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By: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

My Mark Twain by William Dean Howells My Mark Twain

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) became fast friends with Mark Twain from the moment in 1869 when Twain strode into the office of The Atlantic Monthly in Boston to thank Howells, then its assistant editor, for his favorable review of Innocents Abroad. When Howells became editor a few years later, The Atlantic Monthly began serializing many of Twain’s works, among them his non-fiction masterpiece, Life on the Mississippi. In My Mark Twain, Howells pens a literary memoir that includes such fascinating scenes as their meetings with former president Ulysses Grant who was then writing the classic autobiography that Twain would underwrite in the largest publishing deal until that time...

A Little Swiss Sojurn by William Dean Howells A Little Swiss Sojurn

A charming brief account of a two months' autumnal stay on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. Howells, who was there with his family traveling from England to Italy, has a sharp eye not only for scenery and architecture, but for people and customs, both Swiss and foreign.

By: Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)

Is Mars Habitable? by Alfred Russel Wallace Is Mars Habitable?

In 1907 Wallace wrote the short book Is Mars Habitable? to criticize the claims made by Percival Lowell that there were Martian canals built by intelligent beings. Wallace did months of research, consulted various experts, and produced his own scientific analysis of the Martian climate and atmospheric conditions. Among other things Wallace pointed out that spectroscopic analysis had shown no signs of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere, that Lowell’s analysis of Mars’ climate was seriously flawed and badly overestimated the surface temperature, and that low atmospheric pressure would make liquid water, let alone a planet girding irrigation system, impossible.

By: Brooks Adams (1848-1927)

The Theory of Social Revolutions by Brooks Adams The Theory of Social Revolutions

Brooks Adams (1848- 1927), was an American historian and a critic of capitalism. He believed that commercial civilizations rise and fall in predictable cycles. First, masses of people draw together in large population centers and engage in commercial activities. As their desire for wealth grows, they discard spiritual and creative values. Their greed leads to distrust and dishonesty, and eventually the society crumbles. In The Law of Civilisation and Decay (1895), Adams noted that as new population centers emerged in the west, centers of world trade shifted from Constantinople to Venice to Amsterdam to London...

By: Fanny Dickerson Bergen (1846-1924)

Current Superstitions by Fanny Dickerson Bergen Current Superstitions

No matter how enlightened, chances are you’ve been raised around superstitious lore of one kind or another. Fanny Dickerson Bergen was one of the original researchers of North American oral traditions relating to such key life events and experiences as babyhood and childhood, marriage, wishes and dreams, luck, warts and cures, death omens and mortuary customs, and “such truck,” as Huck Finn would say. You’ll be surprised at how many of these old saws you’ll know. Here’s a quote from...

By: Dale Carnegie (1888-1955)

The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie The Art of Public Speaking

A great start to shaking off public speaking jitters, socializing and mastering the art of small talk. The principles of public speaking written by Dale Carnegie decades ago in this book are timeless. They are just as effective in working a crowd in today’s society as they were back then. He delves into ways of commanding and charming an audience with the right energy, tone of voice, pitch, pronunciation and vocabulary. Armed with the principles highlighted in this book, you can do more than convey a message to a group of people, you can move them...

By: Elizabeth E. Lea (1793-1858)

Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers by Elizabeth E. Lea Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers

The compiler of [this book] having entered early in life upon a train of duties, was frequently embarrassed by her ignorance of domestic affairs. For, whilst receipt books for elegant preparations were often seen, those connected with the ordinary, but far more useful part of household duties, were not easily procured; thus situated, she applied to persons of experience, and embodied the information collected in a book, to which, since years have matured her judgment, she has added much that is the result of her own experiments...

By: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Book cover On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By: Francis Pharcellus Church (1839-1906)

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus by Francis Pharcellus Church Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

“Is There A Santa Claus?” was the headline that appeared over an editorial in the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. The editorial, which included the response of “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States.

By: Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

The French Revolution by Hilaire Belloc The French Revolution

“It is, for that matter, self-evident that if one community decides in one fashion, another, also sovereign, in the opposite fashion, both cannot be right. Reasoning men have also protested, and justly, against the conception that what a majority in numbers, or even (what is more compelling still) a unanimity of decision in a community may order, may not only be wrong but may be something which that community has no authority to order since, though it possesses a civil and temporal authority, it acts against that ultimate authority which is its own consciousness of right...

Europe and the Faith by Hilaire Belloc Europe and the Faith

The Catholic brings to history (when I say "history" in these pages I mean the history of Christendom) self-knowledge. As a man in the confessional accuses himself of what he knows to be true and what other people cannot judge, so a Catholic, talking of the united European civilization, when he blames it, blames it for motives and for acts which are his own. He himself could have done those things in person. He is not relatively right in his blame, he is absolutely right. As a man can testify to his own motive so can the Catholic testify to unjust, irrelevant, or ignorant conceptions of the European story; for he knows why and how it proceeded...

First and Last by Hilaire Belloc First and Last

“When a man weighs anchor in a little ship or a large one he does a jolly thing! He cuts himself off and he starts for freedom and for the chance of things. He pulls the jib a-weather, he leans to her slowly pulling round, he sees the wind getting into the mainsail, and he feels that she feels the helm. He has her on a slant of the wind, and he makes out between the harbour piers.” (quotation from Hilaire Belloc)

On Something by Hilaire Belloc On Something

“Now that story is a symbol, and tells the truth. We see some one thing in this world, and suddenly it becomes particular and sacramental; a woman and a child, a man at evening, a troop of soldiers; we hear notes of music, we smell the smell that went with a passed time, or we discover after the long night a shaft of light upon the tops of the hills at morning: there is a resurrection, and we are refreshed and renewed.” – Hilaire Belloc

On Nothing & Kindred Subjects by Hilaire Belloc On Nothing & Kindred Subjects

“I knew a man once, Maurice, who was at Oxford for three years, and after that went down with no degree. At College, while his friends were seeking for Truth in funny brown German Philosophies, Sham Religions, stinking bottles and identical equations, he was lying on his back in Eynsham meadows thinking of Nothing, and got the Truth by this parallel road of his much more quickly than did they by theirs; for the asses are still seeking, mildly disputing, and, in a cultivated manner, following the...

This, That, and the Other by Hilaire Belloc This, That, and the Other

“When Fame comes upon a man well before death then must he most particularly beware of it, for is it then most dangerous. Neither must he, having achieved it, relax effort nor (a much greater peril) think he has done his work because some Fame now attaches thereto.” -- Hilaire Belloc

On Anything by Hilaire Belloc On Anything

"Long before I knew that the speech of men was misused by them and that they lied in the hearing of the gods perpetually in those early days through which all men have passed, during which one believes what one is told, an old and crusty woman of great wealth, to whom I was describing what I intended to do with life (which in those days seemed to me of infinite duration), said to me, ( You are building castles in Spain.' I was too much in awe of this woman not on account of the wealth, but on account...

The Free Press by Hilaire Belloc The Free Press

I propose to discuss in what follows the evil of the great modern Capitalist Press, its function in vitiating and misinforming opinion and in putting power into ignoble hands; its correction by the formation of small independent organs, and the probably increasing effect of these last. (Introduction by Hilaire Belloc)

By: Ida Laura Pfeiffer

A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy by Ida Laura Pfeiffer A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy

Ida Pfeiffer travelled alone in an era when women didn’t travel. She went first on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, then went on to Egypt and Italy. Understanding the difficulties a woman would face travelling alone and on a budget, she made a will before she left. Go she did, however; and upon her return she wrote this book. She used the proceeds to finance her next trip – six months in Iceland.

By: Lieh-Tzu

The Book of Lieh-Tzü by Lieh-Tzu The Book of Lieh-Tzü

The Liezi (Chinese: 列子; pinyin: Lièzĭ; Wade-Giles: Lieh Tzu; literally “[Book of] Master Lie”) is a Daoist text attributed to Lie Yukou, a circa 5th century BCE Hundred Schools of Thought philosopher, but Chinese and Western scholars believe it was compiled around the 4th century CE. During the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang, the Liezi was designated a Daoist classic, completing the trilogy with the more famous Daodejing and Zhuangzi. The Liezi is generally considered to be the most practical of the major Daoist works, compared to the philosophical writings of Laozi and the poetic narrative of Zhuangzi...

By: Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)

Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll by Robert Green Ingersoll Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll

Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899) was a Civil War veteran, American political leader and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his defense of atheism. This book is the first of two volumes collecting Ingersoll’s speeches.

Book cover The Ghosts And Other Lectures
Book cover The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume VIII. Interviews

By: Justus Liebig (1803-1873)

Familiar Letters on Chemistry by Justus Liebig Familiar Letters on Chemistry

Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) was a German chemist who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry and is known for his discovery of nitrogen as an essential plant nutrient. These letters “were written for the especial purpose of exciting the attention of governments, and an enlightened public, to the necessity of establishing Schools of Chemistry, and of promoting by every means, the study of a science so intimately connected with the arts, pursuits, and social well-being of modern civilised nations.”

By: US Army Corps of Engineers, Manhattan District

The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki by US Army Corps of Engineers, Manhattan District The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

This is the official report, published nearly 11 months after the first and only atomic bombings in history (to date), of a group of military physicians and engineers who accompanied the initial contingent of U.S. soldiers into the destroyed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The report presents a clinical description of the devastation, loss of life and continued suffering of the survivors that resulted from the world’s first and only atomic bombings. The appendix is an eyewitness account, contrasting...

By: Constance Johnson

When Mother Lets Us Cook by Constance Johnson When Mother Lets Us Cook

A book of simple receipts for little folk with important cooking rules in rhyme together with handy lists of the materials and utensils needed for the preparation of each dish.

By: Varous

Ancient Greek Philosopher-Scientists by Varous Ancient Greek Philosopher-Scientists

The Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, that is, the philosopher-scientists who lived before or contemporaneously to Socrates, were the first men in the Western world to establish a line of inquiry regarding the natural phenomena that rejected the traditional religious explanations and searched for rational explanations. Even though they do not form a school of thought, they can be considered the fathers of philosophy and many other sciences as we have them now. None of their works is extant, so, in this collection, we present the textual fragments, when existing, of ten Pre-Socratic philosopher-scientists, and quotations and testimonials about them left by later authors...

By: Rufus Estes (b. 1857)

Good Things to Eat as Suggested by Rufus by Rufus Estes Good Things to Eat as Suggested by Rufus

Rufus Estes was born a slave in 1857 in Tennessee, and experienced first hand the turmoil of the Civil War. He began working in a Nashville restaurant at the age of 16, and in 1883 took up employment as a Pullman cook. In 1897, he was hired as principal chef for the private railway car of U.S. Steel magnates (the fin-de-siecle equivalent of today’s Lear Jets for corporate travel). There he served succulent fare for the rich and famous at the turn of the 20th century.

By: Richard Jefferies (1848-1887)

The Gamekeeper at Home by Richard Jefferies The Gamekeeper at Home

Richard Jefferies (1848 – 1887) was born and spent his childhood on a farm at Coate,Wiltshire. He joined the ‘Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard’ in 1868 and also started to write articles and pamphlets on various agricultural issues and local history topics. He is best known for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels. This classic of English nature writing gives an idea of the life of a gamekeeper in southern England in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Book cover Round About a Great Estate

By: Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798)

The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova by Giacomo Casanova The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

This is the first of five volumes. – Giacomo Casanova (1725 in Venice – 1798 in Dux, Bohemia, now Duchcov, Czech Republic) was a famous Venetian adventurer, writer, and womanizer. He used charm, guile, threats, intimidation, and aggression, when necessary, to conquer women, sometimes leaving behind children or debt. In his autobiography Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century, he mentions 122 women with whom he had sex...

By: United States Supreme Court

Civil Rights and Equal Protection Cases 1856-1948 by United States Supreme Court Civil Rights and Equal Protection Cases 1856-1948

Landmark United States Supreme Court decisions focusing on civil rights and equal protection between 1856 and 1948.

Civil Rights and Equal Protection Cases 1950-1960 by United States Supreme Court Civil Rights and Equal Protection Cases 1950-1960

Landmark United States Supreme Court decisions focusing on civil rights and equal protection between 1950 and 1960.


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