'On book illustration and decoration' by Reginald Blomfield (1893)

Arts and CraftsBook illustration is supposed to have made a great advance in the last few years. No doubt it has, but this advance has not been made on any definite principle, but, as it were, in and out of a network of cross-purposes. No attempt has been made to classify illustration in relation to the purpose it has to fulfil.

Broadly speaking, this purpose is threefold. It is either utilitarian, or partly utilitarian partly artistic, or purely artistic. The first may be dismissed at once. Such drawings as technical diagrams must be clear and accurate, but by their very nature they are non-artistic, and in regard to art it is a case of "hands off" to the draughtsman.

Illustration as an art, that is, book decoration, begins with the second class. From this standpoint an illustration involves something more than mere drawing. In the first place, the drawing must illustrate the subject, but as the drawing will not be set in a plain mount, but surrounded or bordered by printed type, there is the further problem of the relation of the drawing to the printed type. The relative importance attached to the printed type or the drawing is the crucial point for the illustrator. If all his thoughts are concentrated on his own drawing, one line to him will be much as another; but if he considers his illustration as going with the type to form one homogeneous design, each line becomes a matter of deliberate intention.

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'Some Famous Ghosts of the National Capitol' (1898)


The Capitol at Washington is probably the most thoroughly haunted building in the world.

Not less than fifteen well-authenticated ghosts infest it, and some of them are of a more than ordinarily alarming character.

What particularly inspires this last remark is the fact that the Demon Cat is said to have made its appearance again, after many years of absence. This is a truly horrific apparition, and no viewless specter such as the invisible grimalkin that even now trips people up on the stairs of the old mansion which President Madison and his wife, Dolly, occupied, at the corner of Eighteenth Street and New York Avenue, after the White House was burned by the British. That, indeed, is altogether another story; but the feline spook of the Capitol possesses attributes much more remarkable, inasmuch as it has the appearance of an ordinary pussy when first seen, and presently swells up to the size of an elephant before the eyes of the terrified observer.

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'On the fiction of Amelia Edwards' by Katharine S. Macquoid (1897)

It has seemed to us that value as well as interest would attach to critical estimates of and biographical notes upon, these representative Novelists, supplied by living mistresses of the craft; and we are glad to have been able to secure for the purpose, the services of the contributors to this volume, all of whom may claim to discourse with some authority upon the art they cultivate. [From the introduction to Women Novelists of Queen Victoria's Reign]

Amelia EdwardsIn Barbara's History, in Lord Brackenbury, and in other stories by Miss [Amelia B] Edwards, there are beautiful and graphic descriptions of foreign scenery, and we meet plenty of foreign people; but we feel that the latter are described by an Englishwoman who has taken an immense amount of pains to make herself acquainted with their ways and their speech - they somewhat lack spontaneity. In the two novels named there are chapters so full of local history and association that one thinks it might be well to have the books for companions when visiting the places described; they are full of talent - in some places near akin to genius.

Barbara's History contains a great deal of genuine humour. It is a most interesting and exciting story, though in parts stagey; the opening chapters, indeed the whole of Barbara's stay at her great-aunt's farm of Stoneycroft, are so excellent that one cannot wonder the book was a great success. Now and again passages and characters remind one of Dickens; the great-aunt, Mrs. Sandyshaft, is a thorough Dickens woman, with a touch of the great master's exaggeration; Barbara's father is another Dickens character. There are power and passion as well as humour in this book, but in spite of its interest it becomes fatiguing when Barbara leaves her aunt and the hundred pigs.

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'On books for young folks' by James Baldwin (1884)

George_Romney_Child_Reading_(possibly_Mrs_Cumberland_and_her_son)The greatest problem presented to the consideration of parents and teachers now-a-days is how properly to regulate and direct the reading of the children. There is no scarcity of reading-matter. The poorest child may have free access to books and papers, more than he can read. The publication of periodicals and cheap books especially designed to meet the tastes of young people has developed into an enterprise of vast proportions. Every day, millions of pages of reading matter designed for children are printed and scattered broadcast over the land. But unlimited opportunities often prove to be a damage and a detriment; and over-abundance, rather than scarcity, is to be deplored.

As a general rule, the books read by young people are not such as lead to studious habits, or induce correct ideas of right living. They are intended simply to amuse; there are no elements of strength in them, leading up to a noble manhood. I doubt if in the future it can be said of any great statesman or scholar that his tastes had been formed, and his energies directed and sustained, through the influence of his early reading; but rather that he had attained success, and whatever of true nobility there is in him, in spite of such influence.

How then shall we so order the child’s reading as to avoid the formation of desultory and aimless habits?

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'On Martian Life' by Percival Lowell (1906)


That Mars is inhabited by beings of some sort or other we may consider as certain as it is uncertain what those beings may be. The theory of the existence of intelligent life on Mars may be likened to the atomic theory in chemistry in that in both we are led to the belief in units which we are alike unable to define. Both theories explain the facts in their respective fields and are the only theories that do, while as to what an atom may resemble we know as little as what a Martian may be like. But the behavior of chemic compounds points to the existence of atoms too small for us to see, and in the same way the aspect and behavior of the Martian markings implies the action of agents too far away to be made out.

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"On Information Warfare" (1996)

CryptologInformation Warfare poses the greatest threat to the national security of the United States. Our society today, whether it be in the defense or the public sector, is becoming more technologically dependent. The immediate need for information and information systems to make decisions, to communicate, or to simply survive as a culture has exponentially grown during the last 40 years.

Reliance on these expanding information systems has increased our vulnerability as a nation and analysts in the Intelligence Community are ill-prepared to deal with this new "War of Future."

Our political and military leaders have always relied on information to plan and fight traditional battles, but the technological dependency from which our nation suffers has made us more vulnerable to our adversaries. The "Information Age" in which our country finds itself today has led to the belief that all future wars will be information wars, and the winner will be the nation that achieves information superiority over its adversaries. That superiority is reflected in both an offensive (attack and/or exploit) and a defensive (protect) venue.

Which leads to the question of how to define Information Warfare (IW)?

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'On the making of an American legend' by J.W. Buel (1879)

Wild BillIn 1860, [Will] Bill [Hickock] was placed in charge of the teams of the Overland Stage Company, -which ran between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Denver, over the old Platte route, - at Rock Creek, about fifty miles west of Topeka, Kansas. It was while occupying this position that the first and most desperate fight of his life occurred, and one which we may safely say is without a parallel. 

The author collected the facts and particulars of this fight from Capt. E. W. Kingsbury, at present chief of U. S. Storekeepers for the western district of Missouri, who was a passenger in the overland stage which arrived at Rock Creek within an hour after the fight occurred, and saw the bodies of the men Bill had killed, and heard the story fresh from Bill’s own lips.

Capt. Kingsbury’s version of the encounter is corroborated by Dr. Joshua Thorne, one of the most prominent physicians in Kansas City, who was Wild Bill’s physician during his life, and at whose home Bill was a frequent and familiar visitor. Bill repeated the story to Dr. Thorne several times, just as he gave it to Capt. Kingsbury. Bill had very few confidants, but among that privileged class were the two gentlemen mentioned, who, by their permission, will be frequently referred to hereafter. 

The correct story of the “battle,” as we may very properly call it, is as follows:

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'The library of Dr Dee' by William Younger Fletcher (1902)

Bsl_dr_dee_mirror_channel_624x351Dr. John Dee, 'that perfect astronomer, curious astrologer and serious geometrician,' as he is styled by Lilly, was born in London on the 13th of July 1527. He was the son of Rowland Dee, who, according to Wood, was a wealthy vintner, but who is described by Strype as Gentleman Sewer to Henry VIII.

In his Compendious Rehearsal Dee informs us that he possessed a very fine collection of books, 'printed and anciently written, bound and unbound, in all near 4000, the fourth part of which were written books. The value of all which books, by the estimation of men skilful in the arts, whereof the books did and do intreat, and that in divers languages, was well worth 2000 lib.'; and he adds that he 'spent 40 years in divers places beyond the seas, and in England in getting these books together.' He specially mentions 'that four written books, one in Greek, two in French, and one in High Dutch cost 533 lib.'

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'On execution and criticism' by James Berry (1892)

James BerryAs is always the case when a man attains any prominence or notoriety, a number of utterly groundless stories have got afloat about my doings and adventures. Others, which were originally founded on fact, have been so modified and altered that I do not recognise them when they come back to me again. Altogether I have been credited with being the hero of so many surprising adventures that I am afraid the few little incidents which have really occurred to me will seem tame by the side of the fictions....

I always try to remain unknown while travelling, but there is a certain class of people who will always crowd round as if an executioner were a peep-show. On the journey above mentioned, after changing at York, I got into a carriage with a benevolent-looking old gentleman. A little crowd collected round the door, and just as we were starting a porter stuck his head into the window, pointed to my fellow-passenger, and with a silly attempt at jocularity said: “I hope you’ll give him the right tightener.”

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