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This book provides an early and valuable account of West Africa’s “Gold Coast” before it was completely transfigured by slavery and colonialism. Godefroy Loyer (1660-1715), a French missionary, was one of the earliest Europeans to explore and settle in this region. He gained a deep understanding of the language, culture, politics and economy of the Kingdom […]

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Tokyo 1911

Ogawa Kazuma (1860-1929), remarkable Japanese photographer, printer and publisher, was an innovator in photomechanical printing and photography during the Meiji and Taisho periods. He started studying English and photography at the age of 15, moving to Tokyo in 1880 where he was hired as an interpreter in the Yokohama Police Department, meanwhile learning photography. Wanting to improve his English […]

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This early Civil War Era broadside from 1861 entitled: “Comparison of Products, Population and Resources of the Free and Slave States” was compiled by John M Batchelder, most likely from 1850s data. At the top of the chart is an illustration of former New York Policeman, Peter Hart, whose heroic attempt to keep the flag flying over Fort Sumter […]

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Beginning operations in 1906, The Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan became one of America’s most long lived manufacturers of mail-order pre-fab homes. By 1918 Aladdin accounted for almost 3% of all new housing in the United States. With its steady growth and soldified reputation in the homeowner market, Aladdin ventured into mass produced industrial housing, mostly […]

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Theodore Dreiser is well known for his contributions to American literature, including the 1900 classic Sister Carrie. However, before Dreiser became this literary icon, he was an editor and journalist, writing columns and criticism in a woman’s magazine entitled “Ev’ry Month”. The publication, which lasted from 1895 to 1903 and described as “An Illustrated Magazine of Popular Music, The Drama, […]

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The Gods of Pegana

Edward Plunkett, the 18th Baron of Dunsany, was known for his fantasy tales published under the name ‘Lord Dunsany.’ His imaginary worlds were filled with gods, witches, and magic. He invented a fictional land with its own culture, history, and mythology, which had a huge influence on the epic works of J.R.R. Tolkien. His first fantasy work, The Gods […]

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The Industrial Revolution in America created a consumer economy, shifting traditional wealth and power away from the long standing blue-blood families and towards the capitalist magnate and a developing new middle class. The idea of the “self-made” American was clearly at odds with the traditional aristocratic and elitist mores of the past centuries. Yet at the same time, […]

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The card catalog was a library stalwart for almost 200 years. The earliest use of a card system for inventory control is credited to France where rare confiscated books were distributed to various repositories around Paris for safe keeping. Upon distribution, a card was created with basic bibliographic information to be held at the “Paris Bureau de Bibliographie”. […]

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Up Up and Away

  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 […]

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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 […]

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