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Lesser Known Works By Well Known Authors in the Villanova Digital Library

The Villanova Digital Library provides access to numerous serialized and standalone short stories through its Dime Novels And Popular Literature collection. Most authors whose works appear in these publications are now considered obscure, while many of them remain unidentified. However, the digitized collections also include stories by nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers whose works are still widely read today. Here are some lesser known stories by well-known authors that are preserved in the Villanova Digital Library:

 

“What It Cost” by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) is primarily remembered as a novelist. Her most widely read novel, Little Women (1868-1869), was adapted into an award-winning film as recently as 2019. A lesser known work by Alcott is “What It Cost,” which appeared as a cover story in the sixth issue of the children’s periodical, The Young Crusader. Like many stories published in The Young Crusader, “What It Cost” promotes the anti-alcohol stance of the temperance movement.

The young crusader, v. I, no. 6, February 11, 1887, p. 21.

The young crusader, v. I, no. 6, February 11, 1887, p. 21.

 

“Heart” by James Fenimore Cooper

Like Alcott, James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) is mainly remembered for his novels, in particular The Last of the Mohicans (1826). His story, “Heart,” appears as a cover story in two segments in the March 13 and March 20, 1841, issues of The Boston Notion. A full transcript of the story is also available through Project Gutenberg.

Boston notion, v. II, no. 24, Saturday morning, March 13, 1841, p. [1].

Boston notion, v. II, no. 24, Saturday morning, March 13, 1841, p. [1].

“The Jolly Roger” and other stories by Robert W. Chambers

Robert W. Chamber (1965-1895) wrote the short-story collection The King in Yellow (1895), which is one of the most influential works in the history of weird fiction. The first four stories in the collection directly impacted the “Cthulhu mythos,” a literary universe shared by H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) (whose astronomical journal is housed at Falvey Library) and other writers of the early twentieth century. The King in Yellow continues to excite the popular imagination, having been the basis for much of the acclaimed first season of the television series True Detective. However, most of Chambers’ writing was not in the horror genre. The Villanova Digital Library offers access to parts of three stories by Chambers: “One in a Million,” “The Shining Band,” and “The Jolly Roger” (the last of which is available, in its entirety, as digitized microfilm through the Internet Archive).

 

 

“Houdini, the Enigma” and other stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1870) is the creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, who appears in several stories, starting with “A Study in Scarlett” (1887). The Villanova Digital Library offers access to three works by Doyle that do not feature his famous detective: “Houdini, the Enigma,” which focuses on Harry Houdini (1874-1926), a famous magician and friend of Doyle’s; “An Alpine Pass on Ski”; and “De Profundis.”

Bonus: The Digital Library also includes one story, “The Affair of the Glenranald Bank,” by Doyle’s brother-in-law, E. W. Hornung (1866-1921). Hornung was influenced by Doyle’s work on Sherlock Holmes and created the character A. J. Raffles, a gentleman thief who is, in essence, the reverse Sherlock Holmes. The character first appeared in the short story “The Ides of March” in 1898 and the first collection of A. J. Raffles stories was subsequently published in 1899.

 

“Hunter Quatermain’s Story” and other stories by H. Rider Haggard

H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was a writer of adventure fiction, mainly remembered for creating the character Allan Quatermain. The most widely known tale featuring the character is the novel King Solomon’s Mines (1885), a reprint of which is available in the Villanova Digital Library. However, the site also includes other stories by Haggard (some of which feature Allan Quatermain), such as “Hunter Quatermain’s Story.” Allan Quatermain has continued to appear in literature since Haggard’s death, having played a central role in the comic-book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999-2019) by Alan Moore (b. 1953) and Kevin O’Neill (1953-2022).

 

“The Blockhouse Mystery” and other stories by Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) was a writer, political activist, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He wrote The Jungle (1906), a novel about working conditions in the meat industry, which raised awareness of unsanitary practices and influenced the passing of the Federal Meat Inspection Act. The Villanova Digital Library preserves four stories written by Sinclair under the pseudonym Douglas Wells for The Starry Flag: “The Blockhouse Mystery, or, Hal Maynard’s Cuban Romance”; “Hal on the Outpost, or, With the Army Above Doomed Santiago”; “The Hero of Manila; or, Hal Maynard Under a New Commander”; “Hal Maynard at West Point, or, The New Member of the Seven Devils”.

 

All the abovementioned stories are available in the Villanova Digital Library’s Dime Novels And Popular Literature collection, while more are being added on a regular basis. The digitization project not only preserves the works of obscure writers, but also brings to light the lesser known works of well-known writers.

 

Note: The stories by Doyle, Haggard, and Sinclair were identified by Director of Library Technology Demian Katz.


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New exhibit on Villanova’s V-12 Navy College Training Program now on view in Vasey Hall

A new exhibit is now on view at the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center in Vasey Hall. The exhibit, titled The V-12 Navy College Training Program: Villanova During World War II, showcases materials related to the V-12 training program hosted by Villanova College from 1943 to 1946.

During the second World War, Villanova’s student population significantly decreased, as numerous young men joined the armed forces. At this time, the US Navy selected Villanova, along with other institutions of higher learning, to house the V-12 Navy College Training Program. This program aimed to quickly increase the number of commissioned officers through an accelerated course of study that combined academic coursework and military training. During the years when the program was offered at Villanova, most of the college’s students were enrolled in it.

Case 1 from the new exhibit on the V-12 program at Villanova. Photo by Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

Case 1 from the new exhibit on the V-12 program at Villanova. Photo by Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

The exhibit features reproductions of photographs, drawn from our digitized collections, that depict V-12 students training and studying. The exhibit also includes three letters written by Villanova V-12 graduate James D. Reap, Jr. to his parents during and after his participation in the training program. In his letters, Reap recounts his experience as a V-12 student and how it positively affected his career trajectory. In a letter dated February 5, 1944, Reap writes that other enlisted men “kind of respect us boys from the V-12 Unit.” The digitized letters and their full transcripts are also available through the Villanova Digital Library, along with other digitized materials from the James D. Reap, Jr. Collection. Paired with the letters is a US Navy hat worn by Reap while he participated in the Pacific Theater of World War II. (He served as a radar and communications technician aboard the USS Proteus, which was anchored near the USS Missouri when the Japanese surrender was formally signed in 1945.) Lastly, the exhibit features the 1944 and 1945 Belle Air Villanova yearbooks, which provide further information about the curriculum and leadership of the V-12 program.

Case 2 from the new exhibit on the V-12 program at Villanova. Photo by Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

Case 2 from the new exhibit on the V-12 program at Villanova. Photo by Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

These materials come together to highlight the experiences of V-12 students and how their time at Villanova prepared them for leadership roles in the Navy, during one of the most critical moments in world history. You may view the exhibit, The V-12 Navy College Training Program: Villanova During World War II, during the spring and summer 2024 semesters at the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center in Vasey Hall!

If you are interested in additional projects that celebrate and preserve the legacies of Villanova veterans, make sure to also visit Honoring the Fallen: An Interactive Memorial Map, a Geographic Information System (GIS) map that shows where Villanova veterans died in service, as well as The Voices of Villanova’s Veterans oral history site, which includes interviews with Villanova veterans.


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Recently digitized materials shed light on lost silent film

Tod Browning‘s (1880-1962) 1927 silent horror film London After Midnight has been considered lost to history since 1965, when a fire at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Vault 7 destroyed the final known copy of the movie, along with numerous other titles stored on highly flammable nitrate film reels. London After Midnight starred Leonidas Frank “Lon” Chaney (1883-1930) as Edward C. Burke, a Scotland Yard inspector who is eventually revealed to be the villainous Man in the Beaver Hat. While various stills and ephemera survive, London After Midnight remains the most sought-after lost film of the silent era. The film’s lost status has not detracted from its significant cultural impact, as is evinced in films like The Babadook (2014), whose eponymous monster is based on the villain in Browning’s film.

Poster for "London after Midnight"

Poster for “London after Midnight”. Via Wikimedia Commons. Image in the Public Domain.

Materials recently added to the Villanova Digital Library offer insight into the presentation and reception of this film in our area. A review was published on Tuesday, February 7, 1928, in the Public Ledger, Philadelphia’s premier daily newspaper in the early twentieth century. The newspaper issue, along with other titles published in 1928, entered the public domain at the beginning of 2024. A microfilm copy has been preserved on the Villanova Digital Library. The article reads thus:

 

STANLEY—The realm of the unnatural, with its objects unreal—spooks, ghosts, goblins, bats and vampires—rules supreme here in dusty, cobwebbed domains and eerie, mysterious moonlight. Everything is spooky, witches are around every corner, from the comedy in which the dusky Farina battles with the departed spirits to the murder mystery of the main feature.

Those old reliables, Lon Chaney and Tod Browning, the director, are at it again with one of their spookiest and spine-twitching melodramas, “London After Midnight.” It shows the solution of a murder, with Lon Chaney in the part of Burke, a Scotland Yard detective. But it is no ordinary solution, for few of the material forces are called in to solve the clews. Instead, there is the moon-eyed man, an old, tottering reminder of Phantom of the Opera, gruesome and weird, with a chattering smile upon its distorted features—and yes, it may be Lon Chaney, that black bat there in the corner with the luminous eyes—but we’re not telling. Chaney taps a new character as a detective, with very little make-up—but a perfect portrayal. So excellent, is his work, that one almost regrets that he was not cast in a strongly molded, logical detective yarn of the caliber of the famous Sherlock Holmes. In the supporting cast are Conrad Nagel, Marceline Day and Henry B. Walthall to add surprise.

An offering which will doubtless draw many theatre fans is presented by Donal [sic] Brian, a famous musical comedy star in his first appearance in a picture theatre. His ingratiating personality, and smooth, easy manner register nicely in the all-too-brief period assigned to him and he leaves some twinkling tunes, culled in most part from former successes, and just a few stories. Mention should be made of the dance offering done in splendid spook style to introduce the picture. It is “Dance Macabre,” by Saint-Saens.

It seems that London After Midnight played during the week of February 6, 1928, at Philadelphia’s Stanley Theatre. This theater, which existed from 1921 to 1970 on 1902-10 Market Street, showed silent films accompanied by a 55-piece orchestra. It was a popular venue that attracted celebrities of the day, such as Frank Sinatra and Abbott & Costello. (Al Capone was even arrested there the year after the premiere of London After Midnight.) It was one of two major venues in Philadelphia to show horror films, including Browning’s most famous work: Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi (1882-1956), which is available in DVD format at Falvey Library. According to the 1928 Public Ledger article, as well as this article published on the same day in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the screening of London After Midnight at the Stanley Theatre was introduced by Broadway star Donald Brian (1877-1948), who performed excerpts from his previous roles.

The following month, the film would be shown at another local theater. An advertisement in The Suburban and Wayne Times, published on March 23, 1928, informs us that London After Midnight played at Bryn Mawr’s Seville Theatre from March 26 to March 28. Decades later, the Seville Theatre would become the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, which still operates in the same historic building that has stood since 1926. As numerous advertisements in The Suburban and Wayne Times attest, the Seville Theatre regularly showed films starring Lon Chaney during the 1920s, including The Phantom of the Opera (1925), which is compared to London After Midnight in the aforementioned Public Ledger article.

Browning eventually remade London After Midnight as a “talkie” starring Lugosi, titled Mark of the Vampire (1935). In 2003, Turner Classic Movies released a reconstruction of the 1927 film using extant stills as part of the Lon Chaney Collection, available through inter-library loan. Nonetheless, decades after the MGM Vault 7 fire, Browning’s original film remains lost. It was screened in at least two theaters in our area, and one of these showings included a live performance by a major Broadway star of the day. London After Midnight was commercially successful and remains culturally significant, but that did not stop it from disappearing. The afterlife of this film demonstrates how easily cultural production can become lost to history. It speaks to a larger need for preservation, especially preservation of media whose storage and access are dependent on ever-evolving technologies like film.


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TBT: Villanova Football—A New Era

Image courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.


To celebrate Villanova Football’s 2023 CAA Conference championship, we’re throwing it back to 1968 for this week’s TBT. The Villanovan featured a multi-page spread on the Wildcats upcoming season on Sept. 13, 1968. The article included scouting reports on all the Wildcats’ future opponents. Read the full rundown in the Villanova University Digital Library.

Come cheer on your #8 Wildcats in the second round of NCAA FCS Playoffs this Saturday, Dec. 2, at noon. They will take on Youngstown St. in Villanova Stadium. Tickets for the game can be purchased here!


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

 

 


 


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TBT: Recipes For Your Next Festive Gathering

The People’s Home Journal, v. X, no. 11, November 1895. Photo courtesy of the Villanova Digital Library.


The 1895 cover of The People’s Home Journal is this week’s TBT (Throwback Thursday). Looking for some recipes for the upcoming holiday? Check out this dish featured in the aforementioned journal: Fried Squash—“Cut a crook-neck squash in slices and soak them in cold salted water one hour. Wipe them dry, dip them in batter and fry brown in a little butter, or dip them in egg, roll in fine bread crumbs and fry in boiling-hot fat.” Other recipes include: “egg plants, fish cakes, egg salad, devilled almonds, and chocolate cake.” Read the full journal publication here.

What are some of your favorite holiday dishes? Drop them in the comments below.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Her favorite Thanksgiving dish is green bean casserole. 

 

 


 

 


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TBT: The Olympic Flame

Villanova University Archives, Villanova University. Special Olympics, 1992.


This week’s Throwback Thursday (TBT) celebrates the lighting of the Olympic flame at the 1992 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival. Hosted and organized by Villanova University students, the festival is the largest annual student-run Special Olympics event in the world. More than 1,200 athletes will compete at the 35th Fall Festival at Villanova University Nov. 3-5. To learn more about Fall Festival, visit this webpage.

Ethan Shea, former Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library, highlighted additional throwbacks to past Special Olympics on this blog. In 2019, Beaudry Rae Allen, Preservation & Digital Archivist, curated an exhibit containing facsimiles of photographs and programs from the early days of the event.

Best of luck to all the athletes competing this weekend!


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

 

 


 


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TBT: Flipping Pages

Do you have your new planner for the academic year yet? Check out this 1924 calendar from The Four Provinces Orchestra. Each month has both English and Gaelic spellings. Explore additional items like this in the Joseph McGarrity Collection.

Photo courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.

1924 calendar from The Four Provinces Orchestra. Each month has both English and Gaelic spellings. (The Joseph McGarrity Collection.)


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

 

 


 


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TBT: Pack Your Bags

Villanova student sitting on a suitcase surrounded by bags for move-in day.

College, V. (1960). Belle Air 1960. Villanova, PA: Villanova College.


New Student MoveIn is TWO WEEKS away! We’re looking forward to welcoming all the new Wildcats to campus on Friday, Aug. 18. Check out all the Orientation events here! This week’s Throwback Thursday (#TBT) courtesy of the Belle Air 1960 (p. 120). The head cap “dink” (pictured above) was required attire for all first-year students at Villanova College in this era. Read more about Villanova’s Orientation traditions in this blog! View the full yearbook in the Villanova University Digital Library.


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

 

 


 


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TBT: Two Scoops, Please

Image features the Student Programming Council scooping ice cream in 1992.


Some things are mint to be like summer and ice cream! July is National Ice Cream Month and this week’s Throwback Thursday (#TBT) features the Student Programming Council scooping ice cream in 1992. Photo courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.

What’s the best ice cream flavor? Let us know in the comments.


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

 

 


 


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TBT: Dog Days of Summer

Image of 15 dogs gathered around a kitchen table.

Photo courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.


We’re officially in the “dog days” of summer!

Spanning July 3 to Aug. 11, the “dog days” of summer are usually the hottest days of the year. According to Merriam-Webster, the term is in reference to a star, not our furry friends…“In the ancient Greek constellation system, this star (called Seirios in Greek) was considered the hound of the hunter Orion and was given the epithet Kyon, meaning ‘dog.’ The Greek writer Plutarch referred to the hot days of summer as hēmerai kynades (literally, ‘dog days’), and a Latin translation of this expression as dies caniculares is the source of our English phrase.”

Stay cool, ’Cats!


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library. Her favorite “dog day” is Aug. 1 (her birthday). 


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Last Modified: July 6, 2023

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