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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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Up Up and Away

The Versailles balloon experiment of Sept 10, 1783

 

Barthélemy Faujas-de-St.-Fond (1741-1819) was a lawyer, naturalist, and geologist, with an ardent interest in the prospect of ballooning and the experiments being conducted by the Montgolfier brothers. While St. Fond made significant contributions in the study of volcanic activity, he is now mostly remembered as the first to document and publish an account of the Montgolfiers’ balloons, presenting details of each experiment and subsequent improvements. St. Fond also provides particulars of each public ballooning events, including position of witnesses, precise timings and viewing angles. Initially, the Montgolfiers experimented with hydrogen gas, which exhausted too quickly for use in practical travel. However, the Montgolfiers soon discovered that air heated to 100 degrees Celsius could provide enough lift and endurance to provide long distance balloon travel. On June 5, 1783 the brothers tested a balloon made of paper and linen, which rose some 6,000 feet and traveled over 7,000 feet from the point of release. They soon followed this success by demonstrating a balloon experiment carrying a sheep, rooster, and duck to an audience at Versailles, with King Louis XVI in attendance. The animal crew came down safely with exception of the rooster, whose wing was hurt. However, St. Fond quickly rejected any notion or implications of a balloon mishap.

“…but this, was done by a kick of the sheep, half an hour before the ascent, in presence of more than ten witnesses. It is vexatious to see the public papers thus assert facts without proof, which in such cases ought always to be guaranteed by the signatures of those who send them.”

“At last the brothers Montgolfier commenced their work. They first of all began to make the smoke necessary for their experiment. The machine—which at first seemed only a covering of cloth, lined with paper, a sort of sack thirty-five feet high—became inflated, and grew large even under the eyes of the spectator, took consistence, assumed a beautiful form, stretched itself on all sides, and struggled to escape. Meanwhile, strong arms were holding it down until the signal was given, when it loosened itself, and with a rush rose to the height of 1,000 fathoms in less than ten minutes.”

“When we reflect for a moment upon the numberless difficulties which such a bold attempt entailed, upon the bitter criticism to which it would have exposed its projectors had it failed through any accident, and upon the sums that must have been spent in carrying it out, we cannot withhold the highest admiration for the men who conceived the idea and carried it out to such a successful issue.”

“The aerostatic machine was constructed of cloth lined with paper, fastened together on a network of strings fixed to the cloth. It was spherical; its circumference was 110 feet, and a wooden frame sixteen feet square held it fixed at the bottom. Its contents were about 22,000 cubic feet, and it accordingly displaced a volume of air weighing 1,980 lbs. The weight of the gas was nearly half the weight of the air, for it weighed 990 lbs., and the machine itself, with the frame, weighed 500: it was, therefore, impelled upwards with the force of 490 lbs. Two men sufficed to raise it and to fill it with gas, but it took eight to hold it down till the signal was given. The different pieces of the covering were fastened together with buttons and button-holes. It remained ten minutes in the air, but the loss of gas by the button-holes, and by other imperfections, did not permit it to continue longer. The wind at the moment of the ascent was from the north. The machine came down so lightly that no part of it was broken.”

 

The balloon experiment of Oct. 19, 1783 with two men on board

 

Experimenting with hydrogen

 

Description:
Faujas-de-St.-Fond, (Barthélemy) cit 1741-1819 author. Description des expériences de la machine aérostatique de MM. de Montgolfier. Paris ;: Chez B. Le Francq,, 1784.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:29669463
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Winter in New England

Invigorated by the crisp, bracing air, you skate, ski, snowshoe, toboggan, sleigh ride, tramp – whatever your fancy may dictate. 

The 1920s is considered the dawn of winter sports tourism, driven in-part, or at least complemented by the first Winter Olympics in 1924. The Boston & Maine Railroad identified a new commercial opportunity and led the charge for the development of winter tourism in New England. B&M advertising in magazines and newspapers would highlight destinations like Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains, seacoast resorts, and New England’s historic places. Their campaign would try to capture, or to some extent even invent, an alluring and romantic New England winter landscape. In 1929, the first organized ski school in the United States was established in New Hampshire. It was one of the earliest resorts to promote winter vacationing and ushered in ski-mania in America.

By the 1930s and 1940s, railroads across America would offer “snow trains”, catered to the blossoming winter sport business. Some of the railroads invested in building resorts along their route, provided instructors and coaches, and offered on-board outfitting shops to further encourage vacationers. While the targeted audience was sporting types, particularly skiers, the railroads also catered to non-sporting types who might want to relax at a resort or delve into healthy spa activities.

In this early publication, the B&M declares:

Winter days mean wonderful air; air that is a better tonic than is champagne; air that means vigor and strength and an appetite, stimulated by simple pleasures, for healthy, simple food. And when the day is over there is no luxury greater than sitting before an open fire and munching popcorn and apples.

Moreover, in the enjoyment of Winter pleasures there is no limit of age or sex. The little people are perfectly sate on the specially constructed equipment provided for them. Both men and women find the outdoor activities attractive and beneficial. In short, New England in Winter has come into its own as a great health resort. The present is always a good time to consider your plans for the coming season.

 

Description:
Winter in New England : Where to Go & Where to Stay : Winter Season 1923-1924 / Issued by Passenger Traffic Department. Boston : Boston and Maine Railroad, [1923].
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:27129065
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Owen Jones (1809-1874), an architect and designer, became one of the foremost authorities on design theory and historical ornamentation and patterns. He was a major contributor to modern color theory, and his doctrine on patterns and ornament are still considered relevant to scholars and historians today. After predictable tours of the great European cities, he turned his attention to the East for Ancient Greek and Islamic design. Spending significant time in the 1830s touring Greece, Egypt, Constantinople and Spain, he produced many drawings and water-colors, which he then reproduced through the newly developed chromolithography process. His publication demonstrated the elegance, complexity, and the purity of Islamic form, color, and design, which whet the interest among Victorian architects and designers, eventually establishing Islamic art as serious and significant. Based on his contributions, Jones was given the considerable responsibility for the layout and decoration of the Great Exhibition of 1851. While he meticulously studied the decoration of many cultures and periods, he was also a proponent for developing a uniquely 19th century style in England. He was an avid collector, acquiring and reproducing as many examples as possible for teaching tools, including illuminated books, wallpapers, textiles, ceramics, etc. He even gave a nod to the art of tattooing as a genuine artform. Jones published “The Grammar of Ornament” as a source book for examples and theories from various periods to encourage experimentation and incorporation of art forms and design.

“I have ventured to hope that, in thus bringing into immediate juxtaposition the many forms of beauty which every style of ornament presents, I might aid in arresting that unfortunate tendency of our time to be content with copying, whilst the fashion lasts, the forms peculiar to any bygone age, without attempting to ascertain, generally completely ignoring, the peculiar circumstances which rendered an ornament beautiful, because it was appropriate, and which as expressive of other wants, when thus transplanted, as entirely fails.”

“We can find no work so fitted to illustrate a Grammar of Ornament as that in which every ornament contains a grammar in itself. Every principle which we can derive from the study of the ornamental art of any other people is not only ever present here, but was by the Moors more universally and truly obeyed. We find in the Alhambra the speaking art of the Egyptians, the natural grace and refinement of the Greeks, the geometrical combinations of the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Arabs. The ornament wanted but one charm, which was the peculiar feature of the Egyptian ornament, symbolism. This the religion of the Moors forbade; but the want was more than supplied by the inscriptions, which, addressing themselves to the eye by their outward beauty, at once excited the intellect by the involutions, and delighted the imagination when and the music of their composition.”

“Man’s earliest ambition is to create. To this feeling must be ascribed the tattooing of the human face and body, resorted to by the savage to increase the expression by which he seeks to strike terror on his enemies or rivals, or to create what appears to him a new beauty. The tattooing on the head which we introduce from the Museum at Chester is very remarkable, as showing that in this very barbarous practice the principles of the very highest ornamental art are manifest, every line upon the face is the best adapted to develop the natural features.”

tattoo2

Description:
Jones, Owen. The grammar of ornament. London : Published by Day and Son, Limited, [1865].
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:29003077
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Somewhere around 100,000 German Jews served in the German Army during World War I, with about 18,000 awarded the Iron Cross. During the war, German Jews requested the appointment of field rabbis to serve as military chaplains for the Jewish soldiers and personnel at the frontline. This request was granted by the Kaiser, growing from 6 rabbis to 30 during the height of the war. Martin Salomonski, a rabbi from Frankfurt, enlisted and served as a chaplain from 1916-1918, receiving an Iron Cross medal in 1917. In September of 1916, he embarked on the bold and ambitious task of organizing New Year’s meals for 1,600 Jewish soldiers on the front, amidst the bloody and devastating battle of the Somme. He procured four field kitchens, three cooks, a theater, and a piano to accommodate the celebration. In 1918, he published a short pamphlet of his war experience, including tending to the spiritual needs of soldiers, sharing his own poetry, and giving detailed descriptions of the conditions and suffering that took place during his service.

“In such hours, which are not spared anyone in the field, one learns to pray. One is enfolded in humble devotion and spiritual purification, and is not far away from Goodness or from God.”

“The loss of limbs is a lesser evil than blindness, facial disfiguration, and permanent loss of speech.  And then there are the smaller irritants that make defenseless patients despair: oppressive summer heat and its companion plague of flies. Very few effective remedies exist against the latter, which in many cases make the last hours of the dying even more miserable.”

-Salomonski (translated)

After the war, he continued to serve as a rabbi in Berlin, becoming deeply involved in the acceptance of the Jewish community. Salomonski was also dedicated to the German nation, remaining optimistic in spite of the rise of the Nazi party. While some of his fellow chaplains who served in WWI fled, Salomonski remained in Germany, committed to the Jewish community. Tragically, he was eventually deported to Theresienstadt and then to Auschwitz where he was murdered in October of 1944.

 

Photo of the 1600 Jewish soldiers celebrating the New Year

The kitchen operation

Getting the meal

Getting the meal

Description:
Salomonski, Martin. Jüdische Seelsorge an der Westfront. Berlin : L. Lamm, 1918.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:2958209
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

“Hen Fever”, as it became known during the Victorian Age, was an unprecedented obsession with owning, breeding, and showing the finest chickens in the world. The genesis of the poultry fancier owes much to Queen Victoria and her royal menagerie. In 1842, she acquired exotic chickens from China, and whatever the Queen did, the public would soon try to imitate and incorporate at home. The Illustrated London News reported “Her Majesty’s collection of fowls is very considerable, occupying half-a-dozen very extensive yards, several small fields, and numerous feeding-houses, laying-sheds, hospitals, winter courts, &c.”. From this point forward, poultry was no longer viewed as common farmyard critters, but valued and appreciated throughout the classes of Victorian Britain. The import and breeding of poultry was not just a leisurely hobby, but a profitable endeavor with sky rocketing price tags for the finest examples. British author, Lewis Wright was a poultry, pigeon, and animal expert. His comprehensive publications on poultry played a major part in establishing and documenting rare breeds of poultry and tracing their histories, as well as promoting the fancier movement. His landmark publication, The Illustrated Book of Poultry, was so popular that it was revised and reprinted several times from 1870-1911. In addition to extensive descriptions, setting show standards, and offering instructions on keeping and breeding, this large tome also included numerous chromolithographs by ornithological artist, J.W. Ludlow. These illustrations, followed the example of Audubon, where the birds were portrayed in natural settings and poses. Poultry fanciers in Britain and U.S. valued the images just as much as the encyclopedic information.

“The introduction of these fowls, as we have already hinted, was a memorable event in the history of poultry; since they undoubtedly awakened that startling “mania” which was, calmly considered, one of the most curious phenomena of the nineteenth century, and which, after it died away, left behind it an enduring interest in poultry generally, which nothing has since been able to destroy. Scarcely any people at that time kept fowls ; and as for the few poultry-shows which, even then timidly endeavoured to attract the attention of a discerning public, they were regarded as the harmless craze of a few weak-minded individuals, looked upon in those days much as a man would be now who should devote his spare time and energies to the cultivation, of white mice. But the Cochins came like giants upon the scene; they were seen, and they conquered.”

“So begun, and so carried on, it has been of course a labour of love. The work has been great; but it has been pleasant work, lovingly and heartily done, and shared in by nearly all those best known in the poultry world. Without their aid we could have done little; but every one has brought his stone to the building. Never has such a mass of information, contributed by the best authorities in the “ fancy,” been brought together; and birds which no money could purchase have been freely entrusted to us for portraiture.”

Description:
Wright, Lewis, 1838-1905, author. The illustrated book of poultry : with practical schedules for judging, constructed from actual analysis of the best modern decisions. Revised edition. London ; Paris ; New York : Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1880.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:27420986
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

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

 

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