Added some Online Books

I have a hefty number of FILES – saved PDFs that are old books, scanned from the likes of google.books or Archive.org. Must admit that there are so many, they reside in a couple of places (must do a bit of housekeeping…); so, at times, I’m never sure if I’ve merely looked through a book online OR if I have downloaded it. I have learned to DOWNLOAD, because once a “publish on demand” kind of book appears, the original scans seem more difficult to locate (and sometimes disappear).

(Do you think these “publishers” don’t just download the images – print it into a book – and sell it for a cost that often well exceeds the cost of an original printing found in the used-book market?)

Anyway….

I’ve begun to add a few books – online LINKS – to the page “A Little List“. This page has a links to used bookstores – online shops – book titles from MY LIBRARY – and now links to Online Books. These books will tend to be:

  1. Old Books (often 19th century; sometimes early 20th century)
  2. Letters – Diaries – Biography, or a combination of the three

I will keep sites that offer ONLINE primary material under the pages Diaries online and Letters online. Sites like these that offer, (especially), digital images of their holdings are pretty special! Some offer, in addition, transcriptions of their images; a few will offer the transcriptions only, but in “fully transcribed” editions – often with notes and images. Many are labors of love by an interested independent scholar; most represent the work of larger repositories.

There will be those sites that offer transcriptions of old publications, which, due to the volume of material, is “as good as it gets” at the moment. I can think of the Letters of Sir Walter Scott, or the diaries of John Waldie.

Online books listed, on the other hand, are often the publications of later relatives and are often the closest we (the general audience) will ever get to the original materials – most of which probably remain in family (private) hands.

The books I’ve so far “attached” to this “A Little List” page are:

  • Letters of Harriet, Countess Granville (2 volumes)
  • Some Records of the Later Life of Harriet, Countess Granville
  • Thackeray and His Daughter: the Letters and Journals of Anne Thackeray Ritchie
  • The Journal of the Hon. Henry Edward Fox

 

War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl

“To edit oneself after the lapse of nearly half a century is like taking an appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober. The changes of thought and feeling between the middle of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century are so great that the impulsive young person who penned the following record and the white-haired woman who edits it, are no more the same…”

Quite unusual that in 1908 Eliza Frances Andrews (known as “Fanny”) published her own journal of Civil War experiences. There cannot have been many women whose youthful journals were handled by themselves as editor. Although, the early 20th century does seem to have been a rare period with frequent publication of diaries, letters, lives of average, everyday people.

Eliza Frances Andrews writes of the years 1864 and 1865. Her first entry marks her arrival in Macon, Georgia:

“Dec. 24. 1864, Saturday. — Here we are in Macon at last, and this is the first chance I have had at my journal since we left home last Monday. Father went with us to Barnett, and then turned us over to Fred, who had come up from Augusta to meet us and travel with us as far as Mayfield. At Camack, where we changed cars, we found the train literally crammed with people going on the same journey as ourselves. …. 65 miles of bad roads and worse conveyances, through a country devastated by the most cruel and wicked invasion of modern times.”

I include the Books.google – digitized from a copy at Harvard – as the main source of the book; it seems a “well-done” scan. [I have not read the book.] If you’ve ever seen a BAD google scan – one with “slurred” pages, or missing pages, you will know what I mean! An alternative site is the Internet Archive edition.

There is a retyped “electronic edition” – with very good photographs – at the University of North Carolina’s site, Documenting the American South. The List of Illustrations (at the front of the book) even allows for clicking on the page number to bring up the photo in question! (However, you cannot enlarge the photos, other than increasing the “zoom” on your browser.) Read the UNC Summary here.

I became MORE interested in the book’s photographs when I spotted that the book had an illustrated spread from her original diary. But such a curiously “grey” image that it’s difficult to muster enthusiasm for it. Still, I do wonder: What has become of the original diary kept by Eliza Frances Andrews?

(She also hints in that December opening that she regularly kept a diary – “[T]his is the first chance I have had at my journal since we left home.”)

I will also mention, the photograph on the “cover” of at least one digitized copy is not Fanny Andrews; it is her sister Metta Andrews.

I must admit to a partiality for Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary (a “modern” edition, which is due out in paperback in October 2021; obtain a hardcover copy – you won’t be disappointed, if you are a lover of diaries.) See the University of Kentucky Press. I’m still waiting for a northern girl – and may have to wait for my own reproduction of the Diaries of Isadore Albee of Springfield Vermont.

Harris Henderson, ends the UNC Summary with the following words of encouragement to readers:

“One of the important aspects of the Journal is the record of daily interactions among upper-class southern men and women struggling as refugees in southern Georgia. What makes the diary unique, however, is the commentary that Andrews adds some forty years after her original experience. She confesses to the difficulty she has remembering such a trying time and highlights the challenge the South faced in moving beyond its painful past.”

A Botanist, Educator, and Writer – Fanny Andrews was a 2006 Inductee to Georgia Women of Achievement. It is there that one learns the later life achievements of this woman:

“Writing was Fanny’s passion. Over the course of her lifetime she produced novels, poems and botany texts, as well as serials, articles, essays and editorials for more than 70 magazines and newspapers. Her first article for national publication was a political piece appearing in an 1865 edition of the New York World. In it she assumed the guise of a male writer because women writers were uncommon at the time and often not taken seriously. In other writings she adopted the pseudonym ‘Elzey Hay’.”

There is also a link to a 2-minute YouTube video. The brief moments highlighting the botanical drawings so remind me of my research into Mary Gosling and Emma Smith (the latter, Jane Austen’s niece by marriage), which I present on my main blog, Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

Letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle

It has been a while since I’ve written about Thomas and Jane Carlyle – August 19, 2015 – and that dealt specifically with an old book that had been republished, The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme. The original had induced me to purchase an old copy of Froude‘s Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle, a two-in-one volume that makes for a massively-thick tome.

Back in 2017 Kathy Chamberlain published her *new* biography, Jane Welsh Carlyle and Her Victorian World: A Story of Love, Work, Marriage, and Friendship.

Chamberlain focuses her attention on the 1840s, although it dips into Jane Welsh Carlyle’s early life so that readers get to know her “back story”. But, wishing to experience Jane Welsh Carlyle’s own words, I not only brought out my copy of Letters and Memorials, I also searched online for other early publications of her letters. I wanted just her letters, without those of Thomas Carlyle. Readers of the original blog post (click picture) will be able to access the Carlyle Letters Online, and many will know of the print volumes available.

This post mainly serves to point out the online copies of the following books of correspondence:

 

New Reprints of Old Books

I will preface this by calling the post a bit of a RANT; and mention also,
that 
the intended blog post – on letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle – will appear separately.

It has been a while since I’ve written about Thomas and Jane Carlyle – August 19, 2015 – and that dealt specifically with an old book that had been republished, The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme.

I must say, during the ensuing five-plus years, reprints have taken on a new “new life”. There once was a time when a reprint was a genuine reason to exult! A hard-to-find title *finally* available again, perhaps in paperback, but hopefully reproducing itself in a true manner – complete (if lucky) with images, maps, pedigrees, or whatever accompanied the original. SOMETIMES with the addition of such material. SOMETIMES, if really lucky, in a more authoritative issue.

I think, for instance, of Andrew Tod’s Memoirs of a Highland Lady in the 1980s, which included the full original text, instead of a reprint of the 19th century book. Tod continued to issue Elizabeth Grant Smith’s later diaries, such as (pictured below) The Highland Lady in Dublin, 1851-1856.

Ten years ago (and I’m grabbing a “date” out of thin air), I would be happy whenever I located a hard-to-find book on Google Books. Too many times, in the beginning of my research (see my blog Two Teens in the Time of Austen), I did shake my head when coming across a volume, now fully digitized, reliving the difficulty I had had in trying to procure a scarce copy through inter-library loan. For example, Special Collections’ copies do not circulate.

Digital meant the book could now be downloaded, and that was always a plus.

BUT: there was the presumption that the digital copy could remain forever and always…

The more recent past, however, has seen too many books that were ONCE accessible on books.google. They either become wholly removed or so buried that only an original link digs them up.

WHY the change?

Books.google obviously helped to provide easy “print on demand” templates – and these *new* reprints have become current, with their “no preview” or “limited preview” versions taking precedence at the top of the lists. These do not always seem to be produced by legitimate publishers, but both sorts of reprints can cause the old digitized volume to “evaporate.” It isn’t the long-dead AUTHOR who’s making money from new reprints. Rising cover prices and free content mean a tidy profit with little investment. “Print on Demand” requires no physical book stock. The resultant decimation of former availability has become a rather distasteful side to the digitization of old books.

Long ago, when I used to haunt the Used Books Annex at our local Barnes & Noble, I found a copy of E.M. Delafield’s The Provincial Lady in London. Its cover price was low, being a paperback reprint, (I think it was $7.95), so its used price was very insignificant. I was quite taken with the book. I wanted MORE “Provincial Lady.”

I bought another volume, new.

BUT: my paperback version had a production defect: a missing page. Luckily, UVM’s library had an ORIGINAL hardcover. I’ve just checked their holdings – and find that they no longer HAVE the book and even their “annex” (where old and new books sometimes go to die) copy is a later reprint. (Maybe the original became “lost.”)

I either copied down or xeroxed the missing page. (I should locate my Delafield stash to confirm, but don’t feel like rifling through the closet shelves.)

I mention this scenario because it brought home to me that the new reprint was not newly recreated. The same layout, page breaks, and the poor quality of the printing bore the evidence of the lack-of-expense expended in reproducing the reprints. Into the bargain, of course, “quality control” had missed that a page had not been reproduced. (I think it was a chapter header page, even.)

Still in search of more “Provincial Lady” books, (E.M. Delafield was a prolific writer, in general as well as in this “series”), I went to a bookstore “downtown”. There came the REAL surprise. Not only were these books reprinted by “xeroxing” (for lack of a better word) the original 1930s, 1940s books, but a NEW new-reprint series had gotten underway. The smaller paperbacks had grown in size and were now a good $10 more (ie, closing in on $20, each). New Cover Art. But SAME interior.

I think, but I couldn’t swear to it, that the *missing* page still remained missing!

Thank goodness many books already uploaded to Internet Archive have remained there. Occasionally, I even use Hathi Trust. (Beware download links that offer books for “free”. What else comes with the download, I do not know…)

I know “all good things come to an end,” and I do still head over to books.google whenever I’m thinking about buying a book (a good preview is priceless), but to have books removed from the site so a few companies can “make a buck” was not the aim of the project. The early goal had been rather remarkable: To make books available to everyone. Let’s not forget the PUBLIC when discussing PUBLIC DOMAIN books.

Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary

publisher/date: University Press of Kentucky, 2009
pages:  xviii + 262
hardcover; paperback scheduled for Oct 2021 release
genre: diary

My longest trip to Kentucky was in 2015 for the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). The meeting was held in Louisville; I gave a paper. But it wasn’t until my recent (Dec 2020) encounter with the diaries of Isadore Albee of Springfield, Vermont, that I sought out more about the (U.S.) Civil War era. Of course I have books – of letters; of diaries (including the ‘famous’ Mary Chesnut); a Howard Coffin book on Vermonters in the Civil War – but when I came upon the excerpt of Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary (edited by Nancy Disher Baird), I knew I had found something out-of-the ordinary.

Was it the “mystery” surrounding Josie Underwood’s diary?

Perhaps.

typescript appeared out of the blue, forwarded by the United States Postal Service. Where had it come from? Where was the original diary? Was it (gasp!) a fake?

The latter query was dispatched QUITE quickly. Too much information that could be correctly corroborated – known Civil War facts AND intimate knowledge of Underwood family details.

The other questions never seem to have gained answers, despite an intense search – including among Underwood descendants.

That it survived, in some way, gives an indication of how good this diary is. Somehow, young Josie Underwood speaks – and her words, thoughts, feelings are fresh and exciting.

Bowling Green, Kentucky is the scene in which the Underwoods lived; Pa – Warner Underwood – was a stout Unionist; Ma – Lucy Craig Henry Underwood – celebrated her roots as a “Daughter of the South”, but she so keenly felt her brother’s “betrayal” of their father’s fight for a United States that she wished her own dear brother dead instead of fighting on the Confederate side. Kentucky, at the moment, was doing its damnedest to stay neutral. The family members, though, had picked sides – some “Union,” some “Secesh” – and backed up their beliefs in words and deeds.

One of the most touching instances – Josie’s sister Jupe’s aiding of a young clergyman and his pregnant wife, who were literally run out of town in Mississippi for being “Northerners”. The couple, “compelled to leave, without preparation and little money,” were not finding anyone to aid them in this flight — until Jupe took them under her roof, giving them respite and funds to continue on to Boston. This humanitarian aid, despite rather frightening threats to her from locals!

The book, too, makes me think less of “brother fighting brother” and turned my thoughts to those of Mrs. Underwood: men just a generation (or two) before had fought wars creating and uniting the United States. Now their sons and grandsons were engaging in divisions. It’s an important thought to keep in mind for wars so distant in time to us in the 21st century.

On a personal note, Josie Underwood (1840-1923) is a true delight! Her quick mind, staunch beliefs, familial devotion, and those many marriage proposals (so many that I have lost count!) gave wings to her thoughts, actions, and recorded words.

In looking up information, it is with great pleasure that I see, after more than ten years< the book will be reprinted (in paperback) later this year. Snap up used copies, in hardcover, before they disappear (new copies are available through the University Press of Kentucky). Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary is a “keeper”, and it is well-served by Baird’s editing, useful appendix of “Who’s Who”, notes, and index.

Regency Explorer – check out New Releases

Happy 2021 wishes to all Readers, despite January being a week from its end (already…). To celebrate, I invite you to check out the superb list of NEW RELEASE books Regency Explorer puts up every month.

My interests, as expressed here at Georgian Gems, Regency Reads & Victorian Voices, often deal with old books re-found, or new diaries presented through websites. But there is no thrill like a book in the hand…

Regency Explorer’s pickings tend to the historical and biographical. Right up my alley – and I hope yours too. Centered a great deal on Europe, most choices are British in some respect; but not all! Some offerings, even, are in languages beyond English. From the rather long list of January 2021 releases, there’s been little delay thanks to covid in getting books to the press. I even see a *new* Jane Austen book of literary criticism that I must check out (for the curious: P.J. Allen, Jane Austen’s Lost Novel: Its Importance for Understanding the Development of her Art).

With Amazon on the brink of getting rid of its easy ADVANCED SEARCH form in favor of “recommendations” (and, often, “sponsored” books that have ABSOLUTELY nothing in common with my search term), lists like these, of new releases, become more and more important.

John Martin of Dorset, diaries

I first came across the diaries of John Martin of Evershot through this 44-page PDF.  Recently expanded into a website all its own, John Martin of Evershot: The Life and Times of a 19th Century Land Surveyor will well-occupy visitors interested in history, in land survey, and in Dorset (especially) and England.

Nine diaries – the first kept in 1810 and the last in 1861 – are remarkable signposts to a man’s lifetime and the times through which he lived.

“Martin’s career may be roughly divided into three unequal sections. Until 1837 it was dominated by inclosure work. Then for a brief spell, less than a decade, he was concerned with the commutation of tithes in the parishes. Finally from 1845 onwards he found himself engaged in a new area of work – the railways, which altered the country more fundamentally than either inclosure or tithe reform could ever do. “

Image from Dorset History Centre’s 2018 “tweet” about the Martin diaries.

Diaries, in themselves, may be deemed “unpromising if not boring”. It takes a careful (and caring) editor to bring the the words and situations to life. “But history is a strange subject, for the present, the here and now, is not yet history whilst it is being lived.

Lady Somerville’s Diaries

Lady Somerville was born Frances “Fanny” Hayman; she married in 1833.

Lady Somerville’s diaries feature her TRAVELS, and such snapshots made so long ago can be highly amusing, informative, and interesting. The diaries illustrate the following places in the 1850s and 1860s:

1854 – Boulogne

1855 – Cowes

1856 – Scarborough

1858 – Cowes

1859 – Ryde

1860 – Weymouth

1861 – “thereafter”

The opening page gives information on the family, as well as on Fanny Hayman’s youth – and mentions the traces of letters girlhood friends left behind! Correspondents included Annabel Crewe – who also corresponded with Ellen Tollet of Betley Hall. One of my favorite books is Ellen’s diary and letters – which now has a companion volume. But more about that at a later date.

The two friends, Annabel and Ellen, were concerned about Fanny Hayman’s upcoming marriage (in 1833), because of the age gap between Fanny and her future husband. The Somervilles ultimately settled in Leamington Spa. It is from there that their travels commenced.

COVID-19 Diaries

Reading a diary from World War II era (yesterday, May 8, 2020 being the 75th anniversary of VE Day), I wondered what other PUBLISHED diaries have been produced from material at the archive of the Mass Observation project in the U.K. I have SEVERAL books and the one I am reading – The View from the Corner Shop, a diary by Kathleen Hey – was edited by the team Patricia and Robert Malcolmson, whose names appear on more than one book jacket.

MASS OBSERVATION: RECORDING EVERYDAY LIFE IN BRITAIN is still an ongoing project!

They are soliciting diaries recording YOUR experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. I only wish _I_ lived in the U.K.

They are also asking people to participate in their 12th of May Diary project (10-year anniversary this year). They call it “Mass-Observation Day-Survey“. I had to smile when I spotted that THIS diarist included, not only WORDS, but also a sunny drawing!

diary with drawing_8yr-old

School groups and community groups are encouraged, but so aren’t individuals. Please consider adding YOUR VOICE to such project(s).

Although I have not lived in such conflicts as World War I or World War II, lives as lived (especially for women) is a GREAT interest of mine. And such words, written from the heart, are exceptionally important for generations to come. Also, such recordings make people realize (in so many ways) the truth of an old adage like, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” As well, the idea that our privations are sometimes light in comparison to the privations of others – whether in nearby states now; or in different lands now and back when. Conversely, sometimes a privation or a danger might locate a glimmer of solace in someone else’s plight that mirrors one’s own.

Boredom Busters: 5 Biographies

In no particular order, except how they came to mind, here are five biographies, diaries, and/or letters that I have found SO engrossing that I never want the reading experience to end. They are all *old* books, so your fingers can search the used book market, thereby creating some online business (perhaps for small retailers). If the coronavirus keeps YOU home, cozy up with these tales of life in other times.

(1) Germaine Greer, Shakespeare’s Wife  (2007)

Greer_Shakespears WifeA consistently engaging narrative, though its foundation is erected upon slim, extant historical evidence. Greer’s prose and knowledge of the time period, the players, and an ability to extrapolate a meaningful conclusion, keep this book not far from my bedside. Although early for my usual tastes, to me, this book shows what a good writer can do with a few choice bits and a winning way with words.

“Anyone steeped in western literary culture must wonder why any woman of spirit would want to be a wife.”

 

 

 

(2) Jean Strouse, Alice James: A Biography  (1980)

Strouse_Alice JamesI am no Henry James fan (although I have a soft spot for The Aspern Papers. What researcher in pursuit of family letters wouldn’t? And I adore the film The Heiress with Olivia de Havilland). His sister’s life, on the other hand entrances me. Alice James had so much going for her, until she sank under the idea of invalidism. Strouse’s words flow like butter, whipping up an irresistible tale of one woman’s life.

“Interesting perceptions are preferable to marketable achievements only when there is enough money to go around.”

 

 

 

 

(3) Avril Pedley (ed), A Georgian Marriage: The Family Papers of Sir Nash & Lady Grose, 1761-1814  (2007)

Pedley_Georgian MarriageOh! to have found such a treasure trove as the correspondence of Nash Grose and Mary Dennett. Editor Avril Pedley, the owner of the letters, tells us, early on, how she came by such an astounding series of letters. The sharp mind of Mary Dennett brings the Georgian era to life. The one book I never wish to finish.

“Pray when did I desire you to keep every scrap of my writing? Never I am sure… tear it, burn it or anything else”

 

 

 

 

 

(4) Susan C. Djabri (ed.), The Diaries of Sarah Hurst, 1759-1762: Life and Love in 18th Century Horsham  (2009)

Djabri_Sarah Hurst

One of the first diaries I truly found to be “a must have”. Sarah Hurst’s diaries cover only a few years, those during which she was parted from her beloved Captain Henry Smith, a marine at war in far-away Canada. Barbara Hurst, a descendant of the diarist’s brother, transcribed the diaries, bringing Sarah out of the shadows. Djabri’s editing only adds to the total package of this fascinating document. A diarist with a unique, compelling voice.

“I had now carried on my affair with Lieutenant Smith for 3 years unknown to my friends tho’ not without great compunction of mind and several efforts to break with him, which however prove ineffectual.”

 

 

(5) Frederick Pottle (ed.), Boswell’s London Journal, 1762-1763  (1950)

boswellThere’s only one James Boswell. And this diary begins it all. I’m pretty sure I found my copy in a long-gone-now secondhand book shop in Rutland (Vermont), Tuttle Antiquarian Books. I seem to remember the shop’s basement level was one of my favorite haunts. Prolific Boswell – ‘friend’ to Dr. Johnson, ‘enemy’ to Mrs. Thrall – lived in a charmed circle of people who left writing behind, be it published works or intimate words.

“The ancient philosopher certainly gave a wise counsel when he said, ‘Know thyself.’ For surely this knowledge is of all the most important.”