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The Bobbin Boy

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bobbin-boy

Special Collections recently acquired eight editions, dating from 1860 to about 1890, of The Bobbin Boy, or How Nat Got His Learning: An Example for Youth, by William M. Thayer.

The Louisiana connection isn’t immediately obvious to modern readers, but in fact there is a strong one. Originally published in Boston in 1859, The Bobbin Boy is a fictionalized biography of Nathaniel Banks, one of the commanders of Union forces in Louisiana during the Civil War. In 1863, Banks captured Port Hudson, twenty miles north of Baton Rouge, bringing the entire Mississippi River under Union control. His success was marred, however, by his mismanagement of the subsequent Red River Campaign and defeat at the Battle of Mansfield, near Shreveport.

As a boy, Banks worked in a textile mill in Waltham, Massachusetts, where his job was to deliver bobbins to girls at the looms. For the rest of his life, he was known as “The Bobbin Boy” or “Bobbin Boy Banks.” Although he received only a basic education in public schools, Banks rose through the ranks on his own by hard work and self study. By 1853 he had been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Two years later he became Speaker of the House. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, which essentially opened the West to slavery, had recently been passed, causing widespread public outcry in the North. Determined not to let southern slaveholders have their way, Banks, a Democrat, used his influence to place members of the new antislavery Republican Party in power.

Banks’ early life served as a model for William Makepeace Thayer (1820-1898), a minister and educator who in 1852 began writing inspirational works for young readers. Written in dialogue form, his biographies of famous men were free with the facts but sought to show boys and girls that hard work and honesty really did pay off. In 1863, Thayer published The Pioneer Boy, one of the first biographies of Abraham Lincoln, and before the Civil War had even ended he began publishing a Youth’s History of the Rebellion. More than one million copies of his works were sold, and many were translated into foreign languages (including Greek and Hawaiian!).

Michael Taylor is Curator of Books, LSU Libraries’ Special Collections

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Recent Faculty Publications

2019

Comeaux, Dave;  Emily Frank; and Mike Waugh. “Supporting Student Success: E-books as Course Materials,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Miles, John David. “Colfax, Kate Grant, and the Domestication of Reconstruction’s Violence,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 2 (Spring 2019).

Miles, John David. “The Loyalty of West Point’s Graduates Debated,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 1 (Winter 2019).

Miller, Marty. “Curriculum, Departmental, and Faculty Mapping in the Visual Arts Department,” Art Documentation, Volume 38, p 159-173 Issue 1 (March 2019).

O’Neill, Brittany; and  Allen LeBlanc. “Evaluating Trends in Instruction Scheduling Management: A Survey of Louisiana’s Academic Libraries,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Russo, Michael, “The Moon Belongs to Everyone:  ResearchGate and Subscription Databases Compared.”  Louisiana Libraries. Winter 2019 (v. 81, no. 3).

Russo, Michael, “Information Literacy through Service Learning”  in Library Collaborations and Community Partnerships: Enhancing Health and Quality of Life.  Fannie M. Cox, Henry R. Cunningham, and Vickie Hines-Martin, eds., 2019.

Simms, Sarah; Hayley Johnson. “Hidden in Plain Sight,” 64 Parishes (Magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities). Issue 4, Summer 2019. https://64parishes.org/hidden-in-plain-sight

Ziegler, Scott; and Cara Key. “More Than a Pretty Interface: The Louisiana Digital Library as a Data Hub,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

2018

Hebert, Andrea. “Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Library and Information Science Graduate Students: An Exploratory Study,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2018).

Miller, Marty. “Sacred vs. Profane in The Great War: A Neutral’s Indictment: Louis Raemaekers’s Use of Religious Imagery in Adoration of the Magi and Our Lady of Antwerp.” Catholic Library World, vol. 89, no. 1, Sept. 2018, pp. 20–32.

Rasmussen, Hans. “The Life and Death of Raquette in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans,” Sport History Review 49 (May 2018): 23-38.

Wilder, Stanley. “Delayed Retirements and the Youth Movement among ARL Library Professionals,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Hiring and Staffing Trends in ARL Libraries,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Selected Demographic Trends in the ARL Professional Population,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Ziegler, Scott; and Richard Shrake. “PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts,” Information Technology and Libraries, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018).

2017

Caminita, C.; Cook, M.; and Paster, A. (2017). Thirty years of preserving, discovering, and accessing U.S. agricultural information: Past progress and current challenges. Library Trends, 65(3), 293-315.

Dauterive, Sarah; John Bourgeois; and Sarah Simms. “How little is too little? An examination of information literacy instruction duration for freshmen.” Journal of Information Literacy, 11.1 (2017): 204-219.

Fontenot, Mitch; Emily Frank; and Andrea Hebert. “Going Where the Users Are: Three Variations on a Theme,” Louisiana Libraries, Fall 2017.

Hawk, Amanda K. “Highflying Crowdfunding: Creating a Successful Partnership with a Campus Donor,” Archival Outlook, July/August 2017: 12-13, 19. https://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=422988.

Hebert, Andrea; and Marty Miller. (2017). Using FSA-OWI photographs to teach information and visual literacy. Louisiana Libraries, 79(3), 19–25.

Johnson, Hayley. “#NoDAPL: Social Media, Empowerment, and Civic Participation at Standing Rock,” Library Trends, Fall 2017.

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