Last week, Joseph Malcomson joined our Digital Library Team as the Spring 2013 Digital Library Intern. Joseph was born and grew up in Sheffield, England. His mother comes from New Zealand and he has some Irish blood as well. He moved to the U.S. in 2011 after getting married.
Joseph has a bachelor’s degree in history from King’s College London and a master’s degree in medieval history from the same institution. Next, he is planning on pursuing a Master of Library Science degree and he is currently looking at and applying to various programs. Joseph currently works at the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image at the University of Pennsylvania.
On Joseph’s reading list is Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. He heard Vowell on the radio once and thought she was hilarious, so he looked into her books and has been enjoying them. Among his many talents, Joseph can simulate the noise of a jazz trumpet. Asked where he would go if he could travel anywhere, Joseph replied, “In an ideal, magical world, I guess I’d go to the moon.” He would also like to travel back in time in Earth’s history to any period.
Illustration of “life” on the moon done for the New
York Sun during the Great Moon Hoax in 1835.
For the internship, Joseph is looking forward to getting to know the interesting materials we have in our collections and writing about some of them for our blog. Stay tuned to hear what Joseph is working on over the next few months!
Our latest proofreading project is another dime novel romance: The Shadow of a Sin, by “Bertha M. Clay.”
“Bertha M. Clay” is an interesting figure in the history of 19th century literary piracy. Prior to 1891, there was no American law governing republication of foreign works. As a result, many American publishers reprinted foreign works without obtaining permission or paying authors. While this may have been unethical (and many authors, including famous names like Charles Dickens, objected loudly), it wasn’t technically illegal, and the practice was widespread.
One victim of this piracy was prolific British romance novelist Charlotte M. Brame. Many of her works were reprinted in America by multiple publishers, sometimes under false names. One of the most common Brame aliases was Bertha M. Clay (note the similarity of initials), which was frequently used when Brame novels appeared in dime novel format. In fact, the fictional “Bertha M. Clay” was so successful that, after Brame’s death, American authors began to write additional “Clay” books in imitation of her style.
It probably goes without saying that this situation makes it a bit difficult to figure out the origin of some books from this period. Fortunately, a very detailed Charlotte Brame bibliography is available through Victorian Secrets’ Victorian Fiction Research Guides to help sort out the confusion.
According to the guide, The Shadow of a Sin was first serialized between November, 1874 and January, 1875 in the Family Herald, a British story paper. The edition in our collection is undated, but we know that it was printed in Philadelphia, most likely in the late 19th or early 20th century.
If you would like to help turn this old volume into a modern eBook, you can read about our proofreading project and then visit the project page.
When we first blogged about the Digital Library’s involvement with the Distributed Proofreaders project in March of last year, our first project was History of the Catholic Church in Paterson, N.J. A few months later, the project has been completed, and the book is now available on this page to read online or download onto the electronic reading device of your choice.
As the title implies, this is a history of a particular church in Paterson, N.J. from its construction up to the book’s publication in 1883. The church’s predecessors are also discussed, as is the early history of Catholicism in the region. The book includes brief biographies of several prominent Paterson Catholics, making it of possible interest to genealogists.
More proofreading projects will be completing soon, so watch this blog for further announcements.
This week, we have opened up a new online proofreading project. The Brighton Boys in the Trenches is part of a series of American children’s novels written during World War I portraying (and glorifying) the battles overseas. While a lightweight children’s story about trench warfare is hard to imagine today, these types of violent adventures were popular during both of the World Wars, and quite a few were published. More information on wartime children’s fiction, as well as essays on other interesting trends in popular culture, can be found in two essay collections in Falvey’s stacks: Pioneers, Passionate Ladies, and Private Eyes and Scorned Literature.
This project is Villanova’s first contribution to Project Not Quite Nancy Drew, a subset of the Distributed Proofreaders effort which focuses on preserving vintage children’s series fiction. You can visit the PNQND page to find other similar projects currently in progress as well as links to completed eBooks (including other books in the Brighton Boys series).
As always, you can help with our proofreading by visiting the Brighton Boys in the Trenches project page, and you can learn more about the proofreading project from our earlier blog post on the subject.
Today’s new online proofreading project is a direct follow-up to an earlier title. Jiglets: A Series of Sidesplitting Gyrations Reeled Off by Walter Jones, the third volume of the Street & Smith Humor Library, immediately follows Atchoo!, which we made available back in August.
Like Atchoo!, Jiglets is essentially a transcription of a live comedy routine, illustrated with numerous line drawings.
Here is an excerpt (describing the comedian’s acting career) to give a feel for the sort of humor on display here:
I played Hamlet, Egglet, Eyelet, Omelet and To Let.
Every time I played Hamlet, I got an Egglet in the Eyelet, and I saved them up and made an Omelet, which caused such a disturbance among the other boarders, that my landlady told me my room was To Let.
If this brand of silliness appeals to you, please visit the project page to help us produce a modern electronic edition of this forgotten text. You can also learn more about the proofreading project in this earlier blog post.