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Vanished Gardens

Finding Nature in Philadelphia

Sharon White

New to living and gardening in Philadelphia, Sharon White begins a journey through the landscape of the city, past and present, in Vanished Gardens. In prose now as precise and considered as the paths in a parterre, now as flowing and lyrical as an Olmsted vista, White explores Philadelphia's gardens as a part of the city's ecosystem and animates the lives of individual gardeners and naturalists working in the area around her home.

In one section of the book, White tours the gardens of colonial botanist John Bartram; his wife, Ann; and their son, writer and naturalist William. Other chapters focus on Deborah Logan, who kept a record of her life on a large farm in the late eighteenth century, and Mary Gibson Henry, twentieth-century botanist, plant collector, and namesake of the lily Hymenocallis henryae. Throughout White weaves passages from diaries, letters, and memoirs from significant Philadephia gardeners into her own striking prose, transforming each place she examines into a palimpsest of the underlying earth and the human landscapes layered over it.

White gives a surprising portrait of the resilience and richness of the natural world in Philadelphia and of the ways that gardening can connect nature to urban space. She shows that although gardens may vanish forever, the meaning and solace inherent in the act of gardening are always waiting to be discovered anew.

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Vanished in Hiawatha

The Story of the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians

Carla Joinson

Begun as a pork-barrel project by the federal government in the early 1900s, the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians quickly became a dumping ground for inconvenient Indians. The federal institution in Canton, South Dakota, deprived many Native patients of their freedom without genuine cause, often requiring only the signature of a reservation agent. Only nine Native patients in the asylum’s history were committed by court order. Without interpreters, mental evaluations, or therapeutic programs, few patients recovered. But who cared about Indians and what went on in South Dakota?


After three decades of complacency, both the superintendent and the city of Canton were surprised to discover that someone did care and that a bitter fight to shut the asylum down was about to begin. In this disturbing tale, Carla Joinson unravels the question of why this institution persisted for so many years. She also investigates the people who allowed Canton Asylum’s mismanagement to reach such staggering proportions and asks why its administrators and staff were so indifferent to the misery experienced by patients.


Vanished in Hiawatha is the harrowing tale of the mistreatment of Native American patients at a notorious insane asylum whose history helps us to understand the broader mistreatment of Native peoples under forced federal assimilation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Vanished Islands and Hidden Continents of the Pacific

Patrick D. Nunn

Islands—as well as entire continents—are reputed to have disappeared in many parts of the world. Yet there is little information on this subject concerning its largest ocean, the Pacific. Over the years, geologists have amassed data that point to the undeniable fact of islands having disappeared in the Pacific, a phenomenon that the oral traditions of many groups of Pacific Islanders also highlight. There are even a few instances where fragments of Pacific continents have disappeared, becoming hidden from view rather than being submerged. In this scientifically rigorous yet readily comprehensible account of the fascinating subject of vanished islands and hidden continents in the Pacific, the author ranges far and wide, from explanations of the region’s ancient history to the meanings of island myths. Using both original and up-to-date information, he shows that there is real value in bringing together myths and the geological understanding of land movements. A description of the Pacific Basin and the "ups and downs" of the land within its vast ocean is followed by chapters explaining how—long before humans arrived in this part of the world—islands and continents that no longer exist were once present. A succinct account is given of human settlement of the region and the establishment of cultural contexts for the observation of occasional catastrophic earth-surface changes and their encryption in folklore. The author also addresses the persistent myths of a "sunken continent" in the Pacific, which became widespread after European arrival and were subsequently incorporated into new age and pseudoscience explanations of our planet and its inhabitants. Finally, he presents original data and research on island disappearances witnessed by humans, recorded in oral and written traditions, and judged by geoscience to be authentic. Examples are drawn from throughout the Pacific, showing that not only have islands collapsed, and even vanished, within the past few hundred years, but that they are also liable to do so in the future.

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The Vanishing Messiah

The Life and Resurrections of Francis Schlatter

David N. Wetzel

In 1895, an extraordinarily enigmatic faith healer emerged in the American West. An Alsatian immigrant and former cobbler, Francis Schlatter looked like popular depictions of Jesus, and it was said that his very touch could heal everything from migraines and arthritis to blindness and cancer. First in Albuquerque, and then in Denver, thousands flocked to him, hoping to receive his healing touch. Schlatter accepted no money for his work, behaved modestly, fasted heavily, and treated everyone, from wealthy socialites to impoverished immigrants, equally. He quickly captured national attention, and both the sick hoping to be cured and reporters hoping to expose a fraud hurried to Denver to see the celebrated healer. By November of 1895, it is estimated that Schlatter was treating thousands of people every day, and the neighborhood in which he was staying was overrun with the sick and lame, their families, reporters from across the country, and hucksters hoping to make a quick buck off the local attention. Then, one night, Schlatter simply vanished. Eighteen months later, his skeleton was reportedly found on a mountainside in Mexico’s Sierra Madre range, finally bringing Schlatter’s great healing ministry to an end.

Or did it?

Within hours of the announcement of Schlatter’s found remains, a long-haired man emerged in Cleveland to say that he was Francis Schlatter, and the next twenty-five years, several others claimed to be Denver’s great healer. In The Vanishing Messiah, a modern researcher painstakingly pieces together evidence from letters, newspaper reports, hospital records, mug shots, and published reminiscences of the healer to find out what really happened to Francis Schlatter after he left Denver in the middle of the night in November 1895. In doing so, David N. Wetzel uncovers a historical puzzle of lies, deception, and betrayal, and offers a tantalizing look into a nineteenth-century messiah and his twentieth-century reincarnations—one of whom may have been the healer himself. 

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Vanishing Moments

Class and American Literature

Eric Schocket

Vanishing Moments analyzes how various American authors have reified class through their writing, from the first influx of industrialism in the 1850s to the end of the Great Depression in the early 1940s. Eric Schocket uses this history to document America’s long engagement with the problem of class stratification and demonstrates how deeply America’s desire to deny the presence of class has marked even its most labor-conscious cultural texts. Schocket offers careful readings of works by Herman Melville, Rebecca Harding Davis, William Dean Howells, Jack London, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Muriel Rukeyser, and Langston Hughes, among others, and explores how these authors worked to try to heal the rift between the classes. He considers the challenges writers faced before the Civil War in developing a language of class amidst the predominant concerns about race and slavery; how early literary realists dealt with the threat of class insurrection; how writers at the turn of the century attempted to span the divide between the classes by going undercover as workers; how early modernists used working-class characters and idioms to shape their aesthetic experiments; and how leftists in the 1930s struggled to develop an adequate model to connect class and literature. Vanishing Moments’ unique combination of a broad historical scope and in-depth readings makes it an essential book for scholars and students of American literature and culture, as well as for political scientists, economists, and humanists. Eric Schocket is Associate Professor of American Literature at Hampshire College. “An important book containing many brilliant arguments—hard-hitting and original. Schocket demonstrates a sophisticated acquaintance with issues within the working-class studies movement.” --Barbara Foley, Rutgers University

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The Vanishing Newspaper [2nd Ed]

Saving Journalism in the Information Age

Philip Meyer

Five years ago in The Vanishing Newspaper, Philip Meyer offered the newspaper industry a business model for preserving and stabilizing the social responsibility functions of the press in a way that could outlast technology-driven changes in media forms. Now he has updated this groundbreaking volume, taking current declines in circulation and the number of dailies into consideration and offering a greater variety of ways to save journalism.
Meyer’s “influence model” is based on the premise that a newspaper’s main product is not news or information, but influence: societal influence, which is not for sale, and commercial influence, which is. The model is supported by an abundance of empirical evidence, including statistical assessments of the quality and influence of the journalist’s product, as well as its effects on business success.
Meyer now applies this empirical evidence to recent developments, such as the impact of Craigslist and current trends in information technologies. New charts show how a surge in newsroom employment propped up readership in the 1980s, and data on the effects of newsroom desegregation are now included. Meyer’s most controversial suggestion, making certification available for reporters and editors, has been gaining ground. This new edition discusses several examples of certificate programs that are emerging in organizations both old and new.
Understanding the relationship between quality and profit probably will not save traditional newspapers, but Meyer argues that such knowledge can guide new media enterprises. He believes that we have the tools to sustain high-quality journalism and preserve its unique social functions, though in a transformed way.

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The "Vanity of the Philosopher"

From Equality to Hierarchy in Post-Classical Economics

Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy

The "Vanity of the Philosopher" continues the themes introduced in Levy's acclaimed book How the Dismal Science Got Its Name. Here, Peart and Levy tackle the issues of racism, eugenics, hierarchy, and egalitarianism in classical economics and take a broad view of classical economics' doctrine of human equality. Responding to perennial accusations from the left and the right that the market economy has created either inequality or too much equality, the authors trace the role of the eugenics movement in pulling economics away from the classical economist's respect for the individual toward a more racist view at the turn of the century. The "Vanity of the Philosopher" reveals the consequences of hierarchy in social science. It shows how the "vanity of the philosopher" has led to recommendations that range from the more benign but still objectionable "looking after" paternalism, to overriding preferences, and, in the extreme, to eliminating purportedly bad preferences. The authors suggest that an approach that abstracts from difference and presumes equal competence is morally compelling. "People in the know on intellectual history and economics await the next book from Peart and Levy with much the same enthusiasm that greets a new Harry Potter book in the wider world. This book delivers the anticipated delights big time!" -William Easterly, Professor of Economics and Africana Studies, NYU, and non-resident Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development "In their customary idiosyncratic manner, Sandra Peart and David Levy reexamine the way in which the views of classical economists on equality and hierarchy were shifted by contact with scholars in other disciplines, and the impact this had on attitudes towards race, immigration, and eugenics. This is an imaginative and solid work of scholarship, with an important historical message and useful lessons for scholars today." -Stanley Engerman, John Munro Professor of Economics and Professor of History, University of Rochester Sandra J. Peart, Professor of Economics at Baldwin-Wallace College, has published articles on utilitarianism, the methodology of J. S. Mill, and the transition to neoclassicism. This is her fourth book. David M. Levy is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice. This is his third book.

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Vaquita and Other Stories

by Edith Pearlman

Winner of the 1996 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. To author Edith Pearlman, "The stories in Vaquita aim at an intimacy between writer and reader. That imagined reader wants to know who loves whom, who drinks what, and, mostly, who answers to what summons. Thank Heavens for Spike Lee! Before his movies writers and critics had to natter about moral stances; now I can say with a more tripping tongue that my characters are people in peculiar circumstances, aching to Do The Right Thing if only they can figure out what The Right Thing is. If not, they’ll at least Do Their Own Right Thing Right."

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Variables Related to Human Breast Cancer

V. Elving Anderson

Variables Related to Human Breast Cancer was first published in 1958.The question of what role, if any, heredity plays in the etiology of human cancer is of obvious importance in the continuing search for an answer to the riddle of cancer. This book describes a study which was conducted at the Dight Institute for Human Genetics of the University of Minnesota, seeking evidence on two aspects of the heredity question. The objectives were, first, to determine whether there is an increased frequency of cancer among relatives of breast cancer patients (over what would be expected by coincidence) and second, to find out whether any family tendency to cancer is general or site-specific.The families of 621 breast cancer patients treated at the Tumor Clinic of the University of Minnesota Hospitals were investigated, with special attention to the choice of original patients and to the completeness of information. For comparison the authors studied the families of husbands of the patients and also analyzed statistics on cancer cases and deaths in the general population.The methods used in the project are described in detail, the data are presented, and the results interpreted. The findings are of value not only in their scientific application but also for use in counseling relatives of breast cancer patients, since these relatives often have greater fear of developing cancer than the facts warrant.

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Variations on the Body

Michel Serres

World-renowned philosopher, Michel Serres writes a text in praise of the body and movement, in praise of teachers of physical education, coaches, mountain guides, athletes, dancers, mimes, clowns, artisans, and artists. This work describes the variations, the admirable metamorphoses that the body can accomplish. While animals lack such a variety of gestures, postures, and movements, the fluidity of the human body mimics the leisure of living beings and things; what’s more, it creates signs. Already here, within its movements and metamorphoses, the mind is born. The five senses are not the only source of knowledge: it emerges, in large part, from the imitations the plasticity of the body allows. In it, with it, by it knowledge begins.

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