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Lantern Slides of Norway (ca.1910)

Monday 29 April 2013 at 17:27

A selection from a collection of early 20th century lantern slides held at the Fylkesarkivet of Sogn og Fjordane, a county in the west of Norway. The slides are produced by at least two British photographers – professional photographer Samuel J. Beckett and amateur photographer P. Heywood Hadfield, who was a ship’s surgeon employed by the Orient Steam Navigation Company. Hadfield produced several illustrated books from his travels, including With an Ocean Liner (Orient Co’s S.S. “Ophir”) through the Fiords of Norway. A Photographic Memento of a Fortnight’s Cruising, published in several editions by the London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co. Ltd in the early 1900s. Beckett also produced a book on Norway The Fjords and Folk of Norway, first published in 1915 by Methuen & Co. Ltd. Learn more about Lantern Slides here. (All images taken from the Flickr Commons collection of the Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane. Visit for higher resolution images and for more details on each photograph). HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project and we rely on support from our readers to stay afloat. If you like what we do then please do consider making a donation. We welcome all [...]


Bifurcated Girls: Vanity Fair Special Issue (1903)

Friday 26 April 2013 at 17:16

Not the same Vanity Fair of current fame, this was a version published by The Commonwealth Publishing Company of New York City, incorporated in February 1902 but which went bankrupt in April 1904. “Vanity Fair” has been the title for at least 5 magazines, and as a phrase became popular through John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress where it was the name for Beelzebub’s dominion, and later also as the title of William Thackeray’s 1848 novel. Dian Hansen in the first volume of her History of Men’s Magazines (Taschen, 2004) discusses the “Bifurcated Girls” special issue and argues that this particular incarnation of Vanity Fair can be seen as the origin of the American girlie magazine: While France had a well-established men’s magazine industry by 1900, America was just showing its ankles in 1903. A magazine called Vanity Fair (unrelated to the current incarnation) was the raciest thing around, and rooming house loozies the hotties of the time. In this New York, tabloid girls who drank like men might strip down to their petticoats and fall into bed together, exposing their corset cover and stockings to peeping male boarders. The famously loose morals of stage actresses made them popular subjects for these [...]


Texts in Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn

Tuesday 23 April 2013 at 15:44

At the time of his death in 2001 at the age of 57, the German writer W.G. Sebald was cited by many critics as a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. It was his book The Rings of Saturn, written in 1995 (translated into English in 1998), which went a long way to securing Sebald’s reputation as a writer pioneering a new kind of literary fiction. The book is exemplary of his strange and unique style: the hybridity of genres, the blurring of fact and fiction, the indistinct black and white photographs, and his meditation on the destructive nature of history, the human lives affected, and the restorative power of art. The book is, on one level, a walking tour through the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, Sebald’s adopted home (he’d taught literature at the UEA there since 1970). The reader moves with the melancholic narrator from town to town, village to village, but in the process – through an astonishing network of associations, tangents, and apparent coincidences – one is led all over the world, into many different times, and many different lives. A ride on a miniature railway at Somerleyton Hall leads to 19th century [...]


Jelly Roll Morton (1927)

Friday 19 April 2013 at 18:04

A compilation of Jelly Roll Morton’s classic Chicago “Red Hot Peppers” sessions, recorded in 1926-27. Jelly Roll Morton – ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer from New Orleans, Louisiana – started out his musical career playing brothels as a teenager, then toured the American South as part of a minstrel show, before settling in Chicago where he started to write songs. Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton is perhaps most notable as jazz’s first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential spirit and characteristics when notated. In 1915, his composition “Jelly Roll Blues” became the first ever published jazz composition. Morton is also notable for naming and popularizing the “Spanish tinge” (habanera rhythm and tresillo), and for writing such standards as “Wolverine Blues”, “Black Bottom Stomp”, and “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say”, the latter a tribute to New Orleans personalities from the turn of the 19th century to 20th century. (Wikipedia) MP3 Download Internet Archive Link Some songs, if not composed by Jelly Roll Morton, may still be under copyright in certain places. Please check status in your jurisdiction before re-using. HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The [...]


Vesalius and the Body Metaphor

Thursday 18 April 2013 at 16:12

City streets, a winepress, pulleys, spinning tops, a ray fish, curdled milk: just a…


Illustrations from a Victorian book on Magic (1897)

Wednesday 17 April 2013 at 18:02

Selected images from a massive late 19th century tome entitled simply Magic, subtitled Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions, including Trick Photography, compiled and edited by Albert A. Hopkins. The book takes a thorough tour through the popular magic tricks and illusions of the day, including along the way many delightfully surreal diagrams and illustrations, the top pick of which we’ve included here – often especially great when seen out of context. Towards the end are some particularly great “decapitation” trick photographs. See the book, with explanatory text and many more illustrations over in our post in the Texts collection. Housed at: Internet Archive | From: California Digital Library Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project and we rely on support from our readers to stay afloat. If you like what we do then please do consider making a donation. We welcome all contributions, big or small - everything helps! Become a Patron Small angel : £3.00 GBP - monthly Medium sized hero : £5.00 GBP - monthly Large emperor : £10.00 GBP [...]


Magic: stage illusions and scientific diversions, including trick photography (1897)

Wednesday 17 April 2013 at 18:02

Magic: stage illusions and scientific diversions, including trick photography, compiled and edited by Albert A. Hopkins, with an introduction by Henry Ridgely Evans; 1897; Low, London. A massive late 19th century book on magic and stage illusions including a section on trick photography. The book includes more than 400 (mostly) magnificently surreal illustrations and explanatory diagrams, a select few of which you can see over in our post in the Images collection. The book is housed at the Internet Archive, contributed by the California Digital Library. HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project and we rely on support from our readers to stay afloat. If you like what we do then please do consider making a donation. We welcome all contributions, big or small - everything helps! Become a Patron Small angel : £3.00 GBP - monthly Medium sized hero : £5.00 GBP - monthly Large emperor : £10.00 GBP - monthly Vast deity : £20.00 GBP - monthly Make a one off Donation SIGN UP TO THE NEWSLETTER Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the [...]


The Accidents of Youth (1819)

Monday 15 April 2013 at 17:27

The Accidents of Youth, consisting of short histories, calculated to improve the moral conduct of children, and warn them of the many dangers to which they are exposed : illustrated by engravings; 1819; Jas. W. and Chas. Adlard, London. Through a series of short stories and wonderful engravings, this book is aimed at keeping young people out of trouble and “calculated to improve [their] moral conduct”. As the author declares in his/her brilliantly earnest preface addressed to the child reader of the book: My Dear Children, The inexperience and thoughtlessness natural at your age exposes you to many dangers : I have therefore pointed out some of them in this book, which contains several instructive little histories, in which you will behold the misfortunes that arise from disobedience and want of thought. When your parents desire you not to climb upon the chairs, or touch the fire, or play with knives, or pins, it is not because they wish to prevent you amusing yourselves ; they are only anxious to keep you from harm. If you were allowed to do whatever you pleased, many accidents would happen through your own indiscretion : for instance, when climbing on the furniture you [...]


Radical Fashion from the Schembart Carnival (1590)

Thursday 11 April 2013 at 18:54

Illustrations from a 16th century manuscript detailing the phenomenon of Nuremberg’s Schembart Carnival, (literally “bearded-mask” carnival). Beginning in 1449, the event was popular throughout the 15th century but was ended in 1539 due to the complaints of an influential preacher named Osiander who objected to his effigy being paraded on a float, depicting him playing backgammon surrounded by fools and devils. According to legend, the carnival had its roots in a dance (a “Zämertanz”) which the butchers of Nuremberg were given permission to hold by the Emperor as a reward for their loyalty amid a trade guild rebellion. Over the years the event took on a more subversive tone, evolving to let others take part with elaborate costumes displayed and large ships on runners, known as “Hells”, which were paraded through the streets. After its end, many richly illustrated manuscripts (known as “Schembartbücher”) were made detailing the carnival’s 90 year existence. We are unsure what the flaming “artichokes” are all about, if any one has a clue do let us know in the comments! *UPDATE* solved – according to Christies: “They brandished lances and bunches of leaves – known as Lebensrute — that concealed fireworks.” UCLA Digital Library Underlying Work: [...]


The Hasheesh Eater (1857)

Tuesday 9 April 2013 at 16:28

The Hasheesh Eater: being passages from the life of a Pythagorean, by Fitz Hugh Ludlow; 1857; Harper & Bros., New York. The Hasheesh Eater: being passages from the life of a Pythagorean is an autobiographical book by the American novelist and journalist Fitz Hugh Ludlow in which he describes his altered states of consciousness and philosophical flights of fancy while using a cannabis extract. Many pages are given over to detailed and elaborate descriptions of the visions he underwent after ingesting the drug. He also curiously talks of the perils of severe addiction although such a thing is not normally associated with cannabis use (some put this down to an overactive wish to align himself with his hero Thomas De Quincey and his experience with opium). The book was very popular on its publication in 1857 and led to great interest in the drug it described. Not long after its publication, the Gunjah Wallah Co. in New York began advertising “Hasheesh Candy”: The Arabian “Gunjh” of Enchantment confectionized. — A most pleasurable and harmless stimulant. — Cures Nervousness, Weakness, Melancholy, &c. Inspires all classes with new life and energy. A complete mental and physical invigorator. Cult figure Terence McKenna would [...]