August 2009 Archives


Pictures! Stories! Action! Available via a canvasser or direct from the publisher. In red and black on title page: “Deeds of Daring by Both Blue and Gray … Thrilling narratives of personal adventure, exploits of scouts and spies, forlorn hopes, heroic bravery, patient endurance, imprisonments and hair-breadth escapes, romantic incidents, hand to hand struggles, humorous and tragic events, perilous journeys, bold dashes, brilliant successes, magnanimous actions, etc., on each side the line during the great Civil War … Profusely illustrated.” Publisher: “Scammell & Company, established 1868. Philadelphia, Pa.: 610 Arch Street. Saint Louis, Mo.: 203 Pine Street.”
Recently acquired illustrated broadside advertising revised edition (1886). The book was published by subscription: “Agents wanted! Write at once for terms, and name your choice of territory: or, to secure it instantly, send $1.00 for complete agent’s outfit, which will be forwarded by return mail postpaid. … If $3.00 are sent, not only the complete outfit, but also a fine leather copy of the complete book will be forwarded, if you sincerely pledge yourself to canvass.”


Call number: (Ex) Item 5360010
Cover and spine of recently acquired first edition (1883)


Call number: (Ex) Item 5370350

“This volume does not assume to be a formal history, nor even to relate more than a modicum of the innumerable incidents of personal adventure and examples of bravery exhibited on both sides during the Civil War. But it is believed to be the first volume in which a representative collection has ever been made of such examples by both Federal and Confederate participants, impartially related. Many have been the books which have been written and published from each interested standpoint, in which the coloring of the narrative by the prejudices of the writer was only too evident. Such books were necessarily (and not improperly) one-sided in view. But is there not abundant room for a volume that shall exhibit those traits of personal courage which all Americans claim to be a common heritage? In the belief that there is such room, and that, after the lapse of a generation of time, the most captious can hardly demur, there is here given the only collection of authenticated exploits by both the Blue and the Gray yet made, and one of nearly seventy chapters.” — D. M. Kelsey (preface, opening paragraph)

For more on subscription publishing in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century, see: Amy M. Thomas, “There Is Nothing So Effective as a Personal Canvass”: Revaluing Nineteenth-Century American Subscription Books,” Book History (1998), vol 1, p. 140-155.

Reading Decorative Papers II: Infared reflectography

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Front cover: The Scholar’s Arithmetic, Keene, N.H., 1814



Back cover: The Scholar’s Arithmetic, Keene, N.H., 1814


We’re still not there yet, that is, at a full answer to the question about how this fragment of Fanny Hill was used as covering material. However, we now have a better sense of what the fragment looks like overall. Thanks to the work of Ted Stanley, Special Collections Paper Conservator, Princeton University Library, we now have two images of the printed fragments of “Fanny Hill.” These pictures were obtained by a method called “infared reflectography.” [http://www.clemusart.com/exhibcef/battle/gloss/g4411438.html ] In brief, he used a high quality SLR digital camera with a filter than excludes visible light but passes infared. The CMOS array of the camera is sensitive to the IR end of the spectrum, 830-1100 nanometers. The technique is useful in this case because the printer’s ink has different optical properties from the pigments of the marbling. In other words, the ink absorbs / reflects light differently than marbling paints. This differential is then carried over into an image which is visible, with the ink rendered darker than the pigments.


[More is available on this technique in C. M. Falco, “Invited Article: High resolution digital camera for infrared reflectography,” Review of Scientific Instruments 80, 071301 2009 [link]

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