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Imagine 150 years of Metafilter
March 7, 2009 10:22 AM   Subscribe

"Notes and Queries: A Medium of Communication for Literary Men, General Readers, etc." Notes and Queries is a long running journal which printed the, well, notes and queries sent in to them by readers. Google books seems to have full view available for most, if not all, of the issues from the founding in 1849 up through 1908.

Notes were items that the readers of the journal thought other readers might find of interest. For instance, in 1884, Frederick E. Sawyer thought you might find something of interest in the subject of Lord Chief Justice Cockburn and moustaches.

Queries were, again, pretty self explanatory, where correspondents write in with questions for the other readers. In 1901, W.M. Norman wanted to know about the use of acacia in the funerals of Freemasons. I leave it to you to find the answer.

Finally, each issue had a responses section, where readers could respond to either notes or queries. In 1874, Edmund Tew wrote in to answer a question about Logarys Light. I leave it to you to find the question.
posted by Caduceus (12 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite

 
Google books seems to have full view available for most, if not all

Better, as always, is Internet Archive's collection: Notes and Queries.

1. It includes all of Google Books scans, Project Gutenberg, and Internet Archive's scans in a single location.
2. The scan quality is better
3. The interface is better (Flip Book, complex searching, open access metadata, lots of format options)
4. It's a non-profit library with high ideals about freedom of information.

..and I agree N&Q is awesome, it was sort of a Wikipedia of the 19th century, still useful and readable.
posted by stbalbach at 10:36 AM on March 7, 2009 [14 favorites]


It would seem that Sir A. Shipmen took a guard with him on this mission, as of sum of 6 pounds is debited to the British Government on account of " a house burnt by a soldier. "

Arsonist and robbery.
posted by Mblue at 10:37 AM on March 7, 2009


Awesome, stbalbach. That is way better. Thank you.
posted by Caduceus at 10:45 AM on March 7, 2009


Wow, this is strangely captivating. I don't know why but I just seem drawn to old publications; the older the more fascinating. Just something about getting a peek into what people were concerned with at the time no matter how trivial.

I wonder if humanity will one day look back at the archived remains of YouTube and simply be filled with fascination as I am right now.

When, after years of devising ways to interface with the dilapidated drives and reverse-engineering ancient key components , the first page they manage to decode is the profile of a man with more than 6,300 videos of himself smoking.. I wouldn't blame them for whatever their initial reaction is.
posted by pyrex at 11:20 AM on March 7, 2009


From issue 41: P.C.S.S. believes that a little research would have enabled MR. LAWRENCE (Vol. ii., p. 135.) to ascertain that Solingen (not Salingen) was not the name of a sword cutler, but of a place in Prussian Westphali
The snarky "jfgi" of 1850!
posted by nowonmai at 12:00 PM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well here I am reading all about dunghills and muck...how strangely alike 5 minutes ago when I was reading about Wombat Poo The old saying is "Where there is muck there is money," but the new saying should be "Where there is muck, there is a MetaFilter FPP."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:59 PM on March 7, 2009


"P.C.S.S. believes that a little research would have enabled MR. LAWRENCE (Vol. ii., p. 135.) to ascertain that Solingen (not Salingen) was not the name of a sword cutler, but of a place in Prussian Westphali"

O. believes that a little research would have enabled NOWONMAI (http://www.metafilter.com/79774/Imagine-150-years-of-Metafilter#2478738) to ascertain that is is spelled Westphalia (not "Westphali").
posted by orthogonality at 1:33 PM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


N&Q is an excellent thing; I thank Caduceus for the post and stbalbach for the better link.
posted by languagehat at 2:50 PM on March 7, 2009


You can see why these British ruled the world. This fine-grained curiosity and knowledge. It must reflect an astonishing civilization. We have, by contrast, Twitter.
posted by Faze at 4:39 PM on March 7, 2009


The Internet Archive link is very useful (thanks, stbalbach), though the metadata could be improved. At present it's difficult to search or browse the collection by date, and I can't find any issues after 1922, which is a pity because the wartime volumes of N&Q are some of my favourites. As Hitler's troops overran Europe, the readers of N&Q were still writing to the journal with learned notes about squirrels in Anglo-Saxon literature.

This exchange from 1922 captures the flavour of the journal in its silver age:

DANTE'S BEARD. -- It has been inferred from the well-known passage in the 'Purgatorio' that the poet had a beard some time between 1310 and 1318. Now he died in 1321; why then should he have shaved it off? Surely it is going a little far to suppose that Dante was obedient to the frivolous dictates of inconstant Fashion. The beard is often an outward and visible sign of wisdom in the man who wears it, and a perception of this truth, as well as a certain artistic sense of what was right and fitting, may well have kept the encyclopaedic genius of the Middle Ages from cutting off the beard that adorned his face so appropriately.
T. PERCY ARMSTRONG. The Author's Club, Whitehall, S.W.

DANTE'S BEARD. -- I do not think the idea of there being any connexion between the smoothness or the roughness of Dante's chin and his mourning for Beatrice ever occurred to me, and I must have expressed myself very badly for Mr T. PERCY ARMSTRONG to find such a theory in my unimportant remarks. I may as well take this opportunity of saying that, without believing Dante to be a man of fashion, I thought it possible that some habit of the day in which he lived might have had an influence on his use or disuse of the razor.
ST. SWITHIN.


The whole of Notes & Queries, from the beginning in 1849 right up to the present day, has been digitized by the Oxford Journals Digital Archive. It is much better indexed and easier to navigate than either Google Books or the Internet Archive, but unfortunately it is subscription-only, a situation I hope may change one day.
posted by verstegan at 12:26 AM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Internet Archive link is very useful (thanks, stbalbach), though the metadata could be improved. At present it's difficult to search or browse the collection by date, and I can't find any issues after 1922

This is true. The information is actually there, open the metadata file (bookname.xml under the HTTP link) but it's inconsistent and impossible to auto-search on. What's needed is a master index page linking to the books. From 1848 to 1922 there are 13 Series, each Series with 12 volumes (except Ser 13 which has 1 volume). So that's 145 books total. Between Google, IA and PG they might just be all there. After 1922 it's copyright.
posted by stbalbach at 6:41 AM on March 8, 2009




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