Thursday, April 12, 2012

Royal Female Magazine Acquired

Very seldom do we have the opportunity to add to our 18th-century periodicals. Many are already on our shelves, the Library Company having acquired them when they were first issued. The titles not on our shelves are notably scarce today. Thus, we were particularly pleased to get nine issues of this very short-lived London periodical for women, which we purchased through the Davida Deutsch Fund for acquisitions in early women’s history in honor of Lisa Baskin. Some of the articles in these issues of the The Royal Female Magazine, or, The Ladies General Repository of Pleasure and Improvement suggest that the editor, Robert Lloyd working under the pseudonym “Charles Honeycombe, Esq.,” believed his readers would be interested in things American. One issue, for example, has a hand-colored map entitled “The World According to the Latest Discoveries,” which prominently depicts Baffin Bay with no hint of a Northwest Passage across North America. 

As shown here, in the May 1760 issue, Lloyd included an invented fantasy entitled “An Indian Gazette,” which presents a text in pictographs, supposedly by American Indians, together with a “translation.” The accompanying article compares the pictographs to Egyptian hieroglyphics. Our good friend David Szewczyk suggests that this text is actually a mishmash of elements combining Mexican and European sources.  By this date, North American Indians were largely using the roman alphabet for both English and native languages. The editor of The Royal Female Magazine likely expected this curious type of proto-literacy to appeal to his readers. He published it with a claim of absolute authenticity, which, one suspects, may have tipped dubious readers off that it was fraudulent. As indeed it was. 

LCP Awards Five Post-Doctoral Fellowships for 2012-13

Claude Régnier, lithographer, Elizabeth Grace and Rachel Martin, tinted lithograph based on sketches by Felix Octavius Carr Darley (New York: Goupil & Co., 1853). Gift of David Doret. NEH Fellow Marie-Stéphanie Delamaire will examine French reproductions of American works such as this one. 

The Library Company is pleased to announce the recipients of five post-doctoral fellowships for 2012-13.  Four of them are one-semester National Endowment for the Humanities Fellows, and the fifth is a two-semester Program in Early American Economy and Society Fellow. They were selected from among 42 applications.   

NEH fellow Dana Luciano is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University. Her book Arranging Grief: Sacred Time and the Body in Nineteenth-Century America won the Modern Language Association’s First Book prize in 2008.   At the Library Company, she will be conducting research for a new book project, “Enchantments: Animacy and Eros in America, 1840-1900.”  She studies texts that envision a world where objects are animated and vitally related to human bodies. Many of these texts are literary (Thoreau, Fuller, Dickinson) but at the Library Company she will focus on the literature of spiritualism and spirit photography, and on geological texts where prehistoric life was envisioned in stone. 

NEH fellow Philip J. Stern is Assistant Professor of History at Duke University. His book The Company State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India won the 2011 AHA Forkosch Prize. His new project “Municipal Bonds: The Urban Corporation in the Early Modern British Empire” grows out of his first book. It proposes that incorporated cities and towns provided the ideological and institutional foundation for England’s global colonial empire. At the Library Company, he will study the chartering, governance, surveying, and mapping of Philadelphia, a uniquely interesting case given its continually problematic relations with its own residents, proprietors, and rural hinterland, as well as neighboring Native Americans, British colonies, and other European communities inside and beyond the city. 

NEH fellow Michael D. Block received his Ph.D. in History at the University of Southern California in 2011 with a dissertation titled “New England Merchants, the China Trade, and the Origins of California,” examining how American involvement in the China trade influenced American commercial activities in California and the Pacific Basin from the 16th to the 19th centuries. At the Library Company, Dr. Block will be expanding the scope of his dissertation to include the understudied participation of Philadelphia merchants in the China trade.

NEH fellow Marie-Stéphanie Delamaire is about to defend her Ph.D. dissertation on “An Art of Translation: French Prints and American Art in the Antebellum and Civil War Era” in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. She studies the impact on American visual culture of engraved reproductions of French works of art and French reproductions of American paintings. At the Library Company, Ms. Delamaire will be looking at French-influenced popular images, from Bible illustrations to the cartoons of Thomas Nast; and she will study reproductions of American genre paintings commissioned by the French art publisher Goupil and Company.

PEAES fellow Ariel Ron is currently completing his Ph.D. at the University of California-Berkeley with a dissertation on “Developing the Country: Scientific Agriculture and the Roots of the Republican Party.” He began his research into antebellum “scientific agriculture” by asking why an overwhelmingly agrarian society voted for a Republican Party which was to usher in the American Industrial Revolution. At the Library Company, Mr. Ron will be expanding his research on the Republican Party’s appeal to northeastern farmers, including the transition in America’s political culture that shifted focus from transatlantic trade to internal American development.

Shareholder Spotlight: Anne Wetzel

Anne Wetzel, the current owner of Library Company Share #1630, grew up with the Library Company in the family. Her father, Carroll R. Wetzel who was President of the Board of Trustees from 1975 to 1982, “talked about it all the time.” And as if that wasn’t enough to keep the Library Company in the conversation, her first job at the University of Pennsylvania was as secretary for Anthony N. B. Garvan, a Professor in Penn’s Department of American Civilization, who was himself Board President from 1986 to 1992.

Ms. Wetzel currently lives on the coast of Maine, where she has a flourishing career as a photographer capturing the life around her, such as in Moon Somes Pond 2 pictured here.  For her, it is “the small scenes that really feed her soul and make her feel the gentleness of that life.”  She also travels extensively. Although she is rarely able to attend Library Company meetings or events, Anne loves staying in touch with the institution through the Occasional Miscellany and Annual Reports.

At her mother’s death in 2007, the sense that the Library Company had always been a part of her family and her community prompted Anne to take over Share 1630, which has been held by a Wetzel since 1952.

Upcoming Events

Members-Only Annual Meeting & Public Lecture
Tuesday, May 15, 5:00 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
Join us for our Annual Meeting (5:00) followed by a talk by Wendy Woloson, guest curator of “Capitalism by Gaslight” (5:45). Dr. Woloson will discuss legitimate but marginal ways that people earned money in the 19th century and will focus on seamstresses, rag pickers, beggars, dog catchers, newsboys, and street sellers.
Click Here to Register Online

Capitalism by Gaslight: The Shadow Economies of 19th-Century America. This two-day symposium will highlight the many ways Americans earned livings through economic transactions made beyond the spheres of “legitimate” commerce and explore the crucial importance of the shadow economy to the development of commercial and industrial capitalism in 19th-century America. Co-sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Thursday, June 7, at 3355 Woodland Walk; Friday, June 8, at the Library Company.
Click Here to Register Today

Making Freedom in the Atlantic World
Saturday, June 16, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.                                                 
A one-day conference exploring the process and impact of emancipation across the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. The conference celebrates Juneteenth, commemorating the news that slavery had ended. The program will include a panel discussion featuring Gary Nash, Roseanne Adderly, Jasmine Cobb, and Edna Medford; a roundtable discussion on collecting Afro-Americana; and a keynote address by James Stewart of Macalester College.
Registration coming soon. 

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