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Digital Library's New Intern is History Buff

Jean Turner is Falvey Memorial Library’s Digital Library intern for the spring semester. A graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, she has a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in anthropology. As an undergraduate, Jean worked in the college archives.

Jean is in the process of  applying to library science and graduate history programs. Meanwhile, in addition to her Falvey internship, she also works at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Jean says she acquired her interest in history from reading Victorian and Edwardian historical fiction. Her  hobbies are singing in her church choir, playing with her two dogs and having brunch with friends. She also played rugby as an undergraduate.

A native of Havertown (Pa.), Jean first came to Villanova University for her high school graduation ceremonies. Her next visit to campus was for her internship job interview.

The Digital Library intern position requires experience in the digital library field and familiarity with general library activities, cataloging procedures and working with historic artifacts.

Article and photograph by Alice Bampton


New Books!

December and January book requests are arriving in the library.  Check out the full list of latest arrivals!

Because digital writing matters: improving student writing in online and multimedia environments
National Writing Project

On the origin of stories: evolution, cognition, and fiction
by Brian Boyd
Belknap Harvard

Digitizing race: visual cultures of the Internet
by Lisa Nakamura
University of Minnesota Press

The portable film school: everything you’d learn in film school (without ever going to class)
by D.B. Gilles
St. Martin’s Griffin

Handbook of interpersonal psychology: theory, research, assessment, and therapeutic interventions
edited by Leonard M. Horowitz and Stephen Strack

What people believe when they say that people believe: folk sociology and the nature of group intentions
by Todd Jones
Lexington Books

Kristyna Carroll


Her Semester Abroad: Ellie Thackara’s Jaunt in the Dominion of Canada

Posted by: Jean Turner, Digital Library Intern Spring 2011

You may think you have nothing in common with Eleanor Mary Sherman Thackara, the 19th century daughter of the famed General Tecumseh Sherman on whom the Digital Library has many records, but let me ask you this: Have you gone abroad?  When I first sat down to read “A Summer Jaunt in the Dominion of Canada,” Ellie’s published accounts of her traveling in Canada, I admittedly worried I might not be able to relate to someone from such a different time and position.  But traveling has been the only time I have ever had the self-discipline to maintain a thorough journal.  So, while my day-to-day life will depend upon memories, my trips to Italy and Southeast Asia and my time on a small sailboat in the Caribbean are documented in well-weathered notebooks on my shelves.  Quite surprisingly, Ellie’s passages printed in The New York Ledger, like mine, regale the readers with asides about local history, imaginative descriptions of the landscapes, and many anecdotes of the interesting and unique people she meets along the way.  If you’re a student hoping to go abroad, a traveler with journals and memories of your own, or just a student of human nature read on!

In Ellie’s first installation she remembers remarking to a landlady that her “object in coming so far, aside from all the joy of beautiful scenery, was an interest in these foreign parts, their people, and their history.”   She proves this love for history by retelling tales of local importance for many of her destinations, whether it was the long-ago residence of a French martial city and convent or a famed Indian council attended by Champlain and Lescarbot in 1603.  Her satisfaction upon matching these facts to buildings and valleys is much like my own pride at recognizing a piece of history in front of my own eyes, and I don’t think Ellie and I are alone.

In an age where social networking allows us to share our traveling pictures with anyone and everyone, we might overlook Ellie’s attempts to put all of the beautiful sights she encounters into words.  Yes, she was prosperous enough to have several photographs taken and included in her accounts.  Despite this trailblazing technology, she further honors the uniqueness of each of her experiences by attempting to keep the scenery alive with her own pen.  From the decks of one boat, Ellie wrote, “The moon is a russet orange, from which the great bear must have had a bite, and long lines of clouds streak its face.  It is close upon our stern horizon, and before many moments will go down into the liquid darkness.”  Unable to snap a picture of every gorgeous sight she sees, Ellie includes many descriptive passages in her account to remind herself and share with others the landscapes one sees while traveling in Canada.

A look at several scenes Ellie came across.

It wouldn’t be a travel journal, at least it wouldn’t be like mine, without a cast of kooky characters that one meets along the way.  Ellie’s three pieces include tales of a guide who answered every question with his two-word vocabulary, “Yish, um,” and “Naw, um,” a Scotch-faced steward aboard one of her ships with an interesting “checkered double-visored cap” and lastly a “most artistic tramp” that she finds lying on a hillside as she disembarks from a boat.  Travelers everywhere meet those who wish to play a trick on tourists and this self-proclaimed blind man was such a person.  But after his farce was exposed and they knew they had been fooled, the newcomers begged for a photograph of the actor with his bald head and tattered garments “stuffed here and there with straw.”  As he knelt for them he dramatically exclaimed, “My name is George, G-O-R-G.  You are quite welcome.”

A look at the beggar George!

Not all of our travel memories are destined for publication or kept in the holdings of Villanova’s or any other university’s special collections, but it’s likely that they contain similar stories to those you’ll find if you read more of Eleanor Mary Sherman Thackara’s accounts.  After all, aren’t many of our reasons for traveling, whether for school or vacation or adventure, also the joy of beautiful scenery and an interest in foreign places and their people?  Read some more of Ellie’s accounts or explore the pictures in any of her three articles, all named A Summer Jaunt in the Dominion of Canada, found in the Sherman Thackara Collection of Villanova University’s Digital Library.

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Shakespearian “Sex in the City”, 19th century edition.

Posted for David Burke:

Within the large assortment of letters and photographs comprising the Digital Library’s Sherman-Thackara collection is an untitled draft of a play written by Eleanor Sherman Thackara (the daughter of Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman).  It features four characters, each named after a heroine from one of Shakespeare’s plays: Rosalind (As You Like It), Desdemona (Othello), Katherine (Taming of the Shrew), and Viola (Twelfth Night).  They have been moved to nineteenth century New York and given prominent careers, but their dialogue frequently quotes actual lines from Shakespeare’s plays.  And they spend the time discussing romantic relationships—in short, a Shakespearian Sex in the City in the nineteenth century.

In terms of what American society was like at the time, Thackara’s imagination is quite radical.  First, the characters are not just housewives but have full-fledged careers, including a lawyer and stock broker.  Furthermore, the discussion the characters have comes out of Desdemona’s desire to divorce her husband—still a rare and scandalous event for the time.  Furthermore, she wants the divorce because her husband (Othello, of course) keeps losing large amounts of money through bad investments and refuses to help with the child-rearing.  Viola, on the other hand, takes great pride in having remained single, exclaiming, “What fools you women are to marry!”

The play ends with the women citing lines extolling the virtues of love, seeming to end on a happy note—though it is not clear Desdemona has agreed to call off the divorce (or even if the play is definitively finished).  The draft is hand-written, and there is no evidence the play was ever performed.  But written on the last page, Eleanor wrote a final, hopeful message, “May be.”


Pugilists, poetry, and prose for Black History Month

Black History is not a particular focus of our Special Collections department, but we do have a few noteworthy items with which I was able to put together a small exhibit on the first floor of the library. Only one of these books is available in our Digital Library, but the others are available through the Internet Archive. Here, then, is a brief look at some of these historically interesting books.

Peter "Black Prince" Jackson.

The portrait gallery of pugilists of America and their contemporaries by Billy Edwards (Philadelphia: Pugilistic Pub. Co., 1894) profiles many of the noteworthy boxers of the late nineteenth century. Although the majority of pugilists included in the book are white, the book gives a good view of the racial tensions in boxing at the end of the nineteenth century. One of the black boxers profiled in the book is Peter “Black Prince” Jackson (1861-1901). The descendant of a freed slave, he was an Australian heavyweight boxer who had a significant international career, although the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online notes that “Jackson was one of the finest boxers never to fight for a world championship: John Sullivan refused to defend his title against a black and [James J.] Corbett avoided Jackson once he gained the heavyweight crown in 1892.” For more on Jackson’s career as “a black fighter in a white world,” see the full article here.

Hampton and its students by two of its teachers, Mrs. M.F. Armstrong and Helen W. Ludlow (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1875), tells of the founding of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in 1868, shortly after the conclusion of the U.S. Civil War, by black and white leaders of the American Missionary Association. The roots of this school went back further, however, to a “simple oak tree” on a former plantation that served as a gathering place for former slaves who sought refuge there with the Union Army in 1861. One of the school’s earliest students was Booker T. Washington, who arrived in 1872 at the age of 16, and later became a renowned educator and author. Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute shortened its name in 1930 to Hampton Institute, and in 1984 it was accredited as Hampton University.

Photo illustration from "Poems of Cabin and Field."

Poems of cabin and field by Paul Laurence Dunbar (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1900) includes poems in dialect by Dunbar paired with photographs from the Hampton Institute camera club. Dunbar was the first African American poet to win national acclaim. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1872, to former slaves. Dunbar’s work included poems in dialect as well as standard English, essays, short stories, and novels. His work often described the difficulties faced by African Americans as they tried to achieve equality. To read more about Dunbar’s life and work, see the University of Dayton’s Paul Laurence Dunbar Website.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Cleveland: J. P. Jewett & Company, 1852) is one of the most widely-known novels about slavery. Published in 1852, this novel focuses on the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering slave, around whom the other characters’ stories revolve. The novel portrays the reality of slavery while also emphasizing that Christian love can overcome anything, even the enslavement of fellow human beings. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century, selling 300,000 copies in the United States in its first year of publication. The novel was heavily criticized by those who supported slavery, especially in the South, while it received praise from abolitionists. In response to such negative criticism, Stowe produced A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Boston: J. P. Jewett & Co., 1853) one year after Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe maintained that she based her novel on the stories of fugitive slaves she encountered in Ohio. This book was also a best-seller.

Uncle Remus, his songs and his sayings: the folk-lore of the old plantation by Joel Chandler Harris (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1881) was a collection of animal stories, songs, and other forms of oral folklore that were compiled into written form by Harris, who remembered hearing them from slaves while he worked on a plantation as a young man. The stories are rendered in Harris’s version of a Deep South slave dialect. Br’er Rabbit is the main character of many of the stories. He is a trickster, often getting himself into scrapes with Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear. The stories often convey a lesson, much like Aesop’s Fables.

Both Harriet Beecher Stowe and Joel Chandler Harris were white Americans who wrote stories about African Americans and slavery. First published in the latter half of the nineteenth century, both authors were praised by their contemporaries for the accuracy of their depiction of African Americans in what was then considered to be a non-racist manner. Although attitudes have changed since then and the stereotypes and dialects of the stories are now deemed offensive, Stowe and Harris both remain important and influential figures. Stowe’s work helped to fuel the abolitionist cause and, according to some, was also an influence leading up to the Civil War. Harris’s Uncle Remus tales were an accurate recording of tales told by slaves, which helped to preserve their folklore for future generations.


Senior Project Series – Citation Chasing

Database searching is not the only way to find great scholarly articles for your research project.  Once you have found useful articles, pay attention to the sources those authors use to build their own research.  It is likely that the sources that were important to those authors will also be important to your research.  All scholarly research should include a thorough bibliography or reference list at the end of the article.

Library Materials

To see if Falvey Library owns an article you have seen referenced by other authors, check the Journal Finder.  Either type the title of the journal (not the article) into the search box to then browse for the volume and issue you are looking for, or use the Citation Lookup to search for the entire citation.

To search Falvey’s book collection, go to the Search Tab.  Use the drop-down menu to search by the title or author of the book you are looking for.

Interlibrary Loan

Articles and books that are not owned by the library can be easily borrowed through our interlibrary loan systemILLiad is best for requesting articles, and E-Z Borrow is the preferred method for requesting books that are available in that system.

Moving Forward

Checking an article’s reference list is a great way of searching the past for related research, but how can you find out what impact that article had on future research?  The Social Sciences Citation Index allows you to do just that.

Choose the Cited Reference Search to search for the author and journal title of an article you have found to be useful.  Search to see if other scholars have cited that article since its publication.

Very recent articles will not have been cited yet.  Because of the great volume of annual publications, many articles are rarely cited.  Also, works may have been cited by research not indexed in SSCI.

Kristyna Carroll


Rebecca Creehan – February Student of the Month

Rebecca Creehan has been selected the February Falvey Student of the Month. She works in the Digital Library scanning lab where she scans books from Special Collections,  theses and other documents. She also transcribes documents. Her supervisor is Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator.

A self-described “history nerd” and “book lover,” Rebecca enjoys her job because of these interests.

She is a sophomore nursing major with an Arab and Islamic Studies minor. She chose Villanova for its outstanding nursing program. Rebecca is a member of the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP). Her home is Lynchburg, Va.

Check out Joanne Quinn’s sketch of Rebecca posted behind the Circulation desk.

The Falvey University Staff Council (USC) selects the Student of the Month based upon nominations from student supervisors.

Congratulations, Rebecca!

Article and photograph by Alice Bampton


New Nursing Resource for Health Care Intervention Reviews: The Cochrane Library

“Falvey users now have full text access to the Cochrane Library’s systematic reviews of health care interventions.” See the Nursing blog for more information.


New Content in Grove Art Online

By Alice Bampton

Oxford University Press, the publisher of Grove Art Online, the foremost scholarly art encyclopedia, has made numerous updates as part of an on-going major commitment “to uphold [its] … relevance and scholarly integrity.” Among these changes are:
• updated bibliographies of more than 550 Italian Renaissance entries,
• the addition of new and revised essays and biographies about late 20th and early 21st century artists who include certain aspects of science in their art, included in the science and contemporary art, bio art, and science and art entries, (See, for example, Joseph Beuys, Critical Art Ensemble, or Stelarc.)
• access to new articles in the forthcoming Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art, such as Arthurian legends in medieval art, Bohun manuscripts, and female monasticism,
• access to new articles in the forthcoming Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. Highlights from this work include Laylah Ali, Broadacre City, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and more.
Grove Art Online contains the full text of the 34-volume Grove Dictionary of Art (1996), with over 45,000 articles written by internationally famous scholars plus links to over 130,000 images. Coverage includes all types of visual arts from prehistory to contemporary from all parts of the world making it a core reference for art history. You can search topics by culture, civilization, period, style, artist and more; the database is extremely user friendly.


New Falvey Resource: The Cochrane Library

Falvey users now have full text access to the Cochrane Library’s systematic reviews of health care interventions. Reviews are prepared by members of the Cochrane Collaboration, “an international network of people helping healthcare providers, policy makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about human health care.” The database has the following specialty components:

  • Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (also includes Cochrane Methodology Reviews) – the heart of the Cochrane Library
  • Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects
  • Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials
  • Cochrane Methodology Register
  • Health Technology Assessment Database
  • NHS Economic Evaluation Database

How do you access the Cochrane Library? Start at the library homepage (http://library.villanova.edu) and click Databases A-Z, then choose Cochrane. There is also a link on the Nursing Resources page.


Free Workshop on Asking the Right Questions: An Overview of the Survey Design Process
Asking the right questions is the key to getting the data that you need. Come to this training to learn about the survey development process, including when to conduct a survey, what type of survey to use, how to develop good survey questions, and how to best administer the survey to meet your agency’s needs.
Free! Tuesday, April 19th, 9:30am-12:00pm at PHMC, 260 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
To register, call Johanna Trowbridge at 215-985-2548 or johannat@phmc.org


Smart Searching Hint

Q. How can I tell if the library has electronic access to a journal?

A. Click Journal Finder at the library homepage. Type in the title of the journal.  If the library subscribes, you’ll get a link indicating the volumes/years available and connecting you to the publication. No hits? Click the Search tab and do a journal title search to see if the library has print holdings.

Questions or comments about today’s blog post?  contact Barbara


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Last Modified: February 22, 2011