would come in the following years. McCarron spends a large proportion of the trip in Germany, and in particular Berlin, arriving there only a few days after a military airship (a Zeppelin, the kind which would be instrumental in WW1) had crashed killing many experienced German Navy personnel. Her trip also coincided with the Empress’s birthday which saw much of the army on the streets, a sight which gave McCarron the impression that Berlin was […]

Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician (1769)

- December 5, 2013 in collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Internet Archive, mozart, Royal Society, texts, Texts: 18th, Texts: Non-fiction, The Royal Society, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide, young

Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician. In a Letter from the Honourable Daines Barrington, F. R. S. to Mathew Maty, M. D. Sec. R. S.; 1770; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of history’s most famous composers, began showing his talents when he was just 3 years old. By the age of 6 he was touring with his father and elder sister, also a talented musician. It was the young Mozart however who wowed the audiences. After a concert at the court of the Prince-elector Maximilian III of Bavaria in Munich, and at the Imperial Court in Vienna and Prague, the Mozart family embarked on a 3 and half year concert tour around the courts of Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London, The Hague, again to Paris, and back home via Zurich, Donaueschingen, and Munich. While in London, an 8 year old Mozart proved a huge sensation. But with his child prodigy status came questions from a skeptical few. Was he really so young? Was he really that talented? One person eager to test the truth of these doubts was Daines Barrington, a lawyer, antiquary, naturalist and Friend of the Royal Society. In a few visits […]

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type and Borders (1874)

- December 4, 2013 in chromatic wood type, collections, Columbia University Libraries, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Images, Images-19th, Images-Design, Internet Archive, typography, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Some select pages from the exquisite Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc. (1874), a specimen book produced by the William H. Page wood type company. Chromatic types, which were made to print in two or more colours, were first produced as wood type by Edwin Allen, and shown by George Nesbitt in his 1841 Fourth Specimen of Machinery Cut Wood Type. It is William H Page’s book, however, that is considered to be the highpoint of chromatic wood type production. As well as providing over 100 pages of brilliantly coloured type, the book can also be seen, at times, to act as some sort of accidental experimental poetry volume, with such strange snippets as “Geographical excursion knives home” and “Numerous stolen mind” adorning its pages. One wonders whether the decisions about what words to feature and in what order were entirely arbitrary. Thanks to the wonderful Bibliodyssey blog where we came across the book: visit the post there for more info on the book and a great list of related links. Housed at: Internet Archive | From: Columbia University Libraries Found via: Bibliodyssey Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or […]

The Chinese Fairy Book (1921)

- November 28, 2013 in California Digital Library, china, chinese fairy tales, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, fairy tales, fairytales, Internet Archive, texts, Texts: 20th, Texts: Fairytales, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

A book compiling seventy-four traditional Chinese folk takes, making, as the translator notes, "probably the most comprehensive and varied collection of oriental fairy tales ever made available for American readers".

Fortunio Liceti’s Monsters (1665)

- November 20, 2013 in collections, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Images, Images-17th, Images-Animals, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-People, Images-Science, Internet Archive, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Highlights from the illustrations in the 1665 edition of Fortunio Liceti’s De Monstris, originally published, without the illustrations, in 1616. Liceti’s work, although not the first on the topic of deformities in nature, was perhaps the most influential of the period. In the wake of the book there was a huge rise in interest throughout Europe in “monstrosities”: pygmies, supposed mermaids, deformed fetuses, and other natural marvels were put on display and widely discussed, becoming the circus freak-shows of their time. However, unlike many of his contemporaries Licenti did not see deformity as something negative, as the result of errors or failures in the course of nature. Instead he likened nature to an artist who, faced with some imperfection in the materials to be shaped, ingeniously creates another form still more admirable. ‘It is said that I see the convergence of both Nature and art,’ wrote Liceti, ‘because one or the other not being able to make what they want, they at least make what they can.” Housed at: Internet Archive | From: Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: Pending Clarification Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions […]

W.F. Hooley reads Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1898)

- November 19, 2013 in abraham lincoln, Audio, Audio: Pre 1900s, Audio: Speech, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, gettysburg address, Internet Archive, Library of Congress, speech, Underlying Work: PD 50 Years, Underlying Work: PD 70 Years

150 years ago today, on November 19th 1863, President Lincoln delivered his famous speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg Civil War Cemetery, a cemetery set up to house and honour the dead from one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War which had taken place four months earlier (the sad aftermath of which is pictured above in a photograph by Timothy H. O’Sullivan). Abraham Lincoln’s carefully crafted address was in fact meant to be secondary to other presentations that day, following on as it did from a two hour speech by the orator Edward Everett. Although Lincoln’s was only just over two minutes long in it’s delivery, it came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In it’s short span, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed the Civil War as a struggle for the preservation of the Union sundered by the secession crisis, with “a new birth of freedom,” that would bring true equality to all of its citizens. Lincoln also managed to redefine the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality. […]

Phenomena of Materialisation (1923)

- October 31, 2013 in Boston Public Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, eva carrière, hoax, Internet Archive, occult, seance, spiritualism, texts, Texts: 20th, Texts: Miscellaneous, Texts: Non-fiction, Texts: Science, Underlying Work: PD US

Phenomena of Materialisation, a contribution to the investigation of mediumistic teleplastics, by Baron von Schrenck Notzing, translated by E. E. Fournier d’Albe; 1923; K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, E. P. Dutton in London, New York. English translation of Phenomena of Materialisation, a book by German physician and psychic researcher Baron von Schrenck-Notzing which focuses on a series of séances witnessed between the years 1909 and 1913 involving the French medium Eva Carrière, or Eva C. Born Marthe Béraud, Carrière changed her name in 1909 to begin her career afresh after a series of seances she held in 1905 were exposed as a fraud. Her psychic performances as Eva C gained the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery series, who believed she was genuine, and also Harry Houdini, who was not so convinced. Another researcher who became interested in her case was Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. A series of tests he devised between the years 1909 and 1913 convinced him that Eva C was the real deal and in 1913 he published his Phenomena of Materialisation detailing the sessions and the reasons for his belief. It has been noted that these sessions with Schrenck-Notzing verged on the […]

Photographs from a séance with Eva Carrière (1913)

- October 31, 2013 in Boston Public Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, eva carrière, fraud, harry price, hoax, Images, Images-20th, Images-People, Images-Photography, Internet Archive, occult, seance, spirit photography, spiritualism, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

This remarkable series of photographs are from a book entitled Phenomena of Materialisation by German physician and psychic researcher Baron von Schrenck-Notzing. The book focuses on a series of séances that Schrenck-Notzing witnessed between the years 1909 and 1913 involving the French medium Eva Carrière, or Eva C. Born Marthe Béraud, Carrière changed her name in 1909 to begin her career afresh after a series of seances she held in 1905 were exposed as a fraud. Her psychic performances as Eva C gained the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery series, who believed she was genuine, and also Harry Houdini, who was not so convinced. Another researcher who became interested in her case was Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. A series of tests he devised between the years 1909 and 1913 convinced him that Eva C was the real deal and in 1913 he published his Phenomena of Materialisation detailing the sessions and the reasons for his belief. It has been noted that these sessions with Schrenck-Notzing verged on the pornographic. Carrière’s assistant (and reported lover) Juliette Bisson would, during the course of the séance sittings with Schrenck-Notzing, introduce her finger into Carrière’s vagina to ensure […]

Jap Herron: A Novel written from the Ouija Board (1917)

- October 29, 2013 in California Digital Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, emily grant hutchings, Internet Archive, jap herron, mark twain, occult, ouija board, seance, spiritualism, texts, Texts: 20th, Texts: Fiction, Underlying Work: PD US

Jap Herron, the novel written, supposedly, by a deceased Mark Twain from beyond the grave, dictated via the medium of a Ouija board.