Pirates with a Foreword and Sundry Decorations

by Daniel Defoe, Introduction by C. Lovat Fraser

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Daniel Defoe has a very long history of readership. Thought to have been born on September 13, 1660 as Daniel Foe, he lived until April 24, 1731. He was many things, including a writer, trader, political thinker and spy. He wrote a great deal on politics, crime, economics and business, as well as many fiction books, including classics such as Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders. Tracing down Defoe’s many works can be a challenge since he used dozens of pennames.

He was often in business, but rarely solvent. He was fortunate to have married Mary Tuffley, receiving a large dowry, which temporarily bailed him out of financial straits. Together, the pair created eight children together. Life was difficult for Mary as Defoe often found himself in jail, and when not, he was often traveling throughout Europe. As the rule of England was in upheaval, Defoe’s political pamphlets often tested the tempers of the rulers, and Defoe was often flung into prison or pressed into spying. If it wasn’t political issues, Defoe was often in or hiding from debtors’ prison.

Claud Lovat Fraser was an English artist. He was born on May 15, 1890, and died at the young age of 31 on June 18, 1921. He served during World War I, and was injured by a gas attack which harmed his lungs. Due to the damage to his physical and mental health, he was discharged. He never stopped pursing his love of art, even drawing and painting while on the battlefield. After his discharge, Fraser married Grace Inez Crawford, and together they had a child. He worked for various stationary and bookshops making stationary designs, as well as theater companies. He died from a combination of illnesses and a failed operation.

 

Beasts, Men and Gods: Russia, Mongolia, Tibet and the Living Buddha

by Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski

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If the tales by Ferdinand Ossendowski are true, then he led an extraordinary life. Ossendowski begins his account in a solitary shack in Siberia. Having heard that the police are coming for him, he sneaks off in the bitter cold, armed with an axe, guns, and many shells. Not surprisingly, after reading the initial portion of Ossendowksi’s draft, the publisher sought out a confirmed account. He was assigned a translator and critical editor to get him to offer full details. In addition to his life as an adventurer, Ossendowski considered himself a scientist as he traveled extensively throughout Asia. Given that he was was billed as a “twentieth century Robinson Crusoe” possibly the reader will be well advised that the book should be taken with a grain of salt. The account abounds with both wild adventure and ethnocentrism.

 

Life of Brian Houghton Hodgson: British Resident at the Court of Nepal, Member of the Institute of France; Fellow of the Royal Society; a Vice-President of the Royal Asiatic Society, etc

by Sir William Wilson Hunter

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Brian Houghton Hodgson was born on February 1, 1800. His family had troubles financially, but through Hodgson’s aptitude and some family connections, he was able to continue his studies. He was especially gifted in learning languages, namely Bengali, but also Sanskrit and Persian. In 1818, with the British East India Company, Hodgson traveled to India. He held various political posts, but arguable his passion was for research and writing, particularly on Buddhist manuscripts. He was also interested in natural history. Hodgson catalogued numerous species of animals native to the area, including ollectng over 10,000 skins and specimens for the British Museum.

Hodgson was in a long-term relationship with Mehrunnisha, a local Muslim woman, and had two children. They were sent to live in Holland with Hodgson’s sister, Ellen, also known as Fanny, but neither child made it into adulthood. Mehrunnisha died in 1843. Hodgson would marry twice more before dying in London on May 23, 1894.

 

Some Letters of William Vaughn Moody

by Daniel Gregory Mason

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William Vaughn Moody was born on July 8, 1869 in Spencer, Indiana. He became an orphan at a young age when both of his parents passed. He supported himself while he was in school, going on to attend Harvard University. He graduated and then went on to become a professor at University of Chicago. In 1908, he earned a Litt.D from Yale. He wrote a great deal, including works such as The Masque of Judgment (1900), Poems (1901) and The Faith Healer (1909). Sadly, his promising life was cut short at the age of 41, as Moody had suffered from brain cancer and passed away.

This new edition is dedicated to Judy Rich Lauder, enthusiast for books of all kinds.

 

Letters of a Diplomat’s Wife, 1883-1900: Mission to London and Moscow

by Mary King Waddingto

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Mary Alsop King Waddington was born on April 28, 1833 in New York City. The daughter of a prominent academic and politician, Charles King, Mary enjoyed a life of great privilege. It helped that her grandfather, Rufus King, was a US Senator, and a one-time presidential candidate, running as a Federalist.

Her family had many ties to Europe, as her father had studied at Harrow, School in England, alongside such figures as Lord Byron. Mary’s brother became an American Minister to European missions, operating out of Rome.

In 1871, Mary traveled abroad with her family, moving to France and eventually meeting her husband, William Henry Waddington in Paris. Mary wrote extensively, often about her life as the wife of a diplomat. Her husband became the Prime Minister of France in 1879, and served in several other diplomatic positions afterwards. In addition to this work, Letters of a Diplomat’s Wife, Mary also penned Italian Letters of a Diplomat’s Wife (1905), Chateau and Country Life in France (1909) and My First Years as a Frenchwoman (1914). She also had several articles published in popular magazines, such as Scibner’s Magazine. During World War I, she raised funds to helped displaced refugees and soldiers. She passed away in Paris on June 30, 1923.

Thomas Heaphy, 1775-1835, First President of the Society of British Artists

by William T. Whitley

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Thomas Heaphy was born in 1775 to a wealthy merchant, and as such, was able to freely pursue his interest in the arts. He studied at the art school in London run by John Boyne and then became an appreciated painter and water-colorist, being appointed portrait-painter to the Princess of Wales. He wass a co-founder of the Society of British Arts, but resigned shortly after developing the organization and spent his time painting between England and Italy. Heaphy traveled to Spain to visit the Duke of Wellington and did portraits of the officers serving with the Duke. In addition to painting, he was successful at land development, and built up the areas now known as Regent’s Park and St. John’s Wood in London. The Society of British Artists was developed by Heaphy, along with 27 other artists, as an alternative to the Royal Academy. It remains in existence today as The Royal Society of British Artists.

 

Some Experiences of a Barrister’s Life: Curious and Famous Trials

by Serjeant William Ballantine

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Life is a wonderfully meandering path, as is the story told in Some Experiences of a Barrister’s Life. In this autobiographical work, Serjeant Ballantine focuses on his professional career, detailing interesting cases he had a hand in, which ranged the gamut from gambling houses, strange accidents, murder, and even bizarre hairdressing incidents. Ballantine includes details of his relationship with fellow colleagues, reflections on the curiosities of the legal system, and offers a great overview of British criminal justice at the turn of the century. He ruminates about how to better the courts, and although this work is over a century old, it still offers points to consider for improving criminal justice systems around the world.