Category: American Studies

“Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick”: The Short but Significant Life of the First Multi-Page Newspaper in the Americas
18 September 2019 by Grayson Van Beuren


“Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick”: The Short but Significant Life of the First Multi-Page Newspaper in the Americas

“It is designed, that the Country shall be furnished once a month (or if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener,) with an Account of such considerable things as have arrived unto our Notice.” Opening lines of Publick Occurrences, 1690     On Thursday September 25, 1690, a singular event occurred in Boston. A collaboration between a publisher, Richard Pierce, and a Londoner-turned-colonial editor, Benjamin Harris, came to fruition in the printing of a (read more)




“Whirl up, sea”: The Life and Poetry of H.D.
09 September 2019 by Grayson Van Beuren


“Whirl up, sea”: The Life and Poetry of H.D.

Whirl up, sea— Whirl your pointed pines, Splash your great pines On our rocks, Hurl your green over us— Cover us with your pools of fir. “Oread,” Hilda “H.D.” Doolittle, 1914     This remains poet Hilda Doolittle’s (1886 – 1961) most famous piece of work. It is a wonderful example of the Modernist poetical school of Imagism: an effort to pare down poetry to the essentials of imagery and metaphor.1 In this case, (read more)




“A Want of Dignity Wholly Unworthy of the Government”: James Smithson, the Annual Report, and the Question: “Should the Federal Government Participate in Scientific Investigation?”
04 June 2019 by Grayson Van Beuren


“A Want of Dignity Wholly Unworthy of the Government”: James Smithson, the Annual Report, and the Question: “Should the Federal Government Participate in Scientific Investigation?”

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC recently named Lonnie G. Bunch III as its fourteenth Secretary, the first African American to hold the position. In celebration of this occasion, let’s explore the beginnings of the Smithsonian.   The Smithsonian Institution is a remarkable institution. Founded in 1846 and sometimes called “the nation’s attic,” the institution brings millions of visitors in contact with science and history each year. Scholars (read more)




“The Entire Collection Could Have Been Held by a Four-Shelf Bookcase”: Dr. John Shaw Billings and the Surgeon General Office’s Library
16 May 2019 by Grayson Van Beuren


“The Entire Collection Could Have Been Held by a Four-Shelf Bookcase”: Dr. John Shaw Billings and the Surgeon General Office’s Library

We recently augmented 19th Century Masterfile with data from the Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office. This index—and the library that spawned it—were largely the work of one incredible surgeon and bibliophile: Dr. John Shaw Billings.   We’ve all, while researching, thought to ourselves, “I sure wish the library had this particular book,” or lamented, “It sure would be great if this library’s collection was (read more)




“My Invention Relates to What Is Commonly Known as…”: Finding Clues to the Past in Historical U.S. Patents
17 January 2019 by Grayson Van Beuren


“My Invention Relates to What Is Commonly Known as…”: Finding Clues to the Past in Historical U.S. Patents

Research often takes us in weird directions whether you are a scholar completing a chapter for a book, a student working on a project for class … or an editor checking sources for a piece of copy. Coming across the unexpected is one of the best parts of the process, and an experience I went through recently. –Ed. In a recent blog post, I mentioned that ephemeral common knowledge is one of the hardest things to preserve since it is never considered important enough to record (read more)




Government Reports and Colloquial Confusion: Capturing the Ephemeral with the “Popular Names” Index
06 December 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


Government Reports and Colloquial Confusion: Capturing the Ephemeral with the “Popular Names” Index

“Since many government publications become known by short titles that appear nowhere on the piece, and since libraries catalog them under institutional titles, a device for tying the two together is needed.” - Donald F. Wisdom, Foreword to Popular Names of U.S. Government Reports, 4th ed., 1984 A recurring challenge for historians is so-called “common knowledge.” Too often insights into day-to-day life, descriptions of extinct practices, and material (read more)




“The Pressure of Military Service”: The Great War’s Impact on Scholarly Editing Projects
21 November 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


“The Pressure of Military Service”: The Great War’s Impact on Scholarly Editing Projects

The First World War affected the world in profound and irrevocable ways, not least the field of literature. The impact of the Great War on literature has been well-documented, both in terms of how changes in outlook were reflected in the books, poems, short stories, and articles produced by during and after the war, and in terms of the generation of authors destroyed by mechanized warfare on a large scale.1 Perhaps less-studied is how the war’s effect reached the publishing industry (read more)




“A Deficiency in our Political Annals”: Rivals of Early Congressional Reporting
27 September 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


“A Deficiency in our Political Annals”: Rivals of Early Congressional Reporting

Exploring the Register of Debates and the Congressional Globe… Today we will look at two mainstays of early Congressional reporting: the Register of Debates and the Congressional Globe. Both dominated the journalistic world of Congress and politics in the decades before the Government Printing Office began producing its official account of Congress—the Congressional Record—in 1873. And because the two overlapped in coverage, many assumed they were partisan rivals. But (read more)




“The Honeypot Approach”: The Origin and Development of the NYPL Public Domain Collection
26 July 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


“The Honeypot Approach”: The Origin and Development of the NYPL Public Domain Collection

Exploring the NYPL Public Domain Collection… Today we will look at the New York Public Library’s Public Domain Collection. The NYPL recently made approximately 190,000 digitized public domain items from their special collections available online for unrestricted use. Why does the NYPL have such a large library of digitized material? Why do they have such a large special collection at all? To answer these questions, we have explore  the genesis of the NYPL collection in (read more)




"A Profitable, Elevating, and Attractive Profession”: Bettering Farming through the Farmers' Bulletin
12 July 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


"A Profitable, Elevating, and Attractive Profession”: Bettering Farming through the Farmers

Exploring the Farmers’ Bulletin… Our “Exploring” series continues with the Farmers’ Bulletin, a publication from the United States Department of Agriculture that first appeared in 1889. For over a century, the Bulletin has disseminated the latest research out of Agricultural Experiment Stations across the country with the aim of leading farmers to bigger crop yields and more rewarding home lives. Persuit of this goal has sometimes led the Bulletin to publish (read more)




Why Another Magazine Index, Mr. Faxon?
28 June 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


Why Another Magazine Index, Mr. Faxon?

Exploring the Annual Magazine Subject-Index… Our "Exploring" series continues with Frederick Faxon’s Annual Magazine Subject-Index, which ran from 1907 until 1949. When Faxon started his index in 1907, several large and mostly-comprehensive periodical indexes already dominated the library market. So why did he bother starting yet one more? As it turns out, this was a question front and center in Faxon’s mind from the outset—and one to which he had a (read more)




Congressional Research Reports Now Available in U.S. Documents Masterfile
11 June 2018 by Paratext Editorial


Congressional Research Reports Now Available in U.S. Documents Masterfile

Thanks to the work of EveryCRSReport.com, researchers are now able to access nearly 15,000 Congressional Research Service (CRS Reports), with links to full-text sources where available in U.S. Documents Masterfile: 1774 – 2018. EveryCRSReport.com is a joint project by Demand Progress and the Congressional Data Coalition, who have made their bulk CRS report data freely available online. Reports by the Congressional Research Service are the encyclopedic research (read more)




“A Trifling Return…for the Great Service”
06 June 2018 by Grayson Van Beuren


“A Trifling Return…for the Great Service”

Exploring the Industrial Arts Index... Continuing with our “Exploring” blog series, today we will look at the Industrial Arts Index. Before the current-day crowd of scientific and engineering online discovery services existed, staying up-to-date in one’s field involved visiting the reference section of the local library and using their subject indexes. The Industrial Arts Index was one such tool, designed to make it easy to find the most widely-used and useful articles in (read more)




Government Documents 101
09 May 2018 by Paratext Editorial


Government Documents 101

Part I: What, Who, and Why The average researcher likely doesn’t think often about government documents. Unless your specialty is political science, law, or government history, government documents don’t seem like an obvious resource to utilize. What is a specialist in literature, psychology, or biology going to find of value in government documents? The answer may surprise you. Because the work and research of government encompasses so many aspects of human society and (read more)




Adam Matthew Content Now Accessible via 19th Century Masterfile: 1106-1930
21 June 2016 by Paratext Editorial


Adam Matthew Content Now Accessible via 19th Century Masterfile: 1106-1930

Paratext is pleased to announce that extensive content from Adam Matthew is now accessible via 19th Century Masterfile: 1106-1930. Adam Matthew, an imprint of SAGE, is an award-winning publisher of digital primary source collections for the humanities and social sciences, covering subject areas from medieval family life to 20th-century history and culture. Nearly 100,000 links from 33 collections are being added to 19th Century Masterfile’s Image/Media section, broadening research (read more)




Data-Planet Datasheets now fully Indexed within Public Documents Masterfile
19 September 2014 by Paratext Editorial


Data-Planet Datasheets now fully Indexed within Public Documents Masterfile

Paratext­­­TM announces that an extensive collection of Data-Planet TM DataSheets is now indexed, linked, and integrated into Public Documents MasterfileTM. Researchers can now query over 150,000 metadata records representing authoritative publicly and privately sourced datasets. Libraries who subscribe to both services can link directly from the search results to Data-Planet’s datasheets, with a visual chart, map, or graph, accompanied by (read more)




The Granite Monthly in 19th Century Masterfile
08 October 2012 by Paratext Editorial


The Granite Monthly in 19th Century Masterfile

The Granite Monthly was a New Hampshire publication that covered news, issues of import to the society of the time and general interest articles. It now joins over 70 other valuable primary source indexes that enjoy easier discovery with one searchbox in 19th Century Masterfile. The Granite Monthly file in 19th Century Masterfile contains nearly 20,000 primary source records from 1877-1930.  Most of these citations conveniently include links (read more)




Public Documents Masterfile Update: SuDoc Numbers, Ames and new ERIC records
10 October 2011 by Paratext Editorial


Public Documents Masterfile Update: SuDoc Numbers, Ames and new ERIC records

Public Documents Masterfile customers will be happy to learn that Paratext has added SuDoc numbers, LC card numbers and Item Numbers to many of the citations included in the GPO Monthly Catalog Subject Indexes (1895-1976).  Due to this inclusion, all government documents included in this index from 1947-1976 will now be considerably easier to access for Public Documents Masterfile users. Expanding the coverage of historical primary sources, we’ve also just added (read more)




1.2 Million Links to Historical Congressional Documents Now Online within Public Documents Masterfile
07 September 2011 by Paratext Editorial


1.2 Million Links to Historical Congressional Documents Now Online within Public Documents Masterfile

A deeper awareness of the political mechanisms and motivations of the United States government, particularly during its earliest days, is invaluable for accomplishing a greater understanding of the functions of democracy.  Public Documents Masterfileis designed to simplify the process of finding important government documents and thus help promote greater knowledge of how the United States government functions. The Annals of Congress, Register of (read more)




New Content and over 8 million full text links now in Public Documents Masterfile
18 May 2011 by Paratext Editorial


New Content and over 8 million full text links now in Public Documents Masterfile

We’ve added the index to the Congressional Globe to the Annals of Congress and Register of Debatesalready found in the Congressional Record file in Public Documents Masterfile, bringing Congressional coverage up to 1867. In addition, we’ve recently updated many thousands of records to federal documents to be discovered via Public Documents Masterfile in the following: Post-1976 GPO Public Documents (1976-current)  (read more)




Congressional Globe and more now indexed in 19th Century Masterfile
26 April 2011 by Paratext Editorial


Congressional Globe and more now indexed in 19th Century Masterfile

As we’ve all been recently reminded of the important role Congress plays in ensuring the day to day functions of democracy, it can be useful to keep in mind the history of one of our most influential government institutions. 19th Century Masterfile now includes the indexes to the Annals of Congress, the Register of Debates and much of the Congressional Globe, bringing our coverage of Congressional papers up to the 39th Congress in 1867, with greater coverage (read more)




Index to the Farmers' Bulletin Now in 19th Century Masterfile
25 April 2011 by Paratext Editorial


Index to the Farmers

19th Century Masterfile has always been the ‘due diligence’ resource for historians. Its usefulness is now expanded to cover works in both technology and agricultural science. To that end, Paratext has significantly enhanced the scope and research value of 19th Century Masterfile for historical agricultural studies through the addition of the Index to Farmers’ Bulletin, 1889-1930. The Farmers’ Bulletin was for many years one of the most (read more)




150 Years Later: Researching the Civil War in 19th Century Masterfile
12 April 2011 by Paratext Editorial


150 Years Later: Researching the Civil War in 19th Century Masterfile

On the 150th Anniversary of the commencement of the United States Civil War, we are reminded of the great value of primary sources in helping us better understand the experiences of those that came before us. New research and analysis is emerging all the time to provide new perspective on the events and players in the war.  It is our goal to ensure that you and your patrons can find the most valuable documents available for offering insight into the experiences of early (read more)




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