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The Female Federal Scout: Pauline Cushman

Female Federal Scout National Defender, v. VIII, no. 42, Tuesday, May 31, 1864, Whole Number 404, p.[3], col. 5.National Defender, v. VIII, no. 42, Tuesday, May 31, 1864, Whole Number: 404, p. [3], col. 5.

The transcribed portion of text is from the digitized copy in the Montgomery Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.

The Female Federal Scout

Tarilling [1] Adventure of Miss Major Pauline Cushman–Her Performance As A Spy–A Narrow Escape from a Disagreeable Death.

[From Detroit Tribune.]

Among the women of America who have made themselves famous since the opening of the rebellion, few have suffered more, or rendered more service to the Federal cause than Miss Major Pauline Cushman, the female scout and spy.

At the commencement of hostilities she resided in Cleveland, Ohio, and quite well-known as a clever actress. From Cleveland she went to Louisville, where she had an engagement in Wood’s Theatre. Here, by her intimacy with certain rebel officers, she incured [2] the suspicion of being a rebel, and was arrested by the Federal authorities. She indignantly denied that she was a rebel, although born at the South, and having a brother in a rebel Mississippi regiment. . . . .


[1] Probable printer’s error. “Thrilling”
[2] incurred

Further Readings on Pauline Cushman:

“The Perils of Pauline.” Winkler, H. Donald. Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War. Naperville, Ill.: Cumberland House, 2010: 111-134.  Falvey Main. E628 .W57 2010

Sarmiento, Ferdinand L. Life of Pauline Cushman, the Celebrated Union Spy and Scout… Philadelphia : J. E. Potter, 1865. Internet Archive. 25 March 2017. <https://archive.org/stream/lifeofpaulinecus00sarm#page/n7/mode/2up>

“Pauline Cushman: The Spy of Cumberland.” Blog. Posted by: Rebecca Beatrice Brooks. Posted Date: January 3, 2013. Civil Wag Saga. Copyright 2016. 25 March 2017. <http://civilwarsaga.com/pauline-cushman-the-spy-of-cumberland/>

“Pauline Cushman Biography.” The Biography.com. Biography.com Editors. Last Updated: April 20, 2016. © 2017 A&E Television Networks. 25 March 2017. <http://www.biography.com/people/pauline-cushman>

“Pauline Cushman.” Presidio of San Francisco National Park. National Park Service. U. S. Department of the Interior. 25 March 2017. <https://www.nps.gov/people/pauline-cushman.htm>

“Pauline Cushman (1833–1893): Mathew Brady Studio.” Collections: Leaders. CivilWar@Smithsonian. Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. 25 March 2017. <http://www.civilwar.si.edu/leaders_cushman.html>

Betts, Vicki, “Women Soldiers, Spies, and Vivandieres: Articles from Civil War Newspapers” (2016). Special Topics. Paper 28. 25 March 2017. <http://scholarworks.uttyler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=cw_newstopics>

Suggested Subjects for books in Falvey:
Women spies — Confederate States of America — Biography.
United States — History — Civil War, 1861-1865 — Participation, Female.



Content Roundup – Third Week – March 2017

Selection, Illustration from "The Siberian Exiles", [3] p, The New York Ledger, v. 48, no. 25, Saturday, July 2, 1892

Selection, Illustration from “The Siberian Exiles”, [3] p, The New York Ledger, v. 48, no. 25, Saturday, July 2, 1892

New this week: many more issues of the National Defender newspaper; more Dime Novels and story paper issues! More historic popular culture materials such as the “Doctor’s book of private information”! As the temperature heats up outside balance out the temptation of Spring flowers – and bring a electronic reading device along with you!

Dime Novel and Popular Literature


Sharp-snout; or, The mysteries of the trapper’s cave / by R.L. Wheeler


Doctor’s book of private information

Counterfeit money : The “green goods” business exposed for the benefit of all who have dishonest inclinations

The secrets of the harem / by one who has been there


Chicago Ledger, v. XXX, no. 2, Saturday, January 11, 1902

Chicago Ledger, v. XXX, no. 2, Saturday, January 11, 1902

Chicago Ledger (1 issue)

New York Ledger (1 issue)

Historical Society of Montgomery County

Selection, [4] p., ""Death of Colonel Edwin Schall", National Defender, v. VIII, no. 44, Tuesday, June 21, 1864

Selection, [4] p., “”Death of Colonel Edwin Schall”, National Defender, v. VIII, no. 44, Tuesday, June 21, 1864

National Defender (103 issues added)

Joseph McGarrity Collection


Irish Press

1918 [(7 issues added)

1919 (52 issues added)

Villanova Digital Collection

Daily Doodles (2017: 1 images added)


Not Your Typical River Crossing

Wire-Rope Walker

National Defender, v. VI, no. 2, Tuesday, August 27, 1861, Whole Number: 262, p.[2], col. 4.

Annotated and transcribed text from the digitized copy in the Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.

The Wire-Rope Performance At Fairmount.

The thousand of curious citizens who visited Fairmount [1] on the last Wednesday afternoon, for the purposes of witnessing the feat of walking a rope stretched across the river Schuylkill, [2] at an elevation of one hundred feet from the surface of the water, were doomed to disappointment. Every preparation appeared to have been made for the performance, but it was finally discovered that the riggers had not fulfilled their part of the contract, and the crowd returned home without having their curiosity gratified. Yesterday afternoon a large number of people again visited the spot and waited patiently until nearly six o’clock, when Mr. John Deiner the performer was enthusiastically cheered.

He was dressed in a flesh-colored suit, fitting him closely, and carried a balancing pole, about twenty feet in length. He started off slowly, and after proceeding a few steps sat down while the side ropes were being properly adjusted. — After some little delay he again took his position, and walked half way across [3] . . . our rope dancers celebrated. He then passed on to the western side of the river and, after reaching a point about one hundred feet from the derrick, [4] retreated backwards to the centre. He here again went through sundry evolutions, and then continued his journey to the eastern side. The performance was highly successful, and seemed to afford great pleasure to the numerous spectators.


[1] “The park grew out of the Lemon Hill estate of Henry Pratt, whose land was originally owned by Robert Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Purchased by the city in 1844, the estate was dedicated to the public by city council’s ordinance on September 15, 1855.” Fairmount Park. Wikipedia. 10 March 2017. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairmount_Park#Growth>
[2] “The Schuylkill River got its name, meaning “hidden river,” from Dutch settlers who discovered its mouth sequestered behind the Delaware River’s League Island. ” “Along the Schuylkill River” Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area. Pottstown, PA. 10 March 2017. <https://www.schuylkillriver.org/Along_the_Schuylkill.aspx>
[3] A crease in the newspaper page obscured the text.
[4] “a type of crane (= machine with a part like a long arm) used for moving heavy things esp. on ships” derrick n. Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press. 10 March 2017. <http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/derrick>




Content Roundup – First and Second Weeks – March 2017

Bethlehem Steel, v. 1, no. 1, May 1, 1918

Bethlehem Steel, v. 1, no. 1, May 1, 1918

It may be spring break and the snow may be falling outside but these newly digitized reads will fill you with warmth! Notable new additions include: a host of new rare Dime Novels and Story Paper issues, new issues of the National Defender dating to the American Civil War from the Historical Society of Montgomery County, the first issue of the Bethlehem Steel Company newsletter from the Independence Seaport Museum, and a number of research articles on Philadelphia history from the Celeste A. Morello Collection! So pull your armchair closer to the fireplace and start reading!

Dime Novel and Popular Literature


The trapper’s bride : or, Love and war : a tale of the Texan revolution / by W. J. Hamilton

Iron hand, chief of the Tory league / by Frederick Forest


Book of picture puzzles

Spanish-American War stories


p. 485, "The Story of Steam",  Beadle's monthly, June, 1867

p. 485, “The Story of Steam”, Beadle’s monthly, June, 1867

Beadle’s Monthly (index + 6 issues added)

The People's Home Journal, v. V, no. 12, December 1890

The People’s Home Journal, v. V, no. 12, December 1890

People’s Home Journal (1 issue added)

Chicago Ledger (1 issue added)

Saturday Night, v. XIII, no. 5, Saturday October 16, 1875, [abridged promotional copy]

Saturday Night, v. XIII, no. 5, Saturday October 16, 1875, [abridged promotional copy]

Saturday Night (1 issue added)

The New World (6 issues added)

Historical Society of Montgomery County

National Defender, v. V, no. 9, Tuesday, October 10, 1860

National Defender, v. V, no. 9, Tuesday, October 10, 1860

National Defender (53 issues added)

Independence Seaport Museum

Bethlehem Steel Company newsletter (collection created, 1 issue added)


Celeste A. Morello Collection

Frank Rizzo: Historical Marker application documents, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission


Residential Patterns of Western Sicilian Sub-Colonies in Philadelphia’s “Little Italy” Based on The Earliest Mafiosi

Stemma Della Città Di Sciacca: My Great-Uncle, a Mafioso from Sciacca, Sicily, Rosario Montalbano, His Life, as told to me

They Knew Joseph Bruno: Boss of the Philadelphia-South Jersey La Cosa Nostra, 1936-1946

Challenging a Story: That Nicodemo Scarfo had been “exiled” or “banished” to Atlantic City, New Jersey by boss Angelo Bruno in 1964

Villanova Digital Collection

Daily Doodles (2017: 3 images added)


Statistics on Steamboat Disasters in 1860

Western Steamboat Disasters_7_10_1860

National Defender, v. IV, no. 49, Tuesday, July 10, 1860, Whole Number: 214, p. [2] col. 5.

Transcribed text from the digitized copy in the Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.


The disasters upon our Western waters during the first six months of 1860 are summed up by the Louisville Courier, under date on July 2, 1860:
Steamboats sank and damaged by ice 5
Steamboats snagged and sunk, 47
Steamboats run into bank, 6
Steamboat collisions, 7
Steamboats burned, 20
Steamboats sunk on Falls, 2
Steamboats sunk by storms, 20
Steamboat explosions, 6
Machinery broken, 10
Collisions with bridges, 2
    Total Steamboats, 125
Coalboats lost, 127
Flatboats and barges, 23
Number of lives lost, 136
Estimated aggregate loss, $2,732,500
     The above recapitulation includes several minor accidents, chiefly by snags.


Content Roundup – Last Week – February 2017

This week, we offer for your enjoyment and reading pleasure, a number of new story- and newspaper issues as well as a rare American song book!

Dime Novel and Popular Literature


The boy guide / by Col. Prentiss Ingraham


American song book


p. 193, "I never accused you", Beadle's monthly, September, 1866

p. 193, “I never accused you”, Beadle’s monthly, September, 1866

Beadle’s Monthly (index + 8 issues added)

[1], Chicago Ledger, v. XXVIII, no. 16, Saturday, April 21, 1900

[1], Chicago Ledger, v. XXVIII, no. 16, Saturday, April 21, 1900

Chicago Ledger (1 issue added)

[1], The New York Ledger, v. XIV, no. 14, June 12, 1858

[1], The New York Ledger, v. XIV, no. 14, June 12, 1858

New York Ledger (1 issue added)

[1], Saturday Night, v. XXII, no. 51, Saturday August 22, 1885

[1], Saturday Night, v. XXII, no. 51, Saturday August 22, 1885

Saturday Night (1 issue added)

Historical Society of Montgomery County

[1], National Defender, v. IV, no. 45, Tuesday, June 12, 1860

[1], National Defender, v. IV, no. 45, Tuesday, June 12, 1860

National Defender (8 issues added)

p 3, "The Star Spangled Banner", American song book

p 3, “The Star Spangled Banner”, American song book


Beauty is in the eye of the ten cent handbook

Posted by Amanda McCollom, Digital Library Intern

How to become beautiful; or, Secrets of the toilet and health, published in 1882 by Frank Tousey, is a part of the Ten Cent Handbook series, which provides “how-to” guides on an assortment of topics ranging from card tricks to taxidermy to engineering. How to become beautiful offers a look into late 19th century beauty standards for women and how moderation and temperance were upheld as the key to beauty and good health. The introduction stresses the importance of avoiding extremes in food, temperature and emotion with mandates such as “Let your food be plain and not too highly seasoned,” (8). The guide urges women to resist any expression of emotion as it, “is just as sure to leave a wrinkle either in the mind or body, which can never be eradicated,” (6). As developments in industry enabled families to purchase more goods, men started working outside of the home while women were expected to live up to the ideals of the “cult of domesticity.” Women’s roles revolved around maintaining the home and acting as the moral center for the family; advices guides like How to become beautiful were common during this time as they offered women instructions for being the ideal wife and mother.

The remainder of the handbook offers a collection of “toilet recipes,” to be used to improve and enhance one’s skin, eyes, teeth, hair, breath, hands and feet. The handbook claims these “toilet recipes” are “carefully tested by experienced chemists, and are guaranteed not to produce other than beneficial results,” yet the precise sources of the formulas are unknown (11). While DIY beauty recipes are still popular today, you won’t find many of the ingredients for these 1882 recipes at your local store. For instance, the recipe for preventing baldness calls for 1 drachm of Powdered Spanish flies and 1 ounce of alcohol, which once macerated and filtered, should be combined with lard at a 1:9 ratio (22). The final thirty pages contain perfume recipes, many with romantic names such as “Dreamer’s Extract,” “Enchanted Drops,” and “Kiss of Cupid,” (40, 44, 48). This language reinforced the importance of femininity and attractiveness as key components to a women’s health and identity. While beauty standards and gender roles have certainly changed today, advice for women still proliferates today through magazines and blogs. How to become beautiful provides a way to examine how expectations for women have both changed and remained the same.

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Available for proofreading: The Senator’s Favorite

The Senator's FavoriteAs mentioned in our recent post about The Senator’s Bride, that novel was Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller’s only work to spawn a direct sequel. We are now ready to bring the sequel, The Senator’s Favorite, to wider availability in eBook form. By volunteering at the Distributed Proofreaders project, you can help expedite this process and perhaps have some fun in the process. Please read our earlier Proofreading the Digital Library post to learn how it works, then join in the work at the project page.


eBook available: Leonie, the Typewriter

leonie-212x300Our latest Project Gutenberg / Distributed Proofreaders eBook release is Leonie, the Typewriter, a self-described “thrilling romance of actual life” about the startling adventures of a young woman who operates a typewriter. First serialized in the New York Family Story Paper in 1890, and later reprinted as a stand-alone pamphlet, this is a good example of the period’s story paper melodrama, mashing together romance, crime drama and tragedy in an effort to appeal to a broad range of readers.

It is often commented that disguise was a significant trope of this period, and that these stories may have helped to break down traditional cultural barriers. Leonie nicely exemplifies this trend, with its female protagonist disguised as a boy for a good portion of the story, and students of gender studies will likely find the portrayal and some of the plot consequences quite interesting. The story is also remarkably fast-paced, wasting no time in getting to the melodramatic twists and turns, and featuring a few memorably horrific moments before reaching its inevitable happy conclusion.

The entire text of the novel may be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


eBook available: The Senator’s Bride

The Senator's BrideOur latest Project Gutenberg release, produced with the help of Distributed Proofreaders, is an early novel by Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, The Senator’s Bride.

Written before she achieved widespread popularity with The Bride of the Tomb, but published later, this shows what sort of novels she might have written if financial needs had not led her to pursue a career writing sensational melodramas. It is also one of her most personal works — a story about losing a spouse and child, written not too long after illness had claimed the lives of her first husband and baby.

That historical context should not lead the reader to believe that this novel is completely without sensation or melodrama, or that it gives a particular deep insight into its author’s psyche; Mrs. Miller was clearly stronger at creating convoluted and surprising plots than she was at conveying emotional depth. However, there are obvious echoes of her life to be observed if you are familiar with her biography, like an interesting tribute to another popular story paper novelist, Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth, who Mrs. Miller visited early in her career, and whose home is pointed out as a significant landmark by a character in the novel. The book also shows — through an overtly racist subplot involving an unfailingly loyal ex-slave, and through its portrayals of former Confederate soldiers — some of the ways in which Mrs. Miller, and presumably many other Southerners of the time, tried to conceptualize the aftermath of the Civil War.

The Senator’s Bride is also noteworthy as Mrs. Miller’s only novel to have a direct sequel — The Senator’s Favorite — written many years later, and likely to be presented here in a few months. Stay tuned! In the meantime, the first novel can be read in its entirety or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.

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Last Modified: February 14, 2017