Friday, July 17, 2009

July 16, 1909 - Last Century's Summer Reading

What were people reading 100 years ago? I found these book reviews in the July 16, 1909 Albany Evening Journal:

Forgeries and False Entries ...examining disputed writing, documents, false entries and questioned book accounts...

Miracle and Science ... Bible miracles are examined by the methods, rules and tests of the science of jurisprudence as administered in courts of justice to-day.

Grant, the Man of Mystery ... story of the life of the great Union general...
I was more interested to see an installment of Mary Roberts Rinehart's mystery The Circular Staircase.

SYNOPSIS: Miss Innes, a middle-aged spinster, takes summer house. Appearance of apparition and peculiar noises about house at night cause reign of terror. Investigation of mystery is begun and strange articles are found....
Despite that synopsis, this is a very good mystery. Rinehart's first novel was serialized in 1906, and was a bestseller in 1909.

Annual Bestsellers, 1900-1909: 1909 Fiction (read online at Google books, or download from Project Gutenberg)

1. The Inner Shrine, Basil King (e-book)
2. Katrine, Elinor Macartney Lane (e-book)
3. The Silver Horde, Rex Beach (e-book)
4. The Man in Lower Ten, Mary Roberts Rinehart (e-book)
5. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, John Fox Jr. (e-book)
6. Truxton King, George Barr McCutcheon (e-book)
7. 54-40 or Fight, Emerson Hough (e-book)
8. The Goose Girl, Harold MacGrath (e-book)
9. Peter, F. Hopkinson Smith (e-book)
10. Septimus, William J. Locke (e-book)

The Silver Horde is a novel of romance, adventure and dirty business deals in Alaska. (Netflix has the 1930 movie, an early "talkie" that looks like a silent movie.) The Trail of the Lonesome Pine is about a feud and an under-age romance in an Appalachian coal mining town. I haven't seen the 1936 movie with Henry Fonda yet.

The Albany Evening Journal is online courtesy of the marvelous Old Fulton Postcards ("Search Over 10,258,000 Old New York State Historical Newspaper Pages" at

No comments: