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UK Parliamentary Papers Now Available Through Falvey

By Jutta Seibert

You asked for it and we delivered: Falvey recently acquired permanent access to the digital archive of UK Parliamentary Papers. The archive comprises documents from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, as well as some earlier papers. The twenty-first century collection is not available to the Villanova community, but some of the papers from this period are freely available through the UK’s Parliamentary Archives.

The House of Parliament, as seen from Lambeth.
Image taken from “The Earth and Its Inhabitants. Europe. Vol. 4, The British Isles” by Élisée Reclus. New York: Appleton and Co., 1881, p. 184. Courtesy of Hathi Trust.

Research applications are endless given the scope of the archive. Its contents hold wide appeal for scholars from a range of disciplines, including political science, history, and Irish studies. They cover a vast sweep of events tracing the political discourse on matters large and small. Expect to find sessional papers, acts, bills, agreements, public petitions, and reports among the archived documents. Among the many issues and events covered figure universal suffrage, the slave trade and its abolition, the poor laws, child labor, mandatory vaccination, a long list of wars, national trade statistics on products such as cotton, coffee, tea, sugar, timber, and rubber, government funded expeditions such as the ill-fated arctic expedition led by Sir John Franklin, British overseas colonies and their struggles for independence, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland to name just a few topics.

The archive offers an advanced search interface and search facets that will narrow results by date, document type, Parliament chamber, and subject. Document features, such as maps, plans, tables, graphs, and illustrations, are indexed and easy to identify. Documents can be downloaded in PDF format.

This archive does not generate document citations, but the Details view includes common and Cockton titles, date, series, document number, and a permalink; in short, all the necessary elements. I am including below a selection of documents that illustrate the broad sweep of archival sources included in this archive.

Let us know if you have any further questions or visit the ProQuest Guide to UK Parliamentary Papers. Access to the archive is provided via the Databases A-Z list and the Library’s catalog.

A Sampling of Documents from the UK Parliamentary Papers Archive

Illustration of the work performed by Margaret Hipps, age seventeen, in a UK coal mine.
Taken from “Children’s Employment Commission. First Report of the Commissioners. Mines,”
published in London by William Clowes and Sons in 1842 (fig. 19, p. 95). UK Parliamentary Papers (ProQuest)


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Falvey Expands Access to Russian News with Acquisition of Izvestiia Digital Archive

By Jutta Seibert

Stamp commemorating
the 50th anniversary of Izvestiia.

Falvey Library recently acquired the complete digital archive of Izvestiia (Известия) from East View. Next to the Pravda, Izvestiia is likely the most widely recognized newspaper in Russia. In print since 1917, it was once the official organ of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR but has changed hands several times since the collapse of the Union. It remains a popular and widely respected news source in Russia today.

The Izvestiia digital archive offers the Villanova community a unique opportunity to explore life in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. It goes without saying that this is a Russian language archive. The search interface includes a virtual keyboard to facilitate full text searching using the Cyrillic alphabet. A standard Western keyboard can be used to enter search terms in transliterated (Romanized) Russian. Alternatively, one can also browse the archive by date. A small selection of Izvestiia articles is available in The Current Digest of the Russian Press for those looking for translations, but only back to 1949 and in some cases only in condensed format and always without illustrations. Note that The Current Digest typically lags a week or two behind actual events due to the logistics of selecting and translating news.

Izvestiia, January 24, 1924.

The coverage of the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis illustrates well the different opportunities presented by these two news archives. Izvestiia journalists covered the events extensively as they unfolded. Indeed, the paper’s no holds barred coverage, which included many explicit images, led to the ouster of its editor-in-chief Raf Shakirov. Scholars looking for translations will find a sparse selection in The Current Digest issue from September 29 of the same year, published four weeks after events started to unfold. None of the controversial images published in Izvestiia are available through The Current Digest. On the plus side, The Current Digest brings together content from a wide range of Russian news sources in translation.

East View offers a well-designed search interface which can be used to explore a single as well as multiple archives simultaneously. I already mentioned the virtual keyboard that facilitates searching in writing systems other than the Latin alphabet. Available alphabets include old Russian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian. The advanced search interface presents typical search features, including date limits and author and publication title search fields. Results can be sorted by publication date, relevancy, publication source, article title, word count, and author if they are indexed. The search results page includes an Excerpts toggle that reveals text excerpts with highlighted search terms for each result.

Articles of interest can be read online in their original formatting, downloaded as pdf files, or printed directly. Available citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago style formatting include persistent URLs which can be readily shared with others. Note that citation formatting needs to be reviewed as author names and article titles are often missing. For example, East View offers the following Chicago style citation for the article “Russia’s Far East Dilemma” by Natasha Doff, which appeared in the Moscow News on August 21, 2012:

“Page 1” Moscow News. 2012. https://dlib.eastview.com/browse/doc/72935691.

Readers can easily move from reading a single article to browsing the complete issue of a publication page by page.

East View search interface.

Unfortunately, the Izvestiia digital archive is updated only once a year. Currently, the archive includes content up to the end of December 2021. 2022 issues will be loaded in March or April of next year. A link to the archive can be found on the Library’s Databases A-Z list, in the catalog, and on the Russian area studies research guide.

Russian news sources available through Falvey Library
  • Izvestiia Digital Archive, 1917- (East View)
    Offers digital access to one of the longest running Russian newspapers. The archive covers the Soviet era in its entirety as well as the collapse of the Union and the Russian Federation. Yearly updates are added in the spring of the following year.
  • The Current Digest of the Russian Press, 1949- (East View)
    Presents weekly selections of Russian-language press materials, translated into English.
  • Moscow News Digital Archive, 1930-2014 (East View)
    Offers access to the contents of the longest running English-language newspaper published in Russia.
  • Imperial Russian Newspapers (East View)
    Presents open access to selected Russian newspapers published between 1782 and 1917.

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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A Fresh Take on African History: Oxford Research Encyclopedias

By Jutta Seibert

AMODDO, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Falvey Library expanded its history reference collection with the addition of The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History published under the umbrella of the Oxford Research Encyclopedias (ORE) project by Oxford University Press. The collection currently consists of over 450 peer-reviewed essays written by recognized experts in the field. Essays are regularly updated, and new content is continuously added to the online platform. Thomas Spear, Professor Emeritus of African History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, serves as the editor in chief of the African History encyclopedia project. Scholars can search across 25 subject encyclopedias hosted on the platform or focus their search on The Encyclopedia of African History. The University currently has access to ten out of 25 encyclopedias including American, Latin American, and Asian history. A small selection of essays from all encyclopedias is freely accessible online.

For the longest time African history has been neglected by publishers. The few encyclopedias with a focus on Africa which have been published in recent decades were limited in scope. ORE offers a refreshing departure with its broad interdisciplinary approach. Essays included in The Encyclopedia of African History range from “Africa in the World: History and Historiography” by Esperanza Brizuela-Garcia to “The Zanzibar Revolution and Its Aftermath” by G. Thomas Burgess. Essays such as “Comics in Colonial Africa” by Christophe Cassiau-Haurie and “Football in Lusophone Africa” by Nuno Domingos illustrate the broad scope of the project. The shared ORE platform facilitates discovery of related content in other encyclopedias. Pertinent examples include “Colonial Rule and Its Political Legacies in Africa” by Amanda Lea Robinson and “Land Grabs: The Politics of the Land Rush Across Africa” by Pauline Peters from The Encyclopedia of Politics and “The Black Atlantic and the African Diaspora” by Walter C. Rucker and “Ancient Egyptian Religion” by Korshi Dosoo in The Encyclopedia of Religion.

While distinctly academic in nature, essays are written in a style that makes them accessible to undergraduates and mature scholars alike. Essays generally begin with a summary before offering a comprehensive overview of the topic together with its historiography. They also identify available primary sources and digital archives. Bibliographies include links to the Falvey collections. New essays are added monthly.

The Library’s Databases A-Z list includes a listing for Oxford Research Encyclopedias. Direct access to The Encyclopedia of African History is also available via the Library’s catalog.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Falvey Resources: Correcting the Scholarly Record Through Retractions

By Jutta Seibert

Scholarly monographs and peer-reviewed journal articles hold positions of trust in the academic community. This trust is grounded in the peer-review process and the editorial rigor of academic presses. Much has been written about the reliability and sustainability of peer review, but comparatively little is known about the ways in which academic communities deal with the fallout of retracted publications and the existing publishing record, particularly regarding monographs.

In 1997, a group of academic editors who were concerned about author misconduct gathered informally to discuss best practices and later formalized their collaboration with the foundation of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). It has published a range of guidelines to date, including their Principles of Transparency for Scholarly Publishing, Guidance on Predatory Publishing, a Code of Conduct for Editors, and Retraction Guidelines. Many academic publishers and their editors follow the COPE retraction guidelines, which include, among others, the following reasons for retractions: the fabrication, manipulation, or falsification of sources and/or data, plagiarism, and experimental or mathematical errors.

Academic journals follow widely shared and robust practices to identify retracted journal articles. Typically, a statement of retraction preceding the article itself informs the reader about the reasons for retractions as does a “Retracted” watermark in case the reader missed the statement. For example, the article about fraternal socialism by Charles K. Armstrong, published in volume 5 of Cold War History, is clearly identified as retracted for reasons outlined in the attached statement of retraction. COPE does not recommend to delete retracted articles, as they are part of the scholarly record, may have been cited, may continue to be cited, and, indeed, scholars may want to consult them.

Unlike in the case of journals, there appear to be no standard practices for dealing with disputed monographs. While scholarly journals are published mostly in electronic format, monographs are still widely acquired in print format for library collections. Once a library acquires a print monograph it is out of the reach of its publisher. In the past, libraries inserted retraction notices into issues of print journals in their collection, but no comparable practice existed for print books. Most academic publishers simply withdrew disputed monographs from their catalog.

However, new and used copies of “retracted” books continue to be sold through the independent book trade for years to come. Recent digital publication models for monographs offer publishers an opportunity to identify “retracted” works. So far there appears to be little appetite to do so, but the recently established COPE working group to support book editors and publishers may yet address this need.

The question of what to do with “retracted” monographs is one that Falvey Library recently had to address in the case of Tyranny of the Weak by Charles K. Armstrong. The author was accused of falsification, fabrication of sources, and plagiarism. Retraction Watch and Wikipedia offer detailed accounts of the affair. In 2019, Cornell University Press, which had first published the book in 2013, withdrew the book from its print catalog, but did not issue a public statement as to why it “retracted” the work. Amazon and other book vendors continued to trade in existing print copies and JSTOR continues to offer electronic access for institutions who purchased an electronic copy.

At the time, historians in related fields of study were widely aware of the scandal through professional communication channels. After all, Armstrong was a well regarded faculty member at Columbia University and had won the prestigious John King Fairbank Prize of the American Historical Association for Tyranny of the Weak in 2014. He returned the award in 2017 after first accusations of plagiarism and source fabrication surfaced in 2016.  Students and the general public continue to read and reference Tyranny of the Weak trusting in the pedigree of its author and the press that published the work. Readers can find it in well over 700 libraries according to WorldCat records. Amazon and other vendors continue to sell new and used print copies. And, once again, it can be bought in electronic format from de Gruyter. De Gruyter does not inform the public about the history of the book, but features numerous positive reviews that predate the scandal.

After weighing available options and consulting with history faculty, Falvey Library decided to keep the book in its collection but also informed readers of its history by inserting the following note into its print copy and the related catalog record: “Cornell University Press has withdrawn this book from its catalog after substantiated accusations of plagiarism and source fabrication. The Library decided to retain its copy but to alert its patrons to the issue. Details about the case can be found on Retraction Watch (https://retractionwatch.com/).” The main rationale for retention was the integrity of the academic publication record. Tyranny of the Weak is widely cited and scholars should be able to consult it. Those that consult the book here at Villanova University will find the inserted “retraction” note at the front of the book. Alas, the same cannot be said for copies requested through InterLibrary Loan.

Recommended Resources:

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Library.

 

 


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Just Released: The 1950 Census Records

By Jutta Seibert.

On Friday, April 1, the National Archives released the 1950 census in digital format. Confused? Didn’t the Census Bureau just release data from the 2020 data? Aren’t 1950 census data yesterday’s news?

Let’s take a closer look: Article I, Section 2 of the US Constitution mandates a population count every ten years to determine the number of representatives and direct taxes for each state in the Union. Thus, we have a snapshot of the US population once a decade, starting in 1790. Population counts are released as soon as possible after the decennial enumeration. The summary data are published by the Census Bureau. However, names, addresses, and data units too small to preserve anonymity are not part of the publicly available data. The so-called “72-year rule” protects individual census answers for 72 years.

Last week, on April 1, 2022, 1950 census records passed the 72-year threshold and entered into the public domain.

In principle, enumerating the population to determine equitable representation is a straightforward mandate, but the census, its questionnaires, and its results have been disputed again and again. Today’s census forms are noticeably different from the 1950 census form and bear little resemblance to the forms used in 1790. Enumerating the population is a monumental and expensive undertaking, and Congress has taken advantage of its census mandate to learn more about the nation. Questions were added and dropped as they became obsolete. For example, the 1930 census captured the presence of radio sets in a household, the age at first marriage, languages spoken in a home, and English language proficiency.

Reverend Smith enumerates a Navajo family during the 1930 Census.

Other census questions were and remain contentious, such as questions about personal wealth, citizenship, and race. The 2020 census did not include a citizenship question, despite pressure by the Trump administration, but it was a standard question for many years and part of the 1950 questionnaire. Answers to questions probing individual estates were generally considered unreliable and have repeatedly been changed. Today, the home ownership questions are the last reminders of Congress’ interest in the financial well-being of the general population.

The census question probing the racial makeup of the nation has persisted throughout the Census’ history with few changes apart from the addition of “racial” categories. For the first time, the 2020 census asked people of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin to fill in their ethnic as well as racial identity. In future years the question about sex may be disputed, and other options may be added as our understanding of this category evolves. For now, only the “male” and “female” categories are recognized answers.

Keypunch operator, 1950 Census

Can we at least be sure that everyone is counted, even if we don’t agree how individuals should be counted? People have been left out of the census for many reasons. For example, American Indians were not counted until 1860 and even then, only those American Indians who had “renounced tribal rules” were enumerated. The 1850 and 1860 censuses enumerate only “free” people. The enslaved population was enumerated in separate slave schedules under the names of their enslavers. They remain to this day nameless in the census records. Other reasons for counting errors include lack of trust in the government and underpaid enumerators.

Despite their many flaws and shortcomings, census records offer unique insights into the composition of the US population and are popular among family historians who mostly access them through genealogical databases, such as Ancestry. The Villanova community has free access to Ancestry Library through Falvey Library. Alas, the complete 1950 census records will not be available in Ancestry Library until later this summer as indexing and correcting computer-generated data remains a time-consuming process. For those who cannot wait, there are the records just released by the National Archives. The digital copies of the microfilmed records offer interesting research opportunities.

Start with your grandparents or great grandparents. Was somebody in your family a residential student at Villanova College? Then take a look at the records of tract D-97, 23-216, Radnor Township, Delaware County, which have just been released. They record the resident population of the College and the Augustinian Monastery as enumerated on April 4, 1950. The College had considerably expanded after the end of the second World War, thanks to the GI bill, and counted more than 800 residential students and many more non-residential students who were counted at their place of residence. The residential student population was all male and all white, except for two Chinese students. While only a comparatively small number of foreign students were enrolled in those years, many of them hailed from Latin America and may have identified as Mexican, Chicano, Puerto Rican, or Cuban on the most recent census form. A small number of female students were enrolled at the College, but none of them lived on campus until the College of Nursing became an autonomous unit in 1953. Try to find Father Daniel Falvey, OSA, after whom the Library was named and who served as the College Librarian in 1950 among the residents of the College. Can you tell us where and when he was born? It’s on the record! Let us know if you would like to learn more about the census.

1950 Census record, Delaware County, tract D-97, 23-216.

Related resources:

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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News From Around the World: The Global Press Archive

By Jutta Seibert

In prior decades, access to historical news sources has been revolutionized through large-scale digitization projects. Yet many of the newly created digital newspaper archives remain tied to institutional subscriptions that limit the number and types of archives academic communities can access.

Regrettably, the digitization of non-western newspapers has been neglected for many reasons, including language, writing systems, and demand. These important historical sources were collecting dust in remote storage facilities of large research libraries until 2019 when the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), recognizing the unique value of these collections, partnered with East View, a publisher specializing in Russian, Chinese, and Arabic news databases, to develop a series of digital collections that would provide “global access to a wide selection of newspapers from around the world.”

Thus the Global Press Archive was born. It currently features five open access collections, besides a few more collections that require subscriptions.

Geographic distribution of newspapers in the Global Press Archive.

East View is well known in academic circles as a provider of Russian and Chinese news sources. East View’s experience in digitizing news sources published in non-Roman scripts made them a good fit for CRL who was looking for a partner with expertise in digitizing non-Western newspapers. CRL member institutions hold rich primary source collections from all around the world, and while local interest in these sources can be low, the global communities which produced these newspapers in the first place would be given the unique opportunity to access them freely online.

CRL raised the necessary funds to create a number of open access collections of non-Western news sources and as a result five open access collections were published for the Global Press Archive project since 2019.

Gazetnyĭ mir Rossii XIX – nachala XX veka

The Imperial Russian Newspapers collection features a selection of 32 newspapers published between 1782 and 1917. Most of them are from Moscow and St. Petersburg, but some regional titles are also included. The search interface features a transliteration table and a Cyrillic keyboard to facilitate discovery. Bibliographic indexes of newspapers published in Imperial Russia are part of the collection. Some of the contents of the collection were supplied by the National Library of Russia in collaboration with CRL.

The Southeast Asian Newspapers collection comprises 118 newspapers published in Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam between 1831 and 1958. Most of these news publications were short lived, and the archive will then only include a few years’ worth of issues. The newspapers were produced in a range of Southeast Asian languages including Filipino, Indonesian, Javanese, Vietnamese, Khmer, and Thai. Those unable to read any of these languages might be interested in the Arabic, French, English, Spanish, and Dutch publications that are part of this collection. A quick search for independence retrieves matches for various forms of the word, such as the Spanish independencia and the French inédependance. Most of the newspapers in the archive can only be browsed as the search interface only permits searches for words using the Roman alphabet.

The Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers collection includes about 80 newspapers, mostly from Syria and Lebanon, but also from Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Palestine. Most newspapers are in Arabic but a few papers published in English and French are also included. The collection spans from the second half of the 19th century to the early 20th century. While most of the content of this collection is freely available, access to five newspapers is limited to CRL member institutions. The search interface includes an Arabic keyboard to enter and retrieve search terms in Arabic.

Newspaper vendors in Beirut, 1956. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

El Debate, June 11, 1910.
Courtesy of Global Press Archive.

The Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers collection offers by far the greatest number of publications with nearly 1,000 newspapers from Mexico’s pre-independence, independence, and revolutionary periods (1807-1929). The newspapers are predominantly in Spanish but a few French, English, and German language titles are also included. While holdings for many of the newspapers featured in this collection are available only in short runs, the titles are often unique and, in many cases, represent the only existing record of a newspaper’s short-lived publication. The collection was digitized based on archival newspaper holdings of the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, a research library at the University of Texas at Austin, considered to be the preeminent Latin American library in the United States.

The Late Qing and Republican-Era Chinese Newspapers collection comprises 292 newspapers spanning the period 1911-1949. All papers are in Chinese. Sadly, the collection lacks a Chinese character keyboard and can hence only be browsed as search results will be limited to ads and names that use the Roman alphabet. Newspapers from more than 20 major cities are included covering most regions of mainland China.

Open access is made possible through the generous support of the Center for Research Libraries and its member institutions. A link to the Global Press Archive collection can be found under “G” on the Library’s Databases A-Z list.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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View a Replica of The Lincoln Bible This Presidents’ Day

Image of the Lincoln Bible replica.

Replica of The Lincoln Bible.

This Presidents’ Day, stop by Falvey Memorial Library’s first floor to view a replica of “The Lincoln Bible.” Used during his inauguration in 1861, the Lincoln Bible didn’t actually belong to the President. The clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll, was the owner of the Bible Lincoln placed his hand upon. The Bible remained in Carroll’s possession until it was acquired by the Lincoln family sometime after the president’s assassination in 1865. Now known as “The Lincoln Bible,” the original copy is currently housed in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Bible was used by President Barack Obama at his inaugurations in 2009 and 2013. President Donald Trump also used the Bible at his inauguration in 2017.

The replica mirrors The Lincoln Bible as it appeared in 1861, as it was not possible to duplicate the wear and fading of the original copy. More features of the replica are listed below:

  • 280-page, 1853 Oxford University Edition.
  • Inscription of William Thomas Carroll, complete with the seal of the Supreme Court.
  • Velvet-covered; framed with brass borders and has a brass clasp, authentic gilded edges, and two ribbon markers.

The Lincoln Bible will be on display in the Library’s first floor Wednesday, Feb. 16, through Monday, Feb. 28.

Mary Lincoln gave the Bible to the Rev. Noyes W. Miner, a friend of the President, seven years after her husband’s death. Having been passed down through the generations, Miner’s descendants recently disclosed its existence and donated it to the public.

For more on President Lincoln, whose 213th birthday is Feb. 12, check out the links below:

Looking for a specific resource on President Lincoln? Contact, Jutta Seibert, History Librarian. A special thank you to Andrew McKeough, ’19 CLAS for the exhibit concept.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


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Call for Papers: Villanova Gender and Women’s Studies Annual Spring Conference

Informational poster on Villanova University's Gender and Women's Studies Conference.


The 32nd annual Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) Conference will take place on Friday, March 25 at Villanova University. Looking to showcase your work? Villanova graduates and undergraduates may submit papers or alternative forms of expression (poetry, performances, films, etc.) by Friday, February 11. Applicant’s work must engage gender, sexuality, or feminist theories. All papers must have been written during spring or fall 2020, 2021  (or written specifically for the GWS conference). Scholars can submit their work in one of the following three categories:

1. Papers or creative works by first year undergraduates (4-10 pages)
2. Papers or creative works by sophomores, juniors, and seniors (5-20 pages)
3. Papers or creative works by graduate students (12-30 pages)

View full submission guidelines here. Questions? Email gws@villanova.edu. For the latest updates on the 2022 GWS conference visit the program webpage.

Looking for more GWS resources? Explore the GWS research guide or contact Jutta Seibert, Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement, GWS Librarian, for a research consultation.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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A Free Library of Marxist Thought: The Marxists Internet Archive

By Jutta Seibert

The Marxists Internet Archive (MIA) may at first glance look like a hold-over from the early internet years, but a closer look quickly reveals its lasting scholarly relevance. This one-of-a-kind library is home to a wealth of sources representative of the width and depth of Marxist thinking worldwide. Scholars can find here the works of most Marxist thinkers and practitioners, selected works of contemporary practitioners, and a range of influential works that predate Marx and Engels.

As should be expected from a library of Marxist thought, all content is freely available as promised in the MIA’s charter. The texts in the archive are either in the public domain or were published with the permission of the current copyright holder. Other texts, including transcriptions and translations, were contributed by volunteers.

Some core texts are missing because current copyright holders do not permit to share them freely online. Foremost among these is the authoritative English translation of the collected works of Marx and Engels. This 50-volume set was produced through the collaborative efforts of three left-leaning publishing houses: Lawrence & Wishart (London), International Publishers (New York), and Progressive Publishers (Moscow). Initially Lawrence & Wishart permitted the digital publication of the collected works through MIA but later withdrew its permission fearing a loss of revenue. Today, Lawrence & Wishart only grants free online access to the collected works on its own website. The Villanova community has access to this set through the Past Masters collection, and the Library’s print collection. The German edition of the collected works is freely available online.

The New Masses, Nov. 1930 issue.

Despite the gaping hole left by the absence of the authoritative English translation of the collected works of Marx and Engels, there remains a wealth of Marxist thought to be explored. The Beginner’s Guide to Marxism introduces the subject with a carefully curated selection of fundamental Marxist ideas. The works of major Marxist thinkers, such as Marx & Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, and Mao Zedong, are organized in special sub-archives. MIA can also be explored by browsing through its many subject collections, including archives about branches of Marxism, such as Anarchists and Bolsheviks; key historical events, such as the French Revolution and the Comintern; and related movements, such as the Black Liberation and African Liberation movements. The works of Marxist thinkers who are still alive and politically active are out of scope. The same goes for works that are copyright protected, such as important English translations of the works of Marx & Engels. However, because of the global impact of Marxist thought a wide range of languages and geographical regions are represented in the archive.

The MIA periodicals collection brings together an impressive lineup of socialist and communist newspapers and magazines. They can be accessed through a separate drop-down menu on the archive’s homepage. Most of the periodicals are in English, German, and French. Among the titles are the Black Panther (1967–1976), the Camden Voice of Labor (1912–1920), the Irish Marxist Review (2012–present), the Masses (1911–1917), the Liberator (1918–1924), and the New Masses (1926–1948).

In some cases, only selected articles, as opposed to complete issues, have been digitized. The Rheinische Zeitung is one case in point. Only the articles contributed by Marx are available. The Beijing Review (formerly the Peking Review), an English language news magazine published by the Chinese Communist Party, is not listed on the periodicals menu, but rather the Chinese Communism Archive links to the extensive archive which goes back to the first issue published in 1958 and includes over a thousand issues up to 2006. Besides the works of Marxist thinkers and the extensive collection of periodicals, MIA also offers a small selection of recorded speeches as well as images and short videos.

Each new visit to the MIA promises serendipitous discoveries. On my last visit I found two pamphlet collections from the 1920s: the Little Red Library and a collection of Trade Union Educational League Pamphlets. These pamphlets were published by the Communist Party USA and various trade unions and intended for the education of party and union members. For example, one of the volumes in the Little Red Library was written by Max Shachtman about the Paris Commune, and another one presents Engels’ Principles of Communism in English translation. Make some time and stop by the Marxists Internet Archive! The MIA is linked from the Library’s Databases A-Z list.

Related resources:


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Organizing African American Workers: The National Negro Congress, 1936-1947

By Jutta Seibert

Proceedings of the 1st National Negro
Congress, Feb. 14-16, 1936, Chicago.
Courtesy of Washington Area Spark.

Labor rights were an important facet of the civil rights movement and figured prominently on the program of the National Negro Congress (NNC). Some union excluded African Americans while others limited their rights in one way or another. The Communist Party of the United States of America, which promoted worker solidarity across racial and national boundaries, supported the work of the NNC. Although the NNC did not expressly favor any political party some of its members were affiliated with the Communist Party. James W. Ford, one of the co-founders of the NNC, was three times selected to run as the Communist Party’s vice presidential candidate. The novelist, poet, and activist Richard Wright was likewise affiliated with both organizations. Other prominent members of the NNC included the singer, actor, and activist Paul Robeson and Asa Philip Randolph, the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. African America, Communists, and the National Negro Congress (AACNNC), a collection of primary sources documenting the work of the NNC is available at Falvey Memorial Library. The papers in the collection outline the history of the NNC from its inception to its dissolution.

John P. Davis, a lawyer, journalist, and activist, who was the driving force behind the NNC, envisioned it as an umbrella organization that would unite and focus existing efforts in the struggle for equal rights and thus increase national impact. He already had an extensive network of connections among African American organizations, such as the NAACP and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters from his prior work with the Joint Committee on National Recovery.

The NNC convened for its first national convention in Chicago on February 14, 1936. Richard Wright attended the convention and wrote about it in an essay entitled “Two Million Black Voices,” which appeared in the communist magazine The New Masses (Feb. 25, 1936, p. 15). In it he vividly evoked a sense of shared purpose and hope.  African American newspapers likewise reported on the Chicago convention. Throughout the month of February The Chicago Defender informed its readers about the activities at the Convention in great detail. It also published the resolutions adopted by the NNC.

“Resolutions Adopted by the National Congress.” Chicago Defender, February 22, 1936, p. 10.

The oldest documents in the AACNNC collection date back to 1933, predating the formation of the NNC by a few years. The papers from those early years document the efforts to get the new organization off the ground. The range of documents in the collection includes print materials as well as typed and hand-written manuscripts from the papers of John P. Davis, Edward Strong, and Revels Cayton, who served as executive secretaries from 1935 to 1947, as well as Davis’ files from the Negro Industrial League and from his work on the Joint Committee on National Recovery along with records of the Negro Labor Victory Committee. The original documents are preserved at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which provides a detailed description of the collection on its website.

Villanova students, faculty, and staff may access the collection on Gale’s Archives Unbound platform via the Library’s Databases A-Z list under “A”.

Related Resources

  • Wittner, Lawrence S. “The National Negro Congress: A Reassessment.” American Quarterly 22, no. 4 (1970): 883–901. https://doi.org/10.2307/2711875.
  • Davis, John P. Let Us Build a National Negro Congress. Washington: National Sponsoring Committee, National Negro Congress, 1935. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uiug.30112063345828.
  • Black Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
    Offers access to the major African American newspapers of the 20th century: the Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), the Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988), the Cleveland Call & Post (1934-1991), the Chicago Defender (1910-1975), the Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), the New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), the Norfolk Journal & Guide (1921-2003), the Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), and the Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002).
  • The New Masses Digital Archive (Marxist Internet Archive)
  • The Daily Worker Online, 1922-1968 (Brill)
    Offers the complete archive of the Daily Worker, which was the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) between 1924 and 1958.
  • African American Studies Center (Oxford University Press)
    Contains a selection of information sources ranging from the authoritative Encyclopedia of African American History to the African American National Biography project. Selected primary sources, maps, images, charts, and tables round out the collection.
  • Race Relations in America (Adam Matthew Digital)
    Documents the fight for civil rights with digital copies of the reports, surveys, analyses, and speeches produced by staff and participants of the Annual Race Relations Institute based at Fisk University from 1943 to 1970. Sourced from the records of the Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, housed at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans.

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Last Modified: November 30, 2021