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eBook available: Fun o’ the Forge

Our latest Project Gutenberg release, produced with the help of Distributed Proofreaders, comes from our Joseph McGarrity Collection of materials dealing with Ireland: Fun o’ the Forge, by Brian O’Higgins. Most of the stories in the collection are the author’s own, but three describe themselves as adaptations from An Seabhac‘s 1913 collection, An Baile Seo ‘Gainn-ne.

The book is a collection of short, humorous stories about Irish country life, most revolving around misunderstandings and clever tricks. The forge of the book’s title belongs to Ned M’Grane, a blacksmith who loves to tell stories and longs for better times. The stories are connected together by common characters, and most are told by Ned to the narrator and his friends. While on the surface this is a calm narrative about a simpler time, there is an undercurrent of anger, and it is easy to see how the text relates to its author’s politics.

The entire book may now be read online (or downloaded in a variety of convenient eBook formats) through Project Gutenberg.


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Available for proofreading: The Dreadnought Boys Aboard a Destroyer

Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project is The Dreadnought Boys Aboard a Destroyer, the sequel to juvenile naval adventure, The Dreadnought Boys on Battle Practice and the second volume in a six-book series.

If you are interested in helping to turn this long out-of-print novel into a free eBook, you can read this earlier blog post to learn about the process, then join in the fun at the project page.


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eBook available: Jaquelina

Our latest Project Gutenberg release, produced through the Distributed Proofreaders project, is another melodrama by the prolific 19th century author, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller. In Jaquelina; or, The Outlaw’s Bride, a young orphan farm girl crosses paths with a gang of horse thieves, a wealthy poet and a jealous rival as she tries to gain an education and escape an unhappy life with an unkind aunt. First serialized in the New York Family Story Paper during 1882, this comes from fairly early in Mrs. Miller’s decades-long career as a story paper headliner; the edition in our collection is a later paper-covered reprint. While this is not the most sensational of Mrs. Miller’s writings (that title probably belongs with her over-the-top story paper debut, The Bride of the Tomb), it does contain some of the usual twists and turns that her readers have come to expect.

The full novel may be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


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Available for proofreading: Fun o’ the Forge

Need something to do while snowed in today? How about helping to create a new electronic edition of a long out of print book?

Our latest project is Fun o’ the Forge, a collection of humorous stories by Irish author Brian O’Higgins, taken from our Joseph McGarrity Collection.

To help turn our digitized images of the book into a full-text Project Gutenberg eBook, you can read this earlier post about how the process works, then join in at the project page.


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Available for proofreading: Jaquelina

Front cover, An old man’s darling, and Jacquelina / by Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller

Earlier in the year, we released an electronic edition of story paper author Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller‘s An Old Man’s Darling through Project Gutenberg. That novel was published in an omnibus volume with a second story, Jaquelina (misspelled “Jacquelina” on the cover), which will be our next Mrs. Miller release. If you would like to help prepare a clean electronic text of this 19th-century melodrama, you can participate through the Distributed Proofreaders project. To learn more about the proofreading process, see this earlier blog post; to dive into the work, visit the project page.


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eBook available: Counterfeit Money

Here’s a familiar scenario: a victim receives an unsolicited message offering easy cash. The temptation overrides their common sense, and they find themselves caught by a clever scheme and robbed of their own money. This sounds like a tale of spammers in the digital age, but our latest eBook release, Counterfeit Money, shows that similar trickery was afoot in the age of the telegraph.

Part of the Multum in Parvo Library, the self-described “smallest periodical in the world,” this new digital edition of a 19th-century chapbook was created with the help of the Distributed Proofreaders volunteers, and can now be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


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eBook available: The Senator’s Favorite

The Senator's FavoriteOur latest Project Gutenberg release, produced with the help of Distributed Proofreaders, is The Senator’s Favorite, a rare sequel in the output of prolific story paper author Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, following on from her much earlier novel, The Senator’s Bride.

While the previous novel’s happy ending left a fairly obvious setup for where a sequel might lead, The Senator’s Favorite does not follow this path of least resistance. Instead, it largely sets up a whole new generation of characters, with the leads of the earlier story having relatively limited roles. Surprisingly (in a novel that otherwise follows the expected melodramatic formula), the story provides sad fates for some of the previous novel’s protagonists; Mrs. Miller wrote in her autobiography of feeling frustration with the unrealistic requirement for a happy ending to every story, and it seems that this sequel gave her a rare opportunity to retroactively work around that necessity.

The complete text of the book is now available for online reading or download through Project Gutenberg.


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Available for proofreading: Counterfeit Money

Counterfeit MoneyOur newest Distributed Proofreaders project is Counterfeit Money, another chapbook from the Multum in Parvo Library, the same series that brought us Secrets of the Harem.

If you are interested in helping to create a new electronic text of this exposé of the “green goods” business, you can first read our earlier blog post about how the proofreading process works, and then you can join in the work at the project page.


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eBook available: Secrets of the Harem

The Secrets of the HaremOur latest contribution to Project Gutenberg (with the assistance of the Distributed Proofreaders) is The Secrets of the Harem, one of the tiny chapbooks that made up the Multum in Parvo Library, the self-proclaimed ” smallest magazine in the world” from the late 19th century.

The text of the book appears to be drawn from multiple sources, and none of it offers the sensationalism that one might expect based on the title. The longest piece is a description of Turkish harem life, presumably written by a Western woman. This is followed by three shorter and more technical pieces describing harem structure and terminology. The booklet is then filled out with advertising and some short essays and poetry completely unrelated to harem life.

The complete text (only about 3,500 words) can be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


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Available for proofreading: Secrets of the Harem

The Secrets of the HaremOur latest Distributed Proofreaders project is a tiny chapbook from the Multum in Parvo Library, which described itself as “the smallest magazine in the world” and covered an unusual assortment of subject matter. The particular issue in question is The Secrets of the Harem, a work which was almost certainly intended to pique the curiosity of its audience rather than convey useful or accurate information. Regardless of its utility or political correctness, it remains an interesting piece of ephemera, showing one of the ways publishers tried to entice readers in the late 19th century.

To help create a new electronic edition of this text, first read how the process works in this earlier blog post, then join in the work at the project page.


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Last Modified: May 16, 2017