Posted for: Susan A. Ottignon
The Digital Library@Villanova University’s newest online exhibit, “You can learn a lot from ADVERTISING”: the American Paper Experience” illustrates advertised products published, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, that the average American read in print newspapers and magazines.
The exhibit’s title comes from a direct quote about advertising published in The Chicago Ledger, March 29, 1919, that encouraged by “reading advertisements” the decision would be informed and make the product “valuable to you as you go through life.” The advertisements for the exhibit were selected to illustrate an assortment of merchandise available to the readers between the years 1858 to 1921.
The selected newspapers are from the Digital Library’s digitized collections. Among the newspapers used are: Ardmore Chronicle, (Ardmore, PA), The Chicago Ledger, (Chicago, IL), The Catholic Standard and Times, (Philadelphia, PA) and others.
This exhibit was curated by Sue Ottignon with assistance from Laura Bang and Michael Foight and graphics by Joanne Quinn.
Selection p. 8, The New York Ledger, v. XIV, no. 3, March 27, 1858
With the wolf of winter at the door, here are a few Dime Novel tidbits to start off your new year:
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
Book of 1000 facts in history
Enclosure, Davis & Elverson Publishing Company stationery
Front cover, Chicago Ledger, v. XXVII, no. 25, Saturday, June 17, 1899
Chicago Ledger (2 issues added)
Front cover, The New York Ledger, v. XIV, no. 5, April 10, 1858
New York Ledger (3 issues added)
Our latest eBook release, produced with the help of Distributed Proofreaders and published through Project Gutenberg, is the New Sabbath Library edition of The Prince of the House of David by Rev. J. H. Ingraham. This novel tells of the events leading up to and immediately following Jesus’ crucifixion, as described by the letters of a young woman named Adina. Its author, who first became well-known by writing sensational adventure serials, is now probably best remembered for the fact that another of his epistolary novels, The Pillar of Fire, helped inspire the iconic film, The Ten Commandments.
It is important to note that this edition of the novel is not the author’s original version; instead, it has been (as the editors put it) “thoroughly revised and in parts rewritten, all unnecessary repetition appearing in the original edition of the book being omitted.” This opens up some potentially interesting avenues for study. The very successful original version of the novel likely reflected and informed popular views of Christianity in the mid nineteenth century. The changes made in this later “cheap” edition (designed for use in Sunday schools, and taking advantage of some of the publishing practices of contemporary dime novels) may also reveal some interesting things about the culture of the time.
If you want to investigate further, the entire New Sabbath Library edition of the book may be downloaded or read online through Project Gutenberg. The original version can be found in the Making of America collection if you are interested in comparing the differences.
The illustration from the first installment of An Old Man’s Darling in the New York Family Story Paper.
If you’re looking for something fun yet productive to work on over the holiday break, why not volunteer to help create a new eBook edition of a long-forgotten novel? We produce quite a few of these in collaboration with Distributed Proofreaders, as described in this earlier post. Our latest title to become available is An Old Man’s Darling, an early novel by Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, author of the local favorite, The Bride of the Tomb. It was first serialized in The New York Family Story Paper (starting in issue #407) before being reprinted in book form. If you want to join in and help out, just pay a visit to the project page and get started!
Polus Antarcticus / Ioannes Ianssonius excudit
This double week set of new materials brings online the first digitized materials from the fantastic collection of maps and plates newly donated to Special Collections: The John F. Smith, III and Susan B. Smith Antique Map Collection. As well, a collection of rare plates and images of Shakespeare mounts the digital stage. A few newly digitized popular cultural story paper issues and dime novels make up the audience! Waiting stage right, are two new titles from the Villanova Digital Collection. As our own “Winter’s Tale” continues, let us enjoy all of these new treasures fireside with a steaming cup of chocolate.
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
Revelations of a model
Chicago Ledger (3 issues added)
 p., Bulletin (San Francisco), v. 123, no. 136, Thursday March 15, 1917 (Extra issue – ( 9 PM “Czar Abdicates”)
Newspaper Issues (5 issues added)
Da Zdravstvueti Rossija, Svobodnija Strana
The John F. Smith, III and Susan B. Smith Antique Map Collection
Poli Arctici Et Circumiacentium Terrarum Descriptio Novissima / Sumptibus Henrici Hondÿ
5 maps added
Villanova Digital Collection
Selection from p. 12, (Varsity 1920-21 team)
Villanova University basketball; a statistical history
p. 51, Prep O’Lantern, 1921
The Prep O’Lantern, 1921
Lord Vaux (author of the Grave Diggers’ Song in Hamlet)
Shakespeare rare prints
Selection p. , “Act II” from Love’s Labour’s Lost edited by Charles Knight
A few more titles added this week including a new Dime Novel, more Shakespeare and some Villanova history!
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
Saved by a phantom
Front cover, Chicago Ledger, v. L, no. 7, Saturday, February 18, 1922
Chicago Ledger (2 issues updated)
Philadelphia Ceili Group
“A Fair Breeze From Erin: An Evening with Eugene O’Donnell”, 1982 (19 sets added)
Love’s Labour’s Lost … edited by Charles Knight
Love’s Labour’s Lost … edidted by Edmond Malone
Villanova Digital Collection
Prep O’Lantern, 1920
Daily Doodles (2016: 1 image added)
Our latest eBook release, courtesy of Distributed Proofreaders and Project Gutenberg, is our first title from the prolific Laura Jean Libbey, a writer best-known for her frequent contributions to story papers such as The Fireside Companion. Like Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, whose work has been mentioned fairly frequently in this blog, Libbey specialized in melodramatic serial romances full of plot twists and over-the-top situations.
The new release is A Dangerous Flirtation; or, Did Ida May Sin?, in which a poor, young telegraph operator endures all sorts of abuse and tragedy on her way to the inevitable happy ending. The pacing is extremely fast, with one dramatic situation after another occurring with little time for reflection, presumably to keep the cliffhanger-hungry audience buying papers week after week. Logic and consistent character motivations are left by the wayside, but readers looking for sensational material typical of the period — betrayals, deaths, accidental marriages, illegal misuse of sanitariums, frequent swooning, and multiple bouts of brain fever — will get a hefty dose.
As always, the full text of the story may be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.
Today’s new Project Gutenberg / Distributed Proofreaders eBook release is something of a milestone: the thirty-fourth and final Motor Matt adventure, A Hoodoo Machine; or, The Motor Boys’ Runabout No. 1313. We released an eBook of the very first story in June of 2014, so it has actually taken more than twice as long to produce digital versions of these stories than it did to write and publish them in the first place; the entire sequence of adventures was first printed between February and December of 1909, and according to the author’s autobiography, they were written quite swiftly (and for only $75 each).
This final adventure sees Motor Matt acquiring a seemingly cursed car (which he cannot resist trying to fix). Predictably enough, it leads him and Joe McGlory into a new round of trouble related to Joe’s potential gold mine claim. In the end, a couple of brief paragraphs bring the whole series to a happy conclusion, though many loose ends — especially Motor Matt’s mysterious background — remain unresolved. It is not particularly surprising that the series ended when it did — the author had just about run out of new motor vehicles for Matt to aspire to run — but at the same time, he had clearly allowed himself plenty of contingencies for new plots had the publisher demanded more.
As a body of work, the Motor Matt adventures have to be viewed for what they are: hastily-written juvenile fiction reflecting the commercial demands (and many of the prejudices) of the early 20th century. Within these constraints, however, the author has delivered significantly more variety in action, plotting and characterization than the formula strictly demanded, also capturing some of the spirit of a time of rapid change in the process. The books also offer a fascinatingly conflicted blend of broad, offensive stereotyping with messages of tolerance and cooperation. It is hard to say just how much cultural impact these stories had — given its brief existence, it is certainly far from being one of the best-remembered dime novel series — but it nonetheless serves as a time capsule worthy of study. With the completion of this eBook conversion project, such study is now easier than it ever was in the past!
The final story, along with all the rest, can be read or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.
If the Motor Stories series had not ended with its thirty-second volume, #33 would have been Motor Matt’s Mission; or, The Taxicab Tangle, scheduled for release on October 9, 1909. As things worked out, the adventure was retitled and released almost two months later as Brave and Bold #362: A Taxicab Tangle; or, The Mission of the Motor Boys. This story is our latest eBook release, courtesy of Distributed Proofreaders and Project Gutenberg.
In A Taxicab Tangle, Motor Matt’s friend Joe McGlory may be in a position to make a large sum of money, but a criminal eavesdropper takes advantage of privileged information to make life very difficult for the Motor Boys. The adventure also includes a minor subplot in which Matt learns of an inventor’s new flying machine, which relies on a new adjustable-buoyancy gas — the closest the series comes to relying on science fiction rather than technological fact. The volume is filled out with the usual eccentric filler material: a tale of a mad dog at sea (probably reprinted from some earlier but unattributed publication), and a personal anecdote about Aboriginal boomerangs (previously published in an 1894 issue of Harper’s Young People).
As always, the entire issue may be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.
For aficionados and scholars of Irish traditional music, and all who’d like to know more or just take a moment to enjoy some incredible music, here is the latest set to be included in the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection of the Digital Library at Falvey Memorial Library, Villanova University:
“Michael Tubridy and James Keane”, October 12, 2013.
This is a two hour performance put on at the Irish Center at the Commodore Barry Club in Philadelphia, on October 12, 2013, by Michael Tubridy (flute) and James Keane (button accordion), two pioneers of 20th century Irish traditional music. Having played together and apart for decades in several of the most influential groups in Irish music, including The Castle Ceili Band, Fingal, and The Chieftains, Tubridy and Keane rejoined each other after 50 years to enjoy some tunes and reminisce about the early days of the Irish traditional music renaissance of the 1960’s and ’70’s.
This humorous introduction by Michael Tubridy to the tune “McKenna’s Reel” (aka “Lucky in Love”) is a perfect entry point:
10 The Humours Of Ballyconnell – The Sailor on the Rock – Lucky in Love (McKenna’s Reel)