This blog will be on hiatus for a while as I have been called to jury duty. But a brief summary of the past weeks is in order.
The most interesting news is in regard to the online presence of my dissertation. It has been noticed. My dissertation is now cited on Wikipedia in the entry for Harriet Beecher Stowe. To my skeptical colleague Brett Barney I protest that I am not the one who edited Wikipedia.
My dissertation was also cited on eBay by a seller of 26 issues of the National Era with Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I did not have enough money for a competitive bid. The Nebraska library did not either. I also contacted the Stowe Center. They bid but were not able to secure the issues.
I hope that these issues were purchased by a collector who keeps them as a set and eventually donates them (or makes them available for purchase) by a research library. The issues are extremely rare. The seller proved it with my dissertation research. I believe that it is fair to say that one of the first careful readers of my dissertation was able to profit from it. The set went, as I recall now, a month later, for a little over $1700.00.
I have nothing negative to say about the profit motive in the book and antique newspaper trade. I merely hope that items so rare and so important in the cultural heritage can be preserved for posterity and eventually be deposited in a cultural institution that is interested in preservation.