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Eat Like A Robber Baron.

Rachel Sanders of Buzzfeed compares the menus of venerable NYC eateries a 100 years ago to today.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 31, 2014 - 58 comments

"You Crazy Bastards. What Have You Done? Now I Have To Rebuild!"

In 2003, Andy "waxpancake" Baio created Upcoming, "a collaborative event calendar focused on interesting arts and tech events around the world, curated by its community. It surfaced weird and wonderful events that usually fell under the radar of traditional event listings from newspapers and local weeklies." In 2005, it was acquired by Yahoo!, who killed the site last April with little warning, and no way to back up events. Fortunately, the complete site was saved by the Internet Archive. But Upcoming isn't dead yet! Two months ago, Yahoo! offered to sell the domain back to Baio. And now, with a fully-funded kickstarter, he's planning on "rebuilding it for the modern era using tools and platforms that weren't available when it was first designed." Welcome to the brilliant life, stupid death, and improbable return of Upcoming.org. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 3, 2014 - 22 comments

The NYPL's Open Maps Project adds 20,000 High Res Maps

The New York Public Library has released more than 20,000 high resolution cartographic works (maps!) for free, to view and download. "We believe these maps have no known US copyright restrictions." All can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page and downloaded through their Map Warper. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 31, 2014 - 11 comments

Internet Archive Digital Residencies

Each week, the Internet Archive's tumblr account is completely transformed by a digital resident along a theme of their choosing. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 18, 2014 - 3 comments

Barrieres incendiée

Images of the French Revolution. 14,000 individual visual items, primarily prints, but also illustrations, medals, coins, and other objects included as part of the French Revolution Digital Archive, a collaboration between Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. "The use of these contents for non-commercial purposes is free of charge, subject to compliance with applicable French legislation and notably the inclusion of the source’s statement." Post title taken from this print, "Barrieres incendiée"
posted by spamandkimchi on Feb 5, 2014 - 8 comments

"The neighborhood has all gone t' hell"

Visiting the Big Apple? "Don't ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won't know. No New Yorker knows anything about New York." And another kind reminder: "Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable, notwithstanding and nevertheless. They are also smart." Advice from Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book, published in 1920. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 29, 2014 - 51 comments

Wormhole Radio

Scratchy Grooves For almost twenty years, starting in 1984, Bill Chambless on WVUD-FM at the University of Delaware, explored the pop music of 1900 to 1940 on vintage recordings, "scratches and all." Stream the shows at this website, migrated from the original cassette tapes and maintained by his son.
posted by Miko on Jan 24, 2014 - 9 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

A Better Wayback Machine

A Much Better Wayback Machine. Mefi's own rajbot programs for the awesome Internet Archive, and recently helped add some sweet new features. You can now instantly save a page and get a permanent URL; insert a 404 handler on your site to lead users past broken links; use new APIs; and plenty of other good stuff. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by Jacob Knitig on Nov 4, 2013 - 37 comments

Twitter circa 1990

wwwtxt.org: "In 1995, commercialization, a swelling population, and the multimedia revolution began to shape Web 1.0 and the modern Internet. 1988–94 represent the final years of a much smaller, non-commercial, and text-dominated Internet. / The users of this era were not only programmers, physicists, and university residents—they were also tinkerers, early-adopters, whiz kids, and nerds. Their conversations and documents—valiantly preserved by digital archivists—are fractured across numerous services, increasingly offline-only, and incredibly voluminous (100GB+). / wwwtxt digs deep and resurrects the voices of these digital pioneers as unedited, compelling, and insightful 140-character excerpts." [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Aug 28, 2013 - 20 comments

Five Feet of Books

"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 11, 2013 - 89 comments

Selections from the BFI's collection of early cinema

The British Film Institute's YouTube channels offer a staggering amount (previously) of content on historical cinema, shorts, and discussion. Some short selections from the early and silent period of note - The Sick Kitten (1903) - How Percy Won The Beauty Competition (1909) - Tilly The Tomboy Visits The Poor (1910) - Suffragette Riot In Trafalgar Square (1913) - The Fugitive Futurist, in which a man on the run shows a device that can see far into the future (1924) - Vaudevillian legend Billy Merson Singing 'Desdemona'. Widely considered Britain's first sound film - (1927) Charley In New Town - part of an animated series from the Central Office, this one explaining the need for "New Towns." (1948) - Growing Girls, a filmstrip guide to puberty for young women (1951).
posted by The Whelk on May 2, 2013 - 5 comments

Operation Overlord

PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2013 - 12 comments

All this energy calling me, back where it comes from....

The Cleveland Memory Project is an archive of photos, postcards, videos, recordings, clippings, ebooks, personal papers, maps and other historical "goodies" about the city. "It's a collaborative endeavor of many local historical societies, public libraries and government agencies who have mounted their own local history." On Flickr. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 18, 2013 - 5 comments

The flicker of the campfire, the wind in the pines...

Girl Scout Camping, 1919. More at the Smithsonian/American History blog.
posted by Miko on Jan 29, 2013 - 11 comments

Woman Motorists? Ain't that the Berries!

In 1929, three young women (Edith, Dorothy, and Evelyn), ages 23 and 25, went on a three-month-long, 12,353-mile road trip. Learn more about their experience, and follow an effort to recreate the journey, at Three Months by Car. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Jan 27, 2013 - 22 comments

"A clam for supper? a cold clam; is that what you mean, Mrs. Hussey?

"New Englanders learn quickly to dismiss the chowder where tomato ruins its gorgeous broth, where references to New York tarnish its name...However, few know how such distinctions came about in the first place, what processes were involved that resulted in one person's disgust of another's beloved creation, and why, to this day, do we stand by such convictions?" The New England Chowder Compendium, from the McIntosh Cookery Collection at the UMass Amherst library. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Dec 4, 2012 - 92 comments

"An Uncovered Woman and Beatle-Haired Men Will Never Liberate Our Holy Places."

From the BBC blog of documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis: "Save Your Kisses For Me: How the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Israeli Right became co-dependents in an abusive relationship." Includes images / film clips from the BBC news archive. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 3, 2012 - 37 comments

The Buck Stops Here

The American Presidency Project is a comprehensive archive of more than 100,000 documents related to the study of the United States' Commander-in-Chief, including transcripts of debates, public papers, state of the union addresses, White House Press Briefings, party platforms and election returns, as well as audio and video recordings. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 12, 2012 - 4 comments

The Baby Died - Morbid Curiosities found in Old Newspapers

A fellow tried to impress his friends by fitting a billiard ball in his mouth - he died. A young woman laced her corset too tightly - she died. A woman fell down the stairs, which caused one of her hairpins to penetrate her skull - she died. And, of course, many people had horrible encounters with mill and farm machinery. Predictably, they died. (warning-occasionally graphic descriptions of death and dismemberment, mostly from the late 19th century). [more inside]
posted by cilantro on Sep 21, 2012 - 59 comments

"Fenway is the essence of baseball"

Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities. So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams -- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest and most fabled of ballfields that saw its first major league game played one century ago today. As a team in flux hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off against the New York Highlanders Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter of demolition not too long ago. Now legally preserved, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides, bursting with history, idiosyncrasy, record crowds, and occasional song. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 20, 2012 - 48 comments

The National Map (US)

"The U.S. Geological Survey has just released more than 161,000 digitally scanned historical maps spanning in excess of 130 years and covering the lower 48 states. This Historical Topographic Map Collection provides a comprehensive repository of the landscape of our Nation..."
posted by Miko on Apr 20, 2012 - 19 comments

The Lomax Collection -- a 'renewal of the forgotten springs of human creativity.'

NPR: "Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world." Now, nearly ten years after his death, thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. "It's part of what Lomax envisioned for [his] collection — long before the age of the Internet." (Mr. Lomax, Previously on MeFi) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 28, 2012 - 27 comments

Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.

Network Rail virtual archive Original drawings and plans of Britain's railway infrastructure from Network Rail, including the Forth Bridge, Bristol Temple Meads station, the Tay Bridge and lots more.
posted by Helga-woo on Mar 4, 2012 - 6 comments

A Treasure House of Photographs

An archival photo from The New York Times shows news pictures being sorted in the newspaper’s photo “morgue,” which houses millions of images. Here they are — several each week — for you to see. Welcome to The Lively Morgue. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Feb 27, 2012 - 7 comments

New! And Improved! Buy Now! Half off! Limited time offer! Fortified with 11 vitamins and minerals!

Melt your brain into goo on an overdose of crass 80s consumerism and TV without the TV shows at 80sCommercialVault. Superbowl 19 commercials. Commercials from Jaws. Saturday morning commercials. Daytime / evening commercials. [more inside]
posted by loquacious on Oct 30, 2011 - 11 comments

Reel History of Britain

The Reel History of Britain, a BFI/BBC co-production, brings archive film into the nation’s living rooms. The footage shown in the series has been selected from the hundreds of thousands of films and programmes preserved in Britain’s film and television archives. We are complementing the series by making many of the films featured in The Reel History of Britain available online in their entirety, alongside expert commentary from the nation’s archive curators.
posted by Trurl on Oct 17, 2011 - 4 comments

"Jews and Christians should be allies; and allies are equals."

In October 1870, as American Jews were observing the High Holidays, The Atlantic Magazine published an article called "Our Israelitish Bretheren." 'At the time, it served as a sort of crash course about a tiny, mystifying minority. Today, it survives as something quite different: a snapshot of a transitional moment in Jewish history.' Written by American biographer, James Parton -- the founder of American Heritage magazine.
posted by zarq on Sep 29, 2011 - 13 comments

This is what dialup sounded like

Kids today won't know the shrill cry of a 9600 baud, or the magical "doodleeedoo" of a 28.8 modem. Help preserve our digital history. Join us in recording your best impression of a "modem handshake" sound.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 11, 2011 - 67 comments

BFI Film Archive

The British Film Institute has a youtube channel with rare footage going back over 100 years, covering many aspects of British life. Highlights include: 'Solarflares Burn For You' (1973) (featuring a soundtrack by Robert Wyatt); Rush Hour, Waterloo Station (1970); London Bridge (1926); Productivity Primer (1964); Today in Britain (1964); Snow (1963); Holiday (1957).
posted by ClanvidHorse on Jul 14, 2011 - 7 comments

Medicine in the Americas

Medicine in the Americas is a digital library project that makes freely available original works demonstrating the evolution of American medicine from colonial frontier outposts of the 17th century to research hospitals of the 20th century. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 31, 2011 - 9 comments

The Empire of the Nickel

"For five cents Coney Island will feed you, frighten you, cool you, toast you, flatter you, or destroy your inhibitions. And in this nickel empire boy meets girl." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 30, 2011 - 15 comments

A Little Knowledge

For more than forty years, Betty Debnam has been writing, illustrating, and publishing a newspaper for kids: The Mini Page. It's now fully archived online. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Mar 31, 2011 - 20 comments

Bibliotheca Corviniana

The library of King Matthias I of Hungary, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, was "the second greatest collection of books in Europe in the Renaissance period, after that of the Vatican." Destroyed following the 15th century Turkish invasion of Hungary (despite the efforts of Matthias' vassal Vlad III the Impaler), a few surviving codices have been digitized by the National Széchényi Library and the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Jan 6, 2011 - 7 comments

[blink]

"[W]ebsites and hosting services should not be “fads” any more than forests and cities should be fads – they represent countless hours of writing, of editing, of thinking, of creating. They represent their time, and they represent the thoughts and dreams of people now much older, or gone completely. There’s history here. Real, honest, true history. So Archive Team did what it could, as well as other independent teams around the world, and some amount of Geocities was saved." Now, one year later, they have announced that nearly a terabyte of web history will soon be made available to the public as a 900GB torrent file. (Previously. / Previously.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 29, 2010 - 57 comments

I. WAS. PROMISED. FLYING. CARS!

PopSci: Archive Gallery: From Chicago to Shanghai, 138 Visionary Years of World's Fairs [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 21, 2010 - 5 comments

Vintage Racing Bicycles.

Le blog de VelosVintage is a gorgeous French blog chock full of detailed photographs and history of beautiful vintage racing bicycles from older to newer.
posted by loquacious on Aug 18, 2010 - 10 comments

How to operate the first digital computer.

Learn how to operate the world's first fully electronic digital computer in this helpful instructional video. No, not ENIAC - the Atanasoff Berry Computer. Here's an operator's manual. More information about the reconstruction.
posted by loquacious on Aug 13, 2010 - 24 comments

Poetry in Hell

Poetry in Hell contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 23, 2010 - 9 comments

Jazz on a Summer's Day

"Young Bert Stern was already one of the leading fashion photographers of the 1950's when he resolved to shoot his first film before he was thirty. He made it, with two years to spare. The result, Jazz on a Summer's Day, is a luminously breezy film that brings the rich color palette of Vogue or Harper's Bazaar of those years into the world of the documentary cinema." [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Jul 5, 2010 - 19 comments

Clyde "Champion" Barrow Gang Collection

Mr, KIng
So Raymond Hamilton never killed anybody. If he can make a jury believe that I8m willing to come in and be tryed my self. Why dont you ask Ray about those two policemen that got killed near Grapevine? And while you are at it better talk it over with his girl friend. Bonnie and me were in missouri when that happened but where was Ray? coming back from the West bankjob wasn't he? Redhot too wasn8t he? I got it straight. And ask him about that escape at Eastham farm where that gard was killed. Giess he claims he doesn't know fire any shots there don8t ge? Well if he wasnt too dum to know how tp put a clip in a automatic he'd hace fired a lot more shots and some of the rest of the gards would got killed too. He wrote his lawyer he was too good for me and didnt go my pace, well it makes a me sick to see a yellow punk like that playing baby ad making a jury cry over him either/ He stuck his fingerprint on a letter so heres mine too just to let you know thjis is on the leve;
X Clyde
posted by mrducts on May 21, 2010 - 21 comments

HOLY SHIT, MAN WALKS ON FUCKING MOON

MOONWALK ONE - A surprisingly groovy look at the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in a full length documentary that contains a lot of rare and not often seen footage of the preparations and launch of the first manned mission to the moon. Warning: Also contains lots of theramins, trippy optical effects, faux bohemians and some really blowy narrative.
posted by loquacious on Apr 23, 2010 - 22 comments

Malaysia Design Archive

The Malaysia Design Archive: Understanding Malaysian history through Graphic Design. "This project is an attempt to trace, map and document the development of graphic design in Malaysia. It is also a project to highlight the importance of archiving as a way to protect and preserve our own visual history. What is our design history? Do we have one?" Examine Malaysian movie posters; discover the visual detritus of an old jail; peruse political artifacts; explore the country's visual history from Colonialism, through Occupation, Emergency, and finally, Independence. [via DO]
posted by ocherdraco on Mar 31, 2010 - 4 comments

Dr. Mayme A. Clayton: a Champion of Black History

Dr. Mayme Agnew Clayton was a librarian and collector in Los Angeles who left behind a collection of remarkable value. Over the course of more than 40 years, she had collected the largest privately held collection of African-American materials, with over 30,000 rare and out-of-print books, 1,700 films dating back to 1916, as well as more than 75,000 photographs and scores of movie posters, playbills, programs, documents and manuscripts. Her collection, which has been compared to the Schomburg Collection in the New York City Public Library, was opened to the public in 2007. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 8, 2010 - 6 comments

The Sinister End-of-the-World Homerun

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved" .... and mad enough to play fantasy baseball. In the new book Kerouac at Bat: Fantasy Sports and the King of the Beats, a NY Public Library archivist considers documents revealing the author's detailed obsession with the imaginary exploits of players like Pictorial Review Jackson and teams like the "Pontiacs, Nashes, and cellar-dwelling LaSalles" in his finely grained, fictional Summer League.
posted by Miko on May 21, 2009 - 22 comments

Harder Better Faster Further.

Daft Punk revealed in bootleg video at the 1996 Even Further festival. [more inside]
posted by loquacious on May 10, 2009 - 31 comments

For Ourselves and Our Posterity

Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project The Library of Congress invites you to submit digital audio or video recordings of speeches made between January 16 and january 25, 2009 on the occasion of Barack Obama's inauguration. The speeches will be archived in a collection for future scholarship, much like the Day of Infamyand other collections capturing signifcant American moments.
posted by Miko on Dec 24, 2008 - 4 comments

The Archive of American Television

The Archive of American Television "produces extensive video oral history interviews with television legends of all professions and makes them available online. To date, the Archive has completed over 2000 hours of videotaped conversations with over 570 Actors, Producers, Writers, Newscasters, Executives, Directors, Craftspersons, and more. ... The interviews are conducted by reviewing the subject's life and career chronologically. They discuss their childhood, early influences, how their career began, and thoroughly cover their television careers, ending with their thoughts on the industry and legacy."*
posted by not_on_display on Nov 11, 2008 - 9 comments

We will remember

The Great War Archive goes live today (November 11), the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. Launched by the University of Oxford in March 2008, the initiative invited members of the general public to submit digital photographs, audio, film, documents, and stories that originated from the Great War. Although the dealine for submissions is past, photos can still be added to the project's Flickr group.
posted by Abiezer on Nov 10, 2008 - 19 comments

Times Archive,

Every issue of The Times published between 1785-1985, digitally scanned and fully searchable. (Via Wordorigins.org.)
posted by languagehat on Jun 23, 2008 - 45 comments

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