Melville and the Mill Girls

Hey all, my pal Kassie Baron just publishes a short blog post about women’s mill work and its connection to Herman Melville’s “Tartarus of Maids.” It dovetails nicely from our conversations with Graham Thompson and elsewhere about labor and literary production. You can read it here:

She writes, “The history of women’s labor is a history full of triumph and heartbreak, perseverance and setbacks.”

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The New York Times’ Short Take on Newspaper Row

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On Jan. 24, 2020, The New York Times published a series of sketches and photos of sites in lower Manhattan that have changed over time. Newspaper Row was one of the sites mentioned. Above is a photograph of newies peddling newspaper in front of The Tribune building. This image recalls Vincent’s and Kelley’s great talks on newsies and the Park Row, respectively.

Here’s the link to the article: “5 Sites That Show How Much Lower Manhattan Has Changed”

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The Drift

Hey all,

First I’m writing from my phone, so apologies in advance for any typos. I’m not sure if anyone else saw this but there’s a new litmag that launched today called The Drift, which opened with a salvo about the state of periodical publishing today:

They have a lot of punchy takes on the current NYC “media establishment” that is both humorous and angry, especially in contemporary discussion of covid and police protests, but I’m curious about how we can think about their intervention alongside our more historically oriented discussions of periodicals.

They look back to modernist little magazines and say: “We think there’s an audience now for this kind of magazine: one in which socialism and feminism don’t entail moralizing; in which political wars are not fought on cultural battlefields; in which an essay isn’t an excuse for self-indulgence; in which there’s more to the media than endless recursive analysis of the media.”

I don’t have much more developed thinking about this right now, but I think there’s some interesting very current thinking around periodicals like this (and a recent essay over at Fence: ) that I’d love to hear more thoughts about!



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Mapping the Nineteenth Century Newspaper Page

This will be brief: in the afternoon session on Tuesday, Martha Patterson asked a question about collage and the 19th century newspaper page (forgive me if I misunderstood the nature of the question). This isn’t necessarily a collage, but with my colleagues on the Viral Texts Project we “mapped” a page of what we took to be a rather typical mid- to late-nineteenth century front page of a US newspaper (in this case, from Clearfield, PA). Our main focus is reprinting, and here we were looking at reprints of a bizarre text titled “Love Letter,” but I think this could be at least interesting to get a sense of the genre soup on the front page of a nineteenth century paper.

Here it is:


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Pulp Methodology


I wanted to thank everyone for the great questions in yesterday’s session. And I wanted to follow up on some of the conversation in the Chat string, as well as some of the emails that I’ve received. Initially,  think that I need to clarify my use of the term “distance reading” as different from Moretti’s/the DH sense, in that what I mean is to read a sampling of fiction (whether in a single issue, across a single title, or within a single genre) in order to identify repeated tropes and formulaic patterns so a to identify broad cultural dynamics. Therefore, similar to Moretti, but a non-technological reading practice opposed or defined against the modes of reading established and sanctioned in an English Studies founded upon the reading practices of New Criticism. I think that I can clarify this (and other things) more if I attach part of a talk I gave at a symposium on Pulp Studies at James Madison a few years ago — a part specifically about methodology presented to an audience working specifically with pulp magazines. I will do some editorial intrusions for clarification and to contextualize for a more general audience. I hope this adds to yesterday’s conversation. Avanti… Continue reading


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Last of its Kind

Deborah Beirne’s hawking of her beloved Corona typewriter at an 8th Avenue Typewriter Store (in “An Ambitious Bum”) prompted me to search for this piece on NYC’s last typewriter store, not only still in operation, but apparently, going strong…

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How Did We Get Here? 163 years of The Atlantic’s writing on race and racism in America

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On June 16, 2020, The Atlactic shared select archival publications on race and racism spanning the magazine’s 163 years of publication. I thought that this resource might be of general interest to the City of Print community as we examine and discuss periodicals history and culture, the current moment of anti-racist protests, and the roles magazines play(ed) in race-making.


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Access Denied?


I had trouble logging into Zotero (access denied) and the director re-invited me. Send a message to Mark Noonan if you have any trouble.

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Welcome NEH Summer Fellows

So much has happened since my team and I first began considering a second iteration of “City of Print” in 2019. We were thinking about how much the field of periodical studies had evolved since the first City of Print convened in 2015, and we were excited by the prospect of all the lively discussions we anticipated having in June of 2020.

In January, we were excited to receive a large number of applicants to the Institute. This pool of exceptional candidates illustrated the continued and growing interest in magazines, newspapers, and print history. Reading through the applications, we could not help but be excited at the prospect of convening a second City of Print. We were so looking forward to meeting all of you in person and to meeting together as a lively group of scholars in the city we love and study.

And then, in February, the pandemic came upon us.  According to the NEH, our options were to cancel the program, postpone it, or develop an on-line version of the Institute. Although the City of Print would be different from our 2015 experience, we decided that an on-line program could still be robust and highly worthwhile, and might even have some strengths that are unavailable in a face-to-face setting. We committed ourselves to building another lively Institute.

But our historical moment appears to be relentless. In recent weeks, we learned with horror about the murders of unarmed African Americans at the hands of the police. The 2020 City of Print will therefore convene under the overlapping clouds of two pandemics—Covid-19 and systemic antiblack racism. This sober backdrop will undoubtedly be a part of City of Print as we meet (virtually) and discuss various topics related to print culture, spatial practices, the city, and the nation. We anticipate engaging with our objects of study, our disciplinary fields, and our moment in time.

On behalf of the faculty and staff, I welcome you to the City of Print 2020, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing time with you.




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Welcome to “City of Print” 2020

Welcome aboard!

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