Skip Navigation
Falvey Library
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Two eBooks available: Story of the Sawdust / Motion Picture Comrades

The Distributed Proofreaders project has been very busy, releasing two new Project Gutenberg eBooks this week built using images from our Digital Library.

The first release is The Story of the Sawdust, another tiny chapbook from the Multum in Parvo Library. This volume is devoted primarily to the tragic story of the life and death of a circus performer, but it also contains a series of (somewhat incongruous) jokes and advertisements at the end.

The second release is The Motion Picture Comrades Aboard a Submarine; or, Searching for Treasure Under the Sea, by Elmer Tracey Barnes. This is a volume from one of several silent-film-era juvenile series about young filmmakers. In this particular adventure, the titular Comrades take their camera equipment onto a submarine that is searching for sunken treasure during the dangerous years of the first World War. The book is perhaps most noteworthy for its unusual pacing — most of the action is delivered in the early part of the story, and several remaining plot threads feature more build-up than actual incident. It’s hard to imagine a young audience being pleased by this, though it may be a more realistic representation of the realities of treasure hunting!

Both of these books can be read online or downloaded in popular eBook formats free of cost through Project Gutenberg.


New digitized items from The Museum of Nursing History

We are pleased to share that we have recently added new items from The Museum of Nursing History to their digital partner collection in the Digital Library. The latest additions include photographs, newspaper clippings, ephemera, letters, and documents relating to the nursing careers of several women spanning from a WWI U.S. Army nurse, a WWII U.S. Navy nurse, and a career school nurse who worked thirty-three years from 1952-1986.

The items were scanned during the fall semester by one of our student workers, Mikiahya Black ’21 B.S.N., pursuing her own career in nursing through Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing.


eBook available: The Airship Boys in the Great War

Another of our Distributed Proofreaders projects has been completed and added to the Project Gutenberg collection of free eBooks.

The Airship Boys in the Great War, published in 1915, is the eighth and final book in the “Airship Boys” series of aerial adventures. In this installment, the Airship Boys learn that a reporter friend has been held as a suspected spy in Germany at the outbreak of the first World War. They decide to use their high-speed aircraft, The Ocean Flyer, to rescue him, since the United States itself will not intervene due to its neutral position in the conflict.

This is a book of high adventure, without much regard to logic or plotting. The boys go from one incident to another as they explore the war zone, rescue their friend, and try to get home. As with many of the other juvenile war stories of the period, this book offers a glimpse into the way the conflict was represented to children.

While official American neutrality was still in full effect when the book was published, the author’s opinions certainly seem to show through in a few places. Paranoia about a German spy network operating in America is on full display here, and the book seems at least a little scornful of the neutral position, given that the plot involves the boys defying the American government to fulfill their mission. At the same time, the book glorifies the soldiers and emperor of Austria during its latter half.

If you are interested in taking a closer look at this small piece of history, the full text of the book can be read online or downloaded in popular eBook formats through Project Gutenberg.


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.


eBook available: Two American Boys in the War Zone

Another book from our Digital Library has passed through the Distributed Proofreaders process and into Project Gutenberg. Like many of our recent releases, this is a juvenile novel written and set during the first World War: Levi Worthington Green’s Two American Boys in the War Zone.

The novel, a direct sequel to the author’s The Boy Fugitives in Mexico, has a pair of brothers separated from their father while on vacation in Russia. The father’s ability to speak German leads to his arrest as a possible spy, and the boys make a long and dangerous journey to find their way home to their mother. While the shadow of the war hangs over the novel and influences some of its major events, the author’s focus seems more on providing an incident-filled travelogue of Russia than on describing key events of the conflict.

This book was marketed to children by a major publisher in 1915, but it would not receive the same treatment today. The author clearly meant to paint the titular siblings in a heroic light, but their depicted attitudes toward race and violence provide a few genuinely shocking moments for the contemporary reader. While the novel is decidedly inappropriate as a piece of family entertainment, it might offer some insight for the cultural historian.

The full text of the book can be read online or downloaded in popular eBook formats through Project Gutenberg.


Available for proofreading: Jed’s Boy

Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project, Jed’s Boy, continues the theme of juvenile novels about the first World War, though this one has a deeper history than most of the others. Its author, Warren Lee Goss, was a Civil War veteran who wrote several books about that conflict, including a juvenile novel called Jed: A Boy’s Adventures in the Army of ’61-’65, published in 1889. When the Great War broke out, Goss wrote a sequel to Jed in which the earlier protagonist’s nephew participates in the newer conflict. The sequel was published thirty years after the original, in 1919, shortly after the end of the war. While the original Jed is not completely forgotten (an audio book version is currently in print), the sequel has been less fortunate. By producing an electronic text for Project Gutenberg, you can help make it accessible once more for anyone interested in Goss’ later work, or contemporary portrayals of World War I.

Distributed Proofreaders makes it possible for volunteers to assist with corrections one page at a time; even a few minutes of effort will help! To learn how it works, just read our Proofreading the Digital Library post. When you’re ready to join in, you can visit the project page to get your first assignment.


Available for Proofreading: Two American Boys in the War Zone

Last month’s Distributed Proofreaders project was well-received and went through the early rounds of processing quite quickly, so we are back with another one! This time, we have returned to the World War I theme of many of our recent projects with Levi Worthington Green’s Two American Boys in the War Zone, a juvenile novel completely unrelated to Major Sherman Crockett’s similarly-themed Two American Boys series.

You can help produce a free Project Gutenberg eBook of this long out-of-print novel by assisting with corrections one page at a time; even a couple of minutes of effort will help! To learn how it works, just read our Proofreading the Digital Library post. When you’re ready to join in, you can visit the project page to get your first assignment.


eBook available: Two American Boys with the Dardanelles Battle Fleet

Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project to be completed and posted to Project Gutenberg is Two American Boys with the Dardanelles Battle Fleet, the third book in the series begun with Two American Boys with the Allied Armies. While the second book in the series has not been released as an eBook yet, little is missed by skipping over it; this book finds the titular heroes still in the midst of the first World War, still searching out Frank, one boy’s brother, who has joined the Allies as a pilot.

This particular book brings the boys into contact with combatants from a variety of different cultures caught up in the conflict — Australians and New Zealanders supporting the Allies, Greeks playing a variety of roles, Turks commanded by Germans. Unsurprisingly some of the period’s prejudices are revealed, as the author seems more comfortable allowing his heroes to stretch the boundaries of American neutrality further when facing foes they view as more foreign. As in many books of this period, the violence can be surprisingly unflinching given the juvenile audience, though some nuance is added by the fact that the author has his two characters react to it in significantly different ways.

If you are interested in learning more, the full text of the novel can be read online or downloaded in common eBook formats through Project Gutenberg.


Available for proofreading: The Airship Boys in the Great War

Like many of our recent Distributed Proofreaders projects, our latest offering is another World War I juvenile series book: The Airship Boys in the Great War. This differs from most of the previous ones by being a war-themed entry in a pre-existing series, rather than part of a series created especially to tell stories about the war. Released in 1915, this was written comparatively early in the conflict.

To help turn this more-than-a-century-old book into a new electronic text, you can read our earlier blog post, Proofreading the Digital Library, to learn how the online proofreading process works, and then you can join in the fun at the project page.


WWI at Sea

We recently digitized the Photograph collection of Walter Timothy, Jr., an African American from Philadelphia who served in the United States Navy from 1911 to 1919. The collection consists of photos mainly from Timothy’s years in the Navy, but includes a few earlier photos as well.

Walter Timothy, Jr., was born on November 12, 1894 to Walter Timothy, Sr., and Rosa Timothy. The collection includes 2 photos of Timothy Jr. as a 16-month-old toddler. A few other uncaptioned portraits may depict family members.

The bulk of the photos document Timothy’s time as an enlisted sailor in the United States Navy. Timothy enlisted in April 1911 and was honorably discharged in February 1919. While in the Navy, he served as a mess attendant and cook on several different ships. (The U.S. armed services were racially segregated until the latter half of the 20th century, with African Americans often relegated to support roles, such as stewards and mess workers.) The ships on which Timothy served were primarily assigned to convoy duties.

Photos of Navy life include several of Timothy’s shipmates, some in silly poses. There are also numerous photos of different kinds of ships, including several in “dazzle camouflage,” a technique in which ships were painted in bold geometric patterns in order to make them more difficult targets. Airships, airplanes, and submarines are depicted a few times as well. There are also a few photos of shipboard pets or mascots, including a cat, a dog, and a goat.

After the war, Timothy worked as a letter carrier. He married Laura Christine Ford in the 1920s and they do not appear to have had any children. Timothy died in May 1985.

Further reading:

A Short History on Segregation in the Navy: From the War of 1812 through World War II, U.S. Naval Institute blog, February 26, 2019.

General Mess Manual and Cook Book, U.S. Navy, 1902.

1 People Like This Post

Next Page »


Last Modified: December 12, 2019

Ask Us: Live Chat
Back to Top