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Primary Sources Set in Stone: SEG

By Jutta Seibert

Votive relief for the cure of a bad leg.
Marble. British Museum.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum (SEG), now available online to the Villanova community, is a critical discovery tool for classicists working with ancient Greek inscriptions. The study of inscriptions, commonly known as epigraphy, goes back to the 16th century when travelers and explorers informally began to trace and collect ancient inscriptions. By the early 19th century with the publication of the first systematic collection of ancient Greek inscription, the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum by August Böckh, epigraphy had matured into an academic discipline.

The historical paper record overshadows inscriptions as primary sources in most areas of specialization outside the field of ancient history, but texts chiseled in stone, etched into metal surfaces, or scratched into clay tablets constitute a historical record for most cultures and time periods. These texts offer a self-conscious portray of events and people intended for posterity. Modern examples of inscriptions include the much-visited Vietnam Veterans and 9/11 memorials, which present a modern-day historical record for generations to come.

While inscriptions are often on the more “stuffy” side, the corpora of ancient inscriptions also include graffiti, which add layers of competing and occasionally irreverent public opinion to the “official” public record. The KILROY WAS HERE etching at the back of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a wonderful example of piggyback messages on public monuments.

P.J. Rhodes’ essay on Epigraphy, published in the Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies (Barbara Graziosi, Phiroze Vasunia, and George Boys-Stones, eds.), offers a clear and succinct introduction to the subject matter.

Selected text corpora and meta sites in the field of ancient Greek epigraphy

     Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum / Brill
An annual survey of newly published ancient Greek inscriptions.

     Bulletin épigraphique published annually in issue 2 of the Revue des Études Grecques
An annual survey of newly published ancient Greek inscriptions.

     Claros: Concordance of Greek Inscriptions
A clearing house for new editions of Greek inscriptions.

     Searchable Greek Inscriptions / (The Packard Humanities Institute)
A clearing house for inscription captured in the major corpora.

     Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum / August Böckh
First systematic collection of Greek inscriptions.

     Inscriptiones Graecae / Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Open access to volumes published since 2001. Older volumes published prior to 1923 can be found in the Internet Archive.

Recommended Reading List

Bodel, John P. Epigraphic Evidence: Ancient History from Inscriptions. London: Routledge, 2001.

Davies, John Kenyon, and J. J. Wilkes. Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

McLean, B. Hudson. An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods from Alexander the Great Down to the Reign of Constantine (323 B.C.-A.D. 337). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002.

Rhodes, P.J. “Epigraphy.” In The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies, edited by Barbara Graziosi, Phiroze Vasunia, and George Boys-Stones. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Woodhead, A. G. The Study of Greek Inscriptions. 2nd ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.

 

Access to SEG is available via the Library’s Databases A-Z list and the catalog. Consult the SEG Search Tips if you are new to this resource or ask a librarian for assistance.

 


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

 

 



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New Electronic Resources Explore China Through Western Eyes

By Jutta Seibert

In the past, faculty and students interested in Chinese history depended mostly on Falvey’s book collection for primary sources, unless their research budgets allowed for visits to archives and libraries elsewhere. Now, as a large part of the book collection is temporarily unavailable because of campus access restrictions, the small subset of electronic books with primary sources related to Chinese history, while most welcome, leaves much to be desired.

New digital archives with a focus on relations between China and the West are heaven-sent additions to the Falvey collections. Each collection offers unique Western representations of Chinese life, politics, and culture covering 200 years of economic, cultural, and political relations. Digital surrogates of selected documents, artwork, maps, illustrations, and objects were sourced from originals held by a wide range of libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies. Interested scholars can search all Adam Matthew Digital collections simultaneously via the AM Explorer platform or focus on individual collections that match their distinctive research interests.

China: Trade, Politics & Culture, 1793-1980 features selected primary sources on China’s relationship with the West dating back to the first English embassy and covering most of the 20th century. The collection contains digital copies of official papers, personal accounts, letters, books, and periodicals as well as reproductions of illustrations, maps, artwork, and photographs that depict Chinese people, places, customs, and events. Events covered include the opium wars and the Boxer War, the Nanjing Massacre, the Communist Revolution, and Nixon’s visit to China as seen by British observers. Originals are held at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the British Library among others. Two essays by recognized scholars put the collection in its historical context while short biographies and search directories further facilitate discovery.

China, America and the Pacific: Trade & Cultural Exchange complements China: Trade, Politics & Culture with primary sources from US and Canadian libraries, museums, and historical societies. The collection explores trade and cultural exchange between China, America, and the Pacific region from the 18th to the early 20th century. Primary sources featured in the collection include digital copies of rare books and newspapers, personal accounts, diaries, letters, shipping papers, travel posters, historic maps, artwork, and images of material objects. The sources largely reflect North American viewpoints of China and the Pacific region. Essays such as Behind a Cup of Tea: The Commodities of America’s China Trade, 1784-1839 (John Rogers Haddad, Penn State Harrisburg) contextualize the contents of the collection. Short merchant biographies, a glossary, and subject index offer research assistance.

China: Culture and Society is based exclusively on pamphlets from the Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia at Cornell University Library. This unique collection of pamphlets on Chinese culture and society spans close to 200 years with the earliest pamphlets dating back to the mid-18th century. Also included are tourist guides, lecture notes, magazine articles, diaries, letters, and annual reports mostly written by Western diplomats, missionaries, merchants, scholars, and travelers. The collection was started by Charles W. Wason, a Cleveland based engineer, who developed a deep interest in China after a visit there. While some pamphlets, particularly those published in Britain and the US, can be easily found online in places like the Internet Archive, other pamphlets, especially those published in China, are rare and not available anywhere else in digital format. Contents range from English translations of Chinese poetry by Ezra Pound, to Sun Yat Sen’s “Kidnapped in London,” and tourist guides for Western visitors. Scholarly essays such as The Story of the Wason Pamphlet Collection (Liren Zheng, Cornell University) and a series of mini guides add historical context.

Scholars with an interest in China may also be keen to explore Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980, another Adam Matthew Digital collection with British government documents from The National Archives at Kew and Socialism on Film, 1918-1988, a streaming collection of documentaries, feature films, and newsreels archived at the British Film Institute, which includes films produced in China for distribution in the West.

Access to the collections is available via the Library’s Database A-Z list and its catalog.


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

 

 



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Let’s Take a Trip! Primary Sources on the History of Travel and Tourism

By Susan Turkel

Stuck at home and feeling antsy? You’re not alone! Humans have experienced the travel bug for a long, long time. If you’d like to experience some armchair tourism, read on to learn about digitized collections that let us travel the world—and back into history—through the magic of library and archival collections!

Travel and tourism blossomed for Americans and Europeans during the 19th century, thanks to developments in technology and increasing prosperity for many people. The Villanova community now has access to an amazing set of primary resources that document this growth in tourism: the online collection Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture: The History of Tourism, produced by Adam Matthew Digital. This resource is linked from the Library’s Databases A-Z list.

Leisure, Travel, & Mass Culture: The History of Tourism (Adam Matthew Digital) splash page

This online collection is comprised of digitized guidebooks, brochures, leaflets, travel journals, maps, and promotional films sourced from a variety of libraries and archives in the US and UK. Key themes covered include accommodation, hospitality, and entertainment; the great outdoors; health and medical travel; historical, cultural, or religious travel; package tours, cruises, and organized travel; road, rail, and air travel; urban tours and city breaks; and women and tourism.

Inspired to dip a toe into this rich collection? Start with this online tour, and then read the essay Travel Chronicles: Tourism, Memory, and the Emergence of Modern America by Anthony Stanonis, PhD, lecturer in the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s University, Belfast, written specifically to provide context for this resource.

The collection includes online exhibitions focusing on eyewitness travels (detailed, illustrated accounts of travel by seven different adventurers); a comparison between two iconic seaside resorts, Coney Island, N.Y., and Blackpool, England; and a detailed listing of tourism businesses and organizations that are mentioned throughout the resource.

You might also want to visit the image gallery which allows browsing and searching of photographs, illustrations, and maps, indexed by key themes. Another useful feature is the interactive world map, which allows you to find documents by clicking through locations on a spinning globe.

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Can’t get enough of these historical travel materials? Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections holds a wide array of materials documenting travel and tourism, including hundreds of items that have been scanned and made available to the public via our Digital Library! Here are three online exhibits that feature such treasures.

Are We There Yet? exhibit sign

Are We There Yet? Travel, Tourism and Exploration is a digital exhibit that highlights many interesting items. This exhibit was co-curated by Kayla Van Osten (Digital Library Intern, Spring 2016) and Laura Bang (Distinctive Collections Librarian), with graphics by Joanne Quinn (Director of Communication and Marketing). It features narrative essays, images, and links to scanned documents on such diverse themes as modes of travel, guidebooks & travel narratives, around the world, religious travel, and imaginary travel.

Exhibit sign featuring a decorative scrapbook cover with the title.

Scraps for Keeps exhibit sign

You’ll also find travel memorabilia in our recent scrapbook exhibition, Scraps for Keeps: Scrapbooks and Photo Albums from Distinctive Collections, which was also curated by Laura Bang with graphics by Joanne Quinn. This exhibit includes scrapbooks and photo albums produced during the 19th and 20th centuries by people in the US and western Europe. The section on Travel & Tourism includes images of scrapbook pages highlighting postcards, photos, and colorful receipts collected during memorable trips. To find more scrapbooks that have been digitized by Falvey’s Special Collections team, try a keyword search in the Digital Library for scrapbook or album.

Finally, our digital exhibition Rambles, Sketches, Tours: Travellers & Tourism in Ireland, again curated by Laura Bang with graphics by Joanne Quinn, “highlights Irish travel narratives and related materials, primarily from the Joseph McGarrity Collection, in Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections. The site is broken into sections that highlight the methods of travel to and within Ireland, the motives of some of the most influential and popular writers, and the development of the tourism industry. In addition, there are five sections that look at some of the most popular travel destinations.”

In addition to these online exhibitions, you may wish to browse all of our Digital Library offerings with the subject label “Description and travel.” Highlights include a recently transcribed manuscript, Tour of Spain, 1896, in which the traveler provides a firsthand description of political unrest in Spain as well as observations about Spanish customs, architecture, and ancient Moorish ruins. This travel journal also includes hand-drawn route maps and ink sketches.

Enjoy your trip!


Susan Turkel is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. When this is all over, she hopes to travel to Italy.

 

 


 


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US Labor History Up Close: The Archives of the Daily Worker, 1922-1968

By Jutta Seibert

Scholars interested in US labor history will be delighted to learn that the Villanova community now has access to the archives of The Daily Worker Online (1922-1968), the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the United States of America from 1924 to 1958. A short history of the paper is available on the website of the Tamiment Institute Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives (New York University), which houses the archives of The Daily Worker, including original photographs and cartoon drawings.

The Daily, as it was commonly referred to, chronicles US labor history from the perspectives of the American worker. Contributing authors include Lester Rodney, Sports Editor of The Daily, John L. Spivak, Richard Wright, and Woody Guthrie. Readers may also be interested in a related collection of internal FBI documents about The Daily Worker, which were digitized through the FOIA program.

Curious to learn more about The Daily Worker? Here are two journal articles that take a closer look at The Daily’s comics and sports coverage:

Fetter, Henry D. “The Party Line and the Color Line: The American Communist Party, the ‘Daily Worker’, and Jackie Robinson.” Journal of Sport History 28, no. 3 (2001): 375-402. www.jstor.org/stable/43610199.

Brunner, Edward. “Red Funnies: The New York Daily Worker’s ‘Popular Front’ Comics, 1936—1945.” American Periodicals 17, no. 2 (2007): 184-207. www.jstor.org/stable/20770985.

 

Access to the archive is available via the catalog or the Journal and Article Finder on the Library’s homepage.


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

 

 



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Trial Access to FBIS Daily Reports, 1941-1974

By Jutta Seibert

The Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Reports, better known as FBIS Daily Reports, consist of English translations of selected foreign radio and television broadcasts, newspaper and magazine articles, and government statements. FBIS was a branch of the CIA with about 20 offices and a large cohort of independent contractors worldwide. The reports were distributed to US policymakers and security analysts to monitor foreign language news. Because of the public nature of the information that FBIS dealt with, its services are labelled open source intelligence.

Some libraries have chosen to share digitized copies of FBIS reports from their collections, although it is not clear whether this is legal, as the reports consist mostly of translations and transcriptions of copyrighted materials. The Villanova University community has partial access to FBIS reports for 1974–1996 through the Readex collection listed on the Library’s Databases A-Z list.

Expanded access to the complete collection (1941–1996) is now available on a trial basis until May 29. The expanded coverage opens the door to explore international reactions to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first moon walk, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the Bay of Pigs Invasion, among many other newsworthy events of the twentieth century.

Trial access available until May 29. Let us know if you recommend this collection for permanent access.

 


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

 

 



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Enter the British National Archives from a Distance

By Jutta Seibert

The British National Archives in Kew are currently closed and may remain closed for the foreseeable future. While many unique documents housed there are inaccessible until the doors open again, some high-demand collections have been digitized.

Villanova University’s community gained digital access to twelve collections from the national archives through the Library’s acquisition of the Adam Matthew Digital backfiles. Each collection is self-contained and can be searched individually as well as through the Archives Direct portal.

Let’s take a closer look at the four Confidential Print collections. They feature documents issued or received by the British Foreign and Colonial Offices for distribution to members of the Foreign Office, Cabinet and British diplomatic missions abroad. These documents chronicle British interests in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America. Collections typically include reports, correspondence, political summaries, economic analyses, dispatches, descriptions of leading personalities, and maps, as well as one or more companion essays to contextualize the collection at the example of selected sources. These essays are written by leading academics in the field.

The Africa collection spans the modern colonial era (1834-1966), documenting watershed moments, such as the Berlin Conference of 1884 and the scramble for Africa, events in the Congo Free State, and the assertion of independence across the continent, all from the perspective of British government officials.

The Middle East collection (1839-1969 ) includes documents on the countries of the Levant and the Arabian peninsula, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Sudan. Among the topics covered are the Middle East Conference of 1921, the mandates for Palestine and Mesopotamia, the partition of Palestine, the Suez Crisis, and the Arab-Israel conflict, all from the perspective of British government officials. A separate collection, Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981, sheds light on events from the following ten years.

The Latin America collection (1833-1969) comprises documents on the countries of Central and South America and the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Documents concerned with the English-speaking Caribbean are included in the North American collection. Slavery and slave trade in Cuba and Brazil, British emigrants, British business and financial interests in Latin America, political developments on the subcontinent, and the building of the Panama Canal are just a few of the subjects covered in this collection.

The North America collection (1824-1961) consists of documents on the United States, Canada, and the English-speaking Caribbean. Sources in the collection chronicle slavery, Prohibition, World War I and II, racial segregation, the League of Nations, McCarthyism, and the nuclear bomb, to name just a few.

Besides the Confidential Print collection, Archives Direct also includes Foreign Office files on the Middle East, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Japan, the Macmillan Cabinet papers, government files on South Africa during Apartheid and President Nixon, and sources related to women’s fight for suffrage.

Access to Archives Direct is available via the Library’s Databases A-Z list and the catalog. Curious about other collections available through Adam Matthew Digital? Talk to your librarian and ask for a list of all collections.


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

 

 

 



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Explore the Global Middle Ages with Bloomsbury Medieval Studies

By Jutta Seibert

Folios from a Qur’an Manuscript
in Floriated “New Style” Script.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is a unique collection that blends primary sources and interdisciplinary scholarship with a focus on the global Middle Ages. It features the Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages, an ongoing publication project sponsored by Arc Humanities Press in collaboration with Bloomsbury Academic.

The Encyclopedia offers thematic overviews, primary source analyses, and core case studies. Currently available content includes regional overviews on medieval Korea, Japan, and Mesoamerica and thematic overviews on global connectivity in the early Middle Ages, early medieval migration and mobility, trade connections between Tang China and the Abbasid Caliphate, and queenship. The thematic overview on queenship includes case studies of empresses and queens.

The primary sources featured in the collection were chosen to appeal to a broad academic audience. They encompass a selection of digitized maps, manuscripts and incunabula, and over one thousand images of medieval objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that feature illuminated texts, textiles, jewelry, sculpture, and ceramics. Close to 300 primary texts are available in the collection. The primary texts were selected from carefully edited, translated, and published academic books, such as Classical Writings of the Medieval Islamic World (3 vols.), Primary Sources on Monsters (vol. 2), and the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria. Arabic and other middle Eastern sources are strongly represented.

The scholarship included in the collection aims to be inclusive and offers analyses of peoples and events from all corners of the medieval world. Noteworthy examples include The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta, The Mongols, and A Companion to Global Queenship. The collection offers access to the medieval history volumes from Bloomsbury’s Cultural History series. One of them, A Cultural History of Western Empires in the Middle Ages, features a chapter on Race in the Middle Ages by Cord J. Whitaker who visited Villanova University last Fall to deliver a lecture titled “Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking.”

It also includes seven volumes from the I.B. Tauris Short Histories series including those on Anglo-Saxons, Mongols, and Normans. Digital scholarship is addressed in Meeting the Medieval in a Digital World (M.E. Davis, T. Mahoney-Steel, and E. Turnator, eds., Amsterdam University Press, 2018) and Digital Techniques for Documenting and Preserving Cultural Heritage (A. Bentkowska-Kafel and L. MacDonald, eds., Arc Humanities Press, 2017). Last, but not least, the collection features four special issues of the journal The Medieval Globe:

The Medieval Globe: Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death
(Monica H. Green, ed., Arc Humanities Press, 2014)

Legal Encounters on the Medieval Globe
(Elizabeth Lambourn, ed., Arc Humanities Press, 2017)

Re-Assessing the Global turn in Medieval Art History: The Medieval Globe
(Christina Normore, ed., Arc Humanities Press, 2018)

Seals—Making and Marking Connections Across the Medieval World
(Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak, ed., Arc Humanities Press, 2018)

Overall, Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is a well-balanced melange of primary sources and scholarship that revisits familiar themes from new angles and probes new themes from a global perspective.

Access to the collection is available through the Library’s Databases A-Z list.

 


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

 

 

 



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Aids for Teaching and Learning about Slavery and its Abolition

By Darren Poley

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Image: engraving of Toussaint L’Ouverture during the rebellion which led to the independence of Haiti.

Slavery, Abolition & Social Justice (Adam Matthew Digital) is a collection of primary and secondary sources on the topic from 1490 to 2007. It provides access to high quality images of many thousands of original manuscripts, court documents, pamphlets, books, paintings, and maps. All printed items are fully text-searchable and manuscripts have document-level indexing.

The collection also includes a variety of essays contributed by noted scholars, a chronology, a bibliography, and a visual sources gallery. It offers in-depth case studies of slavery and abolition in America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Cuba, along with important material examining European, Islamic, and African involvement in the slave trade.

It is designed for both teaching and research on themes, such as slave testimony and the varieties of slave experience (urban, domestic, industrial, farm, ranch, and plantation), resistance and revolts, the abolition movement and the slavery debate, legislation and politics, and the legacy of slavery and slavery today.

Warning: Given the subject matter some content and images may be considered disturbing.

The Villanova University community can access Slavery, Abolition & Social Justice (Adam Matthew Digital) remotely be means of the Databases A-Z list.


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

 

 



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Archival Research from a Distance: New Adam Matthew Digital Collections

By Jutta Seibert

The Library recently acquired over sixty unique digital primary source collections produced by Adam Matthew Digital.

The collections, which span from the 15th to the 21st century, can be accessed from the AM Explorer platform. Contents include documents, manuscripts, letters, books, newspapers, magazines, films, images, posters, and audio files. Each collection is curated by an editorial board, made up of leading experts in the field who contributed essays and, in a few cases, video interviews. The essays and interviews contextualize the materials offered in a collection.

The sheer size of the archive makes it impossible to do it justice in a short blog post, and the collections highlighted here are by no means representative. Interested readers can find a complete list of available collections online. Selected collections will be featured in future posts.

Socialism on Film (1918-1988) is a collection of newsreels, documentaries, and feature films from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the former GDR, China, Vietnam, Korea, and Latin America.

Sourced from the archives of the British Film Institute, this collection features films gathered by British communist Stanley Forman. The films in the collection were versioned into English for distribution in the West. Scholars can assemble their own playlists and link to preselected snapshots or excerpts. Each film includes a transcript in English.

For example, the Lenin & the Russian Revolution sub-collection “features over 80 documentary and feature films that present and explore the dramatic rise of communism and formation of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. Created to bolster and celebrate the communist cause, as well as to kindle and ignite the political passions of new generations of revolutionaries, these films make for powerful propaganda tools.” [Excerpt from the collection description]

The essay “‘See the Other Half of the World’: Stanley Forman, Educational and Television Films and Left Film Culture in Britain” by Alan Burton (University of Leicester) explores the history of Plato Films and its successor, Education and Television Films (ETV), two companies founded by Stanley Forman to distribute films from socialist countries in Britain. The Plato/ETV film library and archive was transferred to the British Film Institute National Archive after Forman’s retirement.

In “Documentary Film and the Role of Women in the USSR” Melanie Ilic (University of Gloucestershire) introduces the history of women in the USSR, encompassing women’s daily life and political progress. Graham Roberts (Leeds Trinity University) contributed an essay about “Ideology and Imagery in Socialism on Film,” in which he analyzes the ways in which ideology is presented in selected films from the collection. Besides the topical essays, the collection also features video interviews with leading experts who analyze selected films.

Popular Medicine in America (1800-1900) documents the history of popular remedies and treatments in nineteenth century America, including botanicals, homeopathy, phrenology, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, and sexual health. Sourced from the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the primary sources brought together in this collection range from print books, trade cards, and pamphlets to broadsides, posters, advertisements, and anatomy guides. The visually rich collection presents materials intended for the lay person rather than the medical professional.

Interested readers should start with a tour of the collection and read “Advertising Health to the People” by William H. Helfand, an essay originally written for the Library Company of Philadelphia exhibition “Every Man His Own Doctor.”

The collection includes a visual gallery of illustrations, advertisements, and posters as well as a glossary of medical terms including terms that are no longer part of everyday speech, such as Bright’s disease, chilblains, and iridology. Online exhibitions on “Family Health,” “Alternative Medical Practices,” and “From Nature to Manufacture” combine visual sources with primary documents and contextual information. The interactive chronology charts key dates in the history of popular medicine and links out to related source materials in the collection.

Explore other collections on the AM Explorer platform, or jump off the deep end and search across all collections. Links for AM Explorer, Socialism on Film, and Popular Medicine in America can be found 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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A Closer Look at the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant

By Jutta Seibert

Locating and working with the papers of American presidents can be unexpectedly difficult. Copies are generally easy enough to locate, but sifting through the plethora of resources and finding the best format for a specific research question can be a veritable challenge. The papers of Ulysses S. Grant are a case in point. They are easy enough to find with a simple internet search, but it takes some patience to understand what is available.

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Ulysses S. Grant (portrait by Walter Allen, 1901)

There are the original manuscripts of his correspondence, speeches, military records, and other types of documents, which are spread across many libraries, historical societies, and personal collections, among them the Library of Congress and the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at the University of Mississippi. The Library of Congress digitized all its Ulysses S. Grant papers and made the digital facsimiles available online. The unique merits of this collection include marginalia, unique handwriting characteristics, and other information gleaned from the physical artifacts. However, this collection does not allow full text searching and lacks transcriptions and annotations.

Most research needs are better met by a comprehensive, annotated, and transcribed edition prepared by academic specialists. Such an editorial project was undertaken by the Ulysses S. Grant Association (USGA) in 1967, under the leadership of John Y. Simon, and completed in 2012. The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant were published over a span of 45 years by Southern Illinois University Press. The Library has all 32 volumes of the print edition featuring over 30,0000 individual documents. The Papers are organized in chronological order and do not include facsimiles of the original documents. Each volume includes transcribed documents, annotations, and an index. This massive editorial project is unsurpassed and served as the basis for the digital edition published by the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at the University of Mississippi and the one published by the University of Virginia Press as part of its American History Collection.

Scan showing Ulysses S. Grant’s assignment to command the armies of the United States

Ulysses S. Grant’s assignment to command the armies of the United States,
signed by President Abraham Lincoln, March 10, 1864.
(Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)

The digital edition of the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant published by the USGA and available via the website of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library is a facsimile of the print edition. The advanced search options allows a search of all volumes simultaneously and groups search results by volume. Readers can download individual pages as well as PDF files of complete volumes. (Note: readers should be aware that the USGA retains its copyright to all content.)

The Library recently acquired the digital edition of the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, published by the University of Virginia Press. The collection is part of the American History Collection on the Rotunda gateway. It has some unique features that the free version published by the USGA lacks. The HTML text is easy to read, and annotations are hyperlinked in the text. Page breaks are clearly identified and link back to facsimiles of the original print edition. The advanced search capabilities of the Press’s Rotunda gateway include faceting that limits search results to the text or the annotation apparatus, controlled author and recipient lists to disambiguate individual names, date limits, and date and relevance ranking of results. It also includes an index with hyperlinked page numbers as an additional access point. Most of all, the collection can be searched simultaneously with all or selected collections on the Rotunda gateway. For example, readers can select the papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson, and Daniel Webster and search all three collections for shared keywords or correspondents. The Rotunda gateway also includes the text of Grant’s Personal Memoirs, which are in the public domain and available online in numerous archives. Falvey also owns the annotated edition, which was produced under the aegis of the USGA and published in 2017.

For a quick overview of Grant’s life consult James M. McPherson’s short biography in American National Biography Online. Other collections available through the Library on the Rotunda gateway include the papers of John and John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James and Dolly Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Marshall, Andrew Jackson, Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriot Pinckney Horry, and the diaries of Gouverneur Morris.


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

 

 

 


 


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Last Modified: February 4, 2020