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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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Introducing Falvey’s Newspapers & Magazines Research Guide

By Jutta Seibert

Newspaper section of
Emily McPherson College Library,
Russell Street, circa 1960s.
Courtesy of Museums Victoria.

Newspapers and magazines are popular primary sources for good reasons: many of them have been digitized, they cover most topics and events, and they are continuously published over many years.

Compared to other primary sources, which are preserved in brick and mortar archives and which may only exist in their fragile original format, newspaper and magazine archives are widely available with few hurdles to access. By their very nature they were mass-produced when they were first published, and in many cases have since been converted to microfilm and digital formats.

Identifying suitable newspapers and magazines for a project among the plethora of serial publications would be daunting where it not for specific research tools designed to help with this task.

Newspaper and magazine archives present some unique research challenges, such as locating existing archives or issues and finding access to them through library portals. Falvey’s new research guide Newspapers & Magazines addresses most of these challenges. It offers guidance on how to find a specific newspaper or magazine, how to find a cited article, how to identify newspapers and magazines for a project, and gives advice on how to work with digital and microfilm archives. It also covers Chicago-style citations for news articles. One of the most exciting features of the new guide is an A-Z list of available newspaper and magazine archives.

Microfilm reader, Haifa University Library, ca. 1980.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Newspapers & Magazines research guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which encourages interested readers to reuse all or part of its contents. Falvey also offers a workshop on research with newspaper and magazine archives, which can be requested through the Library’s website.

We invite you to take a closer look and revisit the guide the next time you are looking for newspaper and magazine archives. The Newspapers & Magazines research guide can be found on the history subject guide on the Library’s website.

Let us know what you think and send us your questions.


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

 

 



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Database Trial: Access World News

By Susan Turkel

Falvey Memorial Library is hosting a trial to Access World News, a full-text gateway to articles from local, regional, and international newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio transcripts. It combines full-text articles, web-only content, and PDF image editions into a single interface, and includes both archival and current content.

Access World News offers more than 12,000 different news sources, including the Philadelphia Inquirer (full images of every page since 2018, and full text since 1981), NPR’s Morning Edition and Fresh Air, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Miami Herald, the Jerusalem Post, and the Irish Times. It excels in providing local news, and offers more than 300 Pennsylvania news sources, including the Main Line Times, State College’s Centre Daily Times, the Reading Eagle, Philadelphia Magazine, and a variety of college and university newspapers. Explore the full title list.

Browse Access World News by location

Search the full database, or browse by location, by date, or by topic. The front page allows you to view a world map and navigate to a country or state, seeing the list of news sources from that region as you focus your inquiry. If you need help thinking of a topic, use the subject browser that allows you to drill down through a series of layers to get to a useful list of articles on a timely subject.

Explore Access World News and let us know what you think! We simultaneously have trials to two competing news databases, Factiva and ProQuest’s Global Newsstream. Please take a moment to share your feedback on these resources with the library. The trials run through Sept. 30, 2021, and all of these resources will be available from the Databases A-Z list during the trial period.


Susan Turkel is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Researcher’s Toolbox: Newspapers and Magazines

Newspapers and magazines are widely used to gauge public attitudes and awareness. These workshops will take a close look at the discovery of national and international news publications. They will cover daily news as well as magazines and newspapers aimed at specific interest groups. Mundane but critical tasks such as locating a cited source, determining the availability of news sources in the local collection, and citing news sources will be addressed as well. Special attention will be paid to digital archives and some of the challenges and opportunities they present.

Join Jutta Seibert, history librarian, for two workshops on newspapers and magazines: Friday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. and Wednesday, March 24, at 4 p.m. Both 60-minute workshops are ACS approved.

Please REGISTER HERE for the Feb. 12 workshop. Once registered, you will be sent a link to this event.

Please REGISTER HERE for the March 24 workshop. Once registered, you will be sent a link to this event.


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American Historical Newspaper Collections Online

Linotype operators of the Chicago Defender newspaper, 1941.

 

By Darren G. Poley

Newspapers are primary sources for facts and opinion concerning people and events. They can also tell us a lot about society and culture in a historical time and place. For these reasons, one of the newest databases now available to the Villanova community is one of Gale’s primary sources collections: Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers. It provides full-text access to an array of major 19th-century American newspapers, regional newspapers, illustrated papers, and those published by groups and interests, such as African Americans, Native Americans, women’s rights groups, labor groups, and the Confederacy.

Some of the other historical newspaper collections Falvey also provides access to online by means of its Databases A-Z list and guides on its website:

 


Darren G. Poley is Associate Director of Research Services and Scholarly Engagement, and Theology, Humanities & Classical Studies Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. 

 

 



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Collection Connections: The Press

One of the joys of working with rare materials is discovering the unexpected ways in which they connect to one another.

This year, Special Collections acquired a large collection of assorted newspapers, representing a wide variety of locations and time periods. This included quite a few different titles from our region, including many from Philadelphia. Most of these papers are almost completely forgotten, and many are either unavailable online, or else represented only as scans from microfilm, which can sometimes be hard to read. As time permits, we are adding higher quality digitized issues to our Digital Library.

The Press, masthead

The most recent Philadelphia paper we digitized is an issue of The Press from September 11, 1858. The paper was published by John Weiss Forney, a journalist and politician whose biographical information is widely available online, even though his actual publications are harder to find.

Receipt for The Press

This is where the unexpected connections come into play: the search for online information about The Press unexpectedly led right back to our collections. One of our other collections includes the receipts of Patrick Barry Hayes, one of the descendants of Commodore Barry. Hayes was a subscriber to The Press just a year after the issue we digitized, and we have the receipt to prove it!

Of course, this is only a tiny and minor coincidence, but these connections help add depth to the historical record — we can now understand more tangibly what goods were received in exchange for Hayes’ payment, and we know some of the details of the life of a reader of that paper. As more material comes online, this web of connections grows ever richer, and the potential for contextualizing artifacts increases.


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Newspaper Poetry: “Raising the Devil”

Contemporary newspapers rarely contain poetry, but this was not always so. Both well known as well as original verse were often published in local as well as national newspapers. Indeed these may have been some of the more well loved and – read aloud – parts of any issue.

An example of a reprint of better known poem at the time occurs in the recently digitized “National Defender” – published Tuesday, February 17, 1857 provides an example. Written by “Thomas Ingoldsby” – pen-name for Richard Barham, this poems, Raising the Devil was republished from the December 27th, 1841 issue of Bentley’s Miscellany:

Raising the Devil: A Legend of Albertus Magnus

“And hast thou never enough?” he said,
That gray Old Man, above whose head
Unnumbered years have rolled —
“And host thou nerve to view,” he cried,
“The incarnate Fiend that Heaven defied?
Art thou indeed so bold?

“Say, can’st thou, with unshrinking gaze,
Sustain, rash youth, the withering blaze
Of that unearthly eye,
That blasts where’er it lights — the breath
Thank, like the simon, scatters death
On all that yet can die!

“Darest thou confront that fearful form,
That rides the whirlwind and the storm
In wild unholy revel?
The terrors of that blasted brow,
Archangel’s once, though ruined now —
Ay — dar’st thou face THE DEVIL?”

“I dare!” the desperate youth replied,
And placed him by the Old Man’s side,
In fierce and frantic glee,
Unblanched his check and firm his limb;
— “No paltry juggling fiend, but HIM!
THE DEVIL! I fain would see!
In all his Gorgon terrors clad,
His worst, his fellest shape!” the Lad
Rejoined in reckless tone
“Have then thy wish!” Albertus said,
And sighed, and shook his hoary head,
With many a bitter groan.

He drew the mystic circle’s bound,
With skull and cross bones fences around!
He traced full many a sig’l there;
He muttered many a backward prayer,
That sounded like a curse —
“He comes!” he cried, with wild grimace,
The fellest of Apollyon’s race!”
Then in his startled pupil’s face
He dashed — an EMPTY PURSE?

— Thomas Ingoldsby, Esq.


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Information Wanted Of …

14 p., The Irish People, v. 1, no. 19, April 2, 1864

14 p., The Irish People, v. 1, no. 19, April 2, 1864

When digitizing newspapers rich stories are often hidden in the classified ads. In the April 2, 1864 issue of the Irish People, John M’Carthy wounded at Gettysburg and recovering at Camp Dennison seeks information on the whereabouts of his brother Denis, last seen in Buffalo, N.Y. The Irish People was published in Dublin so John was looking to connect to Denis by the fragile and tenuous network of hearsay and word-of-mouth communication. Did John ever find Denis, his long lost brother? Historical research may provide one answer.


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Villanova history comes alive in the pages of The Villanovan

Falvey Memorial Library recently completed a major digitization project to make available online all 1,713 issues of the campus newspaper, The Villanovan, published between 1893 and 1995. On Feb. 23, the Library hosted a program to celebrate this accomplishment. The celebration was dedicated to the memory of longtime Villanovan faculty adviser, June Lytel-Murphy.

The program began with introductory remarks by University Librarian Joseph Lucia and University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA., PhD, ’75 A&S, who characterized the project as a history of “the voice of the student body.” Special Collections and Digital Library Coordinator Michael Foight, Library Technology Development Specialist Demian Katz and Research Support Librarian Susan Ottignon each addressed various aspects of the project.

Prior to 2011, The Villanovan was available only through bound volumes of issues or microfilm—neither providing an especially pleasurable experience for casual perusal….

The above paragraphs were excerpted from David Burke’s article about the event on the main library news blog. Click here to read his full article.

Since the event, we’ve seen a huge increase in use of this collection. Michael Foight reported that we had a record 1009 unique visitors to the Digital Library in the week following the event and most of those visitors were browsing the Villanovan collection.

We’ve written about the Villanovan digitization project previously. Michael Foight wrote about the initial phase of this digitization effort in December 2008. Cathleen Lu, Digital Library Intern in Fall 2010, wrote about some of the more eye-catching advertisements she found in the papers while working to improve the PDF files. And last year Laura Bang wrote about the 10,000th item to be added to the Digital Library, which happened to be the April 4, 1944 issue of the Villanovan.

These papers provide a fascinating look at not just the University’s history, but also the historical context around the University and how world events affected life at Villanova. Take a look and see what you discover!


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Colorful Ads in Black and White

Written by: Cathleen Lu, Fall 2010 Digital Library Intern.

As Falvey’s Digital Library takes on the digitization of older issues of the campus newspaper The Villanovan, from its inception as a monthly in 1893 to its more recent years, we find content ranging from dependable sports sections detailing the many Wildcat and Owl rivalries between Villanova and Temple, to reflective discussions on racism, to historically heavy pages documenting a campus during wartime. Indeed, 1943 issues of The Villanovan announced the college’s new warning system for air raid drills among reports of Villanovans at the front and alumni casualty records. But, taken in aggregate through the years and through events in history that may or may not have reached the Villanova campus, the newspapers provide another interesting take on American life–advertisements.

Those of you who are fans of the AMC drama Mad Men might like to know that a little piece of the show exists in Falvey Memorial Library (figuratively speaking), and those of you who aren’t familiar with the cable series might find plenty of other surprises in early American advertising. Simple textual ads for naval uniforms and suits for 40 dollars eventually give way to fountain pens and Chevrolets in all their pictorial glory.

In Mad Men, one particularly famous scene features advertising wonder Don Draper pitching creative ideas to cigarette company Lucky Strike. His pitch? “It’s toasted.” A particular draw of the show has always been its historical accuracy and knack for details, but sure enough, in 1932’s Volume 4, Issue 11 of The Villanovan, Lucky Strike lets us all know: “It’s toasted.”

luckies

The idea of cigarette ads is anachronistic now, but from the 1930s to late 1960s, the ads, complete without Surgeon General’s warnings, were as consistent as they were prevalent. In the 1950s, Lucky Strike, Chesterfield, and Philip Morris were the bigger companies first battling it out, while L&M, Camel, and Marlboro came on the scene in later years. Through the decades, the ads change in tone to convey particular attitudes that include high society, campus cool, and a little bit of romance. And of course, celebrities always make an appearance. Barbara Stanwyck, Bob Hope, Joe DiMaggio, and Loretta Young are just a few of the recognizable faces.

stanwyck

The most recognizable of all, however, might be Santa Claus, just in time for the holidays.

santa

Despite whether our hindsight finds these ads agreeable, valuable, or even fascinating, it does speak to the relevance of advertisements in both history and culture. Perhaps even more, it emphasizes an important aspect of newspapers in their “original” form, where the research value may extend far past the article of the day.


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Last Modified: December 17, 2010