Our latest eBook release from Distributed Proofreaders is The Curse of Pocahontas, a 19th century story paper melodrama published by pseudonymous author Wenona Gilman. The story’s heroine is a descendant of Pocahontas who also happens to be half-Mexican, and the titular curse allegedly dooms her chances at a happy love affair. In typical story paper fashion, her path to eventual happiness is blocked by murder and conspiracy, but the book is surprisingly kind to her in spite of telling a story essentially rooted in the typical racism and sexism of its era.
Social commentary aside, the book’s most interesting characteristic may be its willingness to directly reference contemporary popular fiction. Early in the book, two characters have a fairly detailed discussion about Ships that Pass in the Night, a novel by Beatrice Harraden. Later, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes plays a role in the story. Similar to the references to scientific and medical advances used in some of Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller‘s works, this helps to demonstrate that story paper authors made an effort to incorporate subjects of immediate interest to their readers into their tales.
To read the whole story for yourself, you can visit Project Gutenberg, where the entire book can be viewed online or downloaded in several eBook formats.
Fresh from Distributed Proofreaders comes another Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller novel in eBook form: Countess Vera; or, The Oath of Vengeance, a tale first serialized in the New York Family Story Paper in October, 1882 and later published as part of Lovell’s Library. Like the earlier The Rose and the Lily, this melodramatic story is written entirely in the present tense, and like many of Mrs. Miller’s novels, it deals with themes of premature burial and revenge (in addition to the perhaps more expected romance).
The Lovell’s Library edition used as the basis for the new eBook also includes a short story called “The Mysterious Beauty,” dealing with the misadventures of an Englishman who travels overseas with a niece in order to improve his health. This “filler” story is almost certainly not written by Mrs. Miller and most likely was taken from some British periodical. However, at this time, an earlier source has not yet been identified.
The entire book may be read online or downloaded at Project Gutenberg.
Our latest title to enter Distributed Proofreaders is Addie’s Husband; or, Through Clouds to Sunshine, a 19th century romance novel by British author Mrs. Gordon Smythies. This particular edition of the novel was published as part of the extremely long-running Seaside Library, a series that included inexpensive reprints of a wide variety of works.
To learn about how the proofreading process works, see this earlier post. To help with the work of producing a new electronic edition of the text, visit the project page.
The adventures of Motor Matt continue in the latest Project Gutenberg release from Distributed Proofreaders and our Digital Library. In Motor Stories #14, Motor Matt’s Promise; or, The Wreck of the Hawk, the motor boys continue their New Orleans adventures, with the situation complicated by the involvement of Matt’s rogueish doppelganger, Joe Dashington, who enlivens the story with lengthy bursts of slang such as:
“On the level, Whistler, you’ve got past my guard. But what’s the diff? You’re one-two-seven with me for lifting me out of that bunch of trouble. But, tell me, whose game of muggins is this, and what’s the stake? Anything higher than two-call-five and a quarter to see puts me out of the running. You’ve heard of the bank that broke the man at Monte Carlo? Well, listen—I’m It. Please drop that dizzy front, old fel, and tell me why you’re a counterfeit. Not being a has-wasser myself, I’m game for anything that promises kopecks, simoleons, or anything white or yellow with the eagle bird and E Pluribus Get-there on the side. Have one?”
The main adventure is followed by an assortment of filler material, including the conclusion to the previous volume’s two-part war story and non-fiction articles on such topics as logging and ostrich raising.
The entire book can be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.
Another Motor Stories adventure is now available thanks to Distributed Proofreaders and our Digital Library. In Motor Matt’s Queer Find; or, The Secret of the Iron Chest, number thirteen in the series, Matt and his friends become entangled in yet another dangerous situation, this time in New Orleans. Interestingly, while past supernatural occurrences in the series have been explained away scientifically, this adventure forces Matt to confront some things that simply don’t fit with his rational worldview.
As usual, the entire adventure can be read online (or downloaded in eBook format) through Project Gutenberg.
Our latest completed Distributed Proofreaders project is Husks, by Marion Harland (a pseudonym of Mary Virginia Terhune). This edition of the book comes from F. M. Lupton’s Arm Chair Library, the same series that provided our earlier release, Averil. Like that earlier title, Husks focuses on the inner lives of its characters rather than dime novel sensationalism, telling a sad tale of love gone horribly wrong. Of course, the tragedy is designed to offer some lessons to its readers, and the author is not always shy about editorializing on society’s wrongs. The modern reader is unlikely to agree with all of the author’s conclusions, but some of the situations remain resonant, and some of the authorial asides are, at least, amusing to read.
The entire book is now available for online reading or download from Project Gutenberg.
Last year, we released an eBook of Wild Margaret, a novel written by once-popular novelist Charles Garvice. Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project is another work by the prolific British writer: The Spider and the Fly; or, An Undesired Love (sometimes also known simply as Violet).
To help create a new electronic edition of this forgotten novel, first read this earlier blog post and then join in the work at the project page.
In our latest Distributed Proofreaders release, the Motor Stories saga continues with its twelfth adventure: Motor Matt’s Peril; or, Cast Away in the Bahamas. In this adventure, Motor Matt and his friends run an air ship show in Atlantic City but soon find themselves sidetracked by an adventure involving a treasure map and a submarine. The volume is rounded out with a handful of brief, randomly selected non-fiction pieces covering such topics as hunting, gum collecting and willow farming.
The entire book can be read online or downloaded in electronic formats through Project Gutenberg. Images of the original source material can also be viewed in our Digital Library.
Another Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller novel from our collection is available for proofreading on the Distributed Proofreaders site. Laurel Vane; or, The Girls’ Conspiracy was first serialized in the Fireside Companion during 1883 and was later reprinted in book form. The author apparently enjoyed this novel enough to make reference to it in one of her later works; in Pretty Geraldine, the New York Salesgirl, some of the characters stage a play based on Laurel Vane.
You can learn more about the proofreading process from this earlier post; when you are ready to join in, you can help with the work at the project page.
The eleventh adventure from the Motor Stories series is available on Project Gutenberg today thanks to the efforts of the Distributed Proofreaders project and images provided by our Digital Library.
In Motor Matt’s Daring Rescue; or, The Strange Case of Helen Brady, Helen Brady has disappeared, and Motor Matt needs to join forces with an unlikely ally to help restore her freedom. The issue is filled out with “A Fall to Fortune,” a highly improbable tale of a balloon demonstration gone wrong (and then right).
The entire book can now be read online or downloaded from Project Gutenberg.