One of my goals for 2006 has been to scan at least 3000 original pages of anarchist and related material for the Libertarian Labyrinth collection and the library at MutualSchool.org. Progress report: so far, so good—even though my return to university teaching has taken a bite out of my time at home by the scanner. A number of writing and publishing projects have had to be pushed back a bit, but the archiving goes on apace. And, really, the delays in other areas have been largely because my improved access to information as a faculty member has let me delve a lot deeper into the research than I could as an independent scholar working on a courtesy card.
I've been slowly, but surely cleaning up the various half-finished projects tucked away on hard drives and CD-ROMs. I accumulated a lot of material in my first big research blitz ten years ago—so much, in fact, that I'm constantly surprising myself as I sort through books and papers. If my years as an independent bookseller weren't exactly wonderful for my solvency, they were pretty fantastic for my research into odd corners of the libertarian tradition. I spent much of the last 15 years of my life digging through a mass of 150,000 books, papers, pamphets, etc. The couple of thousand I still retain in my own collection are choice, if frequently odd. I'm gradually getting smarter about how to share the results of that sifting project. Expect the Labyrinth to grow, and to grow more image-heavy. Also expect much more in the way of critical tools, particularly for the mutual bank writings. I'm currently experimenting with MediaWiki as a means of producing collations between editions, and am hopeful about the results, which ought to accomplish much more elegantly the goals of the "combined edition" of Mutual Banking, making it possible to compare any edition of Mutual Banking with any other, as well as comparing sections of any edition with the relevant sections of the books Greene borrowed from.
In the midst of so many archiving projects covering mutualist and individual anarchist materials, it probably makes sense to go on record about the projects which I have already undertaken. The primary one are:
- Collected works of William Batchelder Greene: This is obviously top priority. I'll have most of the major texts up within the next couple of months, including some new letters to the editor and such, along with lots of secondary material, much of his son's poetry and his father's writings.
- Edward Kellogg: I'm about half-way through the scanning process on the major editions. I would eventually like to get a complete archive of Kellogg's work, complete with MidiaWiki collation treatment, but that's a long-term goal.
- William Beck, Money and Banking: I've scanned the sections most relevant to Greene's mutual bank writings, and hope to get the complete text up this summer.
- Proudhon's Solution to the Social Problem: I have scanned, and need to finish editing, the sections from Proudhon's Solution du problème social. The version of Mutual Banking in this volume is essentially the 1946/1974 edition, minus some additions by the Indian editors of that later edition. It will be one of the simplest editions to prepare.
- Colonial land Bank documents: I have collected image-scan pdfs of most of the relevant sections of the Colonial Currency Reprints, and will gradual get etexts compiled.
- Works of Calvin Blanchard: I've got this stuff half-scanned from a project ten years ago. I'll have all but the rarest of his works in-hand again this week. Long-term, I would like to get an archive of the works Blanchard published. He was a remarkable writer/ranter, but he was also an important early radical publisher and bookseller.
- My old AKA Bookish pamphet series: Ten years ago, I launched a series of pamphlet reprints. The two volumes of the Edward Carpenter Library are now online. Manual of Cooperation and The Familistere at Guise, France will follow soon—along with the announced, and nearly completed, but never released Integral Co-operation in Sinaloa,
Mexico. Last but not least, expect Jesus or Mammon, originally released in miniature anti-tract form ("cheap enough to leave in bus stations") any day now.
- Margaret and Her Friends, by Caroline Healey Dall: The only full account of one of Margaret Fuller's "conversations."
I would like to work on the writings of Bolton Hall and Samuel "Golden Rule" Jones, as soon as I get this stuff out of the to-do pile. In any event, this list ought to consume the spring and summer, and most of the 3000 pages I have promised myself.
Thanks to everyone who has made use of the resources in the Labyrinth, and spread the word. And thanks again to those who are sharing the scanning and editing duties. I look forward to a day, maybe not all that far off, when it gets hard to find new texts to scan.