Who the Hell is Captain John, D'Unger?
January 24, 2012 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find me a copy of the 1876 Johnson's New Universal Cyclopaedia? If you're a librarian, please hope me!

This is a very specific problem, actually. And it has to be an actual 1876 edition, to answer my question. Though, if must be, I'll take an 1877-78 or 79, because it at least gets me closer to my quest. I don't want to buy the damn book, since I only need one little thing.

I only need one entry, that for Duluth, Minnesota. I'm trying to trace a mistake that, at its earliest, I can find in the 1880 edition of Johnson's that appears to be made by the entry's author, D'Unger. I've already looked through the Internet Archive, and other digitized versions I have access to as a non-academic. So, does anyone know how I can get the entry for Duluth, Minnesota from one of these earlier editions?
posted by RedEmma to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
According to WorldCat, NYPL has it. Of course WorldCat may not be entirely accurate but the only other record appears to just be for Volume 2.

Here is their contact page: http://www.nypl.org/ask-nypl
posted by amapolaroja at 1:33 PM on January 24, 2012

Abebooks seems to be selling a first edition set for $375. I know you don't want to buy, but if you asked the sellers very nicely (and maybe offered to pay them $20 or so? Or buy some other book from them?) they might be willing to either look up the entry for you or photocopy it.
posted by yoink at 1:41 PM on January 24, 2012

Okay I did find the record in the NYPL catalog. I can't find a way to permalink but here is the location information: Collection:Schwarzman Building - Main Reading Room
Call #:*AK (Johnson's New Universal cyclopaedia. 1876)

It appears to be reference.
posted by amapolaroja at 1:44 PM on January 24, 2012

Might be interesting to look at this reproduction, not totally clear which edition it is
posted by Perplexity at 1:54 PM on January 24, 2012

I can't tell from your profile where you live, but it looks like the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis has a copy (their catalog record dates it 1876-78). It appears to be a circulating item, and the U of M libraries participate in MNLink interlibrary loan. So if you live anywhere in Minnesota and have a library card, you can try requesting it via interlibrary loan. (Or take a road trip to the Twin Cities -- those libraries are open to the public.)

I can't link directly to the citation, but here's what it says:
Title: Johnson’s new universal cyclopædia: a scientific and popular treasury of useful knowledge ...
Published: New York, A. J. Johnson & son; Pittsburgh, Pa., W. D. Cummings; [etc., etc.] 1876-78
Description: 4 v. illus. (incl. plans, music) col. pl., maps (part double) diagrs. 29 cm.

Availability: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement Quarto 031 J63b Regular Loan

Subject LC: Encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Contributor: Barnard, Frederick A. P. (Frederick Augustus Porter), 1809-1889 ed.
Guyot, A. (Arnold), 1807-1884.
Material Type: bks
System No. : 002185249
posted by Siobhan at 1:54 PM on January 24, 2012

Is this the page you're looking for?

It's listed as being the 1876 edition of Johnson's at Open Library.
posted by cirripede at 3:52 PM on January 24, 2012

That's it, Cirripede! Both I and the historical society librarian were coming up with only the 1880 date in Internet Archive. How strange. I suspected that the entry hadn't changed since the first edition of 1876, but I needed to be sure.

In case you all were wondering, there was a Captain named Du Luth (otherwise known as Daniel Greysolon Sieur Du Lhut), but his name wasn't John, he was a coureur du bois (a bit more than a "traveller"), he didn't build a hut, and he wasn't here in 1760 (but rather 1670).

I'm trying to trace this error because a road in Duluth is named Jean Duluth Road, and I'm writing an article on the rather widespread belief circa 1900 that the first white guy to hang out in this area was named Captain John/Jean. Seems I've traced the mistake at least to Mr. D'Unger. Some people a hundred years ago tried to explain that Captain John was Daniel's brother or son. Unfortunately, he had no son (that is known about--I wouldn't be surprised if he impregnated a few indigenous ladies), and his brother's name was Claude Greysolon Sieur de la Tourette.
posted by RedEmma at 4:49 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

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