August 4, 2015

Cherokee Phoenix, Volume 1, Number 3, March 6, 1828

The Cherokee Phoenix was the first Native American newspaper. The Cherokee syllabary, or alphabet, was invented by Cherokee silversmith Sequoyah (circa 1770−1843) and adopted by the tribal government in 1821. Four years later, the tribal government allocated $1,500 to produce a bilingual newspaper. The Cherokee Phoenix began publication at New Echota (near present-day Calhoun, Georgia) on February 21, 1828. Texts in Cherokee and English were printed side by side. The paper was edited by Cherokee schoolteacher Elias Boudinot (died 1839) with the assistance of missionary Samuel Worcester (1798–1859). Boudinot understood that the issues facing the Cherokees concerned other tribes, and in March 1829, the newspaper’s name became the Cherokee Phoenix, and Indians’ Advocate. At the time, the Cherokees lived in relative prosperity, with solid-frame houses, a well-organized government, and a written constitution. When gold was discovered on Cherokee land, however, the state of Georgia nullified all tribal laws and by 1829 a full gold rush was in progress. White settlers were eager to seize Cherokee land. Following passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Cherokee came under increasing pressure to leave their ancestral lands and move to territories west of the Mississippi River. The newspaper struggled to continue publication as ink and printers became sparse. Boudinot was forced to resign in 1832, and the paper’s final editor was Elijah Hicks. Worcester was imprisoned for refusing to swear an oath of loyalty to the state, but he continued to contribute articles to the Cherokee Phoenix until January 1833, when he was forced to resign from the newspaper and leave Georgia. The last issue of the newspaper appeared on May 31, 1834, shortly before the Georgia militia seized the press. In 1838−39, the Cherokees were forcibly removed to Oklahoma along what became known as the Trail of Tears; an estimated 4,000 members of the tribe died on the forced march. Despite losing a quarter of their population, the Cherokee soon began publishing another newspaper, the Cherokee Advocate. Presented here are 82 issues of the Cherokee Phoenix and the Cherokee Phoenix, and Indians’ Advocate, published between 1828 and 1834.
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August 19, 2015

Frederick the Great's "The Works of the Philosopher of Sans Souci." Volumes I-III

The three-volume edition of selected works by Frederick II, King of Prussia, printed in 1749−50, was the first product of Frederick’s private printing press at the palace of Sanssouci. The king entitled the edition, the contents of which were entirely in French, Oeuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci (The works of the philosopher of Sans Souci). (Sanssouci was the name of the summer palace that Frederick had built just outside Berlin in 1745−47.) Volume one contains the burlesque heroic epic Le Palladion, which was written as a carnival jest and was to remain an absolute secret because of its harsh satire directed at Frederick’s contemporaries and at the Christian religion. Only 24 copies were produced. The first printing of Le Palladion was completed in the summer of 1749, but it was so flawed that the king had a revised edition, which he himself edited, printed in January 1750, also in 24 copies. Of the 1749 edition only a single, now-lost, copy is known to have survived. The second and third volumes of the Oeuvres each were produced in 40 copies. Volume two contains eight odes and 16 poems known as épîtres (missives). Volume three contains another ten épîtres, 11 letters (mainly addressed to Voltaire), and three prose pieces. The private printing press of the king continued to produce extremely rare examples of 18th-century book arts up to 1752. These works, designed in a way that was true to style of the "philosopher of Sanssouci," created a suitable framework for Frederick’s poetic and literary-historiographical works.

Frederick the Great's "The Works of the Philosopher of Sans Souci." Volume I

The three-volume edition of selected works by Frederick II, King of Prussia, printed in 1749−50, was the first product of Frederick’s private printing press at the palace of Sanssouci. The king entitled the edition, the contents of which were entirely in French, Oeuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci (The works of the philosopher of Sans Souci). (Sanssouci was the name of the summer palace that Frederick had built just outside Berlin in 1745−47.) Volume one contained the burlesque heroic epic Le Palladion, which was written as a carnival jest and was to remain an absolute secret because of its harsh satire directed at Frederick’s contemporaries and at the Christian religion; only 24 copies were produced. After Voltaire (1694−1778) arrived in Potsdam in July 1750, he was given the second and third volumes of the Oeuvres from 1750 for editing (although not the first volume with Le Palladion). Frederick then had a new first volume of the Oeuvres printed at the Sanssouci press. It contains the eight odes and the 16 poems known as épîtres, or missives, from the second volume of 1750, edited and proofread by Voltaire. It also includes additional odes (one of them addressed to Voltaire) and épîtres as well as the first printing of Frederick's "L’art de la guerre," a poem in six cantos, together with etchings by Georg Friedrich Schmidt designed according to drafts by Blaise Nicolas Le Sueur.

Memoirs of the House of Brandenburg

Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire de la maison de Brandebourg (Memoirs of the House of Brandenburg) is a history of the Brandenburg Dynasty by Frederick II, King of Prussia, himself a member of that dynasty. It was read at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1747−48 and published in three installments. Shown here is the first complete printing of the work, which dates from 1751. It was produced at Frederick’s private press at the palace of Sanssouci, near Berlin. It was considered as the fourth volume of Frederick’s Oeuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci (The works of the philosopher of Sans Souci), although it did not appear under that title. The overall appearance of the edition corresponds closely to that of the Oeuvres. The artist Georg Friedrich Schmidt independently created, from design to implementation, the three initial vignettes as well as the frontispiece, which uses a more professionally designed "Veritas" than the one that appears in Le Palladion (the first volume of the 1749−50 edition of the Oeuvres). The sketches for the remaining vignettes were provided by the French painter Blaise Nicolas Le Sueur.

The Akathist Hymn for Saint Barbara

Akafist Sviatieĭ velikomuchenitsie Varvarie (The Akathist hymn for Saint Barbara) honors the Holy Great Martyr Barbara of Heliopolis (died 305), whose relics were transferred from Constantinople to Kiev early in the 12th century and have been kept there ever since. She is regarded as the saint who protects against sudden, unexpected death; her feast day is December 4. The hymn was printed for the first time at the press of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, also called the Monastery of the Kiev Caves, in the late 17th century. According to historian and bishop, Evgenii Bolkhovitinov, the hymn was written by Metropolitan Bishop of Kiev Ioasaf Krokovskii, who is also known for his work in 1702 on the Kievan Cave Patericon. Another edition of the hymn is known from the printing press in Mogilev (1698). Akafist Sviatieĭ velikomuchenitsie Varvarie was printed about 20 times during the 18th century in Kiev and was very popular with Eastern Orthodox believers. This edition of 1788 is a reprint from the Kievan edition and was produced in the printing press of the Holy Dormition Lavra in Pochayiv, probably to serve the needs of the Old Believers living in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Map of the Island of Newfoundland, 1689

This nautical map of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence was drawn in 1689 by the Basque cartographer Pierre Detcheverry at Plaisance (present-day Placentia, Newfoundland, Canada), the French capital of Newfoundland, for Governor Antoine Parat. It contains many place-names in the Basque language and details the many anchorages along the coast between Newfoundland and Tadoussac (present-day Quebec). Along with the Portuguese, the Basques were early arrivals to the fishing grounds off the coast of Newfoundland. They began whaling and fishing for cod in these waters around 1525. Their method was to sail to North America in the spring and to return to their homeports in the Bay of Biscay in December or January, when ice conditions in the North Atlantic worsened. By the late 17th century, when this map was made, French fishermen and sailors, many of them Basques, had been plying these waters for more than 150 years. The scale is given in lieus (leagues), an old French measurement that varied by degrees and time; very approximately, one lieu = three kilometers. The map is from the Navy Hydrographic Office Collection in the National Library of France, which was deposited in the library in several stages between 1942 and 1965. The collection derives from the French navy’s General Repository of Maps and Plans, Journals and Memoirs, which was established by King Louis XV in 1720 in order to collect the documentation needed to produce reliable nautical maps.