Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stephen Pearl Andrews on Equitable Commerce, 1850

Stephen Pearl Andrews was a bizarre, multi-faceted character, whose contributions to anarchism have sometimes been overshadowed by the peculiarity of his contributions in other fields of study. I've been slowly-but-surely trying to make sense of my notes on Andrews, and in the course of trying to fill some gaps in the story of his involvement with a sort of perpetual-motion machine scheme (a story in which Josiah Warren also plays at least a bit part), I discovered that the Library of Congress had made large runs of the New York Daily Tribune available online. They aren't pretty—they are, in fact, some of the roughest scans it has been my privilege to attempt to read—but they're there, and sort of searchable. The particular story I'm tracking down has all sorts of inherent difficulties of its own: too many players, with names that people seemed intent on misspelling; no very stable set of keywords to search; a few keywords particularly prone to frustrating OCR programs, etc. As a result, it's been slow going digging the details out of a daily like the Tribune, and I will admit to resorting to the microfilm at Portland State University for the serious searching, but I have been much more successful in digging out the other contributions that Andrews made to the paper at the same time. Having been instrumental in introducing shorthand into the United States, Andrews actually worked for awhile as a reporter in Washington, DC contributing his own brand of political journalism to a number of papers, including the Tribune. And, as it turns out, he was also engaged in introducing the paper's readership to Josiah Warren's system of equitable commerce. 

Andrews' series on "Equitable Commerce" ran for seven installments, between August 3 and November 7, 1850. I haven't had a chance to transcribe the series, but all the issues are on the LOC archive site. For easiest reading, download the pdf pages.

No comments: