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With this blog we hope to draw attention to the intriguing and remarkably rare items discovered by Harvard Library users during the course of their research. Harvard Library Preservation routinely reviews books returned through circulation, knowing that these returns include a surprising numbers of works that are too deteriorated to survive continued use, and are that too rare and interesting not to share online with the Harvard community, and beyond.

Titles are selected for digitization through various criteria such as rarity, condition, use, research relevance, and/or visual content. We invite you to peruse the titles posted here as well as subscribe to our feeds and see what titles queued for digitization, as well as those already completed and online.

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The Wreck of the Kite

cage2

Merchant sailor John Lee Scott was a shipwreck survivor of the Kite and endured a subsequent imprisonment by the Chinese during the Opium War. The Kite was a British brig providing supplies to the British fleet when it capsized near the Chusan islands. As survivors of the wreckage washed up near the port of Ningpo, they were captured by the Chinese and held as prisoners for five months. The event and the capture was met with shock and outrage by British citizens, particularly for the imprisonment and treatment of Mrs. Anne Noble. Anne Noble was the wife of the captain and a mother to a young infant boy, both of whom perished during the wreck. Noble, Scott, and the remaining survivors were imprisoned and paraded through the city in small wooden cages. John Lee Scott, upon his release and return to England, wrote an autobiographical account of his capture and imprisonment in 1841.

The preface states:

‘My only apology for launching this unvarnished narrative upon the world is, that, after my return to England, I wrote for the amusement of my friends, a short account of my shipwreck and subsequent imprisonment in the Celestial Empire; and considering that my sufferings and adventures would by this time create an interest with the public at large, they have strongly urged me to publish this narrative. This I have ventured to do, hoping that the faults may be overlooked, and all indulgence shown to a young merchant sailor.’

The cages:

On being taken out of the boat, a long bamboo was passed between the bars of my cage, and two men, placing the ends on, their shoulders, lifted it off the ground ; and in this manner I was carried through an immense crowd, the bearers sometimes stopping to rest, and placing my cage on the ground, upon which the people gathered round and began to torment me, as they had done in former cases….They told us that Mrs. Noble was in the same kind of cage that we were in. I could scarcely believe them, till the two Lascar boys were brought in, and they confirmed the, statement. They had not only put her in a cage, but had also put irons on her, treating her in the same manner as they did the male prisoners ; and, indeed, in some instances even worse.

The prison

Days and weeks passed on, and we gave up all hopes of a speedy release, expecting nothing less than an imprisonment of a year or two; but I cannot say that I was now much troubled with the fear of losing my head. During this time we were sometimes amused with a fight in the yard, between two of the soldiers—a most unpleasant kind of combat, for they seized hold of each other’s tails with one hand, and dragging the head down almost to the’ ground, clawed and scratched with the other hand, till the one with the weakest, tail rolled over and gave in; we always tried to get out and see fair play, but the soldiers mustered too strong at these times. Sometimes, again, a drunken soldier would make his appearance, and coming to the window afford us a little amusement, for, getting hold of his tail, we made it fast to the grating, and then left him to get loose as he could ; generally one of his comrades, attracted by his bellowing, came and released him.

British publications reacted to the event and noted Scott’s publication

“Our readers will not have forgotten the circumstances of the wreck of the Kite, East Indiaman, on the Chinese coast; and the fate of the crew, and the revolting cruelty practised by the natives on Mrs. Noble, the wife of the captain of the Kite, who was confined in a cage and carried about for six weeks. To give some idea of the state of torture to which the English are subjected by the august relatives of the Sun and the Moon [i. e., the “Celestials,” or the Chinese], we give the description of this instrument. It is made of rough fir slabs; and measures only two feet eight inches in length, one foot six inches in breadth, and two feet four inches in depth, with a hole on the top for the unfortunate lady’s head to come through; so that when the head protruded the inmate could neither sit nor stand upright.”—A Chinese Cage.” The Illustrated London News (13 August 1842): 220.

“But circumstances combine to give the unpretending little volume special value at the present time, China being the object of the intensest curiosity, and hardly ever penetrated or seen by Europeans beyond its most extreme boundaries. This narrative, by laying before us an unvarnished tale of what the author observed of life and manners in the celestial empire, will therefore be sought after and greedily perused by every person who admires merit, who loves to hear of adventure, who sympathizes with the afflicted and unfortunate, and who desires to learn aught of strange races and locked countries.”  The Monthly Review (1842:v.1:no.1)

survivors holding onto the wreckage

being led into the prison

Scott and crew members encaged

Description:
Scott, John Lee. Narrative of a recent imprisonment in China after the wreck of the Kite.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:25819534
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

For much of the early history the United States, wilderness was viewed as an adversary, something to tame and control for civilization to flourish. The evolutionary concept of wilderness as a cherished resource, something of great worth and benefit to citizens took many decades, only gaining momentum by the end of the 19th century. Some of the leading individuals who were instrumental in changing the public’s perceptions of wilderness include Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Theodore Roosevelt, who all wrote, spoke, and acted passionately about the vital and indispensable treasure that was the shrinking American wilderness. Government worked towards striking a balance of protection with the rising interest in recreational land use. One of the earliest recognized outdoor enthusiast was T.H. Holding, who wrote “The Camper’s Handbook” in 1906, which in turn sparked interest in camping as a recreational activity, an endeavor that was beneficial to the mind, body, and soul. By 1910, the first camping club was formed, naming themselves the Tin Can Tourists, and in 1912, the US Forest Service reported some 231,000 campers had used the national forests.

The interest in outdoor recreation stimulated railroad development as an unexpectedly lucrative business opportunity. Maine was a state that saw a big uptick in outdoor recreation activities, due to a large expanse of forests, mountains, lakes, and wildlife. Railroads published guides to promote interest in summer recreation as a way to encourage the use of the railroads as the prime mode to get you and your party to a desired camping destination. The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad published the annual “In the Maine Woods” beginning in 1900, with each year trying to expand it’s audience beyond the classic rugged sportsmen, to focus on women, children, and activities beyond hunting, such as canoeing, mountain climbing, photography, or just relaxation.

The publication:

IN THE MAINE WOODS, serves as an introduction to persons unacquainted with the vast Aroostook gameland and vacation country and for the hundreds who make yearly visits to this playground of the nation it is a reminder of happy days in an expanse which Nature has endowed with signal munificence. It does not pretend to be a complete compendium for it would require many volumes to adequately cover the many and diverse attractions of Aroostook —the scenic charms of its mountains, lakes and streams; the delights of the forest retreats; the allurements which yearly call the angler and the mystic charm which draws the hunters to the wooded depths to follow the trail of moose and deer. Aroostook has come to be regarded as synonymous with hunting and fishing and canoeing. It is America’s greatest vacation spot —indeed.

Women:

Not so many years ago a well known authoress and writer of nature studies could boast of being the only white woman to have ascended Katahdm. Within the past decade, however there have been numerous instances of women making the climb and their published experiences have given graphic accounts of the trip up and back and of the gorgeousness of the view which is to be enjoyed by the summit.

Photography:

There is a constantly growing company of hunters, women, and men, who do their shooting not with gun and rifle but with cameras. Camera-hunters find unequalled opportunities in the Aroostook country for pursuing their hobby.

Children:

An outcome of the general acknowledgment of the healthfulness of woods life is the establishment of numerous summer camps for students, girls and boys. They are situated in surroundings that make for the fullest enjoyment of the opportumties for canoeing, swimming, fishing and tramping and are under the charge of competent instructors. These vacation schools are growing in popularity.

Health:

By no means all the comers to the Maine woods are intent on fishing and hunting. There are those who seek to restore broken health; others who come for relaxation after the stress of business or professional cares and still others who regard the woods as the ideal spot for vacation days.

Outfits:

Dress is not a matter of importance in the woods in summer. A blue flannel shirt, an old coat and pair of knickerbockers, a felt hat with a liberal brim, moccasins, and a change of underwear and stockings, are all that is needed. The blue flannel shirt will be found a most comfortable garment; or if one cares to go bare-armed, an athlete’s jersey, with short sleeves, is a good thing to wear. If a rubber blanket is carried the best kind is the poncho, with a slit in the center, as it can be worn for a storm cape in rainy weather. Moccasins are recommended as the most comfortable shoe that can be worn in the woods.

The first issue from 1900

 

Women hunters

 

Relaxation in the beauty of nature

 

maine

Communing with nature

 

maine3

Outdoor meal after a mountain hike

 

Description:
Thompson, Winfield M. (Winfield Martin), 1869- author. In the Maine woods : a guidebook for sportsmen / written and arranged by Winfield M. Thompson. Bangor, Maine : Issued by the Bangor and Aroostock Railroad, 1900.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:27537512
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Description:
Hennessy, Wilfred A., author. In the Maine woods. Bangor, Maine : Published by the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad, [1913].
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:27537515
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

foote

The Comstock Act of 1873 inhibited publication, frank discussion, and dissenting attitudes toward sexuality, religion, marriage. One of its most outspoken adversaries was the physician and freethinker, Dr. Edward Bliss Foote, who challenged all obscenity legislation in Congress, state legislatures, and courts and also offered support to defendants in free speech cases. He campaigned against obscenity prosecutions, promoted free speech and became an early and ardent proponent of woman’s rights to birth control information. Foote is considered the most important writer on contraception in the 19th century. He was a lifelong promoter and supporter of woman’s suffrage, even giving Susan B. Anthony $25 toward her $100 fine for voting in the 1872 election. Comstock went after his nemesis in 1874, charging Foote with violating postal laws for mailing an educational pamphlet giving guidance on how to limit the size of families through “contraceptics”.  He was convicted, heavily fined, and forced to remove “obscene” content from his books and pamphlets.

In 1878, Foote responded by establishing the National Defense Association, along with members from the National Liberal League, aimed at repealing the Comstock laws, and supporting victims of the Comstock persecutions. In 1879, Foote published a pamphlet entitled “A fable of the spider and the bees” In his fable, he creates a metaphor for the destructive nature of the Comstock Laws. In the story, a venomous spider casts a web over the insect community, keeping moths out of the garden paradise but trapping butterflies, which were important for pollination. The bumblebee lawmakers ignore complaints from the garden’s weaker residents about the harsh methods used by the spider, which bore the letters A and C (i.e. Anthony Comstock). After the fable, Foote provides some notable cases where free speech has been stifled, including his own story, “free-love” advocate Ezra Heywood, and educator/reformer/physician Dr. Sara Chase. Edward Bond Foote, followed his father’s footsteps and wrote his own pamphlet on contraceptive information, The Radical Remedy in Social Science; or, Borning Better Babies through Regulating Reproduction by Controlling Conception.

In Foote’s publication, he calls upon the press and the public to stand up censorship:

“Although the Press has been timid and timeserving in its treatment of Comstock and his ignorant censorship, we have enough material at hand to fill more than one hundred pages with the indignant utterances of newspaper writers who have been appalled at the injustice inflicted under the laws instigated and used by Comstock. We will only spare room for a few extracts, enough to show that the Press is not dead but sleepeth.” Foote

“Our Banner is unfurled with the motto —“Down with Comstockism”—the enemy of a free Republic —and we invite all Christian people of every denomination, and good people of every belief or unbelief who have the good of the human family at heart, to rally under it. There is no sectarianism in our creed, and only one final object in view. ” –Foote

foote 2

foote 3

While the Comstock Laws were eventually amended and scaled back over time, mostly through the persistent work of Margaret Sanger, surprisingly potent remnants of the laws remained in place throughout much of the 20th century, particularly at the state level.

 

Description:
A fable of the spider and the bees : verified by the facts and press and pulpit comments which should command the serious attention of every American citizen
New York : [New York National Defense Association], 1879.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:26980433
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Awnsham and John Churchill were influential and innovative early booksellers in England, providing the affluent with enhanced access to previously unavailable or untranslated works by some of the world’s most famous explorers, essayists, philosophers, and historians. One of their most successful publications was entitled, A collection of voyages and travels: some now first printed from original manuscripts, others now first published in English. For the first time, this exhaustive compilation offered a single definitive publication of the most celebrated and recognized travel accounts documented over the past century. The Churchill’s commitment to working from original manuscripts was unusual and deviated from common practice of copping from assorted published translations and editions already in circulation.

The narratives are comprised of personal accounts translated from Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, and German, covering voyages to the New World, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Amongst the dozens of accounts in the collection are Domingo Fernandez Navarrete’s account of the Empire of China during his work as a missionary from 1657-1673; Brawern and Herckemann’s voyage to Chile in 1642 and 1643; Captain John Monck’s voyage in 1619 and 1620 to Hudson Bay, to discover a passage between Greenland and America; John Nieuhoff’s voyages to Brazil and the East Indies; and Michele Angelo Guattini’s “curious and exact”account of his travels to the Congo. Originally published in 1704, it was issued to subscribers in 4 volumes, with copius illustrations and maps. Though this publication became notable and successful, the Churchills were most distinguished in history as the personal publisher for the Enlightenment heavyweight, John Locke. In fact, the introductory discourse to this collection has been attributed to Locke, just prior to his death in 1704.

 

Navarette’s account of the Emperor of China’s entourage in a public ceremony.

Sometimes the Emperor goes abroad in a chair carr’d by 32 men, who contrive it so ingeniously, that all equally bear a part of the burden. Besides four others who support the chair on every side. I thought this publick appearance very stately; and believe it will be acceptable to the reader.

 

A “mestice” or mixed-race woman of Sri Lanka

…its inhabitants are for the most part Mestices and Kastices ; Mestices are such, whose parents were married with foreigners; as for instance, when a Hollander marries an Indian woman, or an Indian man a Dutch woman ; but the children of the Mestices are call’d Kastices.

 

A Goegys, or religious man, with long nails at the Sepulchre of the Benjan Saint

…Goegys, you see them sitting on the high-ways with their legs across, as the Mahometans do; they never pair their nails; some have locks of hair hanging down their backs of 4 or 5 feet long, others never shave their heads or beards, which makes them appear more like devils than men. They have no dwelling places of their own, but in the night time they sleep in the porches of their temples, on dung-hills and corners of the streets, or perhaps in some cave or other hole.

 

camel sheep

The Llama or “camel-sheep”of Chile

…the sheep of Peru, this is very remarkable, that they are able to carry a burden from 50 to 75 pounds weight with ease, just as camels do, whom they resemble much in shape, except that they have no such bunches upon their backs. They are able (if the Spaniards may be believed) to carry a man four or five leagues a day.

 

A diagram of the anatomy of a “unicorn” or the Narwhal

The Unicorn…we must consequently suppose two kinds of unicorns, to wit, the land and the sea unicorns; as there are sea-wolves and sea-calves. But it seems to be worth our enquiry, whether this horn of the whale may properly come under the denomination of a horn, it being evident from the preceding description, that it resembles rather a tooth.

 

ox

This  mythical or extinct creature was believed to be a species of elephant, even though it was the size of an ox.

In the Isle of Buero lives among other beasts a certain strange creature, which by the Indians is counted among the number of monsters. it is of the bigness of a large dog, or of a roe-buck, of a dark brown and gray colour, the hair like our grayhounds. The head and mouth like a hog, with small eyes and ears, the tail curls twice or thrice, and the legs and claws like those of a roe-buck.

 

Description:
A Collection of voyages and travels :some now first printed from original manuscripts : others translated out of foreign languages and now first publish’d in English : to which are added some few that have formerly appear’d in English, but do now for their excellency and scarceness deserve to be reprinted. London : Printed for Awnsham and John Churchill, at the Black Swan in Pater-noster-Row, MDCCIV [1704].
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:13479274
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Knitting for Victory

seweingsoldier knit

While in England in 1915, awaiting her call to France as a nurse, Maud Churchill Nicoll was run over by an automobile. The serious accident left her an invalid, but she still devoted herself to the war effort in Europe through knitting, crocheting, and sewing clothing for the allied soldiers. With the help of her husband, Delancey Nicoll, a prominent New York lawyer who defended such notables as Joseph Pulitzer, she published an instructional book for both novice and expert knitters. The publication provided a surprisingly comprehensive set of sewing patterns and instructions for some 70 articles of clothing designed to aid the soldiers inhabiting the merciless trenches across France. The articles of clothing Nicoll designed were based upon her first-hand conversations with troops from a nearby camp as to what they desired for warmth, protection, and comfort. Included in her book were such distinct and unusual items as a sleeping helmet, mine sweeper gloves, trench stockings, and a ditty bag. The need for these articles was not superfluous as tens of thousands of soldiers died from exposure to the harsh winter elements, rather than directly through combat. The profits from the sale of the book went to the American Red Cross.

Maud’s husband provided an introduction:

This little book was composed under unusual conditions. My wife, whose book this is, was one of those Americans who, from the outbreak of the War in Europe, was passionately attached to the cause of the Allies, and religiously believed, after the invasion of Belgium and Northern France, that it was the duty of our country, without delay or attempts at neutrality, to come to their support. In December, 1914, she began a course in nursing at the Y. W. C. A., and by April of 1915 had completed her course and received her diploma. In July, 1915, she went abroad for service in England, but had hardly begun when she was run down by an automobile and barely escaped with her life. Ever since then she has lived in London, necessarily spending a large part of her time in bed, and after two and one-half years of treatment is still unable to walk, except a little with crutches. During her long convalescence she devoted herself to knitting and sewing for the soldiers and sailors.

Fingerless gloves for gunners

 

Mittens for riflers

 

Mine sweeper gloves

 

The so-called ditty bag

 

Description:
Nicoll, Maud Churchill. Knitting and sewing :how to make seventy useful articles for men in the army and navy. New York : G.H. Doran, c1918.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:2224634
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

American interest in the Hawaiian islands began as early as the 1820s, when Christian missionaries from New England tried to spread their faith to the native inhabitants. By the 1850s, the booming sugar trade encouraged U.S. investment and territorial acquisition of sugar plantations on the islands. In 1890, the recently enacted U.S. tariffs greatly curtailed the sugar growers’ profit margin causing a destabilized Hawaiian economy. The sugar growers supported a movement for U.S. annexation, mostly as a strategic way to bypass the tariff problem and open up the markets within the U.S. Meanwhile Queen Liliuokalani was against foreign interference and encouraged Hawaiian independence. With help from American military, the planters staged a coup to overthrow the Queen, forcing her to abdicate. President Cleveland was against spreading American imperialism and tried to stamp out the insurrection and restore the Queen to the throne. Yet, the matter was never resolved during the Cleveland administration, and when war broke out with Spain in 1898, the military significance of Hawaiian ports as naval bases and fueling stations outweighed all other considerations. President William McKinley signed a joint resolution annexing the islands.

Harvard holds a couple interesting publications from the turbulent 1890s. In one ‘pre-annexation’ publication from 1891, Lorrin Andrew Thurston, a lawyer, politician, and businessman born in Hawaii, mostly promotes the islands as place for travel and pleasure, but also makes note of its health benefits, growing commerce, and opportunity. Thurston also played a prominent role in the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani.

Many a convalescent from prolonged illness, whose getting up is slow,and likely to be still further delayed by approaching winter, will be almost sure to find health and quickly restored strength by a few months in the tropics. It is the ideal land for children, especially for the delicate, nervous little ones who suffer from the confinement necessary during the winter season. Under those genial skies, living out of doors, running barefoot, brown with the sunshine, and appetites hearty with exercise, the frail little bodies expand visibly from day to day into health and vigor. 

Across the glory a native canoe glides past, manned by Hawaiians. But what are those sounds of screaming and laughter? We turn and see the water full of women, girls and children, inmates of those cottages which line the the shore. These people, so refined and cultured, are yet perfectly natural. When they are in the water they think of nothing but the delight of it. None of the posing, half-hearted dips of Nantasket bathers. They swim in every imaginable way. They float, they tread water, they dive, they plunge, and are so in love with it all, that an hour, sometimes two, passes before they can tear themselves away. 

To-day Hawaii stands in the front line of nineteenth century civilization, with a public school, judicial and political system, and with educational facilities equaled in but few countries in the world. Thirty years ago Hawaii was a “sleepy hollow” under a nominally constitutional, but really semi-patriarchal government, the king having absolute veto power over legislation. To-day the islands are aroused to an extraordinary industrial energy. 

A cost breakdown for visiting Hawaii

The lush mountains

Vistas from the harbor

 

In a post-annexation handbook published by the Department of Foreign Affairs, focus is shifted towards “settling” of Hawaii by Americans, rather than a tourist destination. The publications spotlight the growing infrastructure, including railroads, housing, churches, education,  etc. Written by Dan Logan, often referred to as the Dean of Hawaiian Newspaper, he lays out the clear purpose of the publication.

In preparing this sort of omnibus reply to all kinds of inquiries, the opportunity is afforded of setting forth the attractions of Hawaii for health and pleasure, as well as the field it may afford for investment and settlement.

English was early taught as a classic in the large mission schools. It was recognized as the vernacular in 1876 at Lahainaluna Seminary, afterward becoming there the dominant medium of instruction. Gradually the transformation went on until 1896, when teaching in this language became obligatory in all schools. American text books are employed almost exclusively in the public schools.

Within recent years, they have largely shed their original village aspect, rude shacks having been replaced with imposing blocks of modern stores. One of these contains one of the largest public halls in the group. The steadily growing business of the town is extending into streets parallel with these two main thoroughfares, and Hilo bids fair before long to have miles of plate-glass fronts.

Presentation of the native population

The mills for processing sugar

Streetcars in Honolulu

 

Description:
Vistas of Hawaii :”the paradise of the Pacific and inferno of the world”. St. Joseph, Mich. : Published by W.F. Sesser for the Kilauea Volcano House Co. and the Oahu Railway and Land Co., [1891?].
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:8049800
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Description:
Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands :a handbook of information. Honolulu : Dept. of Foreign Affairs, 1899.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:4513284
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Engelbert Kaempfer (1651 – 1716) was a noted scientist, physician to the Dutch East India Company, and an enthusiastic traveler known for his tour of Russia, Persia, India, South-East Asia, and Japan between 1683 and 1693. He wrote two books about his travels, Amoenitatum Exoticarum, which was valued for his medical and botanical observations throughout Asia. His second, and more famous book, History of Japan, was published posthumously in 1727. It remains a primary resource on Japanese life, culture, and society, during a period when the country was closed to foreigners. From 1641-1853, Japan adopted a policy of seclusion and closed its ports for trade. The Dutch East India Company established a trading post, named Deshima, by exploiting a man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki so as to comply with the strict Japanese trade policy. Kampfer came to this “port” and stayed for two years, where he had the opportunity to visit Edo and study the local flora. His diplomatic skills and medical expertise enabled him to gain further access than most. His contributions to the West were not just his new discoveries, but his detailed descriptions and drawings of some 400 plants. He is the first westerner to bring Ginko seeds back to Europe, collect information on the practice of acupuncture and moxibustion, and document the cultivation, preparation, and ceremonies for tea. Upon his return to Germany in 1693 he published Amoenitatum Exoticarum. His extensive manuscripts regarding Japan remained unpublished until they were obtained by Sir Hans Sloane, after Kaempfer’s death. In 1727, the first edition of Kaempfer’s comprehensive account of Japan appeared in English as The History of Japan. This edition was followed in 1729 by translations in both Dutch and French.

 


Acupuncture diagram showing the needles in their case, the instrument to guide the needles, and a model


Two schematics indicating parts of the human body for an application of Moxa to stimulate circulation and good health

A view of the two Courts of Berklam’s Temple in Thailand


Depiction of an audience chamber in Edo, where visitors are met. Musical instruments used during perfomances, provide a decorative border for the plate


Darma, with instruments for storing, making, and drinking tea

Description:
Kaempfer, Engelbert. Histoire naturelle, civile, et ecclésiastique de l’empire du Japon. A La Haye : Chez P. Gosse, & J. Neaulme, MDCCXXIX.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:14292228
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

The Spanish-American War was the first U.S. war to implement still photography and motion picture film as essential media for recording the conflict. While the American Civil War was heavily photographed, the Spanish-American War saw an expansion of photographic formats to support a multitude of agendas, from primary documentation to systematic propaganda. Newspapers introduced provocative photojournalism as a way drum up interest, increase sales, and exert influence. The U.S. government also recognized photography as a key instrument in re-affirming the justification for war, swaying public opinion and encouraging nationalistic spirit. While the actual conflict did not last long, it did provide a conspicuous stage for the U.S. to flex its military muscle and establish itself as a political, economic, and military power for the 20th century. Publishers, such as the Pearson Company, recognized the profit potential in offering pictorial volumes to the public that illustrated a confident and progressive U.S.

In one magazine review the “Photographic History Of The Spanish-American War” publication was described as:

“a sumptuous volume containing a very full pictorial and descriptive record of events on land and sea with portraits and (brief) biographies of leaders on both sides. After looking carefully through these 335 large pages, one has a broad, full and at the same time compact knowledge of the countries and cities, the ships, munitions of war, “Jackies” and soldiers, as well as all the prominent leaders,—civil, military and naval—on both sides, in the ” late unpleasantness.” The illustrations are finely executed and five maps add to our knowledge of all our recently acquired territories. The make-up of this choice and timely work is admirable every way.”

The publishers themesleves did not hold back on expressing their own patriotic fervor.

To begin with, it was a noble and righteous struggle, entered upon mainly through motives of humanity; for, while injury to trade may have afforded sufficient provocation, it must be remembered that it was the startling revelation of Spanish cruelty in Cuba which finally aroused the people, and through them the Congress of the United States, to declare for armed intervention…These photographs, with their accompanying descriptions, therefore constitute a moving panorama of the conflict as though, with ear to telephone, one watched the struggle from some distant height; and the record thus preserved of a truly glorious war will prove, to both participants and onlookers and those who come after them, a most fitting, beautiful, and enduring memento for personal possession and study.

 

The Maxim Gun

The Awkward Squad

Fighting Tailors

Clara Barton

Exercises of Contortion

 

Description:
Photographic history of the Spanish-American War :a pictorial and descriptive record of events on land and sea with portraits and biographies of leaders on both sides. New York : Pearson Pub. Co., c1898.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:10405236
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

flowoers

For centuries, giving flowers or bouquets has always been a common way to convey sentiments, such as love, celebration, sorrow, etc. This practice seems to be universal and can be found in traditional cultures throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The application of this practice is often called floriography, where a particular meaning has been assigned to specific flowers. The interest in the language of flowers really took off during the Victorian Era, where gifts of bouquets or arrangements were often sent as coded messages to the receiving party. With the repressive and restrictive nature of etiquette in Victorian society, flowers offered a way to express feelings that could not and should not be uttered aloud. If one was well versed in floriography, or had access to a printed floral dictionary by Sarah Carter Edgarton or Robert Tyas, he or she could translate the visual meaning and develop an ongoing secret “conversation”.

In his book, Flowers, Their Use and Beauty, Language and Sentiment, published in 1857, Arthur Freeling offers a resource for floriography with a comprehensive definition of terms, historical interpretations, and nuanced sentiments, to help participants build a sophisticated vocabulary of flowers.

After so many books have been published upon
the subject, it would, prima facie, appear almost
presumptuous to offer another to the public; but
a little consideration will prove that a book, or
that books are still wanting to give to Flowers their
full power and significance. The present is an
attempt not only to produce in one volume what
would be technically termed “a language,” and “a
poetry of flowers,” but also to give the mind of the
inquirer an association of ideas, by which he may
recal the Sentiment of which the Flower is the
emblem as soon as the flower is presented or seen…

As in all cases it is best to define the terms
used, we beg to inform the gentle reader that, for
the sake of uniformity, at the head of each Flower
we have employed the term Sentiment, to indicate
the passion, thought, sentiment, or expression of
which a Flower may be the emblem ; for instance,
the Variegated Tulip is the emblem of Beautiful
Eyes. It appears thus in our book:—
Name of the Flower.—The Variegated Tulip.
Sentiment.—Beautiful Eyes.

With bouquets, one can put together a combination of flowers to form a more sophisticated sentiment, analogous to using words to form poetry or prose. For example, put together: peach blossom, box, cypress and marigold, carnation and lily of the valley and you would express the following sentiment:

“I am your Captive, but your Stoicism drives me to Despair; give me your Love and Return me to Happiness”

…or put together the geranium, water lily, harebell, cypress and marygold, lupine, golden rod, hawthorn, allspice, and red rose to articulate this overwrought sentiment:

“Your Preference would Purify my Heart, but your Apathy and Disdain consign me to Grief, Dejection and Despair; Encourage me by thy Benevolence and give me a Token of Hope. My Love is Incorruptible.

Arthur Freeling provides lengthy historical background for his individual floral entries. For example, the Hydrangea as a symbol of heartlessness.

Hydrangea–Heartlessness

The origin of this idea is not so easily
ascertained as many of those which
we shall have to notice; it seems,
however, to arise from the fact that it gives
very much larger expectation of, and therefore
hope for, perfect flowers, than it ever
realizes, as the plant is distinguished above
all others for its number of abortive flowers
in this degree, therefore, it is a fit emblem
of those heartless wretches of the coquette
species (man or woman), whose glory it is
to raise hopes which they never intend to
realise, without any regard for that “blight
of the heart,” which, if survived, is, we believe,
from much observation, a greater creator,
than callousness of feeling, of those interesting
singularities, “old maids;”…

 

Description:
Freeling, Arthur. Flowers :their use and beauty in language and sentiment. London : Darton and Co., 1851.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:11034838
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Description:
Mayo, Sarah C. Edgarton. The flower vase :containing the language of flowers and their poetic sentiments. Lowell : Powers and Bagley, 1844.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:7661378
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Description:
Tyas, Robert. The hand-book of the language & sentiment of flowers :containing the name of every flower to which a sentiment has been assigned. With introductory observations. New York : J. Langley, 1844.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:5128578
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) is well known for his cartoons of zany convoluted contraptions offering unnecessary complex solutions for carrying out simple tasks. His work becoming so well known in early 20th century that his own name became an entry in dictionaries by 1931. The first of his invention series was printed in 1914 and involved an “Automatic Weight Reducing Machine”. These comical inventions appeared once or twice a month in syndicated newspapers and captured the public’s interest. Before creating this popular cartoon genre that eventually became his signature style, he created a series of popular one panel comics entitled “Foolish Question” in 1908. It is estimated that he did a staggering 50,000 cartoons in his lifetime.

Foolish Questions was a long-running newspaper single-panel comic in which people ask ‘foolish’ questions and are given sarcastic answers. It appeared in the New York Evening Mail and became so popular, that the readers starting sending in their own questions for Goldberg to answer. Goldberg observed a universality of human stupidity with people generally asking dumb or pointless questions when they already knew the answer. After gaining a popular readership, a hardcover compilation of Foolish Questions was published 1909, being one of the very first cartoon collections published in America.

This compilation of Goldberg’s foolish question comic was a crowd-pleaser, but it was not appreciated by all. There were surprising number of naysayers, partially taking aim at Goldberg’s work but also towards comics as an artform.

“R. L. Goldberg’s illustrated “Foolish Questions” may have been amusing when issued singly in the daily press, but thrust upon one en masse they become nauseating. Which reminds us why do American humorists, alleged an otherwise, adhere to one wretched theme until it is worn to a frazzle? Is it a test of endurance—for the public?”  The Bellman 1909

“Some of them are very funny, but a long array palls on the mind. The illustrations are funny because they are so atrociously drawn by a man who could not do any better if he tried. Now, that really is not funny at all. It is sad! However, this book is bound to sell well because it is drawn and written right to the level of the average intelligence of the great People.”  Overland Monthly, 1909

 

Description:
Goldberg, Rube. Foolish questions. Boston : Small, Maynard, c1909.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:2173916
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

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