A letter by Rene Descartes, stolen in 1840s, recovered in 2010 by online detective work.
The letter was stolen by Guglielmo Libri, inspector general of the libraries of France, who stole thousands of valuable documents and fled to England in 1848. Since 1902 it's been in the collection of Haverford College, its contents unknown to scholars, and nobody there realized that it was an unknown letter. But because they had catalogued it and recently put their catalogue on line, Dutch philosopher Erik-Jan Bos found it "during a late-night session browsing the Internet
". (A Haverford undergraduate thirty years ago had translated it and written a paper on it, in which he recognized that the letter was unknown -- but nobody followed up and the letter had sat in the library since then until it was listed online.) The letter includes some last-minute edits to the Meditations, and some thoughts on God as causa sui. Haverford, whose president was a philosophy major, is returning the letter
to the Institut de France.
posted by LobsterMitten
on Feb 26, 2010 -
When not pressing the valves on his trumpet or the record button on his tape recorder, Armstrong’s fingers found other arts with which to occupy themselves. One of them was collage, which became a visual outlet for his improvisational genius. ... These little stories, illuminating and entertaining syntheses of Armstrong’s passions, now reside in the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College in Flushing, New York. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Oct 28, 2009 -
The Brakhage Scrapbooks. Jane Wodening, then Jane Brakhage, assembled three remarkable scrapbooks in the early 1960s, when she was the wife and muse of experimental film maker Stan Brakhage [previously 1, 2] ... Wodening created the scrapbooks from literal “scraps” of their family life, Brakhage’s creative process, and the artistic communities of which they were a part. Pages are covered with the widest array of verbal and visual materials including but not limited to letters, manuscripts, photographs, original art, clippings, pamphlets, filmstrips, and flyers. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Jun 8, 2009 -
is the new photojournalism blog of The New York Times, presenting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows. A showcase for Times photographers, it will draw on The Times' own pictorial archive, numbering in the millions of images and going back to the early 20th century. Features in their first week include: Essay: Slow Photography in an Instantaneous Age
, about what it means to shoot on large-format film in the digital age; Showcase: A Prom Divided
, a multimedia feature about a segregated prom in 2009 south-central Georgia.
posted by netbros
on May 22, 2009 -
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has put 675 reels of archival 16 mm film online
via the Internet Archive. Most of the film is unedited, and stems either from Museum research, or was donated by interested amateurs. Much of it is silent, reflecting the technology of the day. One highlight are the four surviving reels
of the long-running TV show 'What in the World" (look for the episode starring Vincent Price), but the archive is full of other hidden gems, such as the 1950s archaeological expedition to Tikal
, a 1940 film "A 1000 Mile Road Trip Across America
", and Glimpses of Life Among the Catawba and Cherokee Indians of the Carolinas (1927).
The films are downloadable in various formats, including MPEG2, Ogg Video, and 512Kb MPEG4. Happy browsing! via.
posted by Rumple
on May 3, 2009 -
Cologne City Archive
is a six-story building containing 26 kilometers of shelves, 65,000+ documents dating from 922 AD, 104,000 maps, 50,000 posters, 500,000 photographs and 780 estates and collections, including Irmgard Keun
, Hans Mayer
and Jacques Offenbach
. Considered a state of the art institution when built in 1971 and copied around the world, the building simply collapsed on Tuesday, destroying most everything. 
,(via) [more inside]
posted by stbalbach
on Mar 5, 2009 -
is the new EU digital library. It gives multilingual access to two million digitized books and other items of cultural and historical significance held in over 1,000 institutions in the 27 EU states. There will be 10 million by 2010. Soon after its launch the website froze
, its servers overwhelmed by over "10 million hits an hour".
posted by stbalbach
on Nov 20, 2008 -
This is a collection of the National Archives stored in the Digital Vaults
. You can browse through hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips and discover the connection between some of the National Archives' most treasured records. With the Pathways
tool you can see the unique and surprising connections between events and people and test your knowledge of history. As you travel through the site and collect documents, images and films, you can then merge the objects to create your own
poster or movie from your collection.
posted by netbros
on Jul 17, 2008 -
A Million Voices.
Staff members of the University Archives at Virginia Tech are working to catalog and make available the more than 87,000 letters, poems, posters and artifacts that arrived at the school in the wake of the April 16 shootings. Dubbed The Prevail Archives
, the website has a database
with images of some of the items. [more inside]
posted by marxchivist
on Apr 10, 2008 -
Gossip of the Sewing Circle
Profound cattiness from 1903. Learn to use such snarkily coded terms as embonpoint
in everyday conversation. Need to shame a beautiful rival who hasn't produced an heir for her much older husband? Describe her in The Newsaper of Record as owning "an extremely clever parrot." PDF, link from the NYT Archives.
posted by maryh
on Dec 2, 2007 -
Cashiers du Cinemart.
Film Threat's Dave Williams: "a thin, primitive hobby publication with an obvious ax to grind; making it far less interesting than you think it is, and compelling me to conclude it's impossible for you to ever get your shit together...killing one more tree for your pointless, directionless, self-aggrandizing 'zine with nothing to offer is a sad, selfish waste."
Best known for the Anti-Tarantino saga
, one man's quest to get a director to acknowledge his influences, Cashiers is a great '90s 'zine with archives online.
posted by klangklangston
on Mar 20, 2007 -
From Muddy York to the Toronto of today....
My search to discover the exact age of the house I recently bought led me to the fabulous Toronto Archives
. Even if you don't have the good fortune to live in Toronto and so have the ability to visit the Archives to take a free tour and check out their massive holdings
, they have a whack of stuff on line. Of their million photographs dating back to 1856, over 21,000 are online. Check out some of their virtual exhibits
. I couldn't begin to give you an overview of the site or even the best of its many gems, but check out Chinatown's VE day victory parade
, Bay and Wellington
as it was after a huge fire in 1904, old advertisements
(including some from the disenchanted
), snapshots of a, er, less politically sensitive time
), and — inevitably! — hockey artifacts
. A friend of mine makes a hobby of Toronto's history, and after this search of mine, I better understand her interest. It’s fascinating to see what lies beneath the layers of time
on a surface so familiar
posted by orange swan
on Jul 4, 2006 -
Ever wondered what old amounts of money would be worth today?
Or what you could buy with your current salary if you went back 200, 400, or 600 years? Now you can find out with a tool that converts English currency from 1270 onwards into today's prices. Based on Treasury records, it tells you that Mr Darcy's £10,000 a year would now be worth nearly £350,000, or that your house would only have to be worth the equivalent of £500 now to qualify for the vote after 1832.
posted by greycap
on Jun 28, 2006 -
The Natural World
is yours to play with now courtesy of the BBC
, but only if you live in the UK!
The BBC have released their wildlife archives as part of the Creative Archive Licence
, including unseen clips from the new Planet Earth
Unfortunately, it's only available to those who live in the UK because "the member organisations who supply the content are funded with public money to serve the UK population."
posted by Nugget
on Mar 4, 2006 -