Monthly Archives: September 2012

Year 10

1897: From the Land of the Snow Pearls

Author/Editor: Ella Higginson

Find it in Collins Library!

The title of this book:  From the Land of the Snow-Pearls:  Tales from Puget Sound is so enchanting who could resist further exploration.  The book is a collection of short stories that reflect the natural beauty of the area and a statement from the frontispiece of the book says it best:

Puget Sound lies in its emerald setting like a great blue sapphire, which at sunset, draws to its breast all the marvelous and splendid coloring of the fire-opal.  Around it, shining through their rose-colored mists like pearls upon the soft blue or green of the sky, are linked the great snow-mountains, so beautiful and so dear, that those who love this land with a proud and passionate love, have come to think of it, fondly and poetically, as “the land of the snow-pearls.”

The front cover of the book is decorated in gold with a beautiful four leaf clover.

The author Ella Higginson’s papers are located in the Western Washington University
Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.

A short biographical statement from the web site is as follows:

“Northwest poet and writer Ella Higginson (1861-1940) was born Ella Rhoads in Council Grove, Kansas. She moved to Oregon with her parents as an infant, spending her youth in Portland and Oregon City. She attended public school in Oregon, and also received private lessons from Oxford trained S.D. Pope, then one of the most renowned educators on the West coast.In 1885, Ella married Russell C. Higginson (1852-1909) in Portland Oregon. The couple moved to Bellingham, Washington (then the town of Sehome) in 1888, where they opened a drug store on Elk Street. It was during this period that Higginson’s writing career began to flourish, with her poetry and short stories published nationally by journals including McClures, Harper’s Monthly, and Colliers. Her best known work, a poem entitled “Four Leaf Clover,” was first published by West Shore Magazine in 1890. Higginson’s novels and collections of short stories include Mariella-Of-Out-West, Alaska the Great Country, The Flower that Grew in the Sand, From the Land of Snow Pearls, and The Forest Orchid and Other Stories. In June 1931, she was made poet laureate of Washington State.”

Year 11

1898: The War of the Worlds

Author/Editor: H. G. Wells, Martin A. Danahay

Find it at Collins Library!

H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds is perhaps the first alien invasion story ever.

War of the Worlds continued to have an effect on the 20th century. In 1938, Orson Welles adapted the book to be a radio play narrated as a series of news bulletins, which caused mass hysteria when listeners came to believe that the play was narrating actual events. Later references range from comics like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, to TV shows, to radio re-adaptations, to feature films.  If you’ve enjoyed an alien invasion movie, book, or play…you’ve probably got something to thank Wells for.

Year 12

1899: Hours in the Library

Author/Editor: Leslie Stephen

Find it in Collins Library!

The author, Sir Leslie Stephen, was an English author, critic and mountaineer, and the father of author Virginia Woolf (see her entry in this project) and artist Vanessa Bell.
A literacy critic of his time, this book comprises of collected essays of the author.  In the introduction to the essay’s the author includes a section, “opinions of Authors”. Here are just a few of his selections:

In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends imprisoned by an enchanter in paper and leathern boxes.
-Emerson, “Books,” Society and Solitude

I will bury myself in my books and the devil may pipe to his own.

Words! Words! Words!

In this book he provides reviews of the writing of Daniel Defoe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sir Thomas Browne, Horace Walpole and Sir Walter Scott.
Sir Leslie was also the editor of the landmark publication Dictionary of National Biography. This landmark publication, first published, in 1885 was a  biographical reference for deceased persons notable in British history.  This type of publication was essential for researchers in the era before the Internet, and is still very important today!

Pictured, Sir Leslie Stephen with his daughter Virginia Woolf, courtesy of the Virginia Woolf blog, University of Virginia.

Year 13

1900: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Author: L. Frank Baum

Find it in Collins Library!

Baum set out to write a fairy tale for children that was specifically American, not European.  His work became popular immediately and the characters, tropes and phrases that he created remain recognizable to most Americans today, even if they have not read the book.  Munchkins, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Yellow Brick Road continue to form part of our common cultural vocabulary.

To learn more about this great book and author, visit the Library of Congress exhibit on Oz.

“The Tin Man.”
Poster for Fred R. Hamlin’s Musical Extravaganza,
The Wizard of Oz.
Cincinnati and New York:
U.S. Lithograph Company,
Russell Morgan Print, 1903.
Prints and Photographs Division (28)

Image from:

Year 14

1901: Harriet Tubman, the Moses of Her People

Author/Editor: Sarah Bradford

Find it in Collins Library!

Harriet, the Moses of her People is a biography of Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist and prominent figure in the Underground Railroad and the Civil War. This work was privately funded by the author, Sarah H. Bradford, and the proceeds went directly to Tubman. While Bradford has been said to use some poetic license in depicting Tubman’s strength, cleverness, and other characteristics, this work has been celebrated as a vivid description of the life of Harriet Tubman, and a primary source showing how she was represented in the years after the repeal of slavery.

Year 15

1902: The Hound of Baskervilles

Editor/Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Find it in Collins Library!

After having killed off the popular detective Sherlock Holmes and effectively ending the series, The Hound of the Baskervilles marks Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s return to the Holmes storyline. The story follows the characteristic Sherlock Holmes crime pattern, introducing several mysterious characters and seemingly ambiguous clues that Holmes, using his powers of observation and deduction, unravels to come to a dramatic conclusion.

Baskervilles is arguably Doyle’s most literary work. It is also one of the most well-known Sherlock Holmes mysteries, undoubtedly due to its many iterations on radio, television, and movies. One needs to think only of the Scooby Doo cartoons to see the influence of the Sherlock Holmes method of deductive reasoning based on a series of clues and the use of a monster to scare away those “pesky kids” who would try to solve the mystery!

Year 16

1903: History of Egypt

Author/Editor: G. Maspero

Find it in Collins Library!

This book caught our eye as it is part of a multi-volume set that stands out in the stacks due to the binding.  Bound in leather with gilt lettering, each volume in this series contains a colored photo lithographic frontispiece.  The small pyramid on the spine is a delightful design element.  1,000 copies of this publication were printed for England and American and Puget Sound has no.98.  The text and illustrations offer a snapshot of Egyptian culture depicting writing, painting, sculpture, as well as plans of the ancient cities and maps of historic sites and diagrams of tombs.  This text of this book is also available online through the Internet Archive and thanks to the Clermont Colleges Digital Library we can access a biography of one of the authors.

Year 17

1904: The History of the Standard Oil Company

Author/Editor: Ida M. Tarbell

Find it in Collins Library!

Image courtesy of Biography Resource Center

This book, by Ida M. Tarbell, was listed as No. 5 in a 1999 list by New York University of the top 100 works of 20th-century American journalism.  She is widely known as one of the best journalists of her time.  A graduate of Allegheny College, Tarbell’s work sets the standard for investigative journalism with her remarkable research and fact-checking still a benchmark in 2013.

This publication is one of the great examples of the muckrakers of journalism.  The term muckraker refers to reform-minded journalists who wrote largely for popular magazines, continued a tradition of investigative journalism.  McClure’s magazine supported the work of Tarbell and the Standard Oil reports were originally published in the McClure’s magazine.

Year 18

1905: The House of Mirth

Author/Editor: Edith Wharton

Find it in Collins Library!

Originally published as a serial run in Scribner’s Magazine from January through November 1905,  The House of Mirth was published on October 14, 1905, by Charles Scribner’s Son’s. The novel follows Lily Bart, a beautiful young woman on the hunt for a rich husband, as she experiences the social scene and eventually suffers from its harshness.  The book remained on the bestseller list for 1906 and sold over 140,000 copies. Critics applauded the book for providing insights into how even the privileged suffer in a male dominated society.

Wharton was the author of more than 40 volumes including novels, short stories, poetry and non-fiction. In 1923 she became the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Yale.

Learn more about her by visiting the  Edith Wharton Society website maintained by Washington State University.

Picture courtesy of the Edith Wharton Society website.

Year 19

1906: The Jungle

Author/Editor: Upton Sinclair

Find it in Collins Library!

Originally written to illustrate the life of a Lithuanian immigrant, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle became more well-known for its depiction of the unsanitary and unsafe practices of the meatpacking industry. Descriptions of horrors such as workers falling into the grinding machines and being sold as lard resulted in public outcry for government intervention and regulation of food production. This work became associated with other works aimed to expose corruption or exploitation to the public and Sinclair became known as a “yellow journalist” or, as Theodore Roosevelt coined, a “muckraker”.

As a direct consequence of public pressure resulting from The Jungle, the United States government became involved in the regulation of the food industry and still is today.