"First Predominately Negro Ship Commissioned USS Mason" [1946] from the National Archives at Boston.
“First Predominately Negro Ship Commissioned USS Mason” [1946] from the National Archives at Boston.
This July brought us a lot of new collections, specifically from around the Boston area. Boston itself, Hingham, and Waltham are represented among the various collections we’ve added to the portal this past month. Check them out!

Boston Public Library

Anti-Slavery (Collection of Distinction) - 1000 items added to existing collection

Rufus W. Griswold Papers, 1834-1857 – 1277 items

Hingham Public Library

Hingham Photography During the Late Victorian Era — Hingham Public Library’s Glass Slide Collection – 296 items

National Archive at Boston

Photographs of the First Naval District - 1064 items

SAILS Library Network

Re-harvested Collections - 210 new items added

Waltham Public Library

Waltham Public Library Waltham Watch Company Materials – 74 items

 

Mr. E. H. Stetson will call on you," ca.1899-1949, from Weymouth Public Libraries, Tufts Library.
“Mr. E. H. Stetson will call on you,” ca.1899-1949, from Weymouth Public Libraries, Tufts Library.

This summer kicks off with some awesome new Massachusetts collections added to the Digital Commonwealth! Check them out:

Bentley University

Bentley University Historic Photograph Collection : 500 items

Boston Public Library

Anti-Slavery (Collection of Distinction) : 2993 items added to an existing collection

Grove Hall Memory Project : 75 items

Shakespeare (Collection of Distinction) : 1 item

Lawrence Public Library

15 new collections : 98 items

Perkins School for the Blind

Historic Stereographs : 29 items

Students with Deafblindness at the Perkins School for the Blind : 263 items

Philips Academy Andover

Abbot Academy Photographs : 529 items added to an existing collection

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library

Harvested Collections: 234 new items

Weymouth Public Libraries, Tufts Library

Stetson Shoe Company Photographs : 26 items

WGBH

The Lowell Institute Cooperative Broadcasting Council and WGBH Program Guides, 1949 – 1969 : 230 items

 

 

 

 

 

This month we added some great collections from several libraries, archives, and museums. Check out some of the new things you can now find in the Digital Commonwealth!

Lucy Vincent Beach from Harvard Forest Archives
Lucy Vincent Beach from Harvard Forest Archives

Harvard Forest Archives

Harvard Forest Martha’s Vineyard Collection – 169 items

Perkins School for the Blind

Anne Sullivan Photograph Collection – 34 items

Laura Bridgman Collection - 180 items

Perkins Postcards – 98 items

Photos of Helen Keller in the Middle East – 20 items

Springfield College Archives and Special Collections

Cliff Smith YMCA Postcard Collection – 4236 items

University of Massachusetts Lowell Libraries

21542 newly harvested items

USS Constitution Museum

War of 1812 Collection - 1 item added to existing collection

Wilbraham Public Library

Wilbraham Public Library Glass Plate Negatives Collection - 70 items added to existing collection

 

By Trish Cassisi

Pheasants (pair), carved by Russell Pratt Burr, ca. 1930-1955
Pheasants (pair), carved by Russell Pratt Burr, ca. 1930-1955.

When I attended the Digital Commonwealth conference in 2014, I was focused on digitizing our Yarmouth town reports dating back to the 1860’s, but, I began re-thinking that by the end of the conference. Tom Blake talked about digitizing items other than text-only resources and it encouraged me to go back to my library and look for something “out of the box” to digitize.

As it turned out, a carved bird collection that had been donated to the town in 1955 in memory of Ann Castonguay by her parents, needed to be relocated from a school in town.  The collection was placed in our West Yarmouth branch library, which was also donated to Yarmouth by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Castonguay.  The collection of 40 miniature painted birds was carved by the renowned bird carver Russell Pratt of Hingham.

Thinking this collection would be perfect, I sent in my request to the BPL and soon received a visit from the BPL team to assess the collection.  In June of 2015, they were packed up and transported to the BPL. By October, all the metadata (which sounds difficult, but it wasn’t) had been submitted and the carved birds were back at the West Yarmouth Library by the end of October.  By December, the collection went live on the website and the photographs are beautiful.

Mallard (pair), carved by Russell Pratt Burr, ca. 1930-1955.
Mallard (pair), carved by Russell Pratt Burr, ca. 1930-1955.

To celebrate the Castonguay carved bird collection, there will be birding programs throughout 2016, including a bird carving demonstration, a presentation from an Audubon Naturalist, and children’s bird related programming, too.  It was a very easy process and the BPL staff couldn’t have been more helpful.  Start looking at your collections for a unique digitization project; you will be thrilled with the end product.  Good luck!

Single illuminated initial cut from a 15th century antiphonal.  From the Boston Public Library's Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts Collection.
Single illuminated initial cut from a 15th century antiphonal. From the Boston Public Library’s Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts Collection.

Check out the cool new items added to Boston Public Library’s collections in Digital Commonwealth this past month!

Anti-Slavery Collection – 1000 new items

Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts – 2 new items

Thomas W. Nason (1889-1971). Prints and Drawings – 619 items

 

Dan Cohen, Steve Dalton, Richard Pearce-Moses, Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, and Nancy Heywood enjoying the Annual Conference. Photo credit: Molly Stothert-Maurer.
Dan Cohen, Steve Dalton, Richard Pearce-Moses, Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, and Nancy Heywood enjoying the Annual Conference. Photo credit: Molly Stothert-Maurer.

On April 5 the Digital Commonwealth held its 10th annual conference and 10th anniversary celebration at the Hogan Center at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester MA.  It was the largest conference in years and afterwards over 90 people joined us to commemorate the anniversary.

Thanks to the hard work of the conference committee and our excellent speakers and sessions, we had nearly 200 people at this year’s conference — the best attended conference in recent years. Many presenters’ slides and presentations can be found on the Digital Commonwealth conference web site.  You can also download our final conference program to learn more about the speakers at this year’s event.

Digital Commonwealth President Elizabeth Thomsen poses with NDSR Boston residents after their presentation. Photo credit: Molly Stothert-Maurer
Digital Commonwealth President Elizabeth Thomsen posing with NDSR Boston residents after their presentation. Photo credit: Molly Stothert-Maurer

The anniversary reception gave us all the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the creation and growth of Digital Commonwealth.  Digital Commonwealth President Elizabeth Thompson shared remarks prepared by Greg Pronevitz of the Massachusetts Library System, a key player in the formation of Digital Commonwealth. Carolyn Noah, Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, and Bill Talentino shared memories of the growth of Digital Commonwealth.  David Leonard, Director of Administration and Technology at Boston Public Library and Dan Cohen, President of the Digital Public Library of America, gave their perspective of Digital Commonwealth as partners on a common journey.

 

 

Digital Commonwealth President Elizabeth Thomsen speaking at the 10th Anniversary Reception. Photo credit: Jean Maguire.
Elizabeth Thomsen speaking at the 10th Anniversary Reception. Photo credit: Jean Maguire.

It was a great opportunity to gather together, reflect on what we have accomplished and set our sights on the future of the Digital Commonwealth and our partners.  We thank you all our members and all those who attended the conference this year. If you attended the conference, and have not yet done so, please share your feedback by completing the online evaluation form.

We hope to see you all at the 2017 Digital Commonwealth Annual Conference!

Logbook of the Gay Head of New Bedford Mass. 1856-1860.
Logbook of the Gay Head of New Bedford Mass. 1856-1860.

By Michael Lapides, Director of Digital Initiatives at New Bedford Whaling Museum

Back in 2012 a team from the Boston Public Library, led by Tom Blake, came to New Bedford to recruit the Museum into the Digital Commonwealth. We are so happy they did! While we had and still have a massive online collections database (over 50,000 records and related images) it is essentially buried, not crawled by search engines, and therefore hidden from a wider public view.  Participating in the Digital Commonwealth is a remedy to this lock-out.

Our digitization program started with our whaling logbook and journal collection, 223 are currently available via the Internet Archive, 152 of these are also available via the Digital Public Library of America.  We will continue to contribute from our collection of more than 2300 volumes, the largest and finest collection of whaling logbooks and journals in the world. The bulk of these primary sources document American whaling (1754-1925) although British, Australian, Norwegian and Azorean voyages are also included.

Our cartographic collections number around 700 pieces including sea charts used by whaling masters, bound pilot charts and atlases, decorative maps, maps and charts of key geographical regions significant to whaling at different times in history as well as maps and charts of the local Old Dartmouth region. Currently the Digital Commonwealth has 10 examples, representing oceans and whaling cruising grounds. The zooming functionality makes study of their contents possible.

Map of South Atlantic Ocean. 1857.
Map of South Atlantic Ocean. 1857.

Our manuscript collections  (over 140 distinct collections) help to complete the historical picture told through these digitized collections. Currently manuscripts are discoverable online via EAD Finding Aids. We hope someday to digitize and share choice manuscript collections through the good offices of the Boston Public Library and the Digital Commonwealth. These include late 17th century property deeds and indentures through the various mercantile investments and business practices of the agents of whaling and merchant voyages, church records, architecture, personal papers of significant (and lesser known) people of the 19th century and industrial, banking, and modern whaling documentation extending well into the 20th century.

 

This month we’ve added a lot of new items to already existing collections, and we harvested 25 new collections from the Provincetown History Preservation Project! Make sure you check out the great new photographs, videos, manuscripts, artwork, and other materials added this month!

Group Portrait With Cat, from the Glass Plates Collection from Provincetown History Preservation Project.
Group Portrait With Cat, from the Glass Plates Collection from Provincetown History Preservation Project.

Boston Public Library 

Anti-Slavery (Collection of Distinction) : 500 items added to existing collection

Costume & Set Designs : 21 items added to existing collection

Emily Dickinson Collection, 1862-1907 : 6 items added to existing collection

Lincoln Public Library 

Lincoln Town Archives : 3 items added to existing collection

Provincetown History Preservation Project

25 newly harvested collections : 4163 items

U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center

Natick Soldier Systems Center Photographic Collection : 6926 items added to existing collection

By Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director and Curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography
Nantucket, Mass. from the Griffin Museum of Photography
Nantucket, Mass. from the Griffin Museum of Photography

 

The Digital Commonwealth has changed how Arthur Griffin is seen by our audience. Making Mr. Griffin’s images available on-line after digitizing of a portion of our archives has opened up interest by the public in ways we never thought would happen. We have had inquiries on images from the 1930’s – 1940’s like Connecticut Tobacco Farms, old Boston buildings, Boston Common nativity scenes, Mt Washington’s Weather Observatory to name just a few of the hundreds of requests we now get. We are grateful to the Boston Public Library and the Digital Commonwealth for their efforts and vision.

 

L Street Brownies from Griffin Museum of Photography.
L Street Brownies from Griffin Museum of Photography.

 

What we have learned from the efforts of the Boston Public Library and the Digital Commonwealth is that there is much opportunity located within our archives, that continued effort must be made to digitize the whole archive and that resources need to be put in place to manage and fulfill the image requests from the public. On-line our archive can now be enjoyed by everyone. Arthur Griffin would have enjoyed these times.

Not only have we added some awesome new hosted collections in February, we’ve also harvested 99 collections from UMass Amherst! Check them all out!

 

1919 Victory Graduation at the Wilbraham School from Wilbraham Public Library
1919 Victory Graduation at the Wilbraham School from Wilbraham Public Library

Boston Public Library

Boston (Mass.) Overseers of the Poor Indentures, 1734-1805 – 18 items added to existing collection

Emily Dickinson Collection, 18962-1907 – 135 items

Fore-Edge Paintings – 214 items

Tupper Scrapbook Collection: Scrapbooks of mounted views, portraits, etc., relating to Europe and Egypt, 1891-1894 – 35 items added to existing collection

Jamaica Plain Historical Society

Jamaica Plain Historical Society Photo Gallery – 9 items added to existing collection

Nantucket Historical Association Research Library 

H. Flint Ranney Collection – 3990 items

Needham Free Public Library

Needham Historical Picture File – 787 items

Roll of Members Essex GAR from Town Of Essex.
Roll of Members Essex GAR from Town Of Essex.

Sudbury Historical Society

Soldier’s record, Town of Sudbury MA – 90 items

 Town of Essex, Massachusetts

Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum, Civil War Collection – 11   items

Office of the Town Clerk, Civil War Collection – 196 items

 University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries Specials Collections and University Archives

99 collections – 152,956 items harvested

 Wilbraham Public Library

Gertrude Smith Collection - 9 items