Old Landmarks in Leominster from Leominster, MA, Municipal Building (City Hall) Time Capsule, 1915
Old Landmarks in Leominster from Leominster, MA, Municipal Building (City Hall) Time Capsule, 1915

All those May showers brought us this month’s eight collections of perennials (new items in existing collections), new plants (new collections) and crops ready to reap (harvested).  Whether you will be enjoying the fruits of your own or someone else’s gardening labors this season, save some time for these varied and fascinating collections.

American Antiquarian Society

American Antiquarian Society Collection – 1 item added to existing collection

Boston Public Library

Art at the Boston Public Library – 3 items added to existing collection

Hugo Münsterberg Collection – 972 items added to existing collection

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Collection – 295 items added to existing collection

Letter to Don Gordon from a former student  from Abbott Academy Collections Highlights
Letter to Don Gordon from a former student from Abbott Academy Collections Highlights

Leominster Public Library

Leominster, MA, Municipal Building (City Hall) Time Capsule, 1915 – 146 items

Lincoln Public Library

Lincoln Town Archives – 1 item added to existing collection

Phillips Academy Andover

Abbot Academy Collection Highlights – 301 items

Wellesley College

Catharine Mitchill ’31 Collection of Family Letters – 392 items harvested

La Baleine d'Ostande from the New Bedford Public Library Photograph Collection La Baleine d'Ostende
La Baleine d’Ostende photo from the New Bedford Public Library Photograph Collection
Some images beg for a closer look.  At first glance, this is a sad scene of a beached whale being inspected by curious onlookers.  However, the caption reads, “La Baleine d’Ostende/Visitee par l’Elephant, la Giraffe les Osages et les Chinois.”  Elephant?  Giraffe? What exactly is going on here?

Why did an elephant, a giraffe, six Native American Osages and four Chinese people visit a beached whale in Ostend, Holland? (As it was then; now it’s Belgium.)  And what of all those men (no women) in cutaway coats and top hats parading out of the whale’s mouth?   In fact, we are dealing with early fake news.  Oh, the whale did wash ashore in Ostend in 1827.  H. W. Dewhurst gives an account of the whale’s arrival and its skeleton’s subsequent travels on exhibition in his 1834 book, The natural history of the order Cetacea.  It’s the whale’s visitors who are “alternative facts”.

Early 19th century Europe had a fascination with the exotic: people, places, animals.  Giraffes and their keepers toured Europe at this time.  Six Osages traveled to France in 1827.  The Chinese people in this photo are elsewhere identified as Jesuit missionaries.  The Jesuits had a history of traveling between China and Europe.   But none of them showed up to visit the whale at Ostend.  They are here because the lithographer, Pierre Langlume, also had a taste for the exotic and brought them together in his print.

La Baleine d'Ostende print
La Baleine d’Ostende print from the New Bedford Public Library’s Prints and Drawings Collection

The unsurprising thing about this image is that it is from the New Bedford Public Library collection.  New Bedford’s history with whaling makes this a natural item of interest.  The surprising thing is that the library also owns a lithograph of the image and the photo may not be of that lithograph, but of another printing.  Compare the two images for minor differences.

Finally, I leave it to you to tell me about the man on top of the whale within a circular enclosure.  He has doffed his hat and is waving a flag.  I can’t help but see a clown in a one-ring circus, but your view may differ.

Have you found or posted an image on Digital Commonwealth that deserves a closer look?  Tell us which one and why or direct us to it by emailing outreach@digitalcommonwealth.org.

"Massachusetts Normal Art School, Deacon House," from the Campus Life collection.
“Massachusetts Normal Art School, Deacon House,” from the Campus Life collection.

Massachusetts Normal Art School opened in 1873 with the goal of educating art teachers to teach drawing at lower levels of education.  The hope was that this effort would result in more architects for the growing country.  Massachusetts Normal Art School became Massachusetts School of Art became Massachusetts College of Art and, finally Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt).

MassArt prides itself on having always been a progressive school.  As a teacher’s college, it began with a majority female student body.  MassArt also accepted African-American students early on.  It was, and today is the only, publicly-funded art-only school in the country.  Over the years, the mission has changed, but the creativity of the students continues.

Danielle Sangalang has only been at MassArt for a little over a year.  After graduating with a dual degree of MA in history and MLS in library and information science with a concentration in archives studies from Simmons College, she obtained a history degree and worked for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the National Park Services and the Trustees of Reservations.

When she arrived at MassArt, the college had already digitized a physical exhibit of historical photos on campus life.  She has since used Digital Commonwealth (DC) to digitized school yearbooks and just last month dropped off a collection of student handbooks.

Palette and Pen from MassArt yearbook collection.
Palette and Pen from MassArt yearbook collection.

Danielle had a great experience working with Digital Commonwealth.  She appreciated the onsite visit which allowed her to float her ideas and listen to suggestions from DC staff.  Together they decided to use the option of having her bound materials scanned by Internet Archive.  Danielle was aware of DC from as long ago as her days at Simmons College.  As a professional, she thinks DC is a great resource for “lone arrangers” like her, especially because it is free.  She knew as soon as she started at MassArt that she wanted to begin to work with DC to digitize some of her collection’s treasures.

Danielle’s yearbook project began with an email July 19, 2016.  A site visit was scheduled for September 7 and the first yearbooks were dropped off September 14.  The entire project was done by December 12.  As quickly as this went, Danielle wished she’d known ahead that she would be without the yearbooks for months.  Some of the yearbooks were unique copies and she was continued to receive requests for scans while they were inaccessible.

It was worth it, though.  Once the yearbooks became available, Danielle sent an all-campus email announcing the completed digitization.  Staff and faculty responded quickly with their thanks and delight at being able to view the yearbooks online.

"Student handbook" from MassArt handbook collection.
“Student handbook” from MassArt handbook collection.

Danielle’s second project was MassArt’s Student Association handbooks, a collection spanning 80 years beginning in the 1920’s.  This collection is Danielle’s pick for highlighting.  The early years are both handbook –rules and regulations, the “MSA creed”, student activities – and directory – student names, addresses and telephone numbers.  For anyone interested in the history of MassArt, they are a goldmine.

The 1937-1938 handbook, for example, offered students information on the glee club and yearbook committee, but also the magic and fencing clubs.  Danielle pointed out that the magic club existed for 10 years.  Who knew?

Danielle plans to continue to use DC as MassArt gears up to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2023.  If DC didn’t prioritize collections from institutions who have not previously had a project done in the current fiscal year, Danielle would be submitting requests as fast as DC could do them.

Speaking of MassArt’s history, that once physical exhibit now digital collection on Campus Life is available on the DC website.  The photos span late 19th century class trips to Lake Asquam in New Hampshire to a studio of students playing checkers in 1918 to mid-20th century fashions from the design classes.

Portrait of class of 1927 on Smock Day from MassArt Campus Life collection.
Portrait of class of 1927 on Smock Day from MassArt Campus Life collection.

A charming bit of MassArt’s history is Smock Day. Danielle only recently learned that Smock Day was the final acceptance of the freshman into the ranks of the student body.  The seniors gave smocks to the freshmen to welcome them.  It was a big deal: There were Smock Day class photos, Smock Day dances (Admission was free with Student Association membership.) and the school president gave a dinner in honor of Smock Day.  Quite the welcome!

Photos of students’ work are not abundant.  Danielle would love to have the final drawings students do to complete their degrees digitized.  The drawings are loose and come in a variety of sizes, so they are not prime candidates for digitization.  But come the day DC can handle them, Danielle will be there with her completed application.

 

 

 

 

"The works of Geoffrey Chaucer," from Early, Rare, and Exceptional Items from Special Collection, Rare Books.
“The works of Geoffrey Chaucer,” from Early, Rare, and Exceptional Items from Special Collection, Rare Books.

This month focused mostly on getting Northeastern University Library’s collections harvested. There are now 17 new collections from them, including a really wide variety of content! Don’t miss that, or any of the beautiful new items from the BPL’s collections.

Boston Public Library

Early, Rare, and Exceptional Items from Special Collections, Rare Books – 6 items

Norman B. Leventhal Map  Center Collection – 879 items added to existing collection

Northeastern University

Carmen A. Pola Papers – 318 items

Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service Records – 62 items

Citywide Educational Coalition Records – 1582 items

Frank J. Miranda Papers – 58 items

Freedom House, Inc. Records – 83 items

Frieda Garcia Papers – 84 items

Holocaust Awareness Committee Records – 161 items

Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción Records –  5101 items

James W. Fraser (Collector) Photograph Collection – 5 items

La Alianza Hispana Records – 3332 items

Lower Roxbury Black History Project Records – 839 items

"School Committee Pickets," from James W. Frazer (Collector) Photograph Collection
“School Committee Pickets,” from James W. Frazer (Collector) Photograph Collection

Melnea A. Cass Papers – 1 item

Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. Records – 943 items

Northeastern University Faculty Publications – 1 item

Northeastern University Photograph Collection – 7 items

Office of Community Affairs Records – 1 item

Phyllis M. Ryan Papers – 309 items

The Trustees of Reservations : a bulletin of news, comment and opinion in the field of conservation
The Trustees of Reservations : a bulletin of news, comment and opinion in the field of conservation

This post was written by Patricia Feeley, BPL Collaborative Services Librarian.

For a 126-year-old organization, the Trustees of Reservations is not that well-known for its cultural heritage collections.  People are often familiar with the properties they own – the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Naumkeag in Stockbridge, World’s End in Hingham or Dinosaur Footprints in Holyoke – but not the history they curate.  It is easy to imagine that an organization with so much history and so wide a scope would have amassed an impressive collection.

Alison Bassett and Sarah Hayes were members of the Trustees before they began working at the Trustees’ Archives and Research Center (ARC).  Alison had a background in documentary film that included researching in archives just like the one she now heads.  Sarah’s background included a library science degree, cultural heritage programs and experience as a member of Digital Commonwealth’s Metadata Mob.  In fact, Sarah worked on metadata for one of the Trustees’ collections as a Mobster before she was hired by The Trustees.

ARC staff knew what a terrific collection they had in their Archives and Research Center.  However, it was hard for staff across the state to access easily and virtually unknown to the public.  The decision was made to digitize records to preserve and promote them.  The preservation work began before Digital Commonwealth (DC) was involved.  But both Alison and Sarah agreed that DC would provide the next step in the process.

The Trustees wanted to have its digital collections available on a statewide site that mirrored its own statewide reach.  Alison and Sarah stressed the value in having complementary Massachusetts historical collections to search on one site for images that enrich your own research when that just right image isn’t in your own holdings.

Neither is shy about why they love Digital Commonwealth:

  1. It’s free.
  2. The Digital Commonwealth staff is easy to work with and they do excellent work.

It doesn’t get much better than that.  With a small staff, Alison was happy to take advantage of the larger DC staff, who could devote more time to digitization projects.  For the recently added Appleton Farms collection, there were many photo albums that needed to be broken down before scanning.  DC was able to do this and do it quicker than ARC staff.  Alison and Sarah appreciated consulting with DC staff about which albums were most representative and which would be easiest to work with.  It took about a year from first contact to seeing the Appleton Farms collection uploaded, but this was mainly due to workload issues at the Trustees.

The Trustees currently have three collections on Digital Commonwealth: Trustees of Reservations Institutional Publications, Photographs from Stevens-Coolidge Place and the Appleton Family Photo Album Collection.

The first collection is straightforward.  Already, Alison has referred a staffer in western Massachusetts to the digitized Annual Reports.  The staffer was thrilled to be able to do his own research and Alison was thrilled not to have to scan and send dozens of pages.

The most recent collection added, the Appleton Family Photo Album Collection, depicts the oldest continuously operating farm in America and the family that founded it in 1636. The property was turned over to the Trustees in 1998.  The farm’s last heirs and residents were Francis Randall Appleton, Jr. (1885-1974) and his wife, Joan Egleston Appleton (1912-2006).  Joan lived on the farm until her death.

Francis Appleton was a “gentleman farmer”.  His home was still a working farm, but limited in its operations.  Like many gentlemen farmers of the time, Appleton sent Christmas cards showing livestock (turkeys, cows, horses) and farm scenes.  The farm also ran the Barberry Kennels for a time.  One Christmas card shows that year’s litter of terriers, each one’s name beginning with the letter V.  One of this line would go on to win Best of Class at the Westminster Kennel Club Show.

Barberry Kennels, Appleton Farms, Ipswich, Mass. Merry Christmas, 1945, from J.R., Jr. & Joan E. Appleton
Barberry Kennels, Appleton Farms, Ipswich, Mass. Merry Christmas, 1945, from J.R., Jr. & Joan E. Appleton

The largest of the three collections is the Photographs from Stevens-Coolidge Place.  When the ARC staff first consulted with DC, they planned to start with a smaller collection.  DC staff urged them to think bigger and this collection of over 1800 images was the result.

ARC chose this collection in part because it contained a wide variety of photographic formats (daguerreotypes, tintypes, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, albumen prints, cyanotypes, collodion prints, silver gelatin prints, 35mm color prints, and Polaroids.)  It also contained great photos. The families were world travelers, so the scope of the collection is broad.  Also, Stevens-Coolidge Place house is usually closed to the public, so interior photographs offer access not often available.

Studio portrait of unidentified woman in black dress and monocle with cigarette posing with Great Dane; whip and glove on floor
Studio portrait of unidentified woman in black dress and monocle with cigarette posing with Great Dane; whip and glove on floor

This is also the collection that included Alison’s and Sarah’s favorite items to highlight.  Alison chose a wonderfully eccentric studio portrait of an unidentified woman dressed all in black.  Unlike the many other photos of women staring dreamily off into the distance, this woman looks straight back at the viewer through her monocle.  Yes, monocle.  She has an ungloved hand holding a Great Dane in place by her side and a gloved hand holding a cigarette.  At her feet lays her other glove and what the description identifies as a “whip”, but is perhaps more of a riding crop.  Either way, it is an unusual photo.

Alison admits the photo is intriguing on its own, but the ARC has no information on who the sitter is or why she chose to be depicted this way.  What delights Alison is that the one clue – the photographer’s name – leads to a different historical topic.  The photographer was a woman.

Emily Stokes appears in Frances Willard’s 1897 book, Occupations for Women: A Book of Practical Suggestions for the Material Advancement, the Mental and Physical Development, and the Moral and Spiritual Uplift of Women.  Here we discover that Mrs. Stokes is a British immigrant to America who had been a professional photographer in Boston for 16 years at the time of publication.  Child portraits are identified as her specialty.  Photography is promoted as an occupation for women because it no longer involves “dangerous chemicals” or as heavy equipment as in earlier years.  Ms. Willard emphasizes that electricity has made photography a good outlet for a woman’s “light touch.”

Portrait of Empress Dowager Cixi seated on throne
Portrait of Empress Dowager Cixi seated on throne

Sarah also highlights a photograph that originally seemed unremarkable, but led to a greater historical understanding of the Trustees collection.  It is a portrait of the Empress Dowager Cixi.  A separate project cataloguing objects in the collection led to a find of some textiles that were identified as Chinese.  Additional research connected these textiles to the Empress, who was known for promoting textiles created by Chinese women.   Sarah appreciates that this richer history is made possible by having these images available where connections can be made by researchers.

Alison and Sarah urge other cultural heritage organizations to take the plunge and add more collections to Digital Commonwealth.

Fragment of Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis, from the Incunbula Collection from the Boston Public Library
Fragment of Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis

Along with the new season, Digital Commonwealth also brings you many new collections of beautiful and historical content to explore.

Boston Public Library

Anti-Slavery – 22 items added to existing collection

Colonial and Revolutionary Boston – 4 items added to existing collection

Cuneiform Tablets – 9 items

Incunabula – 6 items

Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts – 6 items added to existing collection

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Collection – 555 items added to existing collection

Record of animals delivered to the temple for sacrifice"  from Cuneiform Collection from the Boston Public Library
Record of animals delivered to the temple for sacrifice

Shakespeare – 1 item added to existing collection

Harvard Forest Archives

Harvard Forest Martha’s Vineyard Collection – 122 items added to existing collection

Jamaica Plain Historical Society

Jamaica Plain Historical Society Photo Gallery – 1 item added to existing collection

Federal Civil Defense Administration, Harvard, Massachusetts," from Civil Defense Photographs from National Archives Boston
Federal Civil Defense Administration, Harvard, Massachusetts

National Archives at Boston

Civil Defense Photographs – 1112 items

USS Constitution Museum

War of 1812 - 8 items added to existing collection

Ephraim Williams, Jr. early will, 1748
Ephraim Williams, Jr. early will, 1748

This post was written by Patricia Feeley, BPL Collaborative Services Librarian.

Jessika Drmacich was hired for the newly-created Records Manager & Digital Resources Archivist position at Williams College five years ago.  Jessika’s career has included stops at Rolling Stone magazine in New York City and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge before landing in Williamstown.

Asking Jessika to pick a favorite digital collection is rather like asking a parent to choose a favorite child.  Each is special in its own way and she doesn’t like to single one out.  However, pressed to name collections that deserve more of a spotlight, and Jessika will name names:

The Ephraim Williams Project: Williams College has papers related to its first benefactor, Ephraim Williams, Jr., in various collections in the Williams College Library archives.  Digitizing these papers allowed Jessika to create a virtual Ephraim Williams collection that allows students and scholars to view the papers in a single collection.

Michael Reily receiving his diploma
Michael Reily receiving his diploma

The Davis Center Posters Collection: This collection of posters showcases the inclusivity and diversity of Williams College.  It shows the LGBTQ community that they are welcomed and even celebrated at Williams.  Jessika believes this message of inclusivity is an important one for the college community.

Reily Scrapbook: Jessika knows the poignant story behind this item appeals to everyone.  The scrapbook is leather-bound, containing photographs, newspaper clippings, ribbons, certificates, and ephemera primarily regarding Michael Reily’s activities in track and field, football, and wrestling from high school through college (Williams College Class of 1964).  Michael died in July 1964 due to Hodgkins lymphoma, just a few months after graduating.  According to his obituary, he had spent most of his last semester in the college infirmary.  His “fondest wish” was to graduate with his class.  The scrapbook was compiled by his mother after Michael’s death and donated to the college by his brother.

Anonymous Hymnal containing songs "Given by the Shepherdess in the Church at Shirley..."
Anonymous Hymnal containing songs “Given by the Shepherdess in the Church at Shirley…”

Shaker Song Books: These song books are part of the College Archives Shaker Collection.  The larger collection benefited from a donation from Edward Wight (Class of 1907), who collected Shaker-related works in Troy, NY, close to the original settlement of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (Shakers).  These wonderful song books from various Shaker communities include handwritten lyrics and musical notations.  It is unlikely any of these tunes were ever reviewed by Jessika’s previous employer, Rolling Stone.

Jessika’s next planned project is digitizing Williams College yearbooks and the student newspaper, The Record.

It is obvious that Williams College has a strong commitment to and history of digitization.  The college began digitizing collections in the 1990s.  Williams started a records management program in 2012 and the Trustees passed a college-wide records management policy in 2016.  Jessika can count on students and library staff to assist in digitization using the college’s camera, book and flatbed scanners.

With all that institutional support, why did she turn to Digital Commonwealth?  Jessika believes “access is as important as preservation”.  To reach a wider audience than the college website provided, Jessika knew she wanted Digital Commonwealth to harvest her digital collections, which she knew meant the Digital Public Library of America would harvest them, as well.  This gives the Williams collections at least a national audience.

Jessika found working with Digital Commonwealth staff was very easy.  She believes meeting the metadata standard was the key to a quick and successful harvest.  From first contact to full upload only took five months. She also believes “everyone should know MODS and Dublin core”: library staff, students, volunteers, etc.

Merchant of Venice gown with train
Merchant of Venice gown with train

But there are always glitches.  The wonderful Costume Archives collection was an early digitization effort that, unfortunately, did not meet today’s standard for metadata.  Jessika and her crew had to find the original images, assign accession numbers and then re-do the metadata. When she had questions, she found the Digital Commonwealth staff very helpful.

Jessika recommends that public libraries beginning a digitization program consult an archivist with metadata experience as a first step.  Happily for Massachusetts public libraries (or any Massachusetts cultural institution), they can call on the Boston Public Library’s archivist and metadata crew for free advice and assistance on their digitization programs. The BPL staff digitizes and harvests collections for Digital Commonwealth.

Jessika is constantly adding to the Williams College digital collections.  She looks forward to learning the Digital Commonwealth harvesting schedule so even more of her collections become accessible to an ever larger audience as quickly as possible.

"Allen C. Hinckley. Hagen in Gotterdammerung," 1903. From Philip Hale Photograph Collection
“Allen C. Hinckley. Hagen in Gotterdammerung,” 1903. From Philip Hale Photograph Collection

Even though February is the shortest month of the year, we still managed to get a lot of new items into the Digital Commonwealth! Don’t miss any of the amazing new collections, including Judge Garrity’s chamber papers on the Boston Desegregation Case and historic photos of  campus life at Mass Art in the 1800s.

Boston Public Library

Colonial and Revolutionary Boston – 2 items added to existing collection

Hugo Münsterberg Collection, 1890-1916 – 1772 items

Philip Hale Photograph Collection – 661 items

Duxbury Free Library

Letters and Miscellaneous Papers of the Winsor Family 1820-1915 – 226 items

Fitchburg Public Library

Books from Fitchburg Public Library - 1 item

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

"Doper than Dope". From Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive.
“Doper than Dope”. From Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive.

Campus Life – 286 items

The Trustees of the Reservation, Archives & Research Center

The Appleton Family Photo Album Collection – 184 items

University of Massachusetts Boston, Joseph P. Healey Library 

Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive – 231 items

Mosaic records and publication, 1980-1990 – 11 items

W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. chambers papers on the Boston School Desegregation Case – 568 items

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutions

"Barberry Kennedy, Appleton Farms," 1947. From Appleton Family  Photo Album Collection
“Barberry Kennedy, Appleton Farms,” 1947. From Appleton Family Photo Album Collection

Thomas N. Kelley Papers – 6 items

 

Letter to the United Mine Workers Convention, September 20, 1921
Letter to the United Mine Workers Convention, September 20, 1921

This post was written by Patricia Feeley, BPL Collaborative Services Librarian.

Kimberly Reynolds, Curator of Manuscripts at the Boston Public Library, wanted to recognize the 90th anniversary of the deaths of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants and anarchists who were arrested and convicted of murder during the Red Scare of the 1920’s. The two men were executed on 23 August 1927. The conduct of the trial has been criticized ever since on legal and political grounds. Opinion is still divided over the guilt of these men.

The Aldino Felicani Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee Collection is one of the Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Collections of Distinction. Collections of Distinction are among the most outstanding and renowned of the BPL’s collections. The collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, trial notebooks, financial records, legal documents, photographs, and scrapbooks. Broadsides, the armbands mourners wore at the funeral, Sacco and Vanzetti’s commingled ashes and their death masks are also included.

It was the correspondence of the two men that Kim chose to commemorate this anniversary. Sacco and Vanzetti wrote more than 200 letters while imprisoned. They wrote about their innocence, the effects of imprisonment, and their gratitude for the work of their defenders. They also wrote to each other about their friends and family. The correspondence, she points out, has significant research value.

<a href="https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:tm70rj393">Letter from Sacco to Vanzetti, 18 June 1925</a>
Letter from Sacco to Vanzetti, 18 June 1925

The Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee Collection is one of the most used collections at the BPL. After the letters were digitized, Kim supplied links to researchers outside of the Boston area who were “thrilled” to have access to the men’s letters.

Kim had worked with the Digital Commonwealth (DC) team before when the BPL’s collection of Emily Dickinson letters to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the Anti-Slavery Collection and the Margaret Fuller Papers, 1837-1884, among others, were digitized.  Kim always finds working with the team “excellent”.

It only took 5-6 months to get this latest collection fully digitized. Kim says the DC team taught her “how to look at collections digitally, so” she can now “prepare manuscripts both physically and virtually”. And she plans to keep working with the team. Sacco-Vanzetti collection memorabilia, photographs and – Kim’s personal favorite – posters are up next on the digitization agenda.

“My metadata might get changed to more appropriately describe an item the way it needs to virtually,” Kim says, but, “I trust them completely.”

Just months before his execution, Nicola Sacco instructed his attorney to cease trying to save his life. Regardless of guilt or innocence, it is a strong, poignant letter. You can read it here:

Letter to William G. Thompson, 6 April 1927
Letter to William G. Thompson, 6 April 1927
HW Sheldon and Sign Photograph
H. W. Sheldon and sign, ca. 1897-1912. From Billerica Public Library.

To start of 2017 right, we’ve added several amazing new collections to the Digital Commonwealth portal. Check them out!

American Archive of Public Broadcasting

American Archive of Public Broadcasting Collection - 13,707 items harvested

Billerica Public Library 

Billerica, Massachusetts: History Capture on Glass – 1074 items

Jamaica Plain Historical Society

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

USS Constitution Museum

War of 1812 – 7 items added to existing collection