We have no newly-added collections this month (the dreaded technical difficulty prevented this), but we do have formats that you may not have checked out yet. Go to the Explore tab on the Digital Commonwealth home page and select Formats. These are arranged by the numbers, so Photographs are at the top of the list followed by Letters/correspondence and then Documents.
But scroll down and you soon come to Film/video. Of the 28,400 items here, 23,135 are from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Collection. This collection of public media was amassed by WGBH and the Library of Congress to preserve at-risk materials. There are also tapes from local TV news programs and Boston City Council meetings.
Next on the list are Objects/artifacts. These range from clothing/costumes to furniture to jewelry to samplers. Some items are unique, like the Aeolian harp from Historic New England or the Native American beaded pouch from the Perkins School for the Blind’s Tad Chapman Collection.
Proceeding further down, we come to Audio recordings (nonmusical). These are easy to spot by their speaker icon (right). Most of these are also from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Collection, but there are several local oral history collections, too. What about music? Well, keep scrolling. That’s listed as Music (recordings). While some of these also have speaker icons, some are pictured with images of old-fashioned audio cassettes.
Digital Commonwealth: it’s not just pretty pictures.
The title leads us to see the devil first: his nearly-crossed eyes, his black moustache, his Chiclet-like teeth and his black coat. He has an unusual hairline and the collar of his coat (or cape) hides his ears. From a distance, he appears to have rather sinister furrows and wrinkles on his face.
A great feature of Digital Commonwealth is the magnifying glass icon, which enlarges the image without affecting the resolution. When we click that on this image, the devil recedes. Instead we see two well-dressed women meeting in front of a theater. Their black skirts make up the devil’s coat; their hand muffs his mustache and their hats and feathers his pupils and eyebrows. His nose is a view of another female theatergoer walking away from us.
Interestingly, when the play was first staged in America in 1908, there were two dueling productions, each claiming to be the “sole authorized” version of the play. The reverse of this postcard indicates it is promoting the Henry W. Savage production. According to a 2009 lecture at the Library of Congress by Marlis Schweizer, Savage hired people to picket in front of his rival’s production wearing sandwich boards that said, “Thou shall not steal.” Was Savage making a sly reference to the twin productions in this postcard? I like to think so, but you may have a different take on it.
If you have a favorite photo as deserving of A Closer Look as this eerie postcard, please let us know. Send your Closer Look or a link to your photo to email@example.com.