Waltham, interior detail, stairway, Governor Gore Mansion, 1799
Stairway, Governor Gore Mansion, 1799 from Frank Cousins Collection of Glass Plate Negatives

Digital Commonwealth uploaded several outstanding photograph collections in June.  But it’s not all photos, there are maps from Phillips Academy in Andover and a painting from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

But the photos are this month’s find.  Like the unusual Massachusetts Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission, Quabbin Reservoir, Photographs of Cemeteries, 1928-1945 from the Massachusetts Archives. It’s sure to be a boon to anyone researching the flooded towns and their families. And the usual Boston Public Library additions to existing collections, like the Leon Abdalian Collection. If, like me, you’re a sucker for snowscapes, Abdalian’s photos, e.g. Ward’s Pond, snow view of hillside are a Christmas-in-July gift. (See below.)

The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum makes a splash with its inaugural contributions of photographs from the glass plate negatives of Frank Cousins and Herman Parker.  Cousins’ larger collection began with photographic essays on Essex County, but soon expanded across the eastern seaboard of the US.  Any fan of historic buildings will appreciate his elegant photos of exteriors and interiors, like the stairway inside the Governor Gore mansion (See top left.)

Views across Marblehead Harbor with boats at sunset
Marblehead Harbor with boats at sunset from Herman Parker Collection of Glass Plate Negatives

Parker also photographed Essex county, but focused on views from his home in Marblehead. I feel I could walk right in to the Views across Marblehead Harbor with boats (See bottom left.) at sunset photo – and I want to. What a great end to a summer day!

 

 

Sleeping cat
Sleeping cat from BPL Steinlen Collection

May is supposed to be the payoff for all those April showers.  Only the showers kept coming in May.  Digital Commonwealth was showered by harvested images from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (17,335 items), Boston TV New Digital Library (1,632 items) and the University of Massachusetts/Lowell (6,825 items).

Theophile Alexandre Steinlen is more than the cats for which he is most famous. But that didn’t stop me from using one of his sleeping cats to illustrate this post.  (See left.)  You’ll just have to go to the Boston Public Library’s Steinlen collection to see the rest.

Or go to the Malden Catholic High School class photos from 1936-2016.  Everybody enjoys a good class photo, but let’s be honest.  We enjoy the bad ones even more.  Sorry, kids.

 

American Archive of Public Broadcasting
17,335 new items harvested

Boston Public Library
Press Photography from the Brearley Collection – 430 items added to existing collection
Paul Gavarni (1804-1866). Lithographs and Other Works – 2,389 items
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923). Lithographs, Etchings, and Other Works – 139 items

Malden Catholic High School, class of 1936
Malden Catholic High School, class of 1936 from Malden Catholic High School

Boston TV News Digital Library
5 collections, 1,632 items harvested

Malden Catholic High School
Malden Catholic High School Class Photos/Yearbooks – 73 items

University of Massachusetts/Lowell
Paul Tsongas Digital Archives – 6,601 items harvested
Center for Lowell History – Southeast Asian Digital Archive – 6 collections, 224 items harvested

1881 Lawrence High School football team
1881 Lawrence High School football team from Lawrence Public Library

 

April was a dark and gloomy month weather-wise.  Maybe that accounts for there only being three contributors this month.  The Boston Public Library added 1873 items to the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee collection, bringing that collection up to over 5,000 items.  Boston College re-harvested over 80 items.  Lawrence Public Library contributed many small collections and one large one.  The latter is the Lawrence High School Athletic Department collection of over 130 team photographs.  You can see a very solemn 1881 football team on the left.  Maybe it’s because they appear to have been forced to pose in their long underwear and watch caps.  And that football looks more like a basketball.  How things have changed…

 

 

 

 

Boston College

1 new collection; 84 new items re-harvested

Boston Public Library

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Prints and Drawings – 9 items added to existing collection
Press Photography from the Brearley Collection – 753 items added to existing collection
Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee – 1873 items added to existing collection

Lawrence Public Library

A.W. Stearns – 1 item
Americanization Poster – 1 item
Antebellum Citations – 5 items
Civil War Women, Summer Institute 2008 – 3 items
Donovan Park – 1 item
Franklin Associates – 22 items
Lawrence High School Athletic Department – 132 items
Lawrence High School Classes – 2 items
Lawrence State Armory – 1 item
Lawrence, Mass. Board of Health, Records – 10 items
Lawrence, Mass. Engineering Department – 7 items
Lawrence, Mass. Flood of 1936 – 76 items
Lawrence, Mass. Glass Plate Negatives – 14 items
Lawrence, Mass. Textile Strike of 1912 – 13 items
Leonard Bernstein Poster – 2 items
Massachusetts Mayors’ Club – 1 item
New Deal Seminar, April 2008 – 3 items
Religion in Massachusetts Seminar, May 2008 – 12 items
Revolutionary War, Summer Institute 2008 – 1 item
Schenk Family – 1 item
Southern Slavery Seminar, November 2008 – 7 items

The grand panorama of a whaling voyage ‘round the world
The grand panorama of a whaling voyage ‘round the world from the New Bedford Whaling Museum

The best, totally unique item added to the Digital Commonwealth in March was the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s The grand panorama of a whaling voyage ‘round the world.  The section above does not do it justice.  The full panorama is divided into four sections.  To get the full affect, you need to click on each section and then click on the image again to enlarge and use your cursor to travel the entire panorama.  Believe me, the effort is worth it.  It’s easy to understand why it was a popular exhibition when it toured the country from 1849-1851.

But, if whaling voyages aren’t your thing, there are more of those wonderful Medford Historical Society & Museum Civil War photos, pre-presidential photos of John F. Kennedy from the Rocco Paoletta Collection at the Boston Public Library, photos and maps from the Sharon Public Library and historical town records from the Wayland Town Clerk.  As always, a little something for every taste.                                                                                                       

Boston Public Library
John Copley (1875-1950). Lithographs – 297 items
Rocco Paoletta Collection – 480 items

Harvard Law School Library
Sacco-Vanzetti Collections – 468 items added to existing collection

Medford Historical Society & Museum
The Medford Historical Society Civil War Photograph Collection – 273 items added to existing collection

New Bedford Whaling Museum
New Bedford Whaling Museum Panoramas – 1 item

Sharon Public Library
Sharon Public Library Image Collection – 146 items added to existing collection
Sharon Public Library Map Collection – 5 items

University of Massachusetts Lowell Libraries
No new items, re-harvested to add new URLs

Wayland Town Clerk
Wayland Massachusetts Historical Town Records – 24 items

Leslie Jones with camera in tarp at Fenway
Leslie Jones with Graflex in tarp at Fenway Leslie Jones Collection, BPL

The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA) headlined its A GOOD AGE column on January 21, 2019, “Discovering a 20th Century Boston ‘camera man’“.  The ‘camera man’ is Leslie Ronald Jones of Digital Commonwealth’s extremely popular Leslie Jones Collection from the Boston Public Library.  The Patriot Ledger highlights photos of interest to their readership, like shipbuilding in Quincy.  But even they could not resist one of Jones’ more humorous Fenway Park photos – Jones himself with camera emerging from a tarp rolled up on the field.  There really wasn’t anyplace he wouldn’t go for a good photo!

End the debt! Decolonize! Liberate Puerto Rico! Scroll
End the debt! Decolonize! Liberate Puerto Rico! Scroll from AgitArte’s Collaborations

This month we welcome AgitArte, an organization of working class artists and cultural organizers, who added the scroll, one of their community art projects, at left.  Almost unbelievably, the Medford Historical Society & Museum has added several hundred more Civil War photos and the Chicopee Public Library has allowed the harvest of two more collections.

As last month, I want to highlight one of Digital Commonwealth’s mainstays, the Boston Public Library.  The Press Photography from the Brearley Collection has grown exponentially.  The 1,222 items added this month nearly double the size of the collection.  The BPL also added a new collection of 394 items, the Edmund Blampied (1886-1966) Prints and Drawings collection, which includes the exquisite crayon drawing, Beach Scene (10) below.

Agitating for the community or a virtual beach visit may warm you up this December.  Happy holidays to all!

Beach scene (10)
Beach scene (10) from BPL’s Edmund Blampied (1886-1966). Prints and Drawings

AgitArte
Collaborations – 1 item

Boston Public Library
Edmund Blampied (1886-1966). Prints and Drawings – 394 items
Press Photography from the Brearley Collection – 1,222 items added to an existing collection

Chicopee Public Library
2 new collections, 710 new items harvested

The Medford Historical Society & Museum
The Medford Historical Society Civil War Photograph Collection – 851 items added to an existing collection

 

Written by Anne Berard, Reference& Outreach Librarian, Milford Town Library

Trade card for Hunt's Remedy, the great kidney & liver medicine
Hunt’s Remedy, the great kidney & liver medicine, William E. Clarke, proprietor, Providence, Rhode Island, undated from Historic New England’s EP001: Ephemera collection
Malt Bitters - the purest and best medicine in the world for nourishing and strengthening and for overcoming dyspepsia, debility and wasting diseases. The house that Jack built
Malt Bitters – the purest and best medicine in the world for nourishing and strengthening and for overcoming dyspepsia, debility and wasting diseases. The house that Jack built. from Boston Public Library’s 19th Century American Trade Card
Ayer's Sarsaparilla, Dr. J.C. Ayer & Company, Lowell, Mass.
Trade card for Ayer’s Sarsaparilla, Dr. J.C. Ayer & Company, Lowell, Mass. from Historic New England’s EP001: Ephemera collection

While the earliest advertising cards first circulated in London, Lyon and Paris in the late 17th century, advances in color lithography and printing in the 19th century made them easier to produce and more ubiquitous. Everything from soap, thread, perfume, hats, shoes, coffee, candy and more were marketed in these stylized cards.  Digital Commonwealth has more than 3700 unique images in its collection. Some of the most entertaining and possibly alarming, cards were for tonics and health remedies that might belong in the annals of medical quackery. Blood-purifying agents were all the rage.

Hunt’s Remedy (above, left) claimed that it was“never known to fail” and cured dropsy (edema), liver, bladder, kidney and urinary problems. It was produced by William E. Clarke of Providence, Rhode Island. The graphics show a shirtless man fighting off the Grim Reaper.

Boasting of health and sunny hours, an Ayers Sarsaparilla (above, center) card from 1902 featured a lovely woman in Victorian dress holding a tot on her shoulder. Dr. J.C. Ayers operated in Lowell, MA. Sarsaparilla root is still used today in some herbal medicines to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Touting itself as the “purest and best medicine in the world” for overcoming dyspepsia, debility, and wasting diseases was Malt Bitters of Boston, MA.  (above, right) Their detailed card also promised “stimulation without intoxication.”  Playing off the theme of the House that Jack Built, the card has charming artwork, attractive lettering and tells a complete story.

In time, radio ads were a more modern means to reach a larger audience and trade cards fell out of fashion. Larger companies still produced catalogs and smaller enterprises converted to smaller business cards and matchbooks.

To see the complete collection of 19th Century American Trade Cards, begin here.

Two small birds on a bough
Two Small Birds on a Bough Stow Wengenroth (1906-1978). Prints and Drawings

Although summer slips away too quickly for some of us, those of us who wilt in the heat and humidity are happy to see the end of July.  If you’re not, don’t fret.  August is promising more of the same.

The Boston Public Library was busy this month, adding to the Leslie Jones Collection as well as adding over 100 items of Thomas Wentworth Higginson Correspondence.  Fans of the 2013 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Anders Zorn exhibit will be happy to see the BPL’s Zorn etchings.  Allow me to draw your attention to the Stow Wengenroth Prints and Drawings, though.  The exquisite Two Small Birds on a Bough (left) is from this collection, which includes other bird drawings and some lovely Maine scenes.

Medford Historical Society & Museum has added significantly to its already impressive Civil War Photograph Collection.  The Lawrence Public Library has also added more photographs plus a new collection of World War I-related items.  The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library began the harvesting season early with 64 new items to their collections.

The heavy hitters this month are the Massachusetts Historical Society (4,161) and Springfield College Archives and Special Collections (5,181), who re-harvested 4 new collections.  I’m not sure that the Arthur and Madeline Slicer Turnvereine Stein Collection is one of the newly-harvested collections, but I offer the jovial barrel-shaped character stein image below because we all need a cool drink of something during the dog days of August.

Boston Public Library
Anders Zorn (1860-1920). Etchings and Other Works – 204 items
Leslie Jones Collection – 6 items added to existing collection
Stow Wengenroth (1906-1978). Prints and Drawings – 372 items
Thomas Wentworth Higginson Correspondence – 156 items

A barrel shaped character stein
A barrel shaped character stein A. and M. Slicer Turnvereine Stein Collection

Lawrence Public Library
Art Work of Lawrence and Vicinity Photograph Collection – 64 items added to existing collection
James Regan – 9 items

Massachusetts Historical Society
 1 new collection – 4,161 new items re-harvested

Medford Historical Society & Museum
Medford Historical Society Civil War Photograph Collection – 826 items added to existing collection

Springfield College Archives and Special Collections
3 new collections – 5,181 new items re-harvested

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library
64 new items re-harvested

Architectural design for Henry Bowen cottage
Design for a cottage for Henry C. Bowen, Esq. from Historic New England General architectural and cartographic collection

The Boston Public Library continues to add to existing collections, although a brand new collection – 32 items from John Sullivan Dwight’s correspondence regarding Brook Farm – snuck in while no one was looking.  Needham Free Public Library added more than 3,500 items to its historical house collection as well.

The largest addition was from Historic New England (HNE) – 139 new collections, over 54,000 items.  Here be treasures: clothing, photos, architectural drawings (left), samplers (below right), quilts, furniture; everyday objects and priceless art. Browsing these collections is almost as good as touring the HNE collections storage facility in Haverhill – or one of the many HNE house museums.  I highly recommend doing both.  Until you can, though, browse these great collections.

 

Boston Public Library
American Civil War 20th Massachusetts Regiment (Collection of Distinction) – 1 item added to existing collection
Book of Common Prayer (Collection of Distinction) – 1 item
Carte de Visite Collection – 21 items added to existing collection
Colonial and Revolutionary America – 4 items added to existing collection
Colonial and Revolutionary Boston (Collection of Distinction) – 5 items added to existing collection
Early, Rare, and Exceptional Items from Special Collections, Rare Books – 9 items added to existing collection

Needlepoint alphabet sampler
Alphabet Verse Sample from Historic New England Digitized Museum Collections

Incunabula (Collection of Distinction) – 5 items added to existing collection
John Sullivan Dwight correspondence regarding Brook Farm, 1840-1848 – 32 items
Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts (Collection of Distinction) – 17 items added to existing collection
Paintings and Fine Arts Collection at the Boston Public Library – 1 item added to existing collection
Spanish and Portuguese Literature (Collection of Distinction) – 1 item added to existing collection

Historic New England
139 new collections – 54,104 records harvested

Needham Free Public Library
Needham Historical House Collection – 3,583 items added to existing collection

All of May’s contributors are return customers.  The Boston Public Library has added significant holdings of prints and drawings.  The Atwood House Museum of the Chatham Historical Society has contributed more nautical charts while the Wilbraham Public Library has digitized more photographs. Special mention has to be made of the Lawrence Public Library, which has added fourteen collections ranging from 1 to 68 items.

House, people Lawrence Cyclone Photo Collection
House, people, from Lawrence, Mass. Cyclone July 26, 1890 Photograph Collection

Most striking are the photographs of the aftermath of the “Great Cyclone” of 1890.  Eight people died and 65 were injured.  The tornado did $60,000 worth of damage.  ($1.5 million in today’s money)  The house on the left is just one of many that did not survive the storm.

On a happier note, Lawrence Public Library also digitized a collection of sheet music.  It almost doesn’t matter how tuneful the songs are when the covers are this colorful. (See below.)

Atwood House Museum of the Chatham Historical Society
Nautical Chart Collection of the Chatham Historical Society – 40 items added to existing collection

Boston Public Library
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910). Prints and Drawings – 115 items
George Cruikshank (1792-1878). Prints and Drawings – 86 items
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904). Lithographs and Other Prints – 478 items
William Hogarth (1697-1764). Prints – 162 items

Lawrence Public Library

 V for victory march, from Lawrence Public Library Sheet Music Collection
V for victory march, from Lawrence Public Library Sheet Music Collection

Alfred I. Earle – 1 item
Augustinian Priests Photograph Collection – 13 items
Bernard Sullivan Photographs – 3 items
Bob Dziadosz – 1 iteM
Elsie Marsden Photographs – 3 items
Father James T. O’Reilly – 2 items
Fred H. and Anna C. Sargent Photographs – 2 items
Hurricane, September 21, 1938 – 17 items
Lawrence, Mass. Before Redevelopment Photograph Collection – 58 item
Lawrence, Mass. Cyclone July 26, 1890 Photograph Collection – 68 items
Lawrence, Mass. Mayors Photograph Collection – 51 items
Lawrence, Mass. United States Post Office – 2 items
Panama Pacific International Exposition – 2 items added to existing collection
Sheet Music Collection – 27 items

Wilbraham Public Library
Wilbraham Town Archives Photographic Collection – 143 items