Make sure you check out the newest Digital Commonwealth collections, including images of popular Boston politician James M. Curley and a new medieval manuscripts from the BPL!

Boston Public Library

"Head shot waving hat."  Photograph.  1949.
Head shot waving hat.” Photograph. 1949.

Books from the Boston Public Library – 144 items

John D. Merriam Collection – 6 items

Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts Collection – 3 items

Jamaica Plain Historical Society

James Michael Curley Negatives – 956 items

Kingston Public Library

Emily Fuller Drew Collection – 209 items

Longmeadow Historical Society

Emerson Collection – 1458 items

Happy New Year! These awesome new collections were added to Digital Commonwealth in December. Check them out!

Boston Architectural College Library

Original works by Boston Architectural Club Members : 1 item

Publications of the Boston Architectural Club : 32 items

Boston Athenaeum

Hooded merganser duck from Yarmouth Town Libraries, West Yarmouth Library.
Hooded merganser duck from Yarmouth Town Libraries, West Yarmouth Library.

Boston Athenaeum, Cartographic Collection : 6 items

Boston College University Libraries

27 collections with 4950 items

Boston Public Library

John D. Merriam Collection : 16 items

Ziba B. Oakes Papers, 1852-1857 : 651 items

Fall River Public Library

Historical Postcards, c. 1880-1965 : 1312

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historical Site

Plans & Drawings, c. 1847-1979 (Bulk 1882-1970) : 68 items

Norwell Public Library

Norwell Historical Society Postcard Collection : 74 items

Perkins School for the Blind

Manual Arts and Vocational Training : 124 items

Physical Education at Perkins School for the Blind : 129 items

Westborough Public Library

Historical Records of the Town of Westborough: Administrative Documents, 1724-1929 : 134 items

Records of the Westborough Rifle Company, 1861-1870 :10 items

Records of Westborough’s Involvement in the American Revolution, the Massachusetts Militia, and the Continental Army, 1774-1792 : 45 items

Weymouth Public Libraries, Tufts Library

Harry C. Belcher Lepidoptera Collection : 177 items

Yarmouth Town Libraries, West Yarmouth Library

Castonguay Carved Bird Collection at West Yarmouth Library : 34 items



Here are two photographs from the Digital Commonwealth of special Christmas dinners for people who would not be home for Christmas.

This 1921 photograph by news photographer Leslie Jones and shows Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan loading his Christmas dinner onto the ship Bowdoin before sailing for the frozen North. It’s from the Leslie Jones Collection of the Boston Public Library.


This 1969 photograph of the Apollo VIII Christmas menu is from the Natick Soldier Systems Center Photographic Collection of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center.10869601_10152461357361722_859047187704865844_o

Check out all of the wonderful content now available in the collections added to the Digital Commonwealth since September!

The Eastham Historical Society Inc. Postcard
The Eastham Historical Society Inc. Postcard [ca.1860-1980]
Atwood House Museum of the Chatham Historical Society

Nautical Chart Collection of the Chatham Historical Society : 40 items

Boston Public Library

Charles C. Perkins (1823-1886) Collection : 36 items

Charles H. Woodbury (1986-1940). Prints, Drawings, Watercolors, Oil Paintings, and Copper Plate : 1550 items

George Bellows (1882-1925). Prints and Drawings : 92 items

Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts : 1 item added to existing collection

Stereograph Collection : 1624 items added to existing collection

Tupper Scrapbook Collection: Scrapbooks of mounted views, portraits, etc., relating to Europe and Egypt. 1891-1894 : 10 items

Eastham Historical Society

Eastham Historical Society Local History : 219 items

U.S. Army Natick Soldier System Center

Natick Soldier Systems Center Photographic Collection : 4012 items added to existing collection

Collecting Scrap
During World War II, the United States government promoted scrap drives to reduce shortages in basic materials such as metal, rubber and paper. In September, 1942, the War Production Board announced that scrap metal was urgently needed, and promoted a National Scrap Metal Drive in October. For three Saturdays, there were local scrap drives were organized that involved the whole community, including children. The metal that was collected was not all scrap, but often involved personal or community sacrifice, including wrought iron fences that surrounded the Boston Common and the State House.

These scrap drives promoted a sense of patriotism and involvement in the war effort, and according to the War Production Board, the October drive brought in almost eighty-two pounds of scrap per American.

Collecting ScrapCollecting ScrapRemoving bronze plaque for war drive

Photographs from the Leslie Jones Collection of the Boston Public Library.

Maureen TaylorHow well are people discovering and understanding the photographs in your digital collections? There are currently more than 100,000 photographs in Digital Commonwealth. How can you improve the chances of users finding the ones that are relevant to their research?

Join the Digital Commonwealth at a special program called Enhancing Photograph Descriptions: Advice from the Photo Detective, which will be offered at three locations in different parts of the state.

Join us at one of these events, where photograph expert Maureen Taylor will show us how to create the best metadata we can for the photographs in our digital collections. Maureen Taylor, known as the Photo Detective, is an internationally renowned expert in historic photo identification, preservation and genealogical research. She is the author of several books on identifying, organizing and understanding photographs, and has been featured on television programs, newspapers and magazines.

Here are the details and registration links for the two sessions that have been scheduled so far:

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Time: 10:30 – 11:30 AM
Location: New England Historic Genealogical Society
99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
Members/Non-members: $25/$40

Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Forbes Library
29 West Street
Members/Non-members: $25/$40

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Time of event: 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM
Schedule: 10:00-10:15 – Registration;
10:15-11:30 – Tour of Nickerson Archives and discussion of its digitization projects
11:30-12:30 – Lunch on your own
12:30-1:30 – Maureen Taylor lecture
Location: Wilkens Library, Cape Cod Community College, West Barnstable
Directions | Campus Map
Lunch options: Cafeteria on campus (in Grossman Commons); restaurants (Subway, Burger King, etc.) down the street

These past two summer months, Digital Commonwealth has added some new collections. Check them out!

Cereus, by Mrs. Duffield.
Cereus, by Mrs. Duffield. From the new Botanical Prints collection, from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Library.

Phillips Academy Andover

Sidney R. Knafel Map Collection at Phillips Academy : 2 items added to existing collection

Massachusetts Archives

Massachusetts Metropolitan Water Works Photograph Collection : 92 items added to existing collection

Massachusetts Horticultural Society Library

Botanical Prints : 756 items

Bridgewater State University, Maxwell Library

204 items added to existing collections

Pine Manor College

Pine Manor College Photograph Collection : 2,923 items

Hatfield Historical Museum

Hatfield Historical Museum Civil War Collection : 2 items

Holyoke Public Library

Holyoke History Newsprint Collection : 2 items

Holyoke Public Library Books and Pamphlets : 2 items

Boston Public Library

Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts Collection : 2 items added to existing collection

Alphonse Legros (1837-1911). Prints and Drawings : 22 items

Stereograph Collection : 823 items added to existing collection

Mural Cycles at the Central Library in Copley Square : 56 items

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