Category Archives: From the Archives

Gallica Friday: Miss Lili & Azor

Gallica, the online search engine of the French National Library (BnF), is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or maybe since the baguette. Gallica Friday highlights some of the fun, interesting, and curious things I found by happily clicking around Gallica.Lili et Azor

“How Miss Lili helped her friend Azor.”

From Ecoutez-moi, a children’s book by Benjamin Rabier from 1905.

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Today Should Be International Mark Twain Day

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Mark Twain would have been 178 years old today, says the internet, and such anniversaries are always a good reason to do a link roundup. (I wonder who keeps track of these things — is there someone, somewhere who constantly checks Wikipedia to see which anniversary is up next?) In any case, Mark Twain is one of the internet’s darlings, so there are many interesting articles, clips, photos, and archives. Here’s just a sample:

1. Mark Twain in His Times from the Department of English at the University of Virginia is an amazingly comprehensive archive. You could spend hours going through reviews, promotional materials, manuscripts, and pictures, so it’s a good thing today’s Saturday.

2. Excerpts from letters he received from his readers, chosen by Brain Pickings from Dear Mark Twain.

3. The sardonic notes he often made in the margins of his books: highlights from Open Culture and much more from the New York Times.

4. 10 Photos of him via Huffington Post.

5. And a rare film showing Twain with his family, shot by Edison in 1909, a year before the writer died:

Plus, as luck would have it, the second volume of his mammoth autobiography has recently been published, just as we’ve started making gift lists.

(Huck Finn ad from Mark Twain in His Times)

Gallica Friday: Jiu-Jitsu

Gallica, the online search engine of the French National Library (BnF), is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or maybe since the baguette. Gallica Friday highlights some of the fun, interesting, and curious things I found by happily clicking around Gallica.

Jiu-jitsu

Le jiu-jitsu pratique, a textbook published in 1906 by the Paris city Police chief, Charles Péchard. It’s supposed to teach you no fewer than 100 ways to deal with a criminal, even if he’s armed. What else could you possibly need?

Gallica Friday: Women in Politics

In June 1936, the cover of L’Illustré du Petit Journal, the magazine of the popular newspaper Le Petit Journal, featured the first women who held government positions in France: Suzanne Lacore, Cécile Brunschvicg, and Irène Joliot-Curie. They were appointed in 1936 by the left-wing Popular Front — a rather radical idea at the time because women were still not allowed to vote. The article itself was somewhat lukewarm and spent too much time discussing the jokes that could be made about women ministers. But it did note that they were very qualified for their positions and people appreciated them.

Fast-forward to December 2013, Elle magazine has declared Christiane Taubira “woman of the year” and featured her on the cover of the magazine. Taubira is the French Minister of Justice, also appointed by a left-wing government. She was instrumental in the passage of the same-sex marriage law and gave a rousing speech the day when it finally happened. Before that, in 2001, she also worked hard to pass another key law, which recognizes slave trade as a crime against humanity. In the interview, she talks about the many racist attacks against her, but focuses on her many accomplishments and projects, quoting Diderot as her inspiration: “Si ces pensées ne plaisent à personne, elles pourront n’être que mauvaises, mais je les tiens pour détestables si elles plaisent à tout le monde.”

A historical cover, says Le Parisien, and I couldn’t agree more.