FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY



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Transcriptions brought to life online

A newly released and long awaited feature in the digital library software enables the display of transcribed content. When transcribed content is present in a digital library object, a new tab, designated Docs, is displayed. This tab will present the transcribed content as readable and downloadable files. Just click on the thumbnail icon of the file type. Most transcribed content is available in both smart-PDF and Word formats. We are very proud to bring this new feature to you!

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Handwritten content is often difficult to decipher and, when digitized, not conducive to OCR. In parallel to the scanning of heritage materials, individual volunteers, staff, and students have been transcribing the writings from the past. Individual transcribers’ names are included. Now these letters and diaries can be read easily online as part of Villanova University’s Digital Library.

The first transcription to be included in the online collection is the Lane Manuscript. This contains the autobiographical manuscript of Samuel Alanson Lane (1815-1905). From January until May of 1835, Lane traveled around the U.S., looking for work in numerous cities, including New Orleans, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, until finally settling in what would become his hometown, Akron, OH, on June 29, 1835. S. A. Lane was a dedicated follower and professional lecturer of the American temperance movement as well as an avid supporter and political participant for the Republican Party, formed in 1854. Perhaps Lane’s most interesting and daring pursuit, was his active participation in the mass emigration to California in search of fortune like many other easterners during the California Gold Rush, which kept Lane from his home and family in Akron for over two years. This manuscript covers his life and contains many depictions of 19th century American frontier life. An exhibit featuring the life and times of Samuel Lane is also available online.

While only a few transcriptions are online at present, over the coming weeks and months much new transcribed content will be available to delight and fascinate. On the technical front, we are quickly working to make these materials discoverable with keyword searching. Printed texts that have been OCRed will also have enhanced findability.

I would be remiss without acknowledging all who have toiled many long hours over these often cryptic documents filled with fragmentary words and sentences. Thank you! In addition much hard labor also went into the software enhancements that make such content available, so out of the many individuals involved, I would especially like to thank David Lacy for his hard work in bringing the best to our digital library software!

If you are interested in helping to bring historical materials alive, please consider volunteering. Just reach out and email us at: digitallibrary@villanova.edu

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Ireland with Mr. and Mrs. Hall

A behind-the-scenes look at part of the exhibit “Rambles, Sketches, Tours: Travellers & Tourism in Ireland.”

Over the summer I did a fair amount of research on Irish travel writing for my exhibit and I quickly learned that you simply cannot discuss Irish travel writing without mentioning the Halls.

Samuel Carter Hall (1800-1889) met Anna Maria Fielding (1800-1881) in 1823 and they were married in September of the following year in London. Although both had been born in Ireland to Anglo-Irish families, they pursued their careers in England. Samuel Carter was a journal editor and writer who participated in a dizzying array of activities from 1823 to 1830, at which point he suffered a brief nervous affliction. He soon recovered and rejoined the editorial game, eventually finding some level of stability as sub-editor/editor at the New Monthly Magazine. Anna Maria’s career as a writer took off in 1829 with the publication of her first book, Sketches of Irish Character, which contained reminiscences of her childhood in Ireland. She subsequently published a number of children’s tales, novels, plays, essays, and more Irish stories.

Title page of Halls' Ireland (186-?).
Title page from the Halls’ Ireland (1860s).

The Halls made many tours of Ireland and penned an initial account of their travels that appeared in three volumes from 1841 to 1843. Ireland: its Scenery, Character, &c. was hugely successful in Great Britain. The Halls continued to tour Ireland after the publication of their account, and continued to update information in subsequent editions. In the 1850s, they capitalized on the popularity of their work even further by breaking it into regional sections—such as, The North and Giant’s Causeway—and publishing them separately. These regional guides were a much more manageable size, fitting right in with the popularization of “handbooks.”

Falvey Library’s Special Collections owns two multi-volume editions of the Halls’ Ireland (from the 1860s and 1911), as well as two of their regional guides, and I used all of these in my exhibit. “Rambles, Sketches, Tours” features eight images from the Halls’ works—can you find them all?

Further Reading:

Hall, Mr. and Mrs. S.C. Ireland: its scenery, character, &c.. 3 vol. Philadelphia: Gebbie & Barrie, [186-?].

Mandler, Peter. “Hall , Anna Maria (1800–1881).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/11940, accessed 11 Nov 2010]

Mandler, Peter. “Hall, Samuel Carter (1800–1889).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/11987, accessed 11 Nov 2010]

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New online exhibit featuring Augustine’s Confessions

November is Augustinian Heritage Month here at Villanova and there are many events going on. One of the events is a marathon reading of Augustine’s Confessions, which began here in the library’s coffee shop at 9am this morning and will continue until about midnight. Stop by if you have the chance!

But if you can’t make it, don’t worry! The Digital Library has launched an online exhibit of editions of the Confessions held in Special Collections. The exhibit is called “Tolle lege: The Confessions of St. Augustine”.

Engraved title page of an edition of the Confessions from 1646.
Engraved title page from a 1646 edition.

Editions are arranged by century, with items that are particularly noteworthy and/or available in the Digital Library getting their own sub-pages. Each edition has at least one image associated with it and brief notes where applicable, creating a sort of visual bibliography of holdings of the Confessions in Special Collections.

This is not a complete listing of our holdings, but additional items will be added over time, so be sure to check back.

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Last Modified: November 3, 2010