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Available for proofreading: The Dreadnought Boys in Home Waters

The Dreadnought Boys in Home WatersOver the past couple of years, in collaboration with Distributed Proofreaders and Project Gutenberg, we have released eBook editions of two previous books from the Dreadnought Boys series of pre-WWI juvenile naval adventures: The Dreadnought Boys on Battle Practice and The Dreadnought Boys on Aero Service. Today, we have opened up a third title for volunteer proofreading: The Dreadnought Boys in Home Waters, which also happens to be the sixth and final volume of the overall series.

Anyone can help with the job of turning scanned images of this 1914 novel into a convenient, modern eBook. If you would like to participate, first read about the process in this earlier blog post, then join in the work at the project page.


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eBook available: Don’t Marry

Front cover, selection, "Don't marry"

Front cover, selection, “Don’t marry”

Our latest completed Distributed Proofreaders to appear in the Project Gutenberg collection is Don’t Marry, the 19th-century marriage advice book featured earlier this year in an article on Slate.com.

The book is split into three main parts. Part one contains a list of “don’t’s” designed to guide readers away from bad marriages. Some of the advice presented here remains good common sense; other suggestions reveal some of the prejudices of the time. Parts two and three contain a pair of cautionary tales about the consequences of marrying unwisely, either with too much or too little romance. These two stories are fairly typical of the tragic fiction of the period. Whether or not the book remains useful as a guide to important life choices, it’s an interesting slice of vintage popular culture.

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


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eBook available: Will Rossiter’s Talkalogues

talkalogues-210x300Our latest Project Gutenberg release, produced through the Distributed Proofreaders project, is our second title to bear Will Rossiter’s name, following The Art of Kissing. While that earlier title collected observations and anecdotes around a specific theme, Will Rossiter’s Talkalogues is a more freewheeling collection of vaudeville material from a variety of comedians. If the publisher’s advertising for the title can be believed, this was intended not just to entertain, but also to be used by performers as fuel for existing acts:

There is a wealth of material in this book for the up-to-date performer, amateur or professional, and while it is fresh is the time to make a hit with it. Some of the shorter selections are just the stuff for encores. Or they can be assembled and strung out in such a manner as to keep the audience screaming while you are on the stage. The “rapid fire” by Harry L. Newton is worthy a place on the most select bill.

More than a century after its original publication, this humor is definitely no longer “fresh.” However, some small parts of it, like Harry L. Newton’s surreal “Fifteen Minutes with a Playwright” segment, are at least weird enough to merit a slightly longer look than the obvious punnery and stereotype-driven jokes that tend to dominate the humor of this period.

For those wondering just who Will Rossiter actually was, a biographical article in the July, 1927 issue of “The Rotarian” sheds some light (and includes a picture). Apparently Rossiter was a  successful music publisher, known for such record-breaking hits as “I’d Love to Live in Loveland with a Girl Like You.” While the biography makes no mention of involvement with vaudeville or book publishing, the existence of these books suggests either that he decided at some point to branch out into other forms of publishing, or that an enterprising publisher simply decided to use his well-known name as a promotional tool. Either way, it appears that while Rossiter’s popularity lasted long enough for the publication of a fond remembrance in the 1920’s, his status as a household name did not survive too much further into the twentieth century, making him just one of many forgotten celebrities of the vaudeville era.

For those wishing to be reminded of this bygone era, the entire text of Rossiter’s collection may be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


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Content Roundup – through Second week – October 2016

Note, the new resources newly available:

Great War

Gerhard Hauschild Postcards (19 postcards added)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Collection/vudl:466904?recordID=vudl%3A348841]

Philadelphia Ceili Group

“Caitlin NicGabhann and Ciaran O’Maonaigh”, February 28, 2014 (17 sets added)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:467061]

Villanova Digital Collection

Daily Doodles (2016: 8 images added)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:444148]


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American Civil War: Letter Home from Atlanta, Georgia in 1864

Posted for: Sue Ottigon.

The Digital Library has digitized Robert M. O’Reilly’s collection which includes letters written home to his mother, Ellen Maitland O’Reilly, in Philadelphia, during his career in the U. S. Army which lasted over 40 years, from 1867-1909.

In the collection is a series of letters by O’Reilly to his mother soon after he received an appointment as a Medical Cadet in January, 1864. O’Reilly’s first duty station, from April to July, 1864, was the Field Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In the spring of that year, he wrote home of camp life and his hospital duties. His arrival at the hospital coincided with the onset of General William T. Sherman’s campaign across Georgia, which is commonly referred to as “Sherman’s March to the Sea.” [1]

Sherman letter

O’Reilly wrote 9 letters that related events from the Atlanta campaign. In his letter home, dated September 22, 1864, O’Reilly mentioned that Confederate General John Hood was “fortifying” position in West Point, Georgia, and remarked about his anticipation of when the “drafted men get down here, and Sherman will astonish the natives.”

It is interesting to note that O’Reilly wrote his mother on printed letterhead from the Head-Quarters Department of the Cumberland, Medical Director’s Office. There is a total of 3 letters O’Reilly sent from the Headquarters.

Check out an earlier blog post on the Robert M. O’Reilly collection.

Want to download the transcription? Go to this page and click on the “Download” button found at the bottom left of the screen. Select the format desired: word document or pdf format.

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[1] A timeline of battles fought from May, 1864-September, 1864 see “Atlanta Campaign: Summary”. Wikipedia. Accessed 10 October 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Campaign#Summary>


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eBook available: Some Poems of Roger Casement

Some Poems of Roger CasementAccording to the introduction to Some Poems of Roger Casement, Irish nationalist Roger Casement “would have been the last to lay claim” to the title of poet. However, he did occasionally compose or translate poetry, and this slim volume collects some of his work. Gertrude Parry’s introduction, written just two years after Casement’s death, goes on to provide some brief and affectionate biographical notes on the author, whose path eventually led him to be executed by the British government on treason charges. While the text is brief, the anecdotes and private compositions it contains should interest those studying Casement.

The entire volume may be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


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Digital Library Content Roundup – Second Week – September 2016

Postcard, To: Frida Heilshorn From: Gerhard Hauschild, October 7, 1915

Postcard, To: Frida Heilshorn From: Gerhard Hauschild, October 7, 1915

This week finds us with a large set of new musical numbers from the Philadelphia Ceili Group and some additional postcards from the Great War collection of Gerhard Hauschild.

Great War

Gerhard Hauschild Postcards (6 items added)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Collection/vudl:466904]

Philadelphia Ceili Group

“Buttons and Bows”, November 10, 1989 (21 sets added)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:466961]


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Content Roundup – First Week – September 2016

Postcard, To: Frida Heilshorn From: Gerhard Hauschild, July 21, 1915

Postcard, To: Frida Heilshorn From: Gerhard Hauschild, July 21, 1915

Just a few new items to call to your attention this week. Study along with two newly available Irish musical performances from the Philadelphia Ceili Group including a 1998 offering from the hit group “Cherish the Ladies”!

Great War

Gerhard Hauschild Postcards (3 items added)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Collection/vudl:466904]

Philadelphia Ceili Group

Cherish The Ladies (12 sets)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:466908]

Ensemble (1 set added)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:466951]

Villanova Digital Collection

Daily Doodles (2016:1 image added)
[https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:444148]


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Available for proofreading: Don’t Marry

Earlier this summer, Don’t Marry, a 19th century marriage advice book from our collection, gained a significant amount of attention when it was featured in a Slate.com article. Now we hope to make the title even more accessible by creating a Project Gutenberg eBook edition in collaboration with Distributed Proofreaders.

Front cover, selection, "Don't marry"

Front cover, selection, “Don’t marry”

If you would like to help produce the electronic version of this long-forgotten but fascinating book, you can first read about the process in this earlier blog post, then join in the work at the project page.


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eBook available: Motor Matt’s Make Up

Motor Matt's Make UpOur latest eBook release from Distributed Proofreaders is another Motor Stories adventure, Motor Matt’s Make Up; or, Playing a New Role. This tale concludes the story arc of Motor Matt’s aerial adventures in the circus while still leaving some loose ends for future stories to tie up. It also includes the usual eclectic mix of filler material, featuring a tale of a miner’s “Brave Deed” (also found in an 1894 Ballinrobe Chronicle from Ireland), the actions of “A Locomotive Hero” (also found in an 1895 Bloomington Courier from Indiana) and an account of what happens when “Geese Drown a Squirrel” (apparently borrowed without attribution from the pages of the June 4, 1909 New York Times).

As always, the entire book may be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


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Last Modified: August 25, 2016