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Content Roundup – Last Week – July 2016

Front cover, Diamond Dick's man-hunt; or, The terror of the Yellowstone

Front cover, Diamond Dick’s man-hunt; or, The terror of the Yellowstone

This week finds just a few newly digitized items. Check out a new dime novel or story paper issue, or read about the loss of a fallen Great War soldier Edward Canfield. As well for your listening pleasure – try some great Irish music from the Philadelphia Ceili Group including sets by Ellis Island, Eugene O’Donnell, and Mick Moloney.

Dime Novel and Popular Literature


Diamond Dick’s man-hunt; or, The terror of the Yellowstone / by the author of “Diamond Dick.”


Roger Merrit’s crime

Circumstantial evidence


[1] p., featuring the story "The Son of Satan" Chicago Ledger, v. XXVII, no. 10, Saturday, March 4, 1899

[1] p., featuring the story “The Son of Satan” Chicago Ledger, v. XXVII, no. 10, Saturday, March 4, 1899

Chicago Ledger (4 issues added)

Great War

[2] p., Letter, To: "Dear friend Canfield" From: Cassius A. Johnson, May 21, 1914

[2] p., Letter, To: “Dear friend Canfield” From: Cassius A. Johnson, May 21, 1914

Edward Canfield Papers (6 items added)

Philadelphia Ceili Group

Ellis Island (5 sets added)

Eugene O’Donnell and Mick Moloney (4 sets added)


The Dog Days of Summer

The sunny, sultry days of July and August are often referred to as the “dog days” of summer. Ancient civilizations noticed what they thought was a correlation between the hottest days of summer and the heliacal (or, at sunrise) rising of the star Sirius in the constellation known as Canis Major (the “Big Dog”). Although Sirius does not actually have an effect on the temperature, its heliacal rising does coincide with some of the hottest days of summer in many parts of the northern hemisphere. “Canicular days” (from the Latin word for dog) made their first appearance in print in English in 1398. The Old Farmer’s Almanac puts the timing of the Dog Days as July 3 through August 11.

As we sweat our way through the dog days of summer, here is a selection of dog images from our collections!

From the Photo Album of Laird C. Robinson of Philadelphia, 1904:

Photo: Man with hunting rifle and dog Photo: The Whole Family and the Dog


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eBook available: The Dreadnought Boys on Aero Service

Dreadnought Boys on Aero ServiceOur most recent completed Distributed Proofreaders project is part of the Dreadnought Boys series of hardcover juvenile novels describing naval adventures in the years just prior to World War I. The Dreadnought Boys on Aero Service is the fourth volume of the series, in which the dutiful boy heroes Ned and Herc volunteer to help the United States Navy experiment with applications for the early airplanes (or “aeroplanes”) of the time. In these books, honor and duty are always opposed by greed and selfishness, so there is another group of bullies and conspirators (including a familiar face from the first book) who must be overcome along the way.

The book makes an interesting study when compared with the nearly-contemporary Motor Stories adventures such as Motor Matt on the Wing, which featured similar themes of early flight and its potential military applications. The hardcover Dreadnought Boys stories take a somewhat more conservative approach to storytelling than the “nickel weekly” Motor Stories, and this Dreadnought Boys adventure even makes a passing derogatory mention of “dime novels,” but there are many obvious similarities.

The full novel may now be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


Content Roundup – Fourth Week – July 2016

[10] p., The American Ambulance in Russia: "For the Soldiers!"

[10] p., The American Ambulance in Russia: “For the Soldiers!”

This week readers will find: newly digitized Dime novels and story paper issues. As well look for more National Defender issues from the Historical Society of Montgomery County. And of import examine an “appeal for funding” pamphlet from the American Ambulance Service in Russia, written between the two Russian Revolutions in 1917, which documents the strong bond between Russia and American, and the ongoing involvement in humanitarian aid sent to help the Russian people.

Dime Novel and Popular Literature


Diamond Dick's dark case; or, The spell of the "Loco-Loco"

Diamond Dick’s dark case; or, The spell of the “Loco-Loco”

Diamond Dick, Jr. (2 issues added)


An ocean mystery

His vision


Chicago Ledger (1 issue added)

Great War

The American Ambulance in Russia: “For the Soldiers!”

Historical Society of Montgomery County

National Defender (7 issues added)


Print, Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act IV, Scene 1

Plate, Shakespeare, Part IV, No. 12

Philadelphia Ceili Group

Cherish The Ladies (13 sets added)

Villanova Digital Collection

Daily Doodles (2016: 1 image added)


Available for proofreading: The Senator’s Bride

The Senator's BrideOur latest Distributed Proofreaders project is another novel by prolific 19th-century author Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller. The Senator’s Bride was written early in Mrs. Miller’s career, during her time living and working in Washington, D. C. While the book was written before her career-making hit, The Bride of the Tomb, it was actually published a few months later, serialized in Street & Smith’s New York Weekly from July to September of 1881 to capitalize on the author’s success in the competing New York Family Story Paper. The edition being used for this transcription project is a later paper-covered reprint of the story.

To help produce a new electronic edition of this once-popular tale, read this earlier post to learn how the proofreading process works, then join in the work at the project page!


Content Roundup – Third Week – July 2016

Photograph, Father Augustine in habit with book

Photograph, Father Augustine in habit with book

Just a few newly digitized items available this week. See especially the new Dime Novel and story paper issues available, as well as two historic photographs from the Joseph McGarrity collection.

Dime Novel and Popular Literature


Diamond Dick, Jr.’s Texas trump; or, The hornets of Hopscotch / by W. B. Lawson


The old conductor’s story

Paratexual materials

Blank Postcard, “A Band of Zebras,” 1909


Front cover, Chicago Ledger, v. XLIV, no. 52, December 23, 1916

Front cover, Chicago Ledger, v. XLIV, no. 52, December 23, 1916

Chicago Ledger (2 issues added)

Joseph McGarrity Collection

Photographs and Realia

Photograph, Joseph McGarrity and his 3 daughters with Eamonn De Valera, Harry Boland, Sean Nunan

Photograph, Father Augustine in habit with book

Philadelphia Ceili Group

Jack Coen, Paddy Reynolds, Brendan Mulvihill and Donna Long (10 sets added)

Villanova Digital Collection

Daily Doodles (2016:1 image added)


Content Roundup – Second Week – July 2016

Front cover, selection, "Don't marry"

Front cover, selection, “Don’t marry”

This week find a number of newly digitized materials include more issues of the Waterford Chronicle, more dime novel fiction and non-fiction including the marriage advice book Don’t marry; or, Advice as to how, when and who to marry.

June weddings may be the vogue fashion today but according to popular advice circa 1890 they ought be much less common. From the first page, Hildreth, frames an argument: “the ‘yes or no’ question is the vital one for all young people to answer. Some answer too soon, others wait too long, others never reach such a climax of happiness as to be invited by an eligible partner. The genius of selection is the rarest of faculties.”

Dime novel and Popular Literature


Don’t marry; or, Advice as to how, when and who to marry / by Hildreth

Diamond Dick’s stand-off; or, The shotgun messenger’s last trip / by the author of “Diamond Dick.”

Diamond Dick’s fight for honor; or, The wizard gambler / by the author of “Diamond Dick.”


Book of startling information


Chicago Ledger (1 issue added)

Joseph McGarrity Collection


Waterford Chronicle (12 issues added)

Malvern Retreat House

Men at Malvern (31 issues added)

Philadelphia Ceili Group

The Green Fields of America (9 sets added)

Villanova Digital Collection

Daily Doodles

2013 (1 image added)

2016 (2 image added)


How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Santa Barbara, 1919 and 2016

Earlier this year, we digitized a photograph album of Southern California from 1919-1920. The people in the scrapbook are unidentified, but they did label and date their excursions around Southern California. Locations pictured include many places in the greater Los Angeles area and the San Fernando Valley, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara happens to be my hometown and I love taking then & now photographs (previously: Paris and the USA), so I took some comparison shots while I was home on vacation in June. The people in the photo album took their trip to Santa Barbara in 1919, so these photos are 97 years apart.


Wave coming in to shore, 1919.


Wave coming in to shore, 2016. There were no distinguishable landmarks on the 1919 beach, so I chose Goleta Beach, near my parents’ house.


Unidentified woman on a beach, 1919.

Unidentified woman with kelp, 1919.

Laura on a beach, 2016.

Laura with kelp, 2016.


Unidentified woman and man, 1919.


Liz and David, 2016. My parents joined in on the photo recreating fun!


Santa Barbara Mission, 1919.


Santa Barbara Mission, 2016.


Because they cut off the height of the Mission, I also took a broader view of the facade, 2016.


Ants on the march

Sometimes slower news cycles forced editors to include stories that were less-exciting as filler. In the recently digitized Saturday August 6th, 1831 issue of the thrice weekly Waterford Chronicle, the editors deployed this bit of text to pad page 4 (notice the non-standard spelling and location name – even in printed works in the 1830s spelling lacked standardization):

“The walls and floor of my appartment (at Buenes Ayres,) says Sir Edmond Temple, were nearly covered with what at first gave me considerable alarm; but having been assured that I should not be molested, I took courage, and found that I was not deceived. This was a colony of ants, which had their settlement in one of the beams of the roof, and having several roads to it, they were spread in divisions of millions over the room, but always preserved the nicest order and regularity in their ranks. Day and night their industry was unceasing; I never found the least inconvenience from them, but often much amusement in observing their curious labours. Sweets seemed to be their great allurement, for the sugar bowl every morning was found to be in their entire possession and to dislodge them was no easy task. Perhaps no house in Buenos Ayres is altogether free from them.”

Sir Edmond Temple was a colorful figure, according to Jason Colavito, he was “a knight of the Spanish Order of Charles III, traveled to Peru in 1825 in search of riches and spent two years not finding them. While traveling, he learned of the discovery of a “giant’s” skeleton near Tarija in Bolivia, and efforts by the corporation to which Temple belonged to sell the bones for profit.”

More information about this expedition, and the wit of Sir Edmond, can be found in his Travels in Various Parts of Peru, (London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830). [Internet Archive fulltext]


“Now comes the news of battle”: July 1, 1916 – the Somme

While primarily considered a British offensive, the Battle of the Somme, which started on July 1, 1916, one hundred years ago this week, involved troops of many nationalities. This bloodiest battle of the Great War which would kill over a million soldiers and which serves to this day as the icon for the war’s futility, was also the source of patriotic pride and sacrifice for for Irish soldiers under arms for king and county.

The Ulster Division’s sacrifice on July 1, 1916 is clearly depicted in the rare unit history: With the Ulster division in France : a story of the 11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (South Antrim Volunteers). Available in digital reproduction from Villanova University’s Digital Library this work was published in Belfast from the manuscript of Arthur Purefoy Irwin Samuels killed in action in 1916, and created for veterans by veterans. With photographs, maps, and a roster of the Battalion, this unit history of the 11th Battalion R.I.R. (S.A.V.) reaches greatest poignancy when one notes the penciled in status on the unit roster showing “Killed” next to the names of the dead by the book’s former owner – one of the survivors. These faces still gaze out of the page with hope and resignation.

The poem, The Red Hand of Ulster: Somme – July 1st, 1916 starts on page 57. This literary work gives immediate voice to the emotions of sacrifice shared by the closest of companions. From stanza 4:

Now comes the news of battle-

The long awaited roll

Of our great Western rampant-

A wall of thews, and soul-

And Ulster’s sons are writing

Their names upon a scroll.


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Last Modified: July 1, 2016