Tag Archives: history

Digital Resource of the Week: Rare Book Room

Through the publishing house Octavo, the Rare Book Room currently has over 400 digitized books available to read online. Many of the books are beautiful examples of the histories of print design, typography, and illustration.

You can search by subject such as literature (where you will find Shakespeare’s work), graphic arts (including a work by Bodoni), music (mostly Beethoven and Mozart), or photography (the Pennsylvania Railroad Photographs from the 1870s are here).

Many of the libraries that hold the original materials are right here in Philadelphia! In the drop-down menu for Find by Library, check out The American Antiquarian Society, The American Philosophical Society, the Ewell Sale Stewart Library of the Academy of Natural Sciences, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and the University of Pennsylvania Library.

Please note that you will have to allow pop-ups on your web browser to use the site.

Here are some highlights of the collection:

A book of hours - "Horae Beatae Mariae ad usum Romanum" - from 1524
A book of hours - "Horae Beatae Mariae ad usum Romanum" - from 1524
Louis Renard's "Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes, de Diverses Couleu" (1719)
Louis Renard's "Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes, de Diverses Couleu" (1719)

 

Lewis Carroll's "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass" illustrated by Blanche McManus, 1900
Lewis Carroll's "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass" illustrated by Blanche McManus, 1900
German Christian text, unknown author, circa 1475
German Christian text, unknown author, circa 1475

Digital Resource of the Week: Getty Research Institute’s Digital Collections

The Getty Research Institute (GRI) works collaboratively with the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation.

Sketchbook of Pompeii by Sir William Gell (1830)
Sketchbook of Pompeii by Sir William Gell (1830)

 

The Getty Research Institute‘s mission “is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts.” To meet this goal, the Institute has many digital collections, including images of art, architecture, photography, and primary sources such as artists’ letters.

The GRI’s digital collections can be searched a variety of ways. For example, search by medium to discover drawings or photographs. Search by subject to limit to Latin America or Modernism.

The Institute also has a Photo Study Collection of about a million of its photographs available online. The Collection acts as a reference tool for studying antiquities and Western art.

At the end of this month, GRI will launch the Getty Research Portal, “a free online search platform providing global access to digitized art history texts in the public domain.” These digitized art books will provide easy access to critical scholarship. Stay tuned to learn more!

El Lissitzky (1923) "Schaumachinerie" (Show machinery)
El Lissitzky (1923) "Schaumachinerie" (Show machinery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Resource of the Week: The Morgan Library and Museum

The Morgan Library and Museum is a terrific collection of art, music, and literature. Located in New York City, their website offers online exhibitions, music manuscripts, videos, and more.

Manāfi˓-i al-ḥayavā (The Benefits of Animals), in Persian. Persia, Maragha, between 1297 and 1300, for Shams al-Dīn Ibn Żiyā˒ al-Dīn al-Zūshkī
Manāfi˓-i al-ḥayavā (The Benefits of Animals), in Persian. Persia, Maragha, between 1297 and 1300, for Shams al-Dīn Ibn Żiyā˒ al-Dīn al-Zūshkī

Exhibitions of the library and museum holdings are diverse – from In the Company of Animals to Jim Dine: The Glyptotek Paintings to Auld Lang Syne: The Story of a Song. Many of the exhibitions have an online version with an essay and additional resources. You can also browse through highlights of the collection including Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, music manuscripts, and paintings and sculpture.

There are videos available on topics such as the famous Dutch manuscript, The Hours of Catherine of Cleves and Princeton professor Cornel West discussing Jane Austen.

Jean de Brunhoff's Histoire de Babar Maquette
Jean de Brunhoff's Histoire de Babar Maquette

The Morgan Library and Museum has an active blog highlighting different items in the collection. New at the Morgan showcases new acquisitions by the Library and Museum. Secrets from the Vault, another theme of the blog, includes posts about interesting items like John Ruskin’s Puppet Show and Death or Castration? The Pains of Circus Management.

If you like the collection, check out Pierpont Morgan Library (Pierpont Morgan was an avid collector in the late 1800s) as an author in the UArts Libraries catalog.

Digital Resource of the Week: BBC Four Collections

BBC Four, one of the television and radio stations of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has made many of its programs available online. Called BBC Four Collections, they include:

All American programs aired in the mid 1960s and have continued through 2011. Most are a half hour to an hour in length and cover topics such as The Devil’s Music (that would be the Blues), an interview with Maya Angelou, a profile of Jackson Pollock, and the sex scandal of New York’s Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

 

Victoria Spivey sings the Blues
Victoria Spivey sings the Blues

Army: A Very British Institution is about the history of the British Armed Forces.

Radio 4 Collections is broken into 4 areas: art, history, science, and society. There are interviews with theater actors and playwrights and programs about the ancient world.

Talk, a radio broadcast series, includes interviews with influential contemporary figures such as actor Nigel Hawthorne, artist Henry Moore, and film director Orson Welles.

 

Salvador Dali on Melancholic British Art
Salvador Dali on Melancholic British Art

Digital Resource of the Week: The Lively Morgue

The New York Times has started a Tumblr to showcase its extensive photo archive. Each week, The Lively Morgue will publish several photographs from the newspaper’s collection. Each photo has the date taken, explanatory caption, and photographer’s name.

Besides weekly updates, you can search The Lively Morgue by tags such as black and white photography, by decade (such as the 1970s), or by subjects like fashion and sports.

from an article about the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, 1993
from an article about the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, 1993

Additionally, The Times is posting images of the back-side of the photographs. David Dunlap, journalist for the newspaper, explains that this is where the life of the photograph is recorded. “In many cases,” he writes, “you’ll get to see how often the photo was used, in what context and at what size; the information provided by the photographer; and the information that made it into the published caption.”

 

Many of the photographs will also be posted on The Lens, The Times’ photography and videography blog. Essays accompany the series of photographs, providing more insight into the people and places depicted in the images.

If you have your own Tumblr account, you’ll be able to repost and like photos posted on The Lively Morgue, creating your own collection of cultural, political, and social history.

 

from a fashion report on paper dresses, 1968
from a fashion report on paper dresses, 1968

 

Digital Resource of the Week: Retronaut

Want to explore a history of life from way back when? Retronaut will take you there. British ex-museum curator Chris Wild has been culling images, videos, music, and more from public and private archives.

from Rephotographing Budapest by Soren's Lie
from Rephotographing Budapest by Soren's Lie

The website is organized by decade but you can also search by categories (like art, fashion, and music) or clusters (such as steampunk or Through the Lens of…photography). You can also add your own content and leave comments, enhancing the visual collection and adding memories.

Want to learn more about the past? UArts Libraries has a great subject guide for 2oth Century Research by Decade. This will help you find books and articles on just about any event in the 20th century!

Digital Resource of the Week: Craft in America

Craft in America is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the history, techniques, and preservation of American arts and design. The organization is dedicated to educating students of all ages about historical and contemporary craft.

Dorothy Gill Barnes, Ella’s Mulberry Marked, 1995, Courtesy of Arkansas Arts Center
Dorothy Gill Barnes, Ella’s Mulberry Marked, 1995, Courtesy of Arkansas Arts Center

The website introduces contemporary artisans in all craft media: clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, and paper/book arts. A section is dedicated to each material, linking to articles on the craftsmanship and history, as well as providing a list of craft galleries, museums, and magazines. The education section discusses craft by themes such as memory and community. The website gives access to virtual exhibitions.

The organization also produces a TV series that airs on PBS. Each episode focuses on a topic and how crafters in each material approach that topic. You can watch much of the series on PBS’ website and also get access to episodes of the show by downloading PBS’ free iPhone or iPad App. Or, borrow the first three episodes from the UArts Libraries.

Finally, check out the book Craft in America published in 2007. It’s full of beautiful color images representing all crafts, focusing on American craft communities and education. The UArts Libraries has a copy, of course!

L: Beth Lipman, Candlesticks, Books, Flowers and Fruit, 2010, Courtesy of Heller Gallery   R: Beth Lipman, After You’re Gone, 2008, Courtesy of Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
L: Beth Lipman, Candlesticks, Books, Flowers and Fruit, 2010, Courtesy of Heller Gallery R: Beth Lipman, After You’re Gone, 2008, Courtesy of Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Digital Resource of the Week: American History Online

American History Online lets you simultaneously search over 350 digital collections of historical primary resources. You can search all the collections at once to find relevant images, newspaper articles, diary entries, and more. Or, browse through one collection at a time. You’ll discover the Ball State University Department of Theatre and Dance Costumes, the Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, and the George Winter Collection of Writings and Paintings.

Poster for Federal Art Project exhibition of ceramics and prints, 1938
Poster for Federal Art Project exhibition of ceramics and prints, 1938

Interested in local history? Search by place for Pennsylvania. Clicking on a record will take you directly to the digital collection in which it is included. Additionally, one of the options for searching is by date. Looking for items relevant to just one decade? Limit your search this way and explore a specific time frame of American history.

To further your historical research, check out the UArts Libraries online subscription databases Daily Life Through History and World History: The Modern Era (if you are off campus, you will have to log in first). These databases also have primary resources as well as scholarly essays.

Scenery in Fairmount Park
Scenery in Fairmount Park

Digital Resource of the Week: Paleo Art

Paleo Art, from the Smithsonian Institution, highlights beautiful illustrations used to explore and preserve natural specimens from the Paleontological period. This website demonstrates the importance of drawing to the field of paleobiology.

Ceratosaurusgil drawing from 1920
Ceratosaurusgil drawing from 1920

There are three sections to Paleo Art. Historical Art is the collection of illustrations. Working with fossils and other fragile specimens, detailed drawings of the specimens allow scientists and historians to review objects that cannot easily be handled or photographed. Illustrations depict everything from dinosaurs to shrimp. Illustration Care provides an overview of how the Smithsonian preserves and maintains these important documents. Illustration Techniques explains how to become a paleontological illustrator and why illustrations can be more useful to scientists than photographs.

If you are interested in fossils and skeletons, you can search the National Museum of Natural History’s Paleobiology Collections to see more. You can view nearly half a million specimens online! Visit the Smithsonian’s Department of Paleobiology for more information. Also check out the UArts Libraries for some great books on paleontology, fossils, and dinosaurs.

Digital Resource of the Week: An Invitation to Dance

The Ruck Ruck Galop Dance
The Ruck Ruck Galop Dance

An Invitation to Dance: A History of Social Dance in America is an online exhibition by the American Antiquarian Society. The essays and illustrations provide a terrific overview to the history of social dance, which is an important part of American history. In the 18th and 19th centuries, dancing was a very popular social event. Dances were fun for family and friends, but also provided a place to find romance and network – socially and politically.

The exhibition looks not only at the social aspects but also the language of dance and music, the fashion trends and the rules of etiquette of the time. An excellent bibliography will help you find more resources on the subject.

detail from a ticket for a Bal Masque in Worcester, Massachusetts
detail from a ticket for a Bal Masque in Worcester, Massachusetts

Want to see these dances in action? Check out America Dances! 1897-1948: A Collector’s Edition of Social Dance in Film by Dancetime Publications (Greenfield Library DVD, GD 344). We also have a new book on the subject – Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader by Julie Malnig (available in Greenfield Library and the Music Library). And don’t forget to search Dance in Video for the subject “social dances“.