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Available for proofreading: Boy Scouts at Sea

The scouting movement was very popular in the early twentieth century, so it is not too surprising that a lot of juvenile novels were released featuring Boy Scouts and members of similar groups. Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project comes from this period: Arthur A. Carey’s Boy Scouts at Sea; or, A Chronicle of the B. S. S. Brightwing, first published in 1918.

As with all of our projects, you can volunteer to help turn the scans of this long-forgotten work from our Digital Library into a new electronic edition of the book on Project Gutenberg — just read our Proofreading the Digital Library blog post to learn how the process works, then sign up at the project page!


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eBook available: Camping in the Winter Woods

Our latest project to graduate from Distributed Proofreaders to Project Gutenberg is Camping in the Winter Woods, a 1912 juvenile novel by Elmer Russell Gregor.

In the book, two young men spend a winter in the Maine woods with a mentor, learning about the environment and its inhabitants. The book is episodic in nature, with each chapter dealing with a new hunting expedition, danger, or discovery. Many of these adventures serve to describe wildlife behavior and illustrate outdoor survival techniques.

The author followed this up with a sequel the next year: Camping on Western Trails, in which the protagonists explore the Rocky Mountains.

If you’re interested in reading the first adventure, it is now freely available for online reading (or download in popular eBook formats) through Project Gutenberg.


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Available for proofreading: Let Us Kiss and Part

Our latest title to join the Distributed Proofreaders project for inclusion in Project Gutenberg is Let Us Kiss and Part; or, A Shattered Tie, another novel by prolific story paper novelist Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, author of The Bride of the Tomb (and countless other melodramas). The story was first serialized in Street & Smith’s New York Weekly story paper from November 20, 1897 to February 12, 1898, but we are working with a later paper-covered reprint from the early 20th century.

You can volunteer to help turn our scans of this long-forgotten work into a new electronic edition of the book — just read our Proofreading the Digital Library blog post to learn how the process works, then sign up at the project page!


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Available for proofreading: On Time; or, Bound to Get There

Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project is On Time; or, Bound to Get There, a juvenile novel by Oliver Optic (the pen name of William Taylor Adams), from Street & Smith’s paper-covered Alger Series.

While this book has been out of print for a very long time, Distributed Proofreaders makes it possible for volunteers to help turn scans from our Digital Library into a new electronic edition of the text, which will eventually be released for free through Project Gutenberg.

If you would like to help with the process of creating this eBook, you can read about how it works in Proofreading the Digital Library, and then you can join in at the project page.


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eBook available: Midshipman Merrill

Once again, a book from our Digital Library has made its way to Project Gutenberg via the Distributed Proofreaders project. This time, the work is Henry Harrison Lewis’ Midshipman Merrill, the story of a youth’s entry into the United States Navy.

The novel was first serialized in the Good News story paper from October 9 through December 18, 1890, and later reissued in both paper and cloth formats. Its story paper roots show in a simple “talented and determined boy wins at everything” story and a stream-of-consciousness style that suggests the work was completed with minimal pre-planning and few revisions.

It appears that the original story was successful enough to merit a sequel, 1893’s Ensign Merrill; or, The Rovers of the Yellow Sea… but that’s a story for another day! For now, the first adventure is available in full through Project Gutenberg, where it can be read online or downloaded in popular eBook formats.


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Available for proofreading: Cliquot

Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project comes from a Philadelphia-published, paper-covered book: Cliquot, “a racing story of ideal beauty” (according to the cover), by Kate Lee Ferguson.

While it has gained some scholarly attention, this particular book has historically been quite difficult to find, as it does not appear to have been printed in hardcover, and few of the paper-covered copies have survived to the present day. By creating a new eBook edition from the scans in our Digital Library, we can help make it significantly more accessible to readers.

If you would like to help with the process of creating this new edition, you can read about how it works in Proofreading the Digital Library, and then you can pitch in at the project page.


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Available for proofreading: Camping in the Winter Woods

Our newest book to become available for volunteer proofreading through the Distributed Proofreaders project is Camping in the Winter Woods by Elmer Russell Gregor, a 1912 juvenile adventure story by an author with a strong interest in outdoor life and Native Americans.

You can help produce a new electronic edition of this long-forgotten novel by correcting computer-generated transcriptions of the pages; eventually, the full text will be made available as an eBook on Project Gutenberg.

If you want to join in the fun, you can read our earlier Proofreading the Digital Library post to learn how the process works, and then you can grab an assignment at the project page.


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eBook available: Boys of the Central

Our latest Project Gutenberg release, courtesy of Distributed Proofreaders, is the 1896 juvenile novel Boys of the Central, by Ida Treadwell Thurston (writing under her initials, perhaps to obscure her gender).

The book follows a class of high school students through their last two years before graduation. Much of the narrative is focused on the conflict between a student-formed “Law and Order” society, and misbehaving students who prefer “fun” over academics.

While much of the narrative is clearly designed to serve as a moral lesson for its readers, and there are some sensationalized incidents (like the rescue of a little girl from a speeding fire-engine), the book also offers some glimpses into the school and everyday life of late-19th-century high schoolers. Much is said of Latin recitations and military-style drilling; there’s also a whole chapter dedicated to a snowball fight.

If you are interested in reading more, the entire book can be found for online viewing or download through Project Gutenberg.


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Available for proofreading: Midshipman Merrill

Our latest Distributed Proofreading project is Midshipman Merrill, a naval adventure novel first serialized in the Good News story paper, later reprinted as a Medal Library dime novel, and finally reprinted in hardcover by Philadelphia publisher David McKay. By volunteering a little bit of your time, you can help the book make one more metamorphosis, into a freely-available eBook at Project Gutenberg!

If you want to help with the proofreading process, you can read our earlier Proofreading the Digital Library post to learn how the process works, and then you can join in the fun at the book’s project page!


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eBook available: Jed’s Boy

In April, we started a Distributed Proofreaders project for Jed’s Boy, a juvenile novel of World War I written by Civil War veteran Warren Lee Goss. Because it is a sequel of sorts to the author’s earlier Civil War novel Jed, that makes it a “series book” of sorts, though it is somewhat different in style and tone than many of the more formulaic Great War stories that were specifically written to be packaged into series like the Brighton Boys or Two American Boys.

The novel is written in the first person, which gives it the flavor of a memoir and allows a bit more time to be spent on the protagonist’s interior life than a contemporary third-person narrative would have. Time passes and characters develop at a faster pace than in a typical juvenile series, since there is no apparent desire on the author’s part to stretch the narrative out to multiple books. Of course, some familiar elements from the series books are also on display here: a patriotic tone, a lot more violence than the typical children’s book, and a generally unquestioning portrayal of war.

Given that it was published shortly after the war ended, when readers might not have cared to be reminded of the recent conflict, it is perhaps unsurprising that this book has been mostly forgotten. Nonetheless, for anyone studying juvenile fiction about the war, it fills an interesting space in the landscape: an attempt by a veteran of 19th century warfare to portray the new horrors of the 20th century — gas, lice, machine guns and all — to a young audience.

The entire book can be read online or downloaded in popular eBook formats through Project Gutenberg.


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Last Modified: August 19, 2020