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Ptelea Trilfoliata aka Shrubby Trefoil

Digital Commonwealth had a busy August with some new collections and additions to existing collections. Of the new offerings, Nahant Public Library’s Florence Johnson Herbarium  collection brings the specimens collected and painstakingly mounted by Miss Flossie Johnson and her grade school students over her long career (1881-1927). Most notable are the specimens stamped “Mass Horticultural Soc., Boston, Nov. 26, 1897.” These were entered into the Horticultural Society’s exhibition, winning a prize of $6 for being “most remarkable, both in point of numbers [184] and the quality of the mounting,” according to the Society’s booklet for that year. In today’s dollars, that prize is about $200.00.

Jamaica Plain Historical Society

Lawrence Public Library

Nahant Public Library

Springfield College Archives and Special Collections

*item added to an existing collection

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from the Alison Laing Pin Collection
Kewpie Outside of Salon Kewpie
Kewpie Outside of Salon Kewpie
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Marie Høeg sitting with a cigarette
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San Diego Union article
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Akihiro Miwa in Black Lizard (1968)

by Anne Berard

Reference & Outreach Services Librarian, Milford Town Library

The Digital Commonwealth mostly archives materials relating to Massachusetts, harvesting and hosting content related to its residents, communities and institutions. Some collections, however, have a wider scope.

The hosted Digital Transgender Archive (DTA) is one such repository.

Bringing together photographs, publications, clippings & ephemera from more than 60 academic, social, cultural and private archives, the DTA provides a kaleidoscopic and fascinating portal into transgender history.

DTA grew out of Project Director K.J. Rawson’s own frustrations while working on his PhD.  In an interview with them, Rawson explained .”When doing research, I had a hard time figuring out where to find significantly-sized collections of transgender historical materials. And it wasn’t just my limitations as a researcher; there are some structural barriers that make transgender history quite difficult. So I ended up trying to brainstorm a resource that could help people in a similar situation.”

Rawson, formerly taught at Holy Cross and now is an Associate Professor of English, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University.  He notes that ” the term ‘transgender’ is so ubiquitous in a Western context right now, but it’s also a really new term. Taken together, that actually creates a really difficult research situation for contemporary researchers, because few people are actually familiar with all of the other terminology that’s been used throughout history to describe experiences of transgressing gender norms. So part of what we’re doing is taking language that is commonly used, and using that as a gateway to find materials for which that language would never be used.”

The Digital Transgender Archive (DTA) can be a powerful tool to expand awareness and educate people, especially during this time of expanding national conversation and re-examination of  how people talk about and treat one another.  Digital Commonwealth invites you to explore further.

 

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Sand diggers on the beach

Tichnor Brothers Postcard Collection (1,461 items)*  items added to existing collection (re-harvest)

The Tichnor Brothers Collection contains approximately 25,000 office proofs of postcards of the United States published by the Boston firm Tichnor Brothers Inc. These are color postcards with a linen texture dated ca. 1930-1945. The concentration is on American vacation places.

https://cityofboston.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/IO_6a7f3b92-6833-4b2d-bfd4-73d4a0c3ee7a/
City Hospital roof garden

Boston City Archives 15 new collections; 3,075 new records) * 

The Boston City Archives preserves and provides access to the historic records of Boston’s city government.  Our collections include City Council records, mayoral records, and departmental records and our records document many of Boston’s significant historical moments.

Northeastern University Libraries (7 new collections; 17,918 new records) *

The Northeastern University Library supports the mission of the University by working in partnership with the University community to develop and disseminate new scholarship. The Library fosters intellectual and professional growth, enriches the research, teaching, and learning environment, and promotes the effective use of knowledge by managing and delivering information resources and services to library users.

Boston Public Library

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The Big Drum

Boston Pictorial Archive (Collection of Distinction (310 items)* added to existing collection

The Boston Pictorial Archive is one of the largest distinct collections of images related to Boston held by a public institution and the essential resource for Boston architectural, social, and neighborhood history. It includes more than 6,000 images on paper representing the visual history of the city of Boston from the colonial era through the 20th century, the majority of which are original photographic prints dating from the 1850s to the last decade of the 20th century.

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Townsend’s Patent Folding Globe

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Collection (12 items)* added to existing collection

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library is dedicated to the creative educational use of its cartographic holdings, which extend from the 15th century to the present. In pursuit of its mission, the Center collects and preserves maps and atlases, promotes research in the collection, and makes its resources available to the public through its website, exhibitions, publications, lectures, and other programs.

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Cross & Dimmitt postcard ca: 1930-1945

Boston Public Library

The Tichnor Brothers Collection contains approximately 25,000 office proofs of postcards of the United States published by the Boston firm Tichnor Brothers Inc. These are color postcards with a linen texture dated ca. 1930-1945. The concentration is on American vacation places.

National Archives of Boston

 This series consists of the civil action case file (72-911-G) of Tallulah Morgan et al. v. James W. Hennigan et al., a class action lawsuit brought in 1972 by the parents of African American children alleging  that the Boston School Committee violated the 14th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution by a deliberate policy of racial segregation in the Boston Public Schools. Included are the complaint, motions, briefs, transcripts of hearings, Boston School Committee meeting transcripts, enrollment records, memorandums, letters and other correspondence, judgments, affidavits, depositions, interrogatories, and other records. Records are arranged by document number assigned by the court.

 

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John F. Kennedy

Before COVID-19 changed life and work as we know it, lots of new content was added to Digital Commonwealth including the voluminous photo archive of Dennis Brearley which chronicles the life of the City of Boston from the 1920s to 1970s.  From parades to protests, it’s all there providing the rich historical context that photographs can.

Boston Public Library

                                            Holyoke Public Library 

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Children in their Sunday best

C.R. Wilhelm Collection (203 items)

 

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Lillian Abdalian

Originally scheduled to take place Sunday, April 4, a program on the Remarkable Photography of Leon Abdalian at the Jamaica Plain Branch Library has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis.  While that talk will be re-scheduled at a future time, in the meantime we encourage you to visit Leon’s large body of work accessible via Digital Commonwealth.Born Leon Hampartzoum Abdalian in Armenia, Ottoman Empire in 1884, he came to the US as a 12 year old in 1896.

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Leon, Lillian,and Marian Abdalian

The Abdalian family settled in Jamaica Plain, a subject of thousands of his later photographs.  A train conductor by day with the Boston Elevated Railway, Leon was largely self-taught and took photographs as a hobby which expanded into a busy sideline. His photos were published in The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Traveler  and as a career highlight, in the March 1920 issue of  National Geographic magazine.

Besides his beloved hometown of JP, West Roxbury, Milton, Dedham, Lexington, Salem and Gloucester are featured subjects as our family groups in their living rooms, at picnics, weddings, and the Arnold Arboretum. The photos are clean and classically composed, and really fun to browse, especially when compared with the JP of today.

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Leo J. Costello, 234 South St. Jamaica Plain

After his death in 1967, his daughter Lilian donated several hundred negatives to the Boston Public Library and his entire body of work was bequeathed to BPL in 2003, a gift of the Arnold P. and Lillian A.Clough estate.

digitalconference

The Digital Commonwealth Board and Conference Committee
invite you to register for:
A Virtual Conference Contextual Conversations:Representation and Digital Practice
Join us for an exciting day as we explore the issues of representation, politics, ethics
and other important aspects of digital collections
with an outstanding group of scholars
When: Tuesday April 7, 2020, 9:00AM-4:00PM  Where: Zoom Webinar
Advance registration is required. This event is FREE to all attendees. 
Once you register you will receive a Zoom link to the event.
Register for Virtual Event
Conference Schedule (subject to revision), changes will be posted to the website.
Conference Schedule
Elaine L. Westbrooks, Vice Provost for University Libraries & University Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be the Keynote Speaker.
Ms. Westbrooks is a Board Member of the Digital Public Library of America. Her keynote address is titled “Representing the Others: Preserving Evidence and Knowledge for Equity”. 
An annual update on the Digital Commonwealth Collection will be presented by Eben English, Digital Repository Services Manager at the Boston Public Library.
A lot of new content was added in February–must have been the leap year effect! There’s something for everyone with maps, manuscripts, prints and photographs all ready for research  and enjoyment. The Leon Abdalian Collection, containing the work of self-taught photogapher Leon Hampartzoum Abdalian reminds me of the Leslie Jones Collection.
Both men turned their lens’ on the people of Boston, Jamaica Plain West Roxbury and surrounding communities and brought ordinary people into sharp focus. Leon and Leslie, good eye!  Travel back in time with them via Digital Commonwealth.
Arnold Arboretum

Boston Public Library

Colonial and Revolutionary Boston (2 items)*

Early, Rare, and Exceptional Items from Special Collections, Rare Books (3 items)*
French Artists (1 item)
Coast Guard Heritage Museum
D.M. Rowland Collection (40 items) 
 Lawrence Public Library 
 Massachusetts Archives