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Now in proofreading: Laurel Vane

Laurel VaneAnother 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.


eBook available: Motor Matt’s Daring Rescue

Motor Matt's Daring RescueThe 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.


eBook available: Averil

AverilToday’s eBook release, Averil by Rosa Nouchette Carey, is one of countless British novels that reached American audiences through inexpensive (and frequently unauthorized) paper-covered editions. The text of the new electronic edition comes from one such series of reprints, F. M. Lupton’s Arm Chair Library.

While these cheap editions often resemble their contemporaries, the dime novels, their content is often less sensational. That is certainly the case for Averil, which, despite a few dramatic incidents, is primarily a quiet tale about a sickly, spiritual woman who tries to befriend an orphaned cousin and aid the poor while being taken advantage of by selfish relatives.

The entire text of the book may now be read online (or downloaded in common electronic formats) through Project Gutenberg.


eBook available: Six Bad Husbands and Six Unhappy Wives

  • Posted by: Demian Katz
  • Posted Date: February 10, 2015
  • Filed Under: Project Gutenberg

Six Bad Husbands and Six Unhappy WivesThe latest completed Distributed Proofreaders project drawn from our collection is Ella Wheeler Wilcox‘s Six Bad Husbands and Six Unhappy Wives, a collection of six brief sketches of marriages gone wrong, intended as cautionary tales for young women and written with a bit of tongue in cheek. While societal roles have changed significantly since the publication of this volume, it would seem that some of the ways in which people miscommunicate have not.

The entire (and quite brief) work can now be read online or downloaded in eBook format through Project Gutenberg. It’s just in time for Valentine’s Day!



Available for proofreading: The Curse of Pocahontas

The Curse of PocahontasOur latest title to enter the Distributed Proofreaders project for conversion into an eBook is Wenona Gilman’s The Curse of Pocahontas, another story paper melodrama collected in book form. Wenona Gilman was a pseudonym used by Mrs. Florence Blackburn (White) Schoeffel, a contemporary of writers like Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller and Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

You can participate in the preparation of a new electronic edition of the book; for more details, read this previous post, then join in at the project page.


eBook available: Old Broadbrim Into the Heart of Australia

Old Broadbrim into the Heart of AustraliaThis week’s eBook release (completed with the help of the Distributed Proofreaders project) is Old Broadbrim Into the Heart of Australia, the thirty-second issue of Old Broadbrim Weekly, a publication chronicling the adventures of a Quaker detective. In this particular adventure, Old Broadbrim tracks a villain all the way to Australia while investigating a pair of murders.

Unlike many dime novels, which tend to be filled with exaggerated dialect and broad stereotypes, this adventure is a bit unusual for portraying all of its characters very similarly. Everyone speaks fairly formally (even the Australian Aborigine), with the only verbal tic being Old Broadbrim’s occasional use of “thee” and “thy.” Men and women alike engage in fights, commit murders and find themselves controlled by one another. This is not to say that Old Broadbrim offers a Utopian view of human equality (there’s far too much death and insanity for that), but it does subvert expectations.

One might also be curious about how a Quaker detective differs from any other sort of detective. The answer, at least for this book, is hardly at all. Apart from the aforementioned “thees” and “thys,” Old Broadbrim acts like any other dime novel detective, shooting people, drinking alcohol and hoping to place his quarry on the end of a rope.

If you are interested in reading the whole book for yourself, you can find it on Project Gutenberg, where it may be read online or downloaded in various common eBook formats.


eBook available: Motor Matt’s Hard Luck

Motor Matt's Hard LuckThe tenth issue of Motor Stories is now available on Project Gutenberg thanks to our collaboration with Distributed Proofreaders. Motor Matt’s Hard Luck picks up right where Motor Matt’s Air Ship left off, with Motor Matt continuing his career as an air-ship pilot and foiling the plans of the evil Brady gang.

As usual, the main adventure is followed by a short filler story; this time, it’s “The Red Spider,” a Western adventure involving a plot to manipulate the stock market by damming a river.

The entire book can be read online or downloaded in eBook format at Project Gutenberg.

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eBook available: Motor Matt’s Air Ship

Motor Matt's Air ShipAnother issue of Motor Stories has made it through the Distributed Proofreaders project. Motor Matt’s Air Ship; or, The Rival Inventors, the ninth adventure of the series, sees Motor Matt make his first flight after falling foul of a corrupt air ship designer. The adventure is noteworthy both for its aerial theme (which includes some interesting information about the workings of balloons) and for the introduction of Helen Brady, a female character who seems designed to match Motor Matt in bravery, resourcefulness and dedication to principles.

This issue’s filler story is “The Big Cypress,” a brief tale of attempted crime set in the wilds of Florida.

The entire book can be read online or downloaded from Project Gutenberg.


Available for proofreading: The Square Jaw

Square JawThe most recent book released to Distributed Proofreaders is The Square Jaw by Henry Ruffin and AndrĂ© Tudesq, an English translation of a French-language book discussing episodes from World War I. Our copy is part of the library’s Irish American Collection donated by Joseph McGarrity.

To help create a new electronic edition of this long out of print book, you can read this earlier post about how the proofreading process works, then join in at the project page.


eBook available: Motor Matt’s Triumph

Motor Matt's TriumphOur Distributed Proofreaders releases from the Motor Stories series continue this week with the eighth adventure, Motor Matt’s Triumph; or, Three Speeds Forward. This volume feature’s Motor Matt’s action-packed debut in the car racing scene and includes a reunion with an old friend that we haven’t seen for a few issues. As filler, it offers a short story about catching a huge alligator as well as a very brief item about the Ganges Delta.

As always, the whole story can be read online or downloaded in eBook form at Project Gutenberg.

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Last Modified: December 27, 2014