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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
With the scan lab back in operation from a hiatus for library renovation, we have a number of newly digitized materials to call to your attention, with more to be added in the coming weeks and months. Take a look (or listen) at a rare version of Love’s Labour’s Lost by “Shakspere” edited by Chalres Knight, a few postcards from the US invasion of the Soviet Union in 1919, a photograph album from WWI Germany, and some folk songs!
Back in October, the Library co-sponsored a week-long Harry Potter scavenger hunt and Special Collections was a featured stop (for a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson). Marianne Donley was one of the seekers who stopped by Special Collections on the scavenger hunt and her visit inspired her to come back to learn more about the collections. As part of an assignment for Jody Ross’s Journalism class, Marianne produced this video that highlights a few of the treasures you can find in Special Collections:
Marianne is a member of the class of 2018 and she is double-majoring in Chemistry and English. Thank you for this wonderful video, Marianne!
If you are intrigued by the treasures featured in the video, please feel free to stop by Special Collections. We love to share our collections with visitors. If you can’t make it in person, though, you can browse our Digital Library to see thousands of digitized books, photographs, manuscripts, and more.