Monthly Archives: September 2012

Year 30

1917: Tacoma Washington, 1917. An epitome of its resources and its special attractions to tourists

Author/Editor: Tacoma Daily News

Find it in Collins Library!

Tacoma had an important role to play in 1917 when its lumber supplied shipyards and Camp Lewis was established (which later became Fort Lewis and then Joint Base Lewis McChord).  Clearly proud of its accomplishments, the City wanted to promote itself as a destination for the discerning traveler.

This volume is ripe with pictures of old Tacoma.  It includes pictures of the College of Puget Sound in its previous location, architectural gems still visible in the city, and illustration of industries of the time.  It refers to Mount Rainier as Mount Tacoma,

The book refers to Mount Rainier as Mount Tacoma, which illustrates a controversy over the name of the mountain, even though the United States Board on Geographic Names officially approved the name “Rainier” in 1890. As might be expected, the city of Tacoma was a proponent of the Mt. Tacoma version.

Year 31

1918: The Elements of Style

Author/Editor: William Strunk & E. B. White

Find it in Collins Library!

Strunk & White’s Elements of Style was written in 1918 for in-house use at Cornell, where E.B. White encountered it in composition class the following year. Years later, in 1957, White revised it for MacMillan, which created the now-iconic Strunk & White. Since 1957, many students have found themselves assigned the little book.

The little book was my introduction to the idea that there is such a thing as writing style. While I can’t claim to follow all the elements of style, I can claim to aspire to them. I’m always reminded of Strunk & White when I revise what I’ve written and am pained to omit needless words. In this paragraph, for example, I’ve only managed to dispose of four, but that’s four better than it might have been.

The Elements of Style has been criticized as excessively prescriptive and sometimes lacking in grammatical foundation. These are fair criticisms, but I think it has a lasting impact because, as Strunk noticed,

“the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in that sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation.”

When we know the rules, we can deploy them strategically.

Year 32

1919: The Anti-Slavery Crusade

Author/Editor: Jesse Macy

Find it in the Library!

Jesse Macy (June 21, 1842 – November 2, 1919) was an political scientist and historian. The Anti-Slavery Crusade is part of a series of fifty volumes called the Chronicles of America (available freely online).  Originally printed in 1918, the volumes were written by historians of the time about various aspects of American History. Since the copyright has expired, some of the volumes are freely available in electronic form. In 1923, Yale decided to create a series of films based on the books. Fifteen films were ultimately produced.

Year 33

1920: Tacoma Invites You, Summer and Fall Tours


Find it in Collins Library!

Touting the beauty and attractions of Tacoma and the Puget Sound region, Summer and Fall Tours: Tacoma Invites You provides a snapshot of a growing community and local industry. Contemporary political topics are hinted at, such as the Mount Rainier/Mount Tacoma name controversy, with the author declaring, “…but what care we: To Tacomans, in whose dooryard lies this wondrous work of nature, it will ever be Mount Tacoma.”

In the poetic introduction, C. E. Stevens sums up the message of the entire brochure: “When from out of chaos nature formed and shaped the earth she had in vision two wondrous creations: One, the Garden of Eden – Paradise Lost; The other, Puget Sound, the Garden of the Gods – Paradise regained.”

Year 34

1921: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Author/Editor: Ludwig Wittgenstein

Find it in Collins Library!

English translation of Wittegenstein’s book by D. F. Pears & B. F. McGuinness.

This is Wittgenstein’s only full book published in his lifetime. After writing it during WWI, and publishing it in 1921, Wittgenstein concluded that all philosophical problems were resolved.

It was a powerful influence on the Vienna Circle, who used it to develop logical positivism (which Wittgenstein felt was based on a fundamental misreading of his thoughts).

Logical positivism, whatever, Wittgenstein thought of it, spread widely in the world of Western thought. One strand of it, that only scientific knowledge can represent factual knowledge, has been particularly influential—both in inflecting what is known to be knowable and as a position against which many current approaches

Year 35

1922: Ulysses

Author/Editor: James Joyce

Find it in Collins Library!

Ulysses is an eighteen-part novel, originally published as a series in The Little Review, following the events of a single day in Dublin. There are strong parallels and allusions to Homer’s Odyssey, with the main character Leopold Bloom acting the part of Odysseus. Full of humor and a “stream-of-consciousness” style, this work has been referred to as one of the most important works of Modernist literature.

Year 36

1923: New Hampshire

Author/Editor: Robert Frost

Find it in Collins Library!

Robert Frost’s 4th book of poetry, is dedicated to Vermont and Michigan and contains woodcuts by J.J. Lankes.  The volume contains many of Frost’s best loved poems including

Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening, A Star in a Stone-Boat, and Looking for a Sunset bird in winter.  Our copy is inscribed with lovely handwriting reminiscent of the period:

“This book having been given to me for Christmas 1928 and already having had another copy, I now this 8th day of August 1929 donate the same with love to Erma herself.  Laura.”

Frost won his first Pulitzer Prize for this collection of 44 poems.  J.J. Lanke’s woodcuts are included throughout this slim volume and capture the spirit of Frost’s poems. Frost was born in 1874 and lived until 1963 and is known as one of the country’s most beloved poets.

This broadside, A Mood apart,  is from the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress and is just one of hundreds of primary source documents about Robert Frost.  Visit the Memory Project to learn more!

Year 37

1924: The Diary of a Dude Wrangler

Author/Editor: Maxwell Struthers Burt

Find it in Collins Library!

To be honest, the title of this book caught our eye.  Just what is a Dude Wrangler and what would his  diary reveal?  Published in 1924 and written by Struthers Burt, this book is dedicated to all the dudes, cow-punchers, ranchers and horses the author has met.  ( by the way, a cow-puncher is another term for a cowboy!)

Struthers Burt was a noted writer  and rancher that lived in the early twentieth century. He taught writing at Princeton University.  His personal papers are located at Princeton University and the collection includes various copies of some of Burt’s own works, correspondence with family and friends from his days at Princeton University, and assorted materials about his family and genealogy.

Image courtesy of Princeton University Archives:

The Last paragraph from the book is quite poignant when read in the context of our environment in 2012:

“I have said that the old West is still there, and so it is, and I have said that in many places it will continue to exist, and that is true, also, but I am afraid for my own country unless some help is given it – some wise direction.  It is too beautiful and now too famous.  Sometimes I dream of it unhappily.  And when my blood sirs in my dreams I think that somewhere the blood of my uncle and my great-grandfather must be stirring, too.

Year 38

1925: The Great Gatsby

Author/Editor: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Find it in Collins Library!

The Great Gatsby portrays a group of wealthy New Yorkers in the 1920’s and their romantic escapades. Distinction is made between “old” money and “new” money, a result of the booming economy and growth of self-made industrialists. Relevant topics to the time period such as prohibition, decreasing morality as a result of increased materialism, and post-World War I cynicism are expressed, as Fitzgerald seems to yearn for a more wholesome American society.

Fitzgerald died before The Great Gatsby became immensely popular, but he has been credited with being the 1920’s most famous chronicler and, indeed, with dubbing the era as “The Jazz Age”.

Year 39

1926: The Sun Also Rises

Author/Editor: Ernest Hemmingway

Find it in Collins Library!

An example of Hemmingway’s early work, The Sun Also Rises (titled Fiesta in the UK) follows members of the ‘lost generation’ living in Paris during the interwar period. Topics include drinking, writing, loving, drinking, traveling, drinking, bicycle racing, drinking and bullfighting. And drinking.

Both romantic and modern , this novel isn’t an accurate history by any means, but manages to capture a spirit of the time.