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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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Lillian Moller Gilbreth (1878-1972) was a pioneer in blending psychology and engineering into the management of the workplace. In recognition of her accomplishments, Lillian Gilbreth was the first woman to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and until recently, the only woman to have been awarded the Hoover Medal for great, unselfish, nontechnical services by engineers to humanity. Her doctoral dissertation, The Psychology of Management, Gilbreth laid out three fundamental recommendations for management– focus on the worker’s well being, provide individualized training, and use psychological testing to match jobs with workers. In addition to these academic achievements, she was a mother to 12 children and become the role model for the mother in the book and subsequent movie “Cheaper by the Dozen”. For most of her early career, she was overshadowed by her husband and partner in the field of scientific management, Frank Gilbreth, with publications mostly credited to him. While her husband focused much more on the scientific and technical study of efficiencies in production, Lillian would be more concerned about worker welfare and reducing stress, fatigue, and boredom. Together, their partnership resulted in comprehensive and innovative publications in the field of workplace efficiency.

The crux of the Gilbreths’ work was the creative application of motion picture film to quantify the number of motions involved in a specific work task and the time required to carry it out. The resulting data and images provided a model in which to calibrate and adjust basic human motion for greater efficiency and less physical and mental stress. Due to the injuries and disabilities resulting from WWI, Frank and Lillian also became proponents of workplace solutions for those with disabilities. Their publications would help employers understand how to modify environments and workflows to accommodate the worker’s physical limitations. This book, “Motion Study for the Handicapped,” which was published in 1917, is considered the first book to provide in-depth investigation into occupational rehabilitation. In the volume, Frank demonstrates the application of motion pictures to break down the essential motions in a job and how to pare them down to their bare necessities, increasing production efficiencies and reducing worker fatigue substantially. He created flow charts and elaborate 3D models to track movements of workers and products through their various stages to develop better work environments.

The aim of this book is to present methods of least waste in training and placing the handicapped, to tell not only what has been done and what can be done but also actually how to do it and why it should be done in this manner…. Along with these the many manufacturers who have placed their devices at our disposal ; the managers and workers in the industries who have cooperated in our investigations and offered opportunities to those whom we have trained ; and especially, perhaps, the handicapped themselves, who have demonstrated their successful methods, offered their experience, voluntarily acted as subjects for investigations, and cheerfully followed all suggestions offered. The progress in work for the handicapped along all lines is astounding.

Mr. Gilbreth has set out to take moving pictures of as many champions or experts in various trades or sports as he can, in order to study their methods and find the points of similarity between their motions. So the champion typist of the world, an expert bricklayer, and Christy Mathewson, the famous baseball pitcher, have been photographed ; and a few months ago, in Germany, Gilbreth took pictures of the champion fencer of the world. He even hopes to get pictures of the champion oyster-opener of Rhode Island !…Motion study for the blinded, like Motion Study for the crippled, involves three branches of work— teaching the teachers of the blinded, teaching the blinded themselves, and discovering opportunities in the industries where the taught can be satisfactorily placed.

Again, through the packet method, which provides for the arrangement of materials on a proper support and in the required sequence and the proper position to be transported to the next operation, it is possible to combine ” Search ” (1), ” Find ” (2), ” Select ” (3), ” Grasp ” (4) and ” Position ” (5), and to make of the entire five elements one operation requiring nothing but a simultaneous reach and grasp. The elements ” Assemble ” (7), ” Use ” (8), and ” Dissemble ” (9) can also, in many cases, be performed without the use of the eyes and with the effort involved much minimized through the use of proper desks and work-benches, chairs, arm-rests and foot-rests. An enormous amount of fatigue can be removed on many types of operations if the forearms are properly supported. 

 

motion picture film capturing worker movements

3D models created based on the film capture of movements for further study and training

a disabled worker equipped with a dictaphone to assist in managing orders

modified keyboard machine to aid a worker with one arm

taking motion pictures of a typist and analysis of the film

 

Description:
Gilbreth, Frank Bunker. Motion study for the handicapped. London : G. Routledge & Sons, 1920.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:4882964
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Noah Brooks (1830 – 1903) is most notable as a journalist, editor, and early biographer of Abraham Lincoln. In fact, he was a close friend of Lincoln and a regular visitor to the White House. Brooks was even invited to the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was assassinated, though he was unable to attend due to an illness. Seemingly trivial in comparison to his work on Lincoln, Brooks is also credited with writing the first novel about baseball in 1884. The novel is set in a manufacturing town near Chicago, just after the Civil War, where the two local teams debate whether “training” or “muscle” is more important for building a great baseball team. In the end, they concede both methods are necessary for success and agree to play their common rival in a major event. Al Spalding, former pitcher and sporting goods magnate, provides an introduction to the novel where he praises the author for his accurate and faithful portrayal of the game.

When we consider how strong a hold the pastime of base ball playing has upon our people, it is a little surprising that more frequent use of the game, as a framework, has not been made by writers of fiction. There are very few Americans, certainly very few of the younger generation, who are not only familiar with the nomenclature and rules of base ball, but are enthusiastic lovers of the sport. Even among the gentler sex, who may be regarded as spectators only of the game, there is to be found much sound information and an intelligent acquaintance with the details of base ball playing; while every hearty and wholesomely taught boy knows everything worth knowing about the game, the famous players, the historic contests, and the notable features of the sport, as practiced in various sections of the republic. To write an introduction to a story whose slender plot should be threaded on a base ball match seems to be an almost superfluous work. But I am glad that Mr. Brooks has undertaken to illustrate “The National Game” by a story of outdoor life.  –A.G. Spaulding

While the storyline is rather banal, the novel does surface some interesting cultural aspects of baseball in America during the 1860’s, including the role of women, post-war anxiety, and the prevalence of gambling. Baseball was growing fast and facing some big debates about the integrity of the game and amateurism versus professionalism.

Some scandal was created by the appearance of Hank Jackson on the street with a roll of bills, offering to make bets on the game. It had never been the custom of anybody in Catalpa to wager anything on a base ball game, and there was some frowning now on the part of conservative and upright people; and those who were not specially conservative, but who disapproved of gaming.

Since the outbreak of the war, when everybody was scraping lint, making “comforts” for the soldiers, or marching to the front, there had not been so hot a fever of enthusiasm in Catalpa. The soldiers of this new campaign were the lusty young heroes up in the Agricultural Fair Grounds who were doing battle, every day, with imaginary foes and making ready to face the real antagonists who could not now be very far off; for the base ball season would open in a few weeks. 

Alice Howell was flattening her pretty nose against the window pane as she looked ruefully out into the misty atmosphere that surrounded her father’s house in North Catalpa. It was eight o’clock in the morning, and the great base ball match was set for two o’clock, that afternoon. As soon as she had risen, Alice had run to the window to see what were the signs of the sky, for Alice was an ardent lover of the American game, and her heart was set on the great match that was to come off on the Agricultural Grounds, near Catalpa, that day. 

 

The literary news: a monthly journal of current literature. [New York, N.Y.]. vol.5, 1884.:

[The publishers] have shrewdly taken advantage of the very widespread interest in the national game of baseball that now prevails to publish a novel based upon the subject. Its title is “Our Baseball Club, and How It Won the Championship,” and its author is Noah Brooks, a well-known journalist, and the writer of one or two successful boys’ stories. The present is a tale which will interest the boys throughout the land, but it is not exclusively a boys’ book. Mr. Brooks is evidently familiar with the game, and this is only another way of saying that he genuinely admires it. He well appreciates the capabilities that it has for being utilized in fiction, and has made a very successful employment of them for that purpose. There are the points of a good love story connected with the plot, and there is also a picture given of the dramatic contests for supremacy, the tricks resorted to by the less honorable players, who scheme for defeat, and of everything, in short, that is necessary to unfold the panorama of ball-playing to the public. The work has enough of literary flavor to make it interesting without being pretentious in this connection.

 

 

Description:
Brooks, Noah 1830-1903 author. Our base ball club and how it won the championship. New York : E.P. Dutton and Company, 1884.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:29575707
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Isaac Titsingh (1745-1812), a senior official of the Dutch East India Company, had exclusive contact with Japanese officials during his time in Dejima from 1779-1784. Dejima was the artificially constructed island at Nagasaki used as the sole trading post with the Dutch. Titsingh had diverse interests and was considered a scholar and philosopher, in addition to his capacity as a merchant and ambassador. He was intrigued and fascinated with Japanese culture, history, and tradition. During his stay in Japan, he documented and collected information, seeking original sources whenever possible. Titsingh was relatively persuasive and successful at negotiating access to Japan mainland, witnessing places and events that no European had before. He did not want to compile a mere travel account of his time in Japan, but aspired to create a publication in multiple European languages that would illustrate the sophistication of the Japanese people and their unique culture. Titsingh wished to have his book published in three European languages that he deemed important: Dutch (the language of trade and commerce), French (the language of philosophy), and English (the language of natural and modern sciences). Unfortunately, due to political conflicts and commercial turbulence, he was unable to achieve his goal. His collection was not published until after his death, with the support of two of his friends.

Dejima

The place where the Dutch reside is called Desima, that is, the Advanced Island, or the island situated before the town. The Japanese sometimes call it Desima mats, or Desmia-street, because it is reckoned among the streets of Kangasaki, and is subject to the same regulations. It is not far from the city, and has been artificially formed in the sea, which hereabout is full of rocks and sandbanks, and very shallow. The foundations, to the height of a fathom and a half or two fathoms, are of hewn stone, and at flood tide are about half a fathom above the surface of the water. In figure it nearly resembles a fan without a handle…It is usually reckoned that the area of our island is equal to that of a stadium, being six hundred feet in length and two hundred and forty in breadth. One wide street runs the whole lenp-th of the island : there is also a path all round it, along the deal fence by which it is encircled. This path may be closed if necessary. The water from the gutters runs off into the sea by means of narrow curved pipes, made so on purpose, lest any thing should be smuggled away from the island.

 

volcanic eruptions

On the 28th of the 6th month of the third year Ten-mio (July 27 1783), at eight o’clock in the morning, there arose in the province of Sinano a very strong east wind, accompanied with a dull noise like that of an earthquake, which increased daily, and foreboded the most disastrous consequences.  On the 4th of the seventh month (August 1st.), there was a tremendous noise and a shock of an earthquake ; the walls of the houses cracked and seemed ready to tumble ;each successive shock was more violent, till the flames burst forth, with a terrific uproar from the  summit of the mountain, followed by a tremendous eruption of sand and stones : though it was broad day, every thing was enveloped in profound darkness, through which the flames alone threw at times a lurid light. Till the 4th of August the mountain never ceased to cast up sand and stones….

 

burial ceremeonies

As soon as the hymn is finished, the women, the colleagues of the deceased, and his acquaintance, return home, and are complimented at the door of the temple by the relatives, who wait there for the purpose. After their departure the relatives proceed in haste to the grave, where, in the interim, a priest reads some hymns till their arrival. The moment they are come, the tub containing the body is taken out of the quan, and deposited in the grave, which is then filled with earth, and covered with a flat stone, and this is again covered with earth. Over the whole is placed the quan, which is removed at the expiration of seven weeks, to make room for the sisek or tombstone, which is prepared in the mean time.

 

marriage ceremonies

When the near kinsfolk on each side have contracted mutual relationship, the fikiwatasi is brought. The father of the bride then presents a mounted sabre, called fiki-demono. It is placed on a tray which stands lower than the others, before the bride’s father. In presenting and accepting this sabre, and the list called tatsi-ori-kami, there is a particular ceremony to be observed. The bride’s father, when he takes the sabre on the tray, advances into the middle of the apartment ; the bridegroom does the same to receive it. Among people of quality this presentation and accepting of the sabre, are circumstances of the highest importance : but among the lower classes they are attended with little ceremony.

 

Description:
Titsingh, Isaac 1744-1812 author. Illustrations of Japan consisting of private memoirs and anecdotes of the reigning dynasty of the Djogouns, or sovereigns of Japan : a description of the feasts and ceremonies observed throughout the year at their court : and of the ceremonies customary at marriages and funerals: to which are subjoined, observations on the legal suicide of the Japanese, remarks on their poetry, an explanation of their mode of reckoning time, particulars respecting the dosia powder, the preface of a work by confoutzee on filial piety, &c. &c. London :: Printed for R. Ackermann, 1822.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:29293162
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

James Ambrose Cutting (1814–1867) is most noted as an American photographer and inventor, credited with developing the ambrotype photographic process. However, he was also keenly interested in marine life, and eventually used the wealth he accumulated from his various inventions to establish an aquarium in Boston in 1859. It was the first independent aquarium exclusively for the appreciation of marine life and the education of the public .

Having given this brief introduction, we will now proceed to give some account of the rise, progress, and present condition of the Boston Aquarial And Zoological Gardens. For some time previous to the year 1859, Mr. James A. Cutting had revolved in his mind the idea of founding in Boston an aquarium on a grand scale. Until then the collections of fishes, and aquatic wonders generally, had been made in small tanks, and were little better than pretty scientific toys. No one had, as yet, turned the idea to practical purposes, the elegant. …The announcement of the opening of the Aquarial Gardens in Bromfield Street, fairly took Boston by surprise. People were not prepared for the idea that fish could be exhibited like birds and beasts—their habits studied at pleasure, and their countless varieties and peculiarities made to contribute to our information and amusement. For once, that much-to-be-wished-for thing, “something new,” – was found, and everybody rushed to see it. What was the surprise of the gazers, when, for the first time, they beheld corallines and polyps, water-soldiers and hermit-crabs, sea cucumbers and starfish, water-beetles and sea mice–Ballou’s Monthly Magazine, Volume 16, 186

While he was committed to the scientific and scholarly mission of the aquarium, he also viewed exhibitions and entertainment as perfectly suitable vehicles for educating the public. One of his most successful and popular exhibition was his “Learned Seals”, “Ned” and “Fanny”. Cutting personally trained these seals, captured as young pups, and featured them in several performances. This extremely rare pamphlet, published in 1860, describes the fascinating duo and what tricks they could perform.

The pair of Seals now domesticated at the Aquarial Gardens, Boston, have attracted so much attention and remark by their pleasing and wonderful performances, that we shall gratify not only those who have visited the Gardens, but the public generally, by giving a brief history of the curious and intelligent animals. The pair, named by the proprietors of the Aquarial Gardens, ” Ned” and “Fanny,” are of the common species so well known upon our coast.

As the visitor to the Aquarial Gardens will have observed, there is equal intelligence in their eyes, and the same ready appreciation of Mr. Cutting’s commands, though their performances are different both in kind and extent. One of “Fanny’s” performances amuses every one who sees it. She will lie upon her back, meekly fold her hands —meaning, of course, her flippers—upon her bosom, and will feign sleep and snore with the energy of the most inveterate night-trumpeter in the human family….Mr. Cutting having handed him a rifle or gun, “Ned” shoulders arms instanter, and with all the gravity of a member of the Governor’s body guard, or the comicality of a Massachusetts farmer on training day. But passing over his other performances, we may mention one other, and that one most marvelous. We refer to his playing upon the hand organ, which he has learned to do with perfect ease and wonderful adroitness, even to the changing of hands when one of them is wearied with the exercise.

Sometime in the mid 1860s, Cutting sold the Aquarial Gardens to P.T. Barnum. While the circumstances for his decision to sell is unknown, it is assumed that it was due to personal financial woes. He loathed the transformation of his beloved aquarium into a crude side show amusement hall, perhaps contributing to his eventual mental collapse. Sadly, Cutting died in an insane asylum in Worcester, MA, 1867.

 

 

Description:
The Domestic history of the learned seals, “Ned” and “Fanny” :at the Boston Aquarial Gardens, 21 Bromfield Street. New York : G.A. Whitehorne, Printer, 1860.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:11131234
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Fortified

Jean Errard (1554-1610) was a mathematician and military engineer who developed and published the fundamental work on fortification design and defense strategy in France. Although largely forgotten now, he was referred to as the “Father of French fortification”.  The typical medieval fortress and castle design of the past centuries focused on the construction of high walls to repel attacks from soldiers below. However, with the introduction of artillery, tall walls were vulnerable and could not withstand the heavy bombardment. Errard studied Italian fortifications, which became the foundation for his own design strategy. The solution presented by Errard was short, sloping, thick walls organized in polygons. These star-like fortress, with protrusions at sharp angles, provided advantages to the defenders. The pointed bastions offered more open sight lines, allowing support from adjacent bastions during an attack. The combinations of structure and design negated the artillery advantage. In addition to his engineering skills, Errard recommended the use of infantry and musket as the best defense of the fortification. In his view, the infantry and musket was more versatile and maneuverable than artillery, and used less gunpowder. Errard’s book shifted the military paradigm from mechanical to scientific, allowing for modernization and innovation in the art of warfare.

 

Description:
Errard, J. La fortification reduicte en art et demonstree. Francfort sur le Mein : W. Richter, 1604.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:10937243
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

The introduction of new technology has unanticipated and unpredictable outcomes for social interaction, interpersonal communication, and collective behaviors. As the new technology proliferates and fuses with our daily lives, the interplay becomes more visible, leading to public commentary, criticism, and jest. Today, it may be difficult to visualize the impact the telegraph had on life in the mid to late 19th century. However, it introduced new occupations, generated curious jargon, and challenged social attitudes and etiquette. W.J. Johnston came to New York from Ireland, landing a job as a telegraph operator for Western Union. Eventually he resigned this position to become a publisher, with a particular interest in reporting the labor, politics, and economics of the telegraph industry. In 1877, he published this compilation of telegraph “literature” with stories, poems, cartoons, myths, and satire. Johnston states in his introduction:

This edition is intended for the general reading public — for people who have no knowledge whatever of the art or business of telegraphy — and will be found free from technical terms and professional idioms not familiar to those unconnected with the business, and written in such language as to be readily understood and appreciated even by people who have never seen a telegraphic instrument

In one story, “A Centennial Telegraph Romance”, the protagonist is a telegraph operator who meets a woman at the World’s Fair and tries to spark a romance through a clandestine application of Morse code.

He would telegraph to her. Tell her how much he thought of her. In a few hours they would be parted, perhaps forever, but here was a means by which he could tell her that she had at least one admirer. But how was he to do it ? If the window fastener beside him were pressed into service, it might attract attention. He felt in his pockets. His lead pencil! The very thing. He drew it from his pocket carelessly, tapped listlessly for a moment on the window sill, at the same time keeping his eyes intently upon the young lady before him. Finally he caught her eye. She looked over, and he spelled out very slowly in Morse characters : ” Oh, I see you are an operator”.

For the most part, Johnston limited the contributors to telegraph operators, or those who worked in the industry. It included some women, like Lida Churchill, who also wrote works on spiritualism, health, and the afterlife. Johnston’s publication arrived just as the telephone was in its infancy, which in turn, generated its own industry and cultural legacy.

     The Telegrapher’s Song
From every corner of the earth
The startling news we bring;
We weave a girdle round the globe
And guide the lightning’s wing.
Far as the distant, thunder rolls
O’er stream and rock and sea,
We join the nations in one clasp
Of friendly unity.
We touch our key, and, quick as thought,
The message onward flies —
For every point within the world
Right at our elbow lies.
Ours is the greatest boon to man
That genius yet has given —
To make a messenger of thought
The lightning bolts of Heaven.

 

“to meet a real live telegrapher, one who could read what she clicked off the little window fastener, and answer her in the same ” language,” was more than her 
most vivid imagination could have fancied.”

 

“The first picture shows how an operator’s salary may, after a while, depend upon the size of his ears— a man with a very small ear receiving but $30 a month, while one with an ear as large as a donkey’s receives $100. Number two shows the anatomical inspection by the doctor. Notice the shadow of a jackass on the wall in this picture.”

 

“Scenes on a Jersey Railroad,” page 73, shows how inexperienced and ignorant operators, or ” plugs,” as they are sneeringly styled by the better class of telegraphers, willfully delay business by both stubbornly insisting upon using the wire at the same time, neither feeling disposed to give way to the other.”

 

Description:
Lightning flashes and electric dashes :a volume of choice telegraphic literature, humor, fun, wit & wisdom. New York : W.J. Johnston, 1877.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:2559372
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

The International was a literary and arts journal founded by George Sylvester Viereck in New York prior to the onset of World War I. Viereck was an established poet and noted German sympathizer, publishing the periodical, The Fatherland, a propaganda journal funded by the German government to help promote pro-German understanding and keep America out of the war. His publications led to a lynch mob attacking his home, with Viereck escaping and seeking shelter in hotels. His pro-German leanings continued on after the war, eventually becoming a supporter of the Nazi Party. He interviewed Hitler in 1923, and afterwards, his Jewish friends denounced him as “George Swastika Viereck”. Viereck’s vocal public defense of the Nazis led to his imprisonment from 1943-47.

Adding to the radical nature of the International was the iconic Aleister Crowley. As a contributing editor, he provided essays, poems and plays. Crowley was reknown occultist, magician, poet, writer, and artist. He earned some international notoriety as an advocate for recreational drug use, sexual decadence, and his cult religion and philosophy- Thelema.

For there was never any elixir so instant magic as cocaine. Give it to no matter whom. Choose me the last losel on the earth; let him suffer all the tortures of disease; take hope, take faith, take love away from him. Then look, see the back of that worn hand, its skin discolored and wrinkled, perhaps inflamed with agonizing eczema, perhaps putrid with some malignant sore. He places on it that shimmering snow, a few grains only, a little pile of starry dust. The wasted arm is slowly raised to the head that is little more than a skull; the feeble breath draws in that radiant powder. Now we must wait. One minute — perhaps five minutes….Then happens the miracle of miracles, as sure as death, and yet as masterful as life; a thing more miraculous, because so sudden, so apart from the usual course of evolution.  – from Crowley’s article “Cocaine”, October 1917

Another notable contributor to the International was Blanche Wagstaff. She was an American poet, who began writing at age 7, and had sold her first poem by 16. She was associate editor of the International, contributing her poetry which often dealt with open sensual and sexual themes. Wagstaff had a falling out with Viereck over his vehement support of Germany. After her departure, she went on to publish several books of poetry.

 

Description:
The international. New York : Moods Pub. Co.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:24091384
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

For the Love of Books

Horatio Rogers Jr. (May 18, 1836 – November 12, 1904) committed his life to public service. A Civil War officer, lawyer, attorney general, and Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice, are among his accomplishments. Nonetheless, it was books and libraries that were his greatest love. He amassed some 4,000 volumes, tightly packed into his personal library.

As a colonel in the Union Army, Horatio Rogers, Jr., was respected and admired by those he served with during the conflict. After participating and witnessing the bloodshed at Gettysburg, he is quoted as saying, “Death seemed to be holding a carnival.” Upon his return to Rhode Island, he pursued a successful career as a lawyer and jurist, along the way seeking access to local private libraries and their hidden treasures. In 1878, he published this volume, “Private Libraries of Providence”, which provided descriptions of private libraries by some of Rhode Island’s most prominent citizens, including John Carter Brown’s library. His introductory essay, “On the Love of Books” traced notable bibliophiles in history, providing anecdotes about their passion for books and collecting, regardless of their social standing.

Thus do the extremes of society meet in appreciation of books. The lofty and the lowly are alike cheered by their presence, and solaced by their companionship. The conqueror will -not be separated from them, even in his victorious career ; and the simple artisan and the petty tradesman, after their humble labors, turn to them as to the sunlight of their existence.  –Horatio Rogers Jr.

This volume also includes a presentation letter from Horatio Rogers to the Harvard College Librarian, Justin Winsor. In the letter, Rogers describes a promise he made 20 years prior to then Harvard Librarian, John Langdon Sibley, to provide a copy of his first book for the Harvard Library collections.

Edward Field, historian of Rhode Island, eulogized Rogers with the following:

He had that love for books that comes only from the cultured mind, and his library was the object of his deep affection and regard. He was not a mere collector of books, but a profound reader, and gave to others through his published works, orations, and historical essays, the benefit of his broad reading, thorough investigation, and exhaustive research.

John Carter Brown’s Library

Joseph Cooke’s Library

Horatio Rogers Library

 

Description:
Rogers, Horatio. Private libraries of Providence :with a preliminary essay on the love of books. Providence : S.S. Rider, 1878.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:3277352
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

Swedish Gymanistics

The Swedish gymnastics movement was introduced by Pehr Henrik Ling, who created a system that focused on the integration of healthy bodily development with muscular beauty. To support his system, he invented wall bars, beams, and the box horse. His influence led to another generation of followers and innovators. Baron Nils Posse, is considered the person most responsible for introducing Swedish gymnastics to the United States. Following his graduation from the Ling School, he met and married Massachusetts native, Rose Moore, and settled in Boston with the goal of bringing Swedish gymnastics to Americans. Posse had limited success, until he met the wealthy philanthropist Mary Hemenway. In 1889, Mary Hemenway financed the Boston Conference and selected Posse, as a keynote presenter and representative for Swedish gymnastics, to propose the placement of the Swedish system into U.S. public schools. Posse went on to establish the Posse Gymnasium in 1890. After his untimely death in 1895, his wife Rose left her studies at Radcliffe to oversee the gym. She created the Posse Gymnasium Journal to publicize and share gymnastic developments and trends.

“The Swedish system of gymnastics is distinguished from other methods in the fact that a special apparatus is not absolutely needed for its exercises. If any argument were necessary to prove the hygienic and intellectual benefits of physical exercise, in these days of varied athletics, a scrutiny of the handbook now under notice would excite due enthusiasm. The whole range of gymnastic performance, from the simplest to the most complex exercises, is herein put before the reader with explicit directions for practice, and with a gratifying abundance of illustrations. The fact that the English language has hitherto had no comprehensive manual on the Swedish system is the occasion of the publication ; the official service of Baron Posse confirms his fitness for the authorship of this book of rules; while in mechanical arrangement nothing seems to have been omitted that would induce fondness for gymnastic practice.” 

“The author prefers to call this the Swedish system, although it was originated by P. H. Ling; for many improvements- have been made since Ling’s clay, and what he devised has been changed from a personal into a national matter, just as has Jahn’s movement in Germany.”

“In gymnastics it is essential that the dress be loose so as to allow full freedom of motion ; consequently collars and anything tight around the limbs should be removed. As for corsets, it is to be hoped that no one will be rash enough to practise gymnastics while embraced by this enemy of womanly health and beauty. The costume should be light in weight, so that the increase of bodily heat may not become excessive : however, it need not be any thinner than what should commonly be worn in-doors, for such a dress, especially in the winter, should always be light if we wish to avoid taking colds.”

   

 
Description:
Posse, Nils. The Swedish system of educational gymnastics. Boston : Lee and Shepard, c1890.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:1193560
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

The cliched image of friends and family gathered around a fireplace during Christmas had its origins in the Victorian Age. While people in rural villages would gather for conversation and entertainment at the local inn, the urban middle class of the Victorian era would typically entertain themselves and their friends in parlors of their own homes. During the 19th century, middle class families enjoyed more leisure time than before, which in turn triggered the creation of various games to entertain gentleman, ladies, and children. Many of these parlor games involved logic puzzles or riddles, while others involved physical performances, acting, or charades. Furthermore, there would be opportunity to combine card tricks, magic, or legerdemain into the mix. Not all of these activities were benign, many were downright dangerous, introducing chemicals, electric sparks, and fire. For example there was the “Method of receiving the Electric Shock from a Cat”, “To make a Room seem on Fire”, or “To Detonate Fulminating Copper by Friction”

This pamphlet from 1830 is one of the earliest publications directed toward the growing Victorian middle class aiming at providing a wide range of activities families could incorporate into their Christmas celebrations. The author describes it–

the whole admirably calculated to beguile the leisure hours of our Holiday Friends….The Tricks, Puzzles, Conundrums, &c. which are now presented, hare been selected from the best works, —some have never yet appeared before the Public in print. If the perusal of the following pages, afford one hour’s amusement, the Author’s wishes will be obtained.”

Some examples:

Incombustible Paper. Dip a sheet of paper in strong alum-water, and when dry, repeat the process a second and third time. As soon as it is dry, you may put it in the flame of a candle, and it will not burn.

To make a party appear ghastly. This can only be done in a room. Take half a pint of spirits, and having warmed it, put a handful of salt with it into a bason; then set it on fire, and it will have the effect of making every person within its influence look hideous.

Easy method of Constructing paper Balloons. Take several sheets of silk paper, cut them like the covering of the sections of an orange, join these pieces together into a globular body, and border the opening with a ribbon, leaving the ends that you may suspend the following lamp: make a small basket of very fine wire, if the balloon is small, and suspend it from the following opening, so that the smoke from the flames of a few sheets of paper wrapped together and dipped in oil, may heat the inside of it, before you light this paper, suspend the balloon so that it may, in a great measure, be exhausted of air, and, as soon as it has been dilated, let it go, together with the basket, which will serve as ballast.

Write upon Glass by the rays of the Sun. Dissolve chalk in aqua-fortis to the consistence of milk, and add to it a solution of silver. Keep this liquor in a decanter, well stopped. Then cut out from a paper the letters you would have appear, and paste the paper upon the decanter, which is to be placed in the sun, in such a manner that its rays may pass through the spaces cut out of the pa per, and fall on the surface of the liquor. The part of the glass through which the rays pass will turn black, and that under the water will remain white. You must observe not to move the bottles during the time of the operation.

 

Description:
Holiday frolics, or Endless amusement for the Christmas fireside containing the most astonishing feats of legerdemain, and astounding conjurings; entertaining experiments in various branches of science; tricks with cards & dice. Art of making fireworks; together with an excellent collection of puzzles, conundrums, riddles, charades, & c. & c. The whole admirably calculated to beguile the leisure hours of our holiday friends. London : W. Strange, 1830.
Persistent Link:
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:32540382
Repository:
Widener Library
Institution:
Harvard University

 

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