The Original French Zouaves: A Novel Military Entertainment

(The Charleston Mercury, November 21, 1861) The body of original French Zouaves, whose wonderful exhibitions of feats in gymnastics, the bayonet exercise and light infantry drill, have been so popular in New Orleans and other Western cities, are soon to pay a visit to Charleston.

These are some of those gay and gallant Soldiers of the Crimea, who instituted a theatre on the battle field, and during many of their representations were attacked by the Russians, and who, leaving the performance unfinished – even dressed in female attire – seized their carbines, assisted to repel the assailants.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

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The Revolution: Notes About Women (December 1870)

In addition to it the original writing, The Revolution sometimes included what we now call a Listicle where they shared short items picked up from other papers or in letters written to the editors.

Some items were just relayed while others have a little editorial comment added. Those comments are in italics below.

Notes About Women

  • · “Feminary” is a new Western expression for female seminary.
  • · For the first time in thirty years the New Haven county jail is without a female prisoner.
  • · A charming girl in Covington, Ky., last week, giggled to the extent of dislocating her lower jaw.
  • · Mary Louise Boree is the first purely African girl whom the New Orleans schools have graduated as a teacher.
  • · New York young ladies are forming “walking clubs,” for the purpose of walking eight or ten miles a day.
  • · A German woman living at Batavia, N. Y., has this fall husked with her own hands over three hundred bushels of corn.
  • · Here is a specimen of wood-craft: “Miss Caroline Wood, of Iowa, has reclaimed 160 acres of wild prairie land, and has planted 200 fruit and 4,000 maple trees, all with her own hands.
  • · “A girl who has lost her beau may as well hang up her fiddle.” Yes, poor soul; there is nothing for her to hope for now, this side the grave. [Sarcastic humor was a hallmark of some Suffrage paper
    editors.] (more…)
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The Sagacity of Dogs (1857)

(Provincial Freeman – January 31, 1857) Among the many curious, yet well authenticated anecdotes, illustrating the wonderful sagacity of reasoning powers of the canine race, the following deserves a place:

A large New Foundland dog belonged to the captain of a ship engaged in the trade between Nova Scotia and Greenock. On one occasion, the captain brought from Halifax a beautiful, cat which formed a particular acquaintance with Rover; and these two animals of such different natures were almost inseparable during the passage.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

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Halloween in Scotland (1904)

Two of our collections – Godey’s Lady’s Book and Frank Leslie’s Weeklycontain many travelogue articles from all over the world. Many of the later articles contain early photos or illustrations of the scenes described by the travel writers.

The description of Halloween in Scotland below appeared as part of a longer travel piece titled Scotland the Playground of Royalty and Americans by Gilson Willets, special correspondent for Leslie’s Weekly. The description of how Halloween in Scotland contrasts with Halloween in America caught my eye.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

Halloween Customs in Scotland

All Scotland is preparing even now for All Halloween . People are being invited for house parties where, on the first of November, all the customs of Halloween known in the United States, and many that are not known there, will be observed here. For this is the place where the custom of celebrating Halloween originated, and where the evening was given its name. Superstitious Scotchmen still believe that to be the night on which the invisible world has peculiar power. His satanic majesty and witches generally are supposed to have great latitude on this anniversary. (more…)

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Modern Marriages as seen in 1859

Among the many strange things which we meet with in life, nothing is stranger than the way in which some people talk about marriage. They regard it as a speculation which may be good or bad— as a game to be played which requires sagacity and skill— as a question of position— as a marketable commodity— as something by which wealth is to be secured— as a mutual compact for material aggrandizement— sometimes for the building up of a family, sometimes for the extension of a trade.

Listen to a few of the phrases current in society, which will serve to prove our assertion. “She has played her cards well,” exclaims one. “What a capital hit! who could have ever expected her to be so fortunate?” says another. “A good connection, indeed: he is likely to be a rich man before long,” is the remark of a third; or, on the other side, one hears, “What a fool the girl was to throw herself away so!” “How could she refuse such an offer? She would have been well settled, for life.”

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.


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