JHU Press Blog

Let's make it National Railroaders Appreciation Day

by cmt | Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Theodore Kornweibel, Jr. Pop quiz: Who are Pamela Beckham and Lisa Harris, and why should you know them? Second question: What industry has been, historically, the most male dominated? Admittedly, that’s a hard one: there are so many candidates. But I’m a historian, so I’ll venture an answer: the railroad industry. May 11 is National Train Day . Let’s start the festivities with a bit of history (don’t worry; I’ll get back to Pamela and Lisa). Whether driving spikes or driving a locomotive, railroading has always been considered a male profession. Even today, women in the industry still have to be thick-skinned to endure the slurs and jibes of men who think their presence on the rails brings bad luck, or who are just male chauvinists. But as I studied railroad history, I uncovered a contradictory phenomenon. African American women were the first female railroaders, two decades before white women. They were slaves. Enslaved and free blacks, including females, built most of the South’s railroads before and after the Civil War. They weren't just cooking and washing, either. While American society regarded white femininity as something to be protected, black women never had that...Read More

What We're Reading

by bjs | Monday, May 6, 2013 - 11:55 AM

We have not visited this occasional series in a while, so let’s give an update on what some folks at the Press have read recently or are in the middle of reading. I just started All the Sad Young Literary Men , a novel by Keith Gessen I came upon in a dollar store. I needed to pick up something else that day, but the title caught my eye as I cut through their “literature” section. I am entertained in the early going, even though it carries some Ivy League/Manhattan pretension throughout the prose. Still, I’m a sucker for coming of age stories, especially when they only cost me $1. Here’s what some of my colleagues are reading, including a couple of JHU Press books: Rosa Griffin Office Assistant, Rights & Permissions Ms. Letitia Stockett, a Baltimore writing teacher, was successful at giving a cultural view of how Baltimore, Maryland came into existence in her 1928 book, Baltimore: A Not Too Serious History ( JHU Press). Ms. Stockett’s tour of the Baltimore region, which covers the years 1500 to 1900, begins on Charles Street at Mount Vernon Place. There is...Read More

“If I Stop a Shell, Send My Things Home”

by cmt | Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by David Hochfelder During the Civil War, the War Department operated a U.S. Military Telegraph (USMT) network that handled 6.5 million messages between Washington, D.C., and commanders in the field. At its peak in 1865, the USMT managed 8,000 miles of military lines it had built and another 5,000 miles of commercial lines in occupied Southern states. About 1,200 operators and linemen ran this far-flung system. Union generals were unanimous in their praise, universally claiming that it was a major key to a Northern victory. Just as importantly, the military telegraph enabled political leaders to maintain civilian authority over military operations and to control the flow of news. President Lincoln, as is well known, spent countless hours in the War Department telegraph office. This Matthew Brady photograph, "U.S. Military Telegraph Operators, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac," captured both the youth of military telegraphers and their living and working conditions. National Archives NWDNS-111-B-7208, July 1863.

Of the 1,200 who staffed the USMT, about 200 were killed, wounded, or captured by the enemy. Many operators occupied front-line positions. Consider the experiences of Luther Rose, a USMT operator assigned to the headquarters of General Winfield...Read More

School is, apparently, not out for summer

by bjs | Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 9:00 AM

Most people know rocker Alice Cooper for his 1972 hit " School's Out ." But a photo in the most recent issue of The Emily Dickinson Journal seems to contradict his excitement about the end of learning. Photographer Lawrence Schwartzwald, a subscriber to the journal, caught this image of Cooper holding a copy of the journal last summer. Editor Cristanne Miller wrote about the image in her editor's note for Issue 22.1 , published this month.

Photo by Lawrence Schwartzwald/Splashnews

Dickinson once wrote that “Spring is a happiness so beautiful, so unique, so unexpected, that I don’t know what to do with my heart” (L389). While we are still waiting for spring, here in Buffalo, we have had a lovely and unexpected surprise, leaving us all in smiles: namely, the discovery of a photograph portraying rock legend Alice Cooper as at least a sometimes-reader of the Emily Dickinson Journal .Read More

Where research meets real life

by bjs | Monday, April 29, 2013 - 11:33 AM

by Janet Gilbert Journals Direct Response and Renewals Senior Coordinator How many of us have been sought out by a colleague, friend, or child making a difficult decision or processing a challenging event, and jumped in immediately with our own experience, advice, and judgment? Simple, silent listening is extremely difficult, but crucial to understanding and effective leadership--in families and organizations alike. So it’s with particular pride that we are able to publish the only academic journal in bioethics that includes first-person narratives, enhancing research in a wide variety of areas: from psychiatric hospitalization to organ transplantation to autism spectrum disorders. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research is truly where research meets real life. In a recent interview, editors James DuBois and Ana Iltis discuss the importance of hearing authentic human voices in shaping public policy. Have a listen. Video of In Other Words: Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research editors James Dubois and Ana Iltis discuss the journal's mission through the example of a recent issue on living organ donation. The collection of stories represent the experiences of liver and...Read More

Chapter and Verse: Putting my short stories to the test in Baltimore's public schools

by cmt | Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 9:30 AM

Chapter and Verse is a series where JHU Press authors and editors discuss the literary landscape of poetry and prose, whether their own creative work or the literature of others.

Guest post by Jean McGarry

My relationship with the Baltimore public schools began last year, when, out of the blue, I received an invitation from the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to jump-start a writers in the schools program in a new city: mine. As is often the case, I felt so honored (and touched) that high-school students might read my stories, that I failed to ask some key questions: why was I chosen, what kind of class was it, what did they want me to do? I did glean a few, critical details: when to appear, and the name of the school.

So, one day last year, shortly before Thanksgiving, I showed up at Western High School and met an AP English class of about 20 students, all girls, in blue uniforms. I had supplied them with copies of my story collection, Home at Last , and I was to be dazzled by the grip these mostly African-American young...Read More

April news and new books

by rr | Friday, April 19, 2013 - 1:28 PM

News and Notes

Melissa Block of NPR ’s All Things Considered interviews Daniel Webster , co-author of Reducing Gun Violence in America , about the wide variation in gun laws from state to state, and how those laws correspond to gun violence. Ron Coddington, author of African American Faces of the Civil War , is interviewed on The Kojo Nnamdi Show about African American Service during the Civil War.

Hopkins Digital Shorts

Whether excerpted from forthcoming or classic backlist titles or developed with newly commissioned content, Hopkins Digital Shorts provide concise introductions to fundamental concepts, defining moments, and influential texts. We are pleased to announce our first four shorts for sale: From Rumpsringa to Marriage , The Amish and Technology , Regulating Gun Sales , and The Second Amendment .

Hot...Read More

In Other Words: Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics

by bjs | Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research seeks to provide a forum for exploring current issues in bioethics through the publication and analysis of personal stories, qualitative and mixed-methods research articles, and case studies. Editors James Dubois and Ana Iltis discuss the journal's mission through the example of a recent issue on living organ donation.Read More

Welcoming Spring

by cmt | Monday, April 15, 2013 - 11:32 AM

Amelanchier canadensis is an understory tree native to Maryland's forests whose common names are all about timing. Known as Shadblow, this small tree blooms when shad fish have come to spawn. More often called Serviceberry since Colonial times, these strappy blossoms open when the ground had thawed enough for colonists to bury their dead. In their day, serviceberry meant funeral service. Photo: R. Noonan.

After a stalled spring, much of the Mid-Atlantic region leapfrogged from winter to summer last week. When temperatures reached ninety degrees, spring ephemerals, which had huddled underground in shivering clumps, emerged with the speed of time-lapse photography. Dormant gardens took shape before our eyes. In that spirit, we bring you “The Garden,” a poem in JHU Press author Brian Swann’s latest collection, In Late Light . The Garden Colors are broken down again into a collection of breathing. They arrived as if from nowhere. Some stagger and stay. Some leave, their sirens giving way to the flame that sips like a clock. I am walking around pretending to be on my way, making edges as I go, the current curling round me in ribbons, a tongue...Read More

The Doctor Is In: Does my child have a food allergy?

by cmt | Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 8:30 AM

The Doctor Is In is an occasional series where JHU Press authors discuss the latest developments and news in health and medicine. Guest post by Scott H. Sicherer, M.D. Food allergy appears to be on the rise in children: studies show that up to 8% of children are estimated to have a food allergy, and the rate of peanut allergy among children has tripled in the last decade. What should you do if you suspect your child has a food allergy? And how you can work with your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis? When to Suspect a Food Allergy A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system, which is designed to fight infection, mistakenly attacks harmless proteins in foods. This “attack” can cause sudden symptoms just after a food is eaten or, more rarely, persistent symptoms when a causal food is a staple of the diet. Some common mild symptoms include hives, swelling (often of the lips or around the eyes), rash, mouth/throat itch, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. More severe symptoms include breathing problems, throat tightness, tongue swelling, wheezing, coughing, and trouble swallowing. Problems with blood circulation, leading to paleness, confusion, and faintness, could also...Read More