New Orleans 1867: Photographs by Theodore Lilienthal
By Gary A. Van Zante’77
Merrell Publishers Limited
London and New York, 2008
In 1867, commercial photographer Theodore Lilienthal made 150 photographs of New Orleans in a series, the first municipally sponsored photographic survey of any American city. Only two years after the Civil War, the collection, called La Nouvelle Orleans et ses environs, was exhibited at the World Exposition of 1867 in Paris to promote the city of New Orleans abroad. These photographs were ultimately given to the emperor Napoleon III, and remarkably, 126 of them survive today.
Van Zante, curator of architecture and design at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Mass., offers a comprehensive study of the portfolio and other works by Lilienthal, discussing the photographer’s techniques, locating him within the field of 19th century commercial photography, and placing each work in the context of antebellum city-building and postwar reconstruction.
This richly illustrated book reproduces the remaining 126 of Lilienthal’s Civil War-era New Orleans photographs.
Battlefronts Real and Imagined: War, Border, and Identity in the Chinese Middle Period
Edited by Don J. Wyatt’75
New York, 2008
This collection of nine essays by scholars of Chinese history focuses on the cultural and intellectual dimensions of war and the ways in which war and diplomacy were employed as methods of conflict resolution during the middle period of traditional Chinese history.
“In their individual ways, the authors of these studies all raise questions and provide answers about when and under what conditions war was preferable to negotiation and negotiation preferable to war in the Chinese middle-period context,” Wyatt writes in his introduction. Wyatt also contributes an essay about Wang Dan, a ruler who consistently opposed war in all its forms, even under the secular idea of a “just war.”
Wyatt is professor and chair of the department of history at Middlebury College in Vermont and a member of the Beloit College board of trustees. His forthcoming book (2009) is on the earliest confirmable contacts between Chinese and Africans.
Freedom’s Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity 1640-1940
By Laura Doyle’79
Duke University Press
Durham, N.C., 2008
In this interdisciplinary work, Doyle examines the creation of a transnational, English-language literary tradition that centers on a recurring “freedom plot” organized around the experience of crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
At the heart of her book is the crucial part that race played in the formation of this distinctive literary tradition. The Atlantic and the passage across it was a strong fixture in the collective memories of many European—or Anglo-Atlantic—and African—or African-Atlantic—cultures. Two conceptions of a “freedom plot” were produced by these European and African cultures respectively, each surrounding the reasons for the Atlantic crossing and corresponding issues of freedom and agency. Anglo-Atlantic writings that centered on freedom drew from escaping political tyranny in Europe while African-Atlantic writers approached freedom from the experience of slavery and the loss of agency that accompanied crossing the Atlantic.
Doyle is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
By Joseph J. Accardi
The city of Beloit’s Pop House was a mecca for youth culture from 1941-1973. Catering to both local high school students and Beloit College students, the Pop House was a place for dancing, singing, and socializing. It sponsored sports teams, including a summer softball league, and provided a venue for many up-and-coming local musicians.
Containing more than 200 vintage photographs, Beloit’s Club Pop House recaptures an era that many Beloiters will recall fondly. The book was published as part of the Images of America series, which celebrates local history across the country. Beloit native Joseph Accardi became a member of the Pop House when he was a sophomore in high school. He has maintained a Club Pop House blog for two years and wants the book to bring back memories to the many alumni of this iconic place.