Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life

Andrew Isenberg






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Temple University history professor Andrew Isenberg came by my office in February to discuss his new book, Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life (Hill & Wang: 2013), due out in June. His book and this interview are a fascinating look at the life of a man who lived on both sides of the law and reinvented himself time and time again as he moved from one place to another throughout the West. Having seen several different Hollywood versions of Wyatt Earp, I was interested in learning about the real man and how his legend was born. Untangling myth and legend from historical fact, Western historian Andrew Isenberg traces the journey of Wyatt Earp, from his beginnings in the small-town Midwest, to the saloons, jails, and brothels in cow towns and mining towns of Kansas, Texas, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska, and California, to his final years in Los Angeles.

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—Fred Rowland

What’s new in the Special Collections Research Center?

image of Margery Sly





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Academic libraries are changing rapidly under the influence of digital technology, an expanded outreach and service philosophy, and increasing competition from nontraditional sources and venues.

These changes are particularly evident in special collections, an area which until recently was little known outside hardcore researchers. Often hidden away from the regular traffic of the academic library, the special collections function has been carried out for many years by dedicated professionals and equally dedicated students, interns, and volunteers, who have carefully collected and curated rare books and manuscripts, university records, community history, broadcast media, and ephemera. This is changing as special collections departments become increasingly visible on the web and in and around the academic library.

Margery Sly is the Director of the Temple University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), located on the ground floor of Paley Library. On January 24, 2013, I sat down with her to discuss the SCRC. I was curious to find out how these trends were playing out here at Temple University and what the future holds for the SCRC.

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—Fred Rowland

The Scientists: A Family Romance

Book cover depicting a city scene overlaid with multiple chemical formulas


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On November 15, 2012, I interviewed Marco Roth about his 2012 memoir The Scientists: A Family Romance, described by Lorin Stein of the Paris Review as

“…the first intellectual autobiography by someone our age in the searching nineteenth-century tradition of Edmund Gosse or Henry Adams: the autobiography equally of a reader and of a son, grappling with an inheritance that is both intellectual and emotional–and education for our times.”

I first met Marco Roth in October 2010 when I interviewed him and Keith Gessen about the founding of their literary magazine n+1, where both of them are currently editors.  Since Marco lives in Philadelphia, I run into him from time to time, and, hearing about his book, I asked him if he would talk to me about it. He kindly agreed. The Scientists: A Family Romance is a beautifully written book that I highly recommend.

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—Fred Rowland


Isaiah’s Suffering Servant

image of Jeremy Schipper


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53:3 He was despised and withdrew from humanity; a man of sufferings and acquainted with diseases; and like someone who hides their faces from us, he was despised and we held him of no account.
53:4 Surely he has borne our diseases and carried our suffering; yet we accounted him plagued, struck down by God, and afflicted.

Isaiah (Disability and Isaiah’s Suffering Servant, p.3)

On October 31, 2012, I interviewed Professor Jeremy Schipper of Temple’s Religion Department on his 2011 Oxford University Press book, Disability and Isaiah’s Suffering Servant. His work is part of the Oxford series Biblical Reconfigurations, an “innovative series” which “offers new perspectives on the textual, cultural, and interpretative contexts of particular biblical characters.” Professor Schipper brings the insights of disability studies to bear on the Suffering Servant, a very well known and well studied figure in the Hebrew Scriptures. This close reading of third Isaiah not only provides fresh biblical insights, but also shines a lot on some very contemporary social issues.

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—Fred Rowland

Audio books at the Free Library

Just wanted to mention I’ve been listening to a bunch of audio books lately from the Free Library of Philadelphia. The FLP has a subscription to Overdrive and you can download audio books using your library card number and pin.

Here are the books I’ve listened to so far:
End of Wall Street, by Roger Lowenstein
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, by Lioquat Ahamed
Blowback: Cost and Consequences of American Empire, by Chalmers Johnson

Good listening, check it out.

Italian public libraries add records to WorldCat

The union catalog WorldCat is one of the most important tools for academic research, containing bibliographic records from books in U.S. research and public libraries, as well as records from around the world. Below is an announcement from OCLC, producer of WorldCat, regarding Italian libraries.

“The 136 public libraries in the Italian province of Trento are now OCLC members and will continue to add records from its Catalogo Bibliografico Trentino as the catalog is updated, which will significantly increase the number of Italian language records in WorldCat. The motivation for joining OCLC was to share their rich collections of Italian literature, history and culture with library users around the world.” View complete news release