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Remember, if approached by a librarian, keep still. Do not run away.

Welcome to a tumblr of wonders. Special Collections, archives, and libraries have many wonderful items, but getting to them all can be a bit like trying to walk into Mordor, unless you have unlimited time and grants. But now, thanks to Tumblr, you too can explore collections around the world, and one of the best comes to us from the University of Iowa. Want a Hamlet quote on a miniature book that unfolds into a tiny Globe Theatre? Of course you do. Actual flying squirrels? Adventure with Alice! Get close to illuminations? Catch a glimpse of hipster frames circa 1504? More awesome librar* tumblrs inside. [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Dec 26, 2013 - 13 comments

 

"Most of America's Silent Films Are Lost Forever"

Most of America's silent films are lost forever, according to the newly released Library of Congress report The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912–1929. (You can look up the ones that survive in this handy database). [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Dec 4, 2013 - 39 comments

From the photo archives of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For over a year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has been digitizing old photos from its far-reaching library and putting them on a Tumblr called The Digs. [more inside]
posted by mcoo on Dec 2, 2013 - 9 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

Search the memory of The Netherlands

The Memory of the Netherlands is an image library making available the online collections of museums, archives and libraries. The library provides access to images from the collections of more than one hundred institutions and includes photographs, sculptures, paintings, bronzes, pottery, modern art, drawings, stamps, posters and newspaper clippings. In addition there are also video and sound recordings to see and listen to. The Memory of the Netherlands offers an historic overview of images from exceptional collections, organized by subject to provide easy access
Search 833928 objects from 133 collections from 100 institutions.
posted by infini on Jun 22, 2013 - 4 comments

Reel 2 Real: Sound at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Reel 2 Real: Sound at the Pitt Rivers Museum is a digitization project that is taking the archival field recordings of the Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford University's museum of ethnography and anthropology), digitizing them, and placing them online with Soundcloud. [more inside]
posted by carter on Mar 19, 2013 - 12 comments

Letter From America archives replenished by Newquay man.

BBC's Letter From America archives replenished by Newquay man. Most not kept by the BBC. Amazing piece of radio in and of itself. [previously].
posted by feelinglistless on Nov 19, 2012 - 7 comments

Ephemeral New York

Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 11, 2012 - 5 comments

Gentlemen Who Lunch

It's one of the best-known photographs in US history, but the fearless steelworkers dining al fresco in "Lunch Atop a Skyscraper" have remained anonymous in the 80 years since it was taken. A new documentary. Men At Lunch, tells the story of the photo and identifies two of its subjects for the first time.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Sep 20, 2012 - 36 comments

Wonders Of The World (Wide Web)

The Google Cultural Institute is the portal for an effort to digitally preserve and present vital historical information using the latest web technologies. Highlights include the World Wonders Project, a geographical tour of UNESCO Heritage sites; Google Art Project (previously), curating 50,000 years of human cultural expression; the Palace of Versailles in 3D and a digital archive of the Dead Sea Scrolls (previously)
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jul 27, 2012 - 0 comments

I can see my Grandma from here

The U.S. National Archives today released the returns from the 1940 national census, providing an invaluable resource to historians and genealogists. At the moment, you'll need to know the particular address you want to see--the records are not yet searchable by name. A companion project seeks to fix that by enlisting your help in a crowdsourced project to index the census data. However, if you're looking for a New York address, you can use this clever site from the New York Public Library to look someone up in the 1940 phone book. (FYI, the site seems to be running a bit sluggishly under first-day load, so you may need to be patient.)
posted by Horace Rumpole on Apr 2, 2012 - 31 comments

T-Dot

The history of Toronto in photos is 90 some odd posts linked to provide a thematically organized visual overview. The vast majority of the photographs featured derive from the Toronto Archives. Should you be interested in a less visually oriented take on Toronto history, there is also the Nostalgia Tripping series, which was designed to be a bit more about storytelling than just the photos.
posted by netbros on Dec 5, 2011 - 20 comments

Pasadena, Where the Grass is Greena!

Pasadena's visual history is digitized. [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Sep 28, 2011 - 15 comments

Let Facts be submitted to a candid world

The Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most masterfully written state paper of Western civilization. As Moses Coit Tyler noted almost a century ago, no assessment of it can be complete without taking into account its extraordinary merits as a work of political prose style. Although many scholars have recognized those merits, there are surprisingly few sustained studies of the stylistic artistry of the Declaration. This essay seeks to illuminate that artistry by probing the discourse microscopically -- at the level of the sentence, phrase, word, and syllable. The University of Wisconsin's Dr. Stephen E. Lucas meticulously analyzes the elegant language of the 235-year-old charter in a distillation of this comprehensive study. More on the Declaration: full transcript and ultra-high-resolution scan, a transcript and scan of Jefferson's annotated rough draft, the little-known royal rebuttal, a thorough history of the parchment itself, a peek at the archival process, a reading of the document by the people of NPR and by a group of prominent actors, H. L. Mencken's "American" translation, Slate's Twitter summaries, and a look at the fates of the 56 signers.
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 4, 2011 - 72 comments

Y'know, your normal everyday celebrities and spacecraft landings.

Photos from the Los Angeles Times Archives from Shirley Temple to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
posted by sonika on Dec 7, 2010 - 15 comments

Daily progress of the disease or hurt

More than 1000 diaries kept by surgeons of Britain's Royal Navy between 1793 and 1800 have been cataloged by the National Archives, and are now available for public study. [more inside]
posted by catlet on Oct 3, 2010 - 20 comments

New Orleanians "captured" in mugshots

The New Orleans Public Library's Hidden from History exhibit, now online, uses turn-of-the-century mugshots from the NOPD to consider issues of public identity, private life, and the anonymity of history.
posted by liketitanic on Mar 29, 2010 - 12 comments

Historical Photographs and Documents

The U.S. National Archives' Flickr Photostream. Includes collections of historical photographs and documents | Civil War photos by Mathew Brady | and the Documerica Project by the EPA in the 1970s. There is also a nice set of Ansel Adams landscape photographs.
posted by netbros on Feb 3, 2010 - 7 comments

“Better finish it while there’s still an Apple II market out there,”

The development blog for the original Prince of Persia from Jordan Mechner.
posted by loquacious on Nov 22, 2009 - 31 comments

When this you see, think of me.

Olive Lambert's Autograph Book
posted by Miko on Aug 28, 2009 - 8 comments

A tool for 20th-century Australian History

Even after some deliberation it is difficult to find reasons to support the appointment of women Trade Commissioners. The Virtual Reading Room of the National Archives of Australia is a mine of information about Australia, its relationships and past attitudes.
posted by mattoxic on Jul 8, 2009 - 7 comments

Bantoro = Henry Ford

Museum archivist, exploring Henry Ford's office records, stumbles into the interesting world of commercial telegraphic code.
posted by Miko on May 27, 2009 - 15 comments

Christmas at the BFI

Christmas in the London Blitz, 1940; Making Christmas Crackers, 1910; Santa Claus, 1898; Christmas is coming, 1951: short films from the British Film Institute's wonderful Youtube Channel (including excellent playlists), which you can also explore through Google Earth using the kmz file found here.
posted by Rumple on Dec 24, 2008 - 4 comments

Digital Vaults

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 - 16 comments

the tail wagging the dog

webofdeception.com is a bizarre, timecubesque linkdump maintained and updated by private investigator and domain squatter Joseph Culligan. In addition to sleazy dirt-digging on various celebrities and politicians, Culligan also includes a huge resource list of links to databases and public-record searches. [more inside]
posted by sergeant sandwich on Jun 29, 2008 - 14 comments

Pursuing Purloined Papers

To Catch A Thief. How a Civil War buff's chance discovery led to a sting, a raid and a victory against traffickers in stolen historical documents. Related article: Pay Dirt in Montana. And photo gallery.
posted by amyms on Apr 27, 2008 - 20 comments

Virginia Tech Artifacts

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 - 11 comments

From Abati to Zoppio: historic Italian texts

OPAL Libri Antichi from the University of Turin offers over 3,000 books as free, open PDF files. Most of these date between AD 1500 and 1850 and most are in Italian, with many in French. They tend to be plain books with few illustrations. A few English titles are present, including David Hume's 1800 Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul; several texts by William Wycherley such as Love in a wood: or St. James's-Park (1735); and Richard Lassels 1686 work The voyage of Italy: or, a compleat journey through Italy with the characters of the peaple, and the description of the chief towns ... (volume 2) - an early travel guide. The PDFs are unsearchable plain scans. via this thread in the W4RF forum which contains hundreds of links to free online historical documents
posted by Rumple on Mar 10, 2008 - 3 comments

Archive of 19th Century Americana

Cornell University and the University of Michigan collaboratively present two sites on the "Making of America" (Cornell Site; Michigan Site), together including over one million pages of 19th Century American books and periodicals online. At this Cornell page you can browse or search some well-known, full-text periodicals including: The Atlantic Monthly 1857-1901; Harper's 1850-1899; Scientific American 1846-1869; Putnam's 1853-1870; and The Manufacturer and Builder 1869-1894. From Michigan, you can browse less well-known journals, including American Jewess 1895-1899; Ladies Repository 1846-1871; and the Journal of the United States Association of Charcoal Iron Workers 1880-1891. warning: frames abound [more inside]
posted by Rumple on Jan 23, 2008 - 8 comments

Old Lady Leary Left Her Lantern in the Shed

The Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory compiles a fascinating array of primary sources about the 1871 fire that destroyed 4 square miles of the city of Chicago, killing hundreds and leaving nearly one out of five residents homeless. Explore 3D images, music [embedded], children's drawings, and personal recollections. See also a pictorial survey of the damage, including fused marbles and metal hardware, related documents and images at the Library of Congress, and an exoneration of Mrs. O'Leary and her bovine companion, along with a suggestion by John Lienhart that police corruption and class struggle were more to blame than a cow [embedded audio].
posted by Miko on May 16, 2007 - 9 comments

Interesting times

Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security "By far the most ambitious and integral project in the burgeoning field of cold war history"
posted by Abiezer on May 7, 2007 - 3 comments

John Smith's Ephemera

"John Smith, Youngest, of Crutherland, was given the honorary degree of LL.D in 1840. In 1842 he announced the bequest to the University [of Glasgow] of his runs of publications from learned societies, and his volumes of ephemeral items. These came to the library on Smith’s death in 1849." Some examples: Playbill, Theatre Royal, York Street. Broadsheet account of an attempted prison break. Radical Party election ballad. See also: Glasgow Broadside Ballads: cheap print and popular song culture in nineteenth-century Scotland and Glasgow Broadside Ballads: The Murray Collection
posted by Len on Feb 3, 2007 - 7 comments

Franklin Kameny Papers Online

The Kameny Papers Project preserved and presents the papers of gay rights pioneer Franklin Kameny, who had activists picketing the White House in 1965, well before Stonewall. The website includes a nice archive of his papers, including correspondence, a small photo gallery, and some charming hate mail from members of Congress. See also the Franklin Kameny pages at the Rainbow History Project. Yesterday, the Library of Congress accepted Kameny's papers. [via Andrew Sullivan]
posted by LarryC on Oct 7, 2006 - 9 comments

DeLorean out of gas? Try the Toronto Archives....

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, letters and postcards (including some from the disenchanted), snapshots of a, er, less politically sensitive time (thanks, Capn!), 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 and loved.
posted by orange swan on Jul 4, 2006 - 23 comments

That's 2 shillings and sixpence in old money

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 - 22 comments

Stuff About Dead People: or, History

The Public Archives of Nova Scotia has some cool online exhibits. The original list of dead bodies recovered from the Titanic sinking caught my eye, they also have original log book pages from privateers, lighthouses, slavery and abolition, boats, boats, and more boats. [via]
posted by marxchivist on Apr 20, 2006 - 11 comments

Close to Home

Close to Home: An American Album. 'This exhibition is devoted to American family photographs that were separated from their owners and then rediscovered by artists, writers, collectors, and museum curators. ' Highlights and site visitors' submissions.
Site of related interest :- BBC Family History; and Third Generation: Family Photographs and Memories of Nazi Germany.
posted by plep on Feb 26, 2005 - 2 comments

Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull-House and Its Neighbourhoods 1889-1963

Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull-House and Its Neighbourhoods 1889-1963. Scholarly urban history project.
posted by plep on Feb 19, 2005 - 7 comments

Tickets, please.

TV Tickets! A great gallery of tickets to TV show tapings, some going back to the 1950s. Includes some fascinating commentary by Mark Evanier.
posted by braun_richard on Jan 31, 2005 - 7 comments

Fathom

The biology of B-movie monsters ; ancient Greek curse and love magic; the correspondence of Elizabeth I and James VI; Egil Skallagrimsson, poet and killer; the mythology of Harry Potter; Pinocchio's cultural heirs; Tiananmen's legacy; experimental art in China; the question of Hatshepshut's character. Articles courtesy of the Fathom Archive, 2000-2003.
posted by plep on Jan 15, 2005 - 11 comments

Never such innocence again

The Mitchell and Kenyon collection consists of 800 rolls of nitrate film documenting scenes of everyday life in England between 1900 and 1913. This extraordinary archive, now painstakingly restored by the British Film Institute, includes footage of trams, soup kitchens, factory gates, football matches, seaside holidays and much else besides. Here are some sample images and a short clip of workers at a Lancashire colliery, all astonishingly evocative and reminiscent (to me) of Philip Larkin's poem MCMXIV: 'The crowns of hats, the sun / On moustachioed archaic faces / Grinning as if it were all / An August Bank Holiday lark .. Never such innocence, / Never before or since .. Never such innocence again.'
posted by verstegan on Jan 7, 2005 - 7 comments

a series of expressions

120 Years of Electronic Music. Electronic musical instruments 1870 -1990.
posted by the fire you left me on Jul 10, 2004 - 12 comments

It's all about access

The recent White House nomination of Allen Weinstein to become the next Archivist of the United States has produced some interesting reactions. Is this standard election-year politics, or is there something else going on?
posted by grateful on Apr 17, 2004 - 45 comments

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web. Many links to interesting sites - African liberation movement posters, Charles Babbage, Braniff Airways history, daily life in Sierra Leone 1936-37, the photography of Eamon Melaugh, Frank & Marshall College from the air, all the way through to ZYX: a selection of ABC books. Via thinking while typing.
posted by plep on Mar 10, 2004 - 2 comments

Seattle's Museum of History & Industry

Seattle's Museum of History & Industry has compiled a photographic archive of Seattle and its surrounding communities. Over 12,000 images from local museums, libraries and historical societies capture the heritage of King county spanning over 100 years. The project was developed through the National Leadership Grant for Library and Museum Collaboration.
posted by yonderboy on Oct 28, 2003 - 4 comments

They Still Draw Pictures

They Still Draw Pictures. Drawings made by children during the Spanish Civil War.
posted by plep on Oct 17, 2003 - 10 comments

Plus, there's sheet music!

Excellent gallery of early 20th century sheet music folios, including some very attractive samples, as well as some somewhat outdated images. via memepool
posted by jonson on Aug 19, 2003 - 6 comments

The Swann Foundation

The Swann Foundation (Library of Congress). Many links to online exhibitions of American caricature and cartoon: Al Hirschfeld, Arthur Szyk, Blondie gets married, Herblock, Elizabeth Shippen Green, performing arts caricatures, the Water Babies.
posted by plep on Jul 27, 2003 - 4 comments

Ellis Island Immigration Records

Got roots? The American Family Immigration History Center has made available online the passenger manifests for all the ships that docked at Ellis Island from 1892 to 1924. It's searchable by name, and you can look at a photostat of the actual page of the manifest. I found my great-uncle (Demetrios Calisperis, from Samos, Greece, debarked Ellis Island Nov 1907, at age 11 -- hiya, Uncle Jim!). Free to register and search. Paid membership lets you build a family scrapbook about your ancestor that can be searched by other researchers.
posted by BitterOldPunk on Jul 14, 2003 - 9 comments

The Illustrated Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

The Illustrated Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. An exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Stunning illustrations of world-class poetry. 'nuff said.
posted by condour75 on Dec 10, 2002 - 11 comments

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