#TheNationalArchivesoftheUnitedKingdom; #UniversityofOldenburginGermany; #DrAmandaBevan; #PrizePapers; #GottingenAcademyofSciencesandHumanities
Ottawa, May 24 (Canadian-Media): The National Archives of the United Kingdom has partnered with the University of Oldenburg in Germany in a 20-year project to digitize digitize and catalogue about 160,000 undelivered letters known as the "Prize Papers," and make them freely available, media reports said.
The National Archives of the United Kingdom. Image credit: Wikipedia
This project, launched this month, was funded by Gottingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Records for digitization are being prepared by the archivists with plans to write brief descriptions about the letters and take multiple pictures for a free online research database.
Thousands of letters from all over the world were never delivered between 1650 and 1815.
Those undelivered letters will be read by the world reportedly nearly hundreds of years later.
Enemy ships had seized about 160,000 letters in mailbags that never made it to their intended recipients when Britain was involved in a series of wars.
Dr. Amanda Bevan, head of Legal Records at the National Archives of the U.K., since 2013 had been involved with the Prize Papers.
She told ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast that reading the letters is like "eavesdropping on people from the past,” since people were writing to those they loved and missed back at home.
“It's touching, you feel as though you actually are in touch with the people who wrote them at the time,” she said.
“Heart-wrenching” stories, she were being uncovered by the archivists as many of the letters were sent during wartime.
The project is still in its early stage and about a quarter of the estimated 160,000 total letters are unorganized from poor storage over the years.
Bevan said the period between the 1770s and early 1780s has one of the worst collections of random papers.
“You get letters from the 1770s mixed up with letters from the 1780s. You’ll get French ones stored with Spanish ones … it’s clear that they’re messed up. Now we just need the time and resources to sort them out.”
The whole universe could benefit from the information the Prize Papers provide for the history of slavery, for the history of the development of the colonies, [and] for the history of consumerism, said Bevan
“This is unmediated material, it’s from the heart,” she said. “And I think that’s really unusual because these kinds of letters, had they been delivered, probably wouldn’t survive any longer because they’re written by just ordinary people.”
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#LibraryofCongress; #LOC; #photographicallyillustratedbooks
Washington/Ottawa, May 16 (Canadian-Media): Library of Congress (LOC) provides a well represented collection of an entrée into the development of photographically illustrated books, media reports said.
LOC, reportedly the largest libary in the world, is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington with universal collections not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."
Photographically illustrated books feature actual photographic prints to make more vivid a textual narrative or to tell an entire story.
Before photomechanical processes were invented in the nineteenth century, the only options available to bring qualities of a photo to the illustrations were either by inserting photographs into a book individually or photographs were being developed directly on the pages.
McClees’s Gallery of Photographic Portraits of the Senators, Representatives & Delegates (Washington, D.C.: McClees & Beck, 1859)/Courtesy of Library of Congress
Sam Houston, Texas. Photo by Julian Vannerson, 1859. In McClees’ Gallery of Photographic Portraits of the Senators, Representatives & Delegates/ Courtesy of Library of Congress
It was both labor-intensive to produce and bind multiple copies of the text and illustrations and the real challenge were the photographs as explained by the English photographer Francis Frith explained in his book, Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine (ca. 1862).
“My readers are, perhaps, not aware that the original pictures,” such as that showing tombs in Egypt, “were taken on glass,” said Frith. “[Developed] in a smothering little tent” and “pushing my way backwards, upon my hands and knees, into a damp, slimy rock-tomb… it is truly marvelous that the [photographs] should be presentable at all.”
Francis Frith in Turkish summer costume. Photo illustration in: Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine. London : William MacKenzie, Paternoster Row, [1862?], Supplementary volume, title page/ Courtesy of Library of Congress
Tombs in the southern cemetery, Cairo. Photo by Francis Frith. Photo illustration in Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine, 1857, Supplementary volume/ Courtesy of Library of Congress
Because of these obstacles, photographically illustrated books were more expensive, and some are now exceedingly rare.
A wide variety of topics, picturing everything from ancient ruins to expositions, landscapes, the United States Congress and the American Civil War were explored in these photographically illustrated books.
View of eastern nave. Photo by Claude-Marie Ferrier or Hugh Owen in Reports by the Juries on the Subjects in the Thirty Classes into which the Exhibition was Divided. London: Spicer Brothers, 1852, v. 3, frontispiece. /Courtesy of Library of Congress
In the twentieth century, however, the medium of photobook, utilizing new, economical, photomechanical printing processes evolved.
Photobooks, now are very popular and coffee tables throughout the world are adorned by these, thanks in part to the creativity of publishers and photographers like Frith.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Washington/Ottawa, May 12 (Canadian-Media): Library of Congress (LOC)'s Preservation Research and Testing Division was visited on May 9 by Middle- and high-school students as part of hands-on pilot program focusing on preservation science, media reports said..
Library’s hyperspectral camera system is used by the students alongside Library scientists to discover hidden writing in documents.
the Library had relied, for the past decade, on increasingly sophisticated hyperspectral imaging technology to discover hidden information the human eye cannot detect from manuscripts, maps and other artifacts.
Imaging involves digitally photographing an object at multiple wavelengths spanning the ultraviolet through the visible and into the near-infrared.
Discrete components in an object—inks, glues, parchment—respond in unique ways to the different wavelengths.
Photo by Shawn Miller/Courtesy of Library of Congress
So at one wavelength, one ink may almost melt away, revealing another ink below.
The Preservation Research and Testing Division is conducting its pilot with the Library’s Educational Outreach Office. The goal is to introduce students to preservation science and its importance to protecting cultural and historical heritage within the Library’s collections.
The program would reportedly be offered on a monthly basis, in the fall.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#DrCarlaHayden. #LibraryofCongress, #TeachingwiththeLibraryofCongress, #digitalcollections
Washington, May 6 (Canadian-Media): Library of Congress (LOC) staff is working hard to achieve the goal of Dr. Carla’s Hayden, LOC's Librarian to continue to expand access to our primary source collections, media reports said.
Given below is the first post from the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog team highlighting some of the newer online collections.
Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Wilson, 1761: Documenting his work as diplomat, publisher, scientist and inventor, Franklin’s papers include his correspondences between with notable people of the day including John Adams, George III – King of Great Britain, Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington, Antoine Lavoisier, and Joseph Priestley. Also included are some of his diaries, notes on experiments, and copies of some of his scientific writings.
Benjamin Franklin/Courtesy of LOC
Salmon P. Chase Papers: Chase served as an Ohio governor, Secretary of the Treasury in Lincoln’s cabinet, and Supreme Court justice.
His legal career, work as an abolitionist, and activities as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are documented in his papers. Included in these are Chase’s diaries, select speeches, and other writings and correspondence with people including Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, William Henry Seward, and Horace Greeley.
Salmon P. Chase. Image credit:Wikipedia
Branch Rickey papers report on noted baseball players including Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, and Harmon Killebrew.
Branch Ricky. Image credit: Wikipedia
Selections from the National Film Registry: A number of the important films for preservation of American culture be accessed through this collection.
Susan B. Anthony Papers: Diaries and scrapbooks assembled by Anthony’s sister that document their work on suffrage and the activities of New York state and national suffrage organizations and correspondence from the noted suffragist are featured in this collection.
Included in these papers is a draft of her first public address, letters documenting the activities of the National Women’s Suffrage Association and speeches she made against slavery.
A number of presidential papers collections are also now available online, including the papers of Franklin Pierce, Ulysses S. Grant, James K. Polk, and Millard Fillmore.
Many of the new collections have links to teaching resources or related collections.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)