Finding "Lost" Texts
I've been using McMichael's biography to chart the timeline of Octave Thanet's stories, and yesterday, I realized there was a list in the back (see the photocopy I scribbled on above) indicating several texts he was unable to find in the 1960s. I went on the hunt to see what I could find digitally.
My first find was "A Kansas Honeymoon" which was rereleased in Alfred Ludlow White's Short Stories:
I also found some redundancies and errors in McMichael's list. Specifically, "The Nephew and His Uncle" should actually be "The Nephew of His Uncle" and "A Timid Woman" should be "A Timid Woman's Trial." I did find "A Timid Woman's Trial" on Amazon for 99 cents (snagged it) and found it in a Dodge City's The Globe Republican, from October 14, 1892.
Ads for other stories like "Rattlesnake Pete and the College Spirit" (yet another inaccurately reported title from McMichael) showed up in publications like Youth's Companion as upcoming "stories for boys," but I have yet to successfully find a copy (If anyone out there finds a copy of Biting Tales of Rattlesnakes and Men by James William Jewell in PDF, let me know if that OT story is in there, ok?). I also spotted ads for "The Patience of Minwell Ogden" in the March 14, 1896 issue of Harper's Bazar (they still spelled it that way in 1896--that's not a typo). As luck would have it Cornell has the issue from March 7 and the one from March 21, but not for 3/14.
Perhaps my most exciting find yesterday, though, started with this listing from the Newberry Library. I noticed the discussion of "several variants of a mystery," which was intriguing. Looking at McMichael's list, I see "Footsteps of Fear" and "The Mystery of the Red Hand" are listed separately. The Newberry seems to show them as variations of the same story, however.
And, as luck would have it, the ad for Chapple's News-letter seems to confirm that The Unterrified Citizen is a serialized version of "The Mystery of the Red Hand." Furthermore, I found The Dalrymple Mystery serialized in The National Magazine after it appeared in Chapple's. The opening chapter is the same.
So, not a bad haul for a day's work: that removes five "unlocated" entries on McMichael's list (and potentially six, if I ever find "Rattlesnake Pete and the College Spirit"). I did find an ad for "The Student and His Sweetheart" dated 1893, but have not found the text yet.
I debated whether to share this here, or in my regular old blog, but decided since the issue came up as part of my work on this project, it belongs here.
One of the wonderful things about the digital age is that long-forgotten texts are often available as scanned first editions. This means that I can read the book as it looked to contemporary readers, which I find exciting. While I do own a few first editions of Octave Thanet's books, I don't (obviously) want to highlight and annotate the physical copies. So, I needed to come up with a solution.
One option that appeared yesterday was to purchase an Onyx Nova 2 or 3 (the 3 just released and is available in color for $400+). Nova 2's run Android 9 and Nova 3's run Android 10. From the reviews I found this morning, they work well without taking forever to refresh when you turn the page, and you can search your notes.
My problem is that our household already has multiple tablets, eReaders, and laptops (and a huge desktop). I've been using the iPad to read Knitters in the Sun, but wound up downloading in ePub so I could highlight and make notes to the text. The problem with that is that ePub and other converted formats contain tons of errors. While Knitters in the Sun is pretty "clean" as a converted text goes, the next one on my list isn't. So, I knew for my next read (and who knows how many others) that I would need to go back to the PDF scans.
Using multiple devices to read and take notes is not appealing to me.
Neither is shelling out another $300-$400 on another device.
The reMarkable tablet allows me to "write" on the PDF but there's a horrible lag time when I turn a page.
Adobe Digital Editions app allows me to see the scans and read, but again, there's a lag on turning pages and I can't annotate.
The solution? Adobe Acrobat. I can't put it on the ancient iPad we have, but I do have Google Play on my Fire Tablets. And, Acrobat allows me to highlight, draw, and add typed notes to the original scans. Here's my 2015 Kindle Fire 7 inch with a note box open and some sample highlighting. I paid $50 for this tablet some five years ago and it still has great battery life, is less cumbersome than the iPad, and if it dies, I can easily afford to replace it.
Update! After finding some texts only available at the Google Play store, I realized that the Google Play reading app also shows the scanned page and offers highlighting and notations. As a bonus, it saves those notes and highlights and syncs them with your Google Drive.
In addition to the syncing, the highlighting is less choppy (neater) and the notes are easy to spot.
About this project:
I've been saying since 2004 that I was going to write a critical biography of Octave Thanet (Alice French). This blog is the start of that work and will include notes, links to research, and other OT related tidbits.