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Now in proofreading: The Fiction Factory

The Fiction FactoryWe’ve previously written a little about prolific dime novel author William Wallace Cook in posts related to his Motor Stories series. Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project is Cook’s quirky, pseudonymously-written memoir, The Fiction Factory. There aren’t many insider books about the dime novel industry, so this is an important title for the study of the form.

If you are interested in helping create a modern electronic edition of this vintage book, first read our earlier post about the proofreading system, then proceed to the project page.

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Content Roundup – Third Week – August 2014

  • Posted by: Michael Foight
  • Posted Date: August 15, 2014
  • Filed Under: Content Roundup

This week sees a few new items to peruse as the end of the summer approaches quickly.


Dime Novel and Popular Literature

Periodicals

New York Ledger (2 issues added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356439]
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356449]


Historical Society of Montgomery County

Ardmore Chronicle

Ardmore Chronicle - Volume XXVI, No. 7, Saturday, November 21, 1914.

Ardmore Chronicle – Volume XXVI, No. 7, Saturday, November 21, 1914.

1914 (6 issues added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Collection/vudl:356010]

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Content Roundup – Second Week – August 2014

  • Posted by: Michael Foight
  • Posted Date: August 8, 2014
  • Filed Under: Content Roundup
Théatre du Palais-Royal, Le Théatre, Octobre-II, 1900, no. 44.

Théatre du Palais-Royal,
Le Théatre, Octobre-II, 1900, no. 44.

This week sees us rushing to the beginning of the Fall Semester, so take a moment and slow down and appreciate some newly digitized vintage content, including two new Young Adult Great War series novels and listen to the penultimate episode of the podcast reading of the Bride of the Tomb!

Dime Novel and Popular Literature

Fiction

The Boy volunteers with the British artillery / by Kenneth Ward
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:357014]

The Dreadnought boys on aero service / by Captain Wilbur Lawton
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356139]

Periodicals

The Paragon monthly, January 1908.

The Paragon monthly, January 1908.

Paragon Monthly (2 issues added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356640]
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356614]


The Spare Change Library Podcast

The Bride of the Tomb (Chapter 38 addded)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:286583]

Historical Society of Montgomery County

Ardmore Chronicle - Volume XXV, No. 50, Saturday, September 19, 1914

Ardmore Chronicle – Volume XXV, No. 50, Saturday, September 19, 1914

Ardmore Chronicle

1913 (2 issue added)
[http://hades.library.villanova.edu/diglibmaster/Item/vudl:357842]

1914 (7 issues added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356010]


Roman Catholic High School Alumni Association

Purple and Gold (13 added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Collection/vudl:207468]

Villanova Digital Collection

Graduate Theses

1957 (25 added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356973]

1958 (24 added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:357571]

World Collection

 Le Théatre, Octobre-II, 1900, no. 44.


Le Théatre, Octobre-II, 1900, no. 44.

Le Théatre (2 issues added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:47969]
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:49104]

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eBook available: The Spruce Street Tragedy

Spruce Street TragedyOur latest completed Project Gutenberg eBook is The Spruce Street Tragedy; or, Old Spicer Handles a Double Mystery, part of the Old Cap. Collier Library of detective-themed dime novels, and one of several titles featuring tall, thin, aging Mark Spicer as the hero.

Dime novel detective stories tended to focus less on mystery than on action. This was likely a practical matter, given the speed at which dime novels were usually written; it is far easier to write a series of chase scenes and fights than to devise a puzzle for the reader to unravel.

The Spruce Street Tragedy doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the crowd; while the story begins with a detailed description of a crime scene, it soon turns into a simple pursuit narrative punctuated by violent confrontations. The actual story doesn’t hold up very well to close scrutiny, and some of the writing is astonishingly lazy, as in this sequence, where Old Spicer obtains the key to a hotel room in order to spy on a criminal:

“What’s the number of the room over twenty-four?”

The landlord considered the question for a moment and then said:

“Thirty-six.”

“Good! give me the key to thirty-six.”

“What do you want of it, sir?”

Old Spicer gave him a hurried but plausible explanation.

The key was at once handed to him.

The reader is never filled in on the details of this “plausible explanation,” likely because the author didn’t have time to come up with them.

If the book has any redeeming feature, it may be the publisher’s catalog at the back, which advertises an astonishing range of bizarre-sounding detective adventures. While it is very likely that none of them are much better than this tale, it’s still hard to resist learning more about such heroes as Old Humpey, the Dwarf Detective or Zeb Taylor, the Puritan Detective!

The entire book (including the catalog) can now be found at Project Gutenberg, where it can be read online or downloaded in a variety of popular electronic formats.

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Content Roundup – First Week – August 2014

  • Posted by: Michael Foight
  • Posted Date: August 1, 2014
  • Filed Under: Content Roundup
p. 22,  More stories of the three pigs / by Sarah Grames Clark ; illustrated by Bess Bruce Cleaveland.

p. 22, More stories of the three pigs / by Sarah Grames Clark ; illustrated by Bess Bruce Cleaveland.

This week finds a number of new titles available for your summer reading and research pleasure, including:

Catholica

Constitutiones diœcesanæ in synodis philadelphiensibus, annis 1832, 1842, 1847, 1853, 1855, et 1857 latae et promulgatae
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:258474]


St. Augustine Church

St. Augustine’s Church
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356011]

Dime Novel and Popular Literature

The story of Belgium / by William Elliot Griffis, D.D., L.H.D.
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:355746]

More stories of the three pigs / by Sarah Grames Clark ; illustrated by Bess Bruce Cleaveland
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:355708]

Moni the goat-boy / by Johanna Spyri ; translated by Rea McCain ; illustrated by Antoinette Inglis
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:355783]

Historical Society of Montgomery County

Ardmore Chronicle (1914: 4 issue added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356010]

Pennsylvaniana

Address by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler to the members of the Union League of Philadelphia at Founder’s Day Celebration held Saturday evening, November 27th, 1915
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356778]

[3] p., The Housing Problem in Philadelphia.

[3] p., The Housing Problem in Philadelphia.

The Housing Problem in Philadelphia : a Lecture / by George W. Norris, President of the Philadelphia Housing Commission
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356476]

Roman Catholic High School Alumni Association

Purple and Gold (14 added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Collection/vudl:207468]

Villanova Digital Collection

Falvey Scholars

2014 (4 items added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:354482]

Graduate Theses

1954 (28 items added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356117]

1955 (33 items added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356519]

1956 (16 items added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356875]

Undergraduate Honors Theses

2014 (32 items added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:353118]

Purple and Gold, v. 5 [i.e., 4], no. 2, November 1912.

Purple and Gold, v. 5 [i.e., 4], no. 2, November 1912.

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Now in proofreading: Step Lively!

Step Lively!It’s been almost a year since the release of our third book from the Street & Smith Humor Series, but we still have one remaining title that was part of the original collection of dime novels rediscovered in our basement. Like most of the books in the series, Step Lively! was written by vaudevillian George Niblo and contains jokes from his stage routines. Very little of this is likely to amuse the modern reader, and some will offend, but it is an interesting document of a past era.

To join in the proofreading effort to turn this vintage book into a new electronic edition, first read our earlier post about how the process works, then visit the project page.

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Content Roundup – Fourth Week – July 2014

  • Posted by: Michael Foight
  • Posted Date: July 25, 2014
  • Filed Under: Content Roundup
"Happy Moments", p. 31, Album / [by Jane Baker].

“Happy Moments”, p. 31, Album / [by Jane Baker].

As the summer heats up, so does the production of new digital content! This week, we present a significant amount of new content: newly digitized Villanova Theses; an early scrapbook documenting the life of an Augustinian at Villanova; new pamphlet literature from a number of collections; new issues of the French theater magazine Le Theatre; a history of the Philadelphia Cathedral of Peter and Paul; new story paper issues and another Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller dime novel; and issues of the Ardmore Chronicle from 100 years ago! Read about all of the happenings on the Main Line as the Great War heats up in Europe. Tune in next week for more exciting content…

Americana

The fight against lynching : anti-lynching work of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the year nineteen eighteen.”
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:354895]

Catholica

Frontispiece,  Brief history and description of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.

Frontispiece,
Brief history and description of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.

Brief history and description of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul / compiled under the direction of the Most Reverend E. F. Prendergast
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:355328]


Contributions from Augustinian Theologians and Scholars

Father Francis Roth Collection (v.3 Binder 3 added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:354921]

Catholic Augustinian Scrapbook
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:336801]

Dime Novel and Popular Literature

Fiction

Lancaster’s Choice / by Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller (Hart Series)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:354163]

Periodicals

Happy Days (2 issues added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:354377]
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:354815]

Great War

The Garden Army in 1919 / the United States School Garden Army
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:355384]

We are Americans! / Charles Brower Parmer, First Lieutenant Infantry United States Army
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:355389]

Historical Society of Montgomery County

Saturday, July 25, 1914, Ardmore Chronicle.

Saturday, July 25, 1914, Ardmore Chronicle.

Ardmore Chronicle (1914: 3 issue added, July 25, Aug. 1, Aug. 8)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:356010]

Independence Seaport Museum

Barry Hayes Papers

Series LVIII Ships’ Papers (69 items added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Collection/vudl:318371]

Pennsylvaniana

American citizenship / by Eugene C. Bonniwell
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:354857]

Album / [by Jane Baker].
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:336116]

Villanova Digital Collection

Graduate Theses, 1953 (32 items added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:355533]

World

Le Théatre, Mai-I, 1909, no. 249.

Le Théatre, Mai-I, 1909, no. 249.

Le Theatre (16 issues added)
[http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:47598]

Plate, Le Théatre, Avril-II, 1909, no. 248.

Plate, Le Théatre, Avril-II, 1909, no. 248.

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eBook available: The Cruise of the “Lively Bee”

The Cruise of the "Lively Bee"In our work with Distributed Proofreaders, we have released electronic editions of quite a few melodramas from the story papers of the late 19th century, as produced by authors like Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller and Mrs. E. Burke Collins. These belonged to just one of several popular genres of the period — another was the historical adventure for boys, as typified by today’s new release, The Cruise of the “Lively Bee.”

First published in the Golden Hours story paper from November 19, 1892 to January 28, 1893 and later reprinted in book form as part of a series called The Boys of Liberty Library, this tale details the adventures of a privateer called the “Lively Bee” as she fights for the American side during the War of 1812. The use of a privateer allows the story to use many of the trappings of a pirate adventure while simultaneously expressing patriotic sentiments and offering history lessons to its readers. While the “Lively Bee” and its crew are fictional creations, they encounter several historical ships (such as the USS Congress and HMS Belvidera) and meet a variety of well-known figures, including David Farragut and Dolly Madison.

This being a story paper serial, it’s definitely not all about dry historical facts. It also includes romance, at least one astounding coincidence, a bit of comic relief, and high levels of violence. Given its target audience, it also goes out of its way to point out the role of very young boys in much of the fighting. This will likely raise the eyebrows of contemporary readers, as will the book’s extremely sexist portrayal of women, but neither is particularly surprising for the period. In any case, it’s not hard to see how the story held the attention of its readers and kept them coming back for more installments.

You can read the entire adventure online at Project Gutenberg, where it is also available for download in a variety of popular electronic formats.

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eBook available: Her Dark Inheritance

Dark InheritanceThe latest eBook project we have completed with the help of Distributed Proofreaders is the 19th century melodrama Her Dark Inheritance by Mrs. E. Burke Collins. The story revolves around Beatrix Dane, a young girl whose past contains a secret so horrifying that its revelation eventually kills her adoptive father. While not as well-constructed as the generally similar works by Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, and containing several of the expected offensive stereotypes of the period, this is still a fun read, both for the shocking secret (which is nearly impossible to guess, and doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sense) and for some of the over-the-top dialog. Our heroine’s tortured (and constantly soliloquizing) Uncle Bernard offers some particular gems, such as this one:

Thought! Never think, Simons. Don’t let me ever hear again that you indulge in the pernicious habit of thinking! Great Heaven! what would I not give to drown thought—to bury it out of sight—deep, deep—so deep that nothing on earth would ever have the power to resurrect it! Thought—memory! Bah!”

For the rest of this speech, and a great deal more, you can find the full text of the novel online at Project Gutenberg, where it can also be downloaded in a variety of popular electronic formats.

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Now in proofreading: On an Irish Jaunting-car

On an Irish Jaunting-carOur latest Distributed Proofreaders project is a change of pace from the usual variety of popular fiction titles. On an Irish Jaunting-car through Donegal and Connemara is a travel narrative describing (and illustrating with photos) a variety of Irish scenes. This is one of several books written by Samuel G. Bayne, an author who appears to have made quite a lot of money in various business ventures when not traveling or writing about his adventures.

If you would like to help transform this vintage book into a new electronic edition, please read this earlier post to learn more about the process, then visit the project page.

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Last Modified: July 21, 2014