"The natural highways of all nations": Celebrating National Rivers Month

Illustrations of the Missisippi River

Each June, the nonprofit waterway protection and restoration group American Rivers sponsors National Rivers Month to spotlight the more than 250,000 rivers and streams throughout the U.S. Approaching the celebration from a literary angle, today's post shares 18th and 19th century descriptions of river journeys. Read on to see America’s rivers through the eyes of John Bartram, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain.

Fairy Tale Fridays: The Water-Babies

Frontispiece. Water babies playing in the ocean with sea creatures

Although largely forgotten today,The Water-Babies was once one of the most popular Victorian literary fairy tales. Charles Kingsley's imaginative tour de force leaps from realistic adventure, to fantastical exploration of aquatic biology, to an imaginary voyage in the tradition of Gulliver’s Travels.

June Recipe of the Month: Lemon Cake

The words “Choice Recipes” with an ornate red capital R

This month’s recipe is a lemon cake from Culinary gems : a collection of choice recipes gathered with care from the treasures of culinary experts, published in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1884. Lemon was an extremely common flavor for desserts and pastries in the 19th century -- almost the default neutral flavor, the way vanilla is now. Although vanilla was known in Europe as a flavoring by the 16th century (there’s an article on it in Diderot’s Encyclopédie of 1765) and a commercial extract...

Top Played Played During the Month of May

Here is our Top 10 list of popular games for this past month. A game beats FIFA in the ranking for the first time in ages, and Smash rises in the ranks (probably students celebrating the fact that we allow it every day during the Spring and Summer). We'll probably see more classic games making the list as well, as students vow over the Summer to finish "that old game I always wanted to get through but never had time for."

Beyond Google Books: Getting Locally-Digitized Material into HathiTrust

Page from early printed edition of Dante's Divine Comedy with an elaborate border and capital N.

HathiTrust started out with only content digitized by Google, but a goal from early on was to support digitized book material from a variety of sources. One early effort provided a toolkit to partners for preparing content, but which turned out to require more technical effort than was reasonable. We rethought our approach and simplified the requirements for partners while maintaining the same high quality standards for HathiTrust.

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