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On October 30, 1785, American statesman and diplomat Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) wrote a letter to Catherine Shipley. Known as “Kitty,” Catherine was the youngest of five daughters of Jonathan Shipley, an Anglican bishop in St. Asaph in Wales. Shipley spent most of his time in London or at his country estate, Twyford, located near Winchester.

Bishop Shipley was one of Franklin’s closest friends in Great Britain. Franklin visited Bishop Shipley often and enjoyed conversing with his daughters. During one such visit in 1771, Franklin, encouraged by the Shipley family, began writing his memoirs. At that time, Kitty was 11 years old.

In this particular letter, sent from Philadelphia in 1785, Franklin mentioned to Kitty that he was very busy at work as a member of the executive council of Pennsylvania, a position he held from 1785 to 1788. He informed her that he was enjoying time with his grandsons and his nephew Jonathan Williams, and he extended his best wishes to Kitty’s family at Twyford. Although Franklin had misplaced a letter from Kitty, he promised to write her once he found it. She was about 25 years old at the date of this letter. She never married. In 1786, Franklin wrote "The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams" in honor of Kitty.

Franklin served as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, at the age of 81. He died in 1790 in Philadelphia.

Part of this letter is included in the online Papers of Benjamin Franklin, sponsored by the American Philosophical Society and Yale University. Only the first paragraph, ending with "Love to all the dear family at Twyford" is included in the online transcription. The bottom portion of the letter, starting with "I have received a kind letter from you," is not posted.

This letter was donated to the Booth Family Center for Special Collections by Mrs. Morton Fearey in December, 2001.The document is preserved in box 7 folder 10 of the Miscellaneous Manuscripts collection.

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Manuscripts
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While arbitrating family arguments and settling bets over aspects of Georgetown history does not appear as a stated area of responsibility anywhere in my job description as University Archivist, it is something that I find myself called upon to do multiple times each year.  In this vein, I received a phone call from a faculty member at a New England college who was seeking to settle a long-running argument with her husband who is a GU alum.  He had repeatedly mentioned how, as a student in the College of Arts and Sciences in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he avoided required mathematics classes by studying Greek instead.  She found this somewhat difficult to believe and asked me to investigate.  I did so and reported back that her husband was quite correct - College catalogs, like the one from 1960-1961, show that students who were on the Bachelor of Arts classical track were, indeed, able to substitute Greek for math in their freshmen and sophomore years. 

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Archives
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The name of Georgetown's first student, William Gaston, is a familiar one on campus and Gaston Hall, an over 700-seat hall where convocations, lectures and honorary degree ceremonies are held, carries his name.  Philemon Charles Wederstrandt is less well known to Hoyas but he has the distinction of being the second student to enroll at Georgetown College. Born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and a distant cousin of our founder John Carroll, he arrived on December 20, 1791, at the age of 16.  He left in August 1793 and later joined the U.S. Navy.  After resigning for health reasons in 1810, he retired to Baltimore where he was one of two Georgetown students known to have helped defend the city against the British during the War of 1812, the other being Joseph Judik.  Wederstrandt moved to Louisiana and died in 1857, having outlived William Gaston by thirteen years.

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Archives
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When using Library resources off-campus, we recommend starting with either the Library's off-campus access page or with the Library-provided link to the resource.

However, sometimes going through the Library isn't always possible. If a professor or colleague suggests you read

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UPDATE: Links to JSTOR books have been fixed. If you continue to experience problems accessing JSTOR e-books, please contact eresources@georgetown.edu.


Most of our links to JSTOR e-books are currently broken. The problem links will have "&sid=OCLC:WCDS" at the end of the URL. For example:

Diversity and Complexity, by Scott E. Page, has the following link in its record:
http://proxy.library.georgetown.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt7pfdp&sid=OCLC:WCDS

Stripping off the offending text ("&sid=" to the end of the URL) results in a working link.

We have reported this problem to JSTOR and are attempting to obtain corrected links for our JSTOR e-books. Please note this problem only affects e-books through JSTOR; e-books that use another platform (such as ProQuest, Ebrary, or EBSCO) are unaffected. We apologize for the incovenience, and are happy to answer specific questions at eresources@georgetown.edu.

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Electronic Resources Updates
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Update: 19 October 2015 at 1:40 PM ET

JSTOR reports that all issues related to last week's authentication problems have been resolved. 

Some other institutions still report that their users are not being recognized by JSTOR as being institutional users. If you are accessing JSTOR through library links but are not being recognized as a Georgetown user, please completely clear your browser cache and attempt to access JSTOR again. If the problem persists, please submit a report to eresources@georgetown.edu.

 

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Update: 14 October 2015 at 2:46 PM ET

JSTOR reports that most users should now be able to search, browse, and access most journal articles and primary sources. However, access to some book and recent journal content is intermittent. This has been confirmed by Electronic Resources. Please let us know if you continue to experience any access issues with JSTOR. Any updates provided by JSTOR can be viewed on their JSTOR Platform Updates page and will be passed along by Electronic Resources, as needed. 

We apologize for any inconvenience that this is causing you. Please direct any questions regarding this issue to eresources@georgetown.edu.

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JSTOR is currently unavailable to all on- and off-campus Georgetown University users. A recent conversation with JSTOR support indicated that this authentication outage began at 7:45am today and is affecting all of their customers around the world. They are working on a solution to the issue and hope to have a resolution today.

JSTOR is updating users through their Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/JSTOR. Electronic Resources will revise this post once access has been restored and confirmed.
 
We apologize for any inconvenience that this is causing you. Please direct any questions regarding this issue to eresources@georgetown.edu.
 
Posted on 13 October 2015 at 12:04 PM ET.
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Electronic Resources Updates
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We would like to give you advance notice of an interruption of service for Elsevier platforms and solutions due to scheduled maintenance.

On Saturday, August 1, access to Elsevier platforms will be unavailable due to a scheduled maintenance for approximately 4.5 hours starting at 06:00 PM EDT.

The platforms and solutions involved are:

  • Elsevier Research Platforms: ScienceDirect, Scopus (including Author Feedback Wizard), Engineering Village, Mendeley
  • Research Intelligence: SciVal Funding
  • R&D Solutions: Reaxys, Embase, Geofacets

During this time, these products will be unavailable for use, and you will be redirected to a message indicating the temporary unavailability of service.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Electronic Resources & Serials Unit at eresources@georgetown.edu.

Posted 27 July 2015 at 3:22pm ET

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Electronic Resources Updates
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Georgetown users of the S&P netAdvantage are currently experiencing problems accessing the resource. Users are being prompted to log on to their subscription rather than being recognized as users from Georgetown and passed to the full database. Standard & Poor's reports that this problem affects all netAdvantage users. They are working to resolve the issue. We sincerely regret any invconvenience that this may cause.

Please contact the Electronic Resources & Serials Unit if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted 20 July 2015 at 10:57am ET.

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Electronic Resources Updates
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Georgetown users of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online are currently experiencing problems accessing the resource. Users are being prompted to log on to their subscription rather than being recognized as users from Georgetown and passed to the full dictionary. Oxford University Press reports that this problem affects all OED users. They are working to resolve the issue. We sincerely regret any invconvenience that this may cause.

Please contact the Electronic Resources & Serials Unit if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted 09 June 2015 at 4:29pm ET.

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Access has been restored to the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database platform available at http://eng.oversea.cnki.net and http://gb.oversea.cnki.net. This includes access to the following databases:

China Academic Journals (CAJ)
Century Journals Project (CJP)
China Doctors/Masters Dissertations (CDMD)
China Core Newspapers (CCND)
Conference Proceedings of China (CPCD)
China Reference Works Online (CRWO)
China Yearbooks Fulltext Database (CYFD)
China Statistical Yearbooks Database (CSYD)
China Monographic Series Database (CMSD)

Our apologies for the interruption in services. If you have any questions, please contact us at eresources@georgetown.edu.

Posted 8:51am ET, May 6, 2015.