Franklin wrote his autobiography in the form of an extended letter to his son. While recording the events of his life, he adds instructions for good living which makes this work America’s first “How to Succeed” book.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by famous orator and ex-slave, Frederick Douglass. It is generally held to be the most famous of a number of narratives written by former slaves during the same period. In factual detail, the text describes the events of his life and is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th Century in the United States.
Barnum, P. T.
Phineas Taylor Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American showman, businessman, and entertainer, remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
His successes may have made him the first "show business" millionaire. Although Barnum was also an author, publisher, philanthropist, and for some time a politician, he said of himself, "I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me," and his personal aims were "to put money in his own coffers".
Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain detailing his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War.
Roughing It is semi-autobiographical travel literature written by American humorist Mark Twain. It was authored during 1870–71 and published in 1872 as a sequel to his first book Innocents Abroad. This book tells of Twain's adventures prior to his pleasure cruise related in Innocents Abroad.
The Story of My Life is a personal account of Helen Keller's life, from her early days to those as an adult. It includes how she came to meet her teacher Ann Sullivan, and learnt to communicate using the manual alphabet. It then goes on to chronicle her days as a college student.
Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope, Fourth Earl of
Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, was at one time Ambassador to the Hague, negotiated the second Treaty of Vienna, was a founding governor of London’s Foundling Hospital, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and Secretary of State. Having no legitimate children, his heir was his third cousin (another Philip) whom he adopted. Although known as a hard, calculating man, he is most well known for his letters to his natural son (i.e., illegitimate son) (also called Philip). When Philip died in 1768, the letters are addressed to his grandchildren (Philip’s two sons, Charles, and, yes, Philip!). (Sibella Denton)
From the introduction:
“The proud Lord Chesterfield would have turned in his grave had he known that he was to go down to posterity as a teacher and preacher of the gospel of not grace, but—"the graces, the graces, the graces." Natural gifts, social status, open opportunities, and his ambition, all conspired to destine him for high statesmanship. If anything was lacking in his qualifications, he had the pluck and good sense to work hard and persistently until the deficiency was made up. Something remained lacking, and not all his consummate mastery of arts could conceal that conspicuous want,—the want of heart.
Teacher and preacher he assuredly is, and long will be, yet no thanks are his due from a posterity of the common people whom he so sublimely despised. His pious mission was not to raise the level of the multitude, but to lift a single individual upon a pedestal so high that his lowly origin should not betray itself. That individual was his, Lord Chesterfield's, illegitimate son, whose inferior blood should be given the true blue hue by concentrating upon him all the externals of aristocratic education.”
Authentic Narratives of the Most Celebrated Sea Robbers.
Text of famous inspirational lecture and biography of Russell Conwell, a Baptist minister and Temple University Founder .
Dyer, Frank Lewis
A detailed biography of Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of such things as the telephone, the microphone, the electric motor, the storage battery, and the electric light. In the words of the authors, "It is designed in these pages to bring the reader face to face with Edison; to glance at an interesting childhood and a youthful period marked by a capacity for doing things, and by an insatiable thirst for knowledge; then to accompany him into the great creative stretch of forty years, during which he has done so much. This book shows him plunged deeply into work for which he has always had an incredible capacity, reveals the exercise of his unsurpassed inventive ability, his keen reasoning powers, his tenacious memory, his fertility of resource; follows him through a series of innumerable experiments, conducted methodically, reaching out like rays of search-light into all the regions of science and nature, and finally exhibits him emerging triumphantly from countless difficulties bearing with him in new arts the fruits of victorious struggle." (written by Justin Barrett, with authors' quote taken from the work itself)
The Autobiography of Charles Darwin is the autobiography of the British naturalist Charles Darwin which was published in 1887, five years after his death.
Darwin wrote the book, which he entitled Recollections of the Development of my Mind and Character, for his family. He states that he started writing it on about May 28, 1876 and had finished it by August 3.
The book was edited by Charles Darwin's son Francis Darwin, who removed several passages about Darwin's critical views of God and Christianity (see Charles Darwin's views on religion).
Childhood, published in 1852, is the first novel in Leo Tolstoy’s autobiographical trilogy, which also includes Boyhood, and Youth. Published when Tolstoy was twenty-three, the book gained immediate notice among Russian writers including Ivan Turgenev, and heralded the young Tolstoy as a major figure in Russian letters. Childhood is an expressionist exploration of the internal life of a young boy, Nikolenka, and was a new form in Russian writing, mixing fact, fiction and emotions to render the moods and reactions of the narrator. Childhood is Tolstoy’s first published work.
The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times, or Le Vite delle più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori, as it was originally known in Italian, is a series of artist biographies written by 16th century Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, which is considered "perhaps the most famous, and even today the most- read work of the older literature of art", "some of the Italian Renaissance's most influential writing on art", and "one of the founding texts in art history".
Vasari's work has been described as "by far the most influential single text for the history of Renaissance art" and "the most important work of Renaissance biography of artists". Its influence is situated mainly in three domains: as an example for contemporary and later biographers and art historians, as a defining factor in the view on the Renaissance and the role of Florence and Rome in it, and as a major source of information on the lives and works of early Italian artists.
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) began writing his autobiography long before the 1906 publications of these Chapters from my Autobiography. He originally planned to have his memoirs published only after his death but realized, once he’d passed his 70th year, that a lot of the material might be OK to publish before his departure. These chapters were published in serial form in the North American Review during 1906-1907. While much of the material consists of stories about the people, places and incidents of his long life, there’re also several sections from his daughter, which he calls “Susy’s biography of me”.
Rockefeller, John D.
A good book by the oil revolutionist of the 20th century. As they say "Men should listen to experience" and this book is all about the experience of the second highest taxpayer of the US during the 20's. Though it is not in the book, this is a small poem he wrote:
I was early taught to work as well as play,
My life has been one long, happy holiday;
Full of work and full of play-
I dropped the worry on the way-
And God was good to me everyday.
An intriguing look at well known women in history from BC 500 to the mid 1800's. Each chapter is a brief overview of one woman's life. An interesting read.
Gordon, Irwin Leslie
A short, humorous biography of famous people from 5000 BC to 1914. -- S. McGaughey
From the Introduction, "The editor begs leave to inform the public that only persons who can produce proper evidence of their demise will be admitted to Who Was Who. Press Agent notices or complimentary comments are absolutely excluded, and those offering to pay for the insertion of names will be prosecuted. As persons become eligible they will be included without solicitation, while the pages will be expurgated of others should good luck warrant."
Eastman, Charles Alexander (Ohiyesa)
EVERY age, every race, has its leaders and heroes. There were over sixty distinct tribes of Indians on this continent, each of which boasted its notable men. The names and deeds of some of these men will live in American history, yet in the true sense they are unknown, because misunderstood. I should like to present some of the greatest chiefs of modern times in the light of the native character and ideals, believing that the American people will gladly do them tardy justice.
Boyhood is the second in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Youth, published in a literary journal during the 1850s.
In this volume are presented examples of men who shed lustre upon ordinary pursuits, either by the superior manner in which they exercised them or by the noble use they made of the leisure which success in them usually gives. Such men are the nobility of republics.
Most of these chapters were published originally in "The Ledger" of New York, and a few of them in "The Youths' Companion" of Boston, the largest two circulations in the country. I have occasionally had reason to think that they were of some service to young readers, and I may add that they represent more labor and research than would be naturally supposed from their brevity. Perhaps in this new form they may reach and influence the minds of future leaders in the great and growing realm of business. I should pity any young man who could read the briefest account of what has been done in manufacturing towns by such men as John Smedley and Robert Owen without forming a secret resolve to do something similar if ever he should win the opportunity.
Guyon, Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte
Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon (commonly known as Madame Guyon) (April 13, 1648 - June 9, 1717) was a French mystic and one of the key advocates of Quietism. Quietism was considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church, and she was imprisoned from 1695 to 1703 after publishing a book on the topic, A Short and Easy Method of Prayer. This translation is by Thomas Taylor Allen was first published in 1897. Allen's dates are unknown.
Bryant, Walter W.
This biography of Johannes Kepler begins with an account of what the world of astronomy was like before his time, then proceeds to a look at his early years. Two chapters deal with his working relationship with Tycho Brahe. These are followed by a look at Kepler's laws and his last years.
Pengilly, Mary Huestis
Mary Pengilly was taken to a Lunatic Asylum by her sons where she kept a diary, which this book is taken from. Mary records the harsh conditions and treatments received at the hands of the nurses during her stay. Once Mary is released she takes it upon herself to make the authorities aware of the situation at the Provincial Lunatic Asylum.
“Who can help laughing when an ordinary journalist seriously proposes to limit the subject-matter at the disposal of the artist?”
“We are dominated by journalism.... Journalism governs for ever and ever.”[/i]
One of the nastiest of the British tabloids was founded a year too late to join in the moral panic generated to accompany Oscar Wilde’s court appearances in 1895. Yet there was no shortage of hypocritical journalists posing as moral arbiters to the nation, then as now.
This compendium work - skilfully assembled by the editor, Stuart Mason - ends with transcript of Wilde’s first appearance in the Old Bailey, when he was cross-examined on the alleged immorality of his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The disastrous outcome of these trials provides an ironic conclusion to the earlier knockabout exchanges between Oscar and his reviewers. In these he is at his flamboyant best, revelling in the publicity he pretends to disdain. His brave performances in the dock did nothing, however, to save him from hard labour, the treadmill and complete physical and moral breakdown which the law found it necessary to inflict on him.
In contrast to the hacks and lawyers, two refreshingly open-minded Americans write perceptively about the novel, as does Walter Pater, the grand old man of Aestheticism.
This solo Librivox project complements a new dramatised reading of The Picture of Dorian Gray, currently in preparation, featuring the present reader as Narrator.
Browne, E. Gordon
This book is about the life of Queen Victoria (1819 to 1901). All nine of her children married into the royal houses of Europe. She became the longest reigning monarch and more. This book is a fascinating read about the woman behind the British Empire.
A biography of the Polish composer and virtuoso pianist Frédéric Chopin and a critical analysis of his work by American music writer and critic James Huneker.
Abbott, John S.C.
David "Davy" Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was a celebrated 19th century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet “King of the Wild Frontier.” He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the Battle of the Alamo. This narrative attempts faithfully to record the influences under which David Crockett was reared and the incidents of his wild and wondrous life. It begins with his ancestors' immigration to the American wilderness, his adventures among the Indians, his political career in Tennessee and beyond, and ending with his heroic stand at the Alamo.
It need hardly be said that the woman by whom these letter were written had no thought that they would be read by anyone but the person to whom they were addressed. But a request, conveyed under circumstances which the writer herself would have regarded as all-commanding, urges that they should now be given to the world; and, so far as is possible with a due regard to the claims of privacy, what is here printed presents the letters as they were first written in their complete form and sequence.
Keysor, Jennie Ellis
Biographies of Raphael Santi, Murillo, Peter Paul Rubens, and Albrecht Durer. This is a wonderful tool for art study as there are references for further study, as well as ideas for language arts to incorporate into the study
Bolton, Sarah Knowles
This book is a collection of short biographies of notable women, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, Florence Nightingale, and many others.
Nicolay, John George
John G. Nicolay was Abraham Lincoln’s private White House secretary. With assistant secretary, John Hay, he wrote the two volume definitive biography of Lincoln, "Abraham Lincoln, a Biography." Although this is a condensation by Nicolay of that biography, it is still a sizable work and a fairly thorough treatment of the life of the 16th president of the United States.
Henry Walton Bibb was born a slave. His father was white although his identity was not positively known. Bibb was separated from his mother at a very young age and hired out to other slave owners for most of his childhood. Always yearning for his freedom, he made his first escape from slavery in 1842. He was recaptured and escaped, recaptured and escaped over and over; but he never gave up on his desire to be a man in control of his own destiny.
Bibb eventually escaped the bondage of servitude for good and dedicated his life to speaking out against the institution of slavery. In the process he helped others obtain their freedom. He published Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, and American Slave in 1849 telling the story of his daily life as a slave, as a runaway and as a free man. He also illustrated the depravity of that “man-destroying system” and the “idea of utter helplessness in perpetual bondage.”
Bibb stated in his Author's Preface that there were other very popular slave narratives published before his own; nevertheless, the uniqueness of his story is in the details of his experiences which, like the others, shine a glaringly truthful beam of light on the sins of this nation. Ultimately Bibb made his way to Canada where in 1851 he published the first black newspaper of that Country, Voice of the Fugitive. He died in 1854 at the age of 39.
An account given of the lives of five great naturalists (Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen, Vesalius and Harvey) will not be found devoid of interest. The work of each one of them marked a definite advance in the science of Biology.
There is often among students of anatomy and physiology a tendency to imagine that the facts with which they are now being made familiar have all been established by recent observation and experiment. But even the slight knowledge of the history of Biology, which may be obtained from a perusal of this little book, will show that, so far from such being the case, this branch of science is of venerable antiquity. And, further, if in the place of this misconception a desire is aroused in the reader for a fuller acquaintance with the writings of the early anatomists the chief aim of the author will have been fulfilled.
Williams, Henry L.
The Abraham Lincoln Statue at Chicago is accepted as the typical Westerner of the forum, the rostrum, and the tribune, as he stood to be inaugurated under the war-cloud in 1861. But there is another Lincoln as dear to the common people--the Lincoln of happy quotations, the speaker of household words. Instead of the erect, impressive, penetrative platform orator we see a long, gaunt figure, divided between two chairs for comfort, the head bent forward, smiling broadly, the lips curved in laughter, the deep eyes irradiating their caves of wisdom; the story-telling Lincoln, enjoying the enjoyment he gave to others.
Leander Stillwell was an 18-year-old Illinois farm boy, living with his family in a log cabin, when the U.S. Civil War broke out. Stillwell felt a duty "to help save the Nation;" but, as with many other young men, his Patriotism was tinged with bravura: "the idea of staying at home and turning over senseless clods on the farm with the cannon thundering so close at hand . . . was simply intolerable." Stillwell volunteered for the 61st Illinois Infantry in January 1861. His youthful enthusiasm for the soldier's life was soon tempered at Shiloh, where he first "saw a gun fired in anger," and "saw a man die a violent death."
Stillwell's recounting of events is always vivid, personal, and engrossing. "I distinctly remember my first shot at Shiloh . . . The fronts of both lines were . . . shrouded in smoke. I had my gun at a ready, and was trying to peer under the smoke in order to get a sight of our enemies. Suddenly I heard someone in a highly excited tone calling to me from just in my rear, --'Stillwell! Shoot! Shoot! Why don't you shoot?' I looked around and saw that this command was being given by . . . our second lieutenant, who was wild with excitement, jumping up and down like a hen on a hot griddle. 'Why, lieutenant,' I said, 'I can't see anything to shoot at.' 'Shoot, shoot, anyhow!' 'All right,' I responded. . . And bringing my gun to my shoulder, I aimed low in the direction of the enemy, and blazed away through the smoke. But at the time the idea to me was ridiculous that one should blindly shoot into a cloud of smoke without having a bead on the object to be shot at."
The Story of a Common Soldier is a compelling coming of age tale that will appeal not only to Civil War buffs but to anyone who enjoys autobiographies. Written at the urging of his youngest son, when Stillwell was a mature man--a lawyer, judge, and member of the Kansas legislature, it combines graphic detail (provided by his war diary and letters written at the time to his family) with the insights of a thoughtful man looking back on those horrific times.
Ellis, Edward S.
Christopher Carson, or as he was familiarly called, Kit Carson, was a man whose real worth was understood only by those with whom he was associated or who closely studied his character. He was more than hunter, trapper, guide, Indian agent and Colonel in the United States Army....His lot was cast on the extreme western frontier, where, when but a youth, he earned the respect of the tough and frequently lawless men with whom he came in contact. Integrity, bravery, loyalty to friends, marvelous quickness in making right decisions, in crisis of danger, consummate knowledge of woodcraft, a leadership as skilful as it was daring; all these were distinguishing traits in the composition of Carson and were the foundations of the broader fame which he acquired as the friend and invaluable counselor of Fremont, the Pathfinder, in his expeditions across the Rocky Mountains.
"If, in these pages, written in remembrance of my father, I should tell you, my dear friends, nothing new of him, I can, at least, promise you that what I shall tell will be told faithfully, if simply, and perhaps there may be some things not familiar to you." So begins chapter one of My Father as I Recall Him, the personal recollections of Mary Dickens, (Mamie, as she was called), the oldest daughter of the great novelist, Charles Dickens.
Courtenay, Calista McCabe
In this biography for young people, Calista McCabe Courtenay takes the reader from George Washington the surveyor to his early military career, first as a colonel in the Virgina militia and then as a member of General Braddock'a staff during the French and Indian War. He later commanded the Virginia forces before joining the First Continental Congress. Much of the book is devoted to his campaigns during the American Revolution. At the end, we see him as President for two terms.
Warner, Charles Dudley
Warner's thoughtful and often humorous memoir of his life as a young farm-boy in Charlemont, Massachusetts.
Shaw, Edward R.
Tales of the brave and daring explorers that ventured into the unknown "Sea of Darkness" where it was thought monsters and angry gods lived. They dared to sail near the equator which was thought to have such intense heat that it would boil the ocean water. It was also commonly thought at the time that the world was flat, and the ships would fall off the face of the earth. These men overcame these fears to explore and discover new lands.
"Jesus of Nazareth, a Biography, by John Mark," recognizes the author of the second Gospel as that "John, whose surname was Mark" (Acts 15:37), whom Barnabas chose as companion when he sailed for Cyprus on his second missionary journey. In making use of the new title, the plan of the Editor is to present "The Gospel: According to Mark" as it would be printed were it written in the twentieth rather than the first century. (Introduction from Forward, by D. Appleton and Co, Publishers, 1922)
Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, also known as James Albert, (born ca. 1705 - 1775) was a freed slave and autobiographer. His autobiography is considered the first published by an African in Britain. Gronniosaw's autobiography was produced in Kidderminster in the late 1760s. Its full title is A Narrative of the Most remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African Prince, As related by himself. It was the first Slave narrative in the English language. Published in Bath in 1772, it gives a vivid account of Gronniosaw's life, from his capture in Africa through slavery to a life of poverty in Colchester and Kidderminster. It is devoid of the anti-slavery backlash ubiquitous in subsequent slave narratives.
Hambleton, Chalkley J.
"Early in the summer of 1860, I had an attack of gold fever. In Chicago, the conditions for such a malady were all favorable. Since the panic of 1857 there had been three years of general depression, money was scarce, there was little activity in business, the outlook was discouraging, and I, like hundreds of others, felt blue."
Thus Chalkley J. Hambleton begins his pithy and engrossing tale of participation in the Pike's Peak gold rush.
Four men in partnership hauled 24 tons of mining equipment by ox cart across the Great Plains from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Denver, Colorado. Hambleton vividly recounts their encounters with buffalo herds, Indians, and"the returning army of disappointed gold seekers."
Setting up camp near Mountain City, Colorado, Hambleton watched one man wash "several nice nuggets of shining gold" from the dirt and gravel, only to learn afterwards that [i]"these same nuggets had been washed out several times before, whenever a 'tenderfoot' would come along, who it was thought might want to buy a rich claim."
Two years later, "tired and disgusted with the whole business," Hambleton returned to Chicago, where he arrived "a wiser if not richer man."
In later years, Hambleton was a prominent Chicago lawyer, real estate developer, and a member of the Chicago Board of Education. He wrote this candid account for family and friends, publishing it privately in 1898. It is based in good part on letters he had sent from the gold fields to his sister. Summing up his experience with wry humor, he writes: "After selling out my interest in the joint enterprise, I still had left some fifty claims on various lodes . . . Some time after returning to Chicago, I was making a real estate trade . . . and I threw in these fifty gold mines. . . Had I only kept them, and gotten up some artistic deeds of conveyance, in gilded letters, what magnificent wedding presents they would have made. . . In the long list of high-sounding, useless presents, the present of a gold mine would have led all the rest."
Do you love books? No, I mean REALLY love books? These series of sketches on the delights, adventures, and misadventures connected with bibliomania (bibliomania is characterized by the collecting of books which have no use to the collector nor any great intrinsic value to a genuine book collector. The purchase of multiple copies of the same book and edition and the accumulation of books beyond possible capacity of use or enjoyment are frequent symptoms of bibliomania.). The author wholeheartedly enjoyed this pursuit all his life and his descriptions are delightful to read. Anyone who has lovingly held a book, smelled it, and enjoyed it for being just what it is, will understand what the author puts so well. According to the author, collectors may be grouped in three classes: Those who collect from vanity, those who collect for the benefits of learning and those who collect out of veneration and love for books. Mr. Field fell squarly in the latter category.
Lighton, William R.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark - In the years 1804, 1805, and 1806, two men commanded an expedition which explored the wilderness that stretched from the mouth of the Missouri River to where the Columbia enters the Pacific,
and dedicated to civilization a new empire. Their names were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. This book relates that adventure from it's inception through it's completion as well as the effect the expedition had upon the history of the United States.
Ingram, John Henry
A compilation of chronicles of the numerous impostors and impostures of kings, queens, and rulers.
Wright, Jacob William
Short memory of boyhood by a little-known American poet based in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California.
Suetonius Tranquillus, Gaius
The Twelve Caesars is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman Empire. The work was written in 121 during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, while Suetonius was Hadrian's personal secretary. On the Life of the Caesars concentrates on the acts and personalities of the Julio-Claudians and their immediate successors. Together with Tacitus' Annals, this work is a major source for the historical details in Robert Graves' novels "I Claudius" and "Claudius the God".
This autobiography of Andrew Carnegie is a very well written and interesting history of one of the most wealthy men in the United states. He was born in Scotland in 1835 and emigrated to America in 1848. Among his many accomplishments and philanthropic works, he was an author, having written, besides this autobiography, Triumphant Democracy (1886; rev. ed. 1893), The Gospel of Wealth, a collection of essays (1900), The Empire of Business (1902), and Problems of To-day (1908)]. Although this autobiography was written in 1919, it was published posthumously in 1920.
The Education of Henry Adams records the struggle of Bostonian Henry Adams (1838-1918), in early old age, to come to terms with the dawning 20th century, so different from the world of his youth. It is also a sharp critique of 19th century educational theory and practice. In 1907, Adams began privately circulating copies of a limited edition printed at his own expense. Commercial publication had to await its author's 1918 death, whereupon it won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.