Philadelphia Phillies player examines his glassesAugust is National Eye Exam Month, which seemed like a good enough reason to go looking through the Digital Commonwealth for pictures of eyeglasses — and there’s a lot to see.

The photo on the left shows Philadelphia Phillies player Morrie Arnovich examines his glasses in front of the dugout at Braves Field. It was taken in 1939 by news photographer Leslie Jones and is from the Leslie Jones Collection of the Boston Public Library. There are some other eyeglass photos in the Leslie Jones Collection, including an undated woman with giant eyeglasses (perhaps from a trade show?), a 1932 photograph of Commandant Finlay, Quincy Yacht club, wearing new type of glasses (which look like a cross between eyeglasses and binoculars, a fish wearing glasses and smoking cigar and a dog playing piano wearing glasses.
Continue reading

Technical services librarians at the Newton Free Library

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is celebrating 125 years of service this year. Established in 1890 as the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts, the MBLC is the oldest state library agency in the country. To honor the past and look forward to the future, the MBLC has created MBLC Celebrates 125 Years, a site with pages for each of the 125 years, giving highlights of Massachusetts library history and notes on historical, social and cultural events of each year to provide context. There are also lots of great images from the Digital Commonwealth and other sources, including the photograph of Technical services librarians at the Newton Free Library from the Newton Free Library, Old Main Library, Centre Street, 1880-1971, collection shown above, and the 1893 Massachusetts library map from the collection of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library shown below.

You can follow this site a year a day on Twitter or Facebook, or visit it anytime and browse your way through the decades — there’s a lot of interesting information here!

MBLC Celebrates 125 Years

Free public libraries of Massachusetts

By Molly Stothert-Maurer

Examples of the Tadoma Method of deafblind communication from the Helen Keller and Carmela Otero Collections, Perkins School for the Blind, both ca. 1930. Tadoma is a system of tactile lip-reading where the fingers interpret the movement of the lips, jaw, and vibrations from the vocal chords.
Examples of the Tadoma Method of deafblind communication from the Helen Keller and Carmela Otero Collections, Perkins School for the Blind, both ca. 1930. Tadoma is a system of tactile lip-reading where the fingers interpret the movement of the lips, jaw, and vibrations from the vocal chords.

The Perkins School for the Blind Archives recently added four new collections to the Digital Commonwealth Repository. These collections are important primary resources including photographs of Helen Keller, from childhood through adulthood, correspondence from Anne Sullivan (including her first letter describing her arrival in Tuscumbia, AL when she first met Helen Keller), and a look at deafblind education from the perspective of another Perkins student, Carmela Otero, whose life remained out of the public eye as Keller’s was.

Some notable items include:

A letter from Perkins Director Michael Anagnos to Arthur Keller, Helen Keller’s father, recommending Anne Sullivan as teacher for Helen

One of the earliest photographs of Helen Keller

A photograph of Anne Sullivan holding a dog while riding a horse in Hollywood

For more information please visit the Perkins School for the Blind Archives homepage: www.perkinsarchives.org

It’s summer, which means it’s time for fun! There are many pictures in the Digital Commonwealth showing how people celebrated summer in Massachusetts in the past. Amusement parks were popular with people of all ages, offering rides and attractions from the Merry-Go-Round for the young and faint of heart to the Roller Coaster for the brave, and Massachusetts had several amusement parks in different parts of the state, often located or or near the waterfront.

Here are pictures of some popular Massachusetts amusement parks from the Tichnor Brothers Postcard Collection of the Boston Public Library:

“Amusement Center, Salisbury Beach, Mass.”
Salisbury Beach developed a thriving entertainment center in the early 20th century, with hotels, a carousel and roller coasters as well as the Dodgem (bumper car) ride seen in this postcard. The amusement business declined after the 1960s, and the last roller coaster was pulled down in 1976.

Amusement Center, Salisbury Beach, Mass.
Continue reading

If your institution is looking for a presence in the digital world but you aren’t sure where to start, then this seminar is for you.  Join representatives from the Boston Public Library and the Digital Commonwealth Board in this practical 2-hour seminar that will answer:

  • What is Digital Commonwealth?
  • How does one apply for free digitization?
  • What free services does the Boston Public Library offer?
  • What kind of commitment does an institution have to make to get involved?
  • What are benefits of membership in Digital Commonwealth?

This will be the third in a series of free Introductory Workshops around the state. Registration is free to libraries and cultural institutions across the state of Massachusetts. Register here!

Event Details:

Presenters: Digital Commonwealth & Boston Public Library Digitization Team

Date: Thursday August 20th

Time: 10:00-12:00

Place: Lucius Beebe Library, 345 Main Street, Wakefield, MA 01880

If you can’t make this event, you can register for the final introductory event, which will be on September 22 in Whately.

This post was updated on July 7, 2015 to include the Amherst College collections. 

Several new collections were added to the Digital Commonwealth in June. Check them out!

Perkins School for the Blind

Helen Keller investigating statue, from the Helen Keller Collection from Perkins School for the Blind
Helen Keller investigating statue, from the Helen Keller Collection from Perkins School for the Blind

Carmela Otero : 21 items

Helen Keller Collection : 172 items

Condolence Letters and Clippings : 65 items

Sullivan / Keller / Anagnos correspondence, 1886-1895 : 88 items

 

Boston Public Library

Boston Pictorial Archive Collection : 4993 items

Winslow Homer Illustrations Collection : 182 items

Social and Political Cartoons Collection : 169 items

Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts : 1 item

Stereograph Collection : 1567 items

 

Amherst College

Archives & Special Collections : 2221 items

Emily Dickinson Collection : 839 items

One hundred years ago, Booker T. Washington, the African-American educator, author, orator, and adviser to presidents of the United States, spoke at the Fiftieth Anniversary Commencement of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Washington delivered an address on the transformation which had occurred since 1865, when the passage of the 13th Amendment ended slavery.

Booker T. Washington at the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in Virginia in 1856. After his family was freed in 1865 they moved to West Virginia, where, at the age of nine, the young Washington went to work in a salt factory. Eventually he worked his way through Hampton Institute, one of the first all-black schools in America, and he began teaching. In 1881 he became the head the new Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama, an institution that had a commitment to combining academic subjects with vocational training. Washington’s 1901 autobiography, “Up from Slavery,” became a bestselling and influential book. However, during the first decade of the 1900’s, many African American leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois rejected Washington’s emphasis on vocational education and economic development in favor of classical education and political action.

Just a few month’s after his appearance in Worcester, Booker T. Washington collapsed in New York and was taken back to Tuskegee, where he died on November 14, 1915, at the age of 59.

Booker T. Washington walking in the academic procession at the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

An image from the Introductory Workshop in Bourne this May.
An image from the Introductory Workshop in Bourne this May.

If your institution is looking for a presence in the digital world but you aren’t sure where to start, then this seminar is for you.  Join representatives from the Boston Public Library and the Digital Commonwealth Board in this practical 2-hour seminar that will answer:

  • What is Digital Commonwealth?
  • How does one apply for free digitization?
  • What free services does the Boston Public Library offer?
  • What kind of commitment does an institution have to make to get involved?
  • What are benefits of membership in Digital Commonwealth?

This will be the second in a series of free Introductory Workshops around the state. Registration is free to libraries and cultural institutions across the state of Massachusetts. Register here!

Event Details:

Presenters: Digital Commonwealth & Boston Public Library Digitization Team

Date: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Time: 10:30-12:30

Place:  Joshua Hyde Library, 306 Main Street, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Parking: Parking is next to the library, behind town hall

Directions from the Mass Pike: Take Exit 9 to Route 20 via Exit 3B.  In .7 miles turn left at the stoplight onto Route 131.  In half a mile the library will be on your left at the stoplight.

If you can’t make this event, you can register for one of the two other introductory events, which will be on August 20 in Wakefield and September 22 in Whately.

We’ve had several new collections added to the Digital Commonwealth this past month. Check out their great contents!

 

American Textile History Museum

Scene from the Pageant of Cape Cod, held on the banks of the Cape Cod Canal. From the Bourne Archive Photographic Collection
Scene from the Pageant of Cape Cod, held on the banks of the Cape Cod Canal. From the Bourne Archive Photographic Collection

American Textile History Museum Image Collection : 449 items

Boston Public Library

Stereograph Collection : 1668 items

Leslie Jones Collections : 400 items added to existing collection

Costume & Set Designs : 243 items

Bourne Archives

Bourne Archives Map Collection : 2 items

Bourne Archives Photograph Collection : 4 items

Flint Public Library 

Local History of Middleton : 2 items

Jamaica Plain Historical Society

Jamaica Plain Historical Society Photo Gallery : 3 items

 

The first in a series of free Introductory Workshops around the state

May 27, 2015 from 10-12 at Jonathan Bourne Library, Bourne, MA

If your institution is looking for a presence in the digital world but you aren’t sure where to start, then this seminar is for you.  Join representatives from the Boston Public Library and the Digital Commonwealth Board in this practical 2-hour seminar that will answer:

  • What is Digital Commonwealth?
  • How does one apply for free digitization?
  • What free services does the Boston Public Library offer?
  • What kind of commitment does an institution have to make to get involved?
  • What are benefits of membership in Digital Commonwealth?

Registration is free to libraries and cultural institutions across the state of Massachusetts.

Register at: http://digitalcommonwealth.memberlodge.org/events

Presenters:  Digital Commonwealth & Boston Public Library Digitization Team

If you can’t make this one, consider these:

  • July 7 2015 – Joshua Hyde Library in Sturbridge (tentative)
  • August 20, 2015 – Lucius Beebe Library in Wakefield
  • Sept. 22, 2015 – MLS Whately Office 10-12

Hope to see you there!

Elizabeth Cousins

Co-Chair, Digital Commonwealth Outreach Committee