June 15th, 2018

Collections Now Available for Research: June 2018

In surveying our collections for born-digital materials while also committing two staff to processing backlog collections and providing access at point of accession, we are excited to announce the following 22 collections are now more fully described and discoverable online.

Russell Ball Photographs, circa 1920-1930 (MS Thr 1792) – processed by Betts Coup

Lucia Berlin Papers, circa 1955-2004 (MS Am 3095) — processed by Magee Lawhorn

Elizabeth Bishop Poetry Reading and Commemorative Lectures with Related Material, 1976 (MS Am 3180) – processed by Melanie Wisner

José María Castañé Collection of War Photographs by Soviet Photojournalists, 1941-1946 (MS Russ 145) — processed by Irina Klyagin

Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made Against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials : photographs, 1937 (MS Russ 146) – processed by Magee Lawhorn

Anna Erskine Crouse Theatrical Portrait And Scene Photographs, 1933-1938, undated (MS Thr 1790) — processed by Betts Coup

Dance in Art : Reproductions of Works of Art in Various Media, circa 2002 (MS Thr 1804) – processed by Melanie Wisner

Harry C. Phibbs Goodman Theatre Production Photographs, circa 1925-1928 (MS Thr 1791) — processed by Betts Coup

Edward Hoagland Papers, circa 1936-2017 (MS Am 3176) — processed by Melanie Wisner

Collection of Promotional Material, Photographs, and Periodicals Relating to Sir Lady Java (MS Thr 1777) — processed by Melanie Wisner

Leo and Louise Kerz Papers and Designs, circa 1920-1996 (MS Thr 1796) — processed by Melanie Wisner

Dorothy Coit King-Coit School And Children’s Theatre Collection, circa 1922-1979 (MS Thr 1795) — processed by Betts Coup

Frederick R. Koch Photographs Of Modern And Ballet Dancers (MS Thr 1797) — processed by Betts Coup

Towards the Meaning of James Laughlin : Transcripts, 2001 (MS Am 3179) – processed by Melanie Wisner and Magee Lawhorn

Little, Brown and Company Medical Division Book Covers, 1963-1982 (MS Am 3171) – processed by Melanie Wisner

Milton Morris Pinkus Photographs and Papers Concerning World War I Ambulance Corps Service, circa 1914-1918 (MS Am 3182) – processed by Melanie Wisner and Magee Lawhorn

Skinner Family Papers (MS Thr 857) – processed by Betts Coup

Eleanor Steber Collection, circa 1920-1990 (MS Thr 1793) – processed by Betts Coup

Roger E. Stoddard Collection of Photographs of European Booksellers, 1997-1999 (MS Am 3169) — processed by Adrien Hilton

Theatrical organization photographs, circa 1860-1925 (TCS 41) – processed by Betts Coup

Theatrical Photographs By Photographer, circa 1915-1977, undated (TCS 42) – processed by Betts Coup

Wes Wallace Collection of Zines and Comics, circa 1990-2002 (MS Am 3178) – processed by Melanie Wisner

June 1st, 2018

Born-Digital Blog Post #5 : Analyzing Results of the Survey

This post continues the series, “Behind the Scenes at Houghton”, giving a glimpse into the inner workings of the library’s mission to support teaching and research. Thanks to Magdaline Lawhorn, Administrative Fellow & Project Archivist, for contributing this post.

So far in this series, I have discussed Houghton’s first steps in the born-digital initiative, the burgeoning digital forensic workstation, allocation of physical space, and our strategy thus far. Let us take a few steps back in order to move forward and revisit the survey report we discussed in Blog Post #2. Through Cognos, a reporting tool, we surveyed our holdings by pulling a report from Aleph (the staff mode of our integrated library system) querying specific fields with a devised vocabulary (i.e. terms such as USB, flash drive, thumb drive, etc.). This tool has allowed us to search for and identify collections that have born-digital components.

Statistics from the Cognos report pulled from Aleph. Undetermined data represents inconclusive information.

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May 15th, 2018

Collections Now Available for Research: May 2018

Houghton Library is pleased to announce that the following collections now have descriptive finding aids and are available for research in the library’s reading room.

José María Castañé Collection of German Wartime Propaganda Flyers in Russian, 1942-1944 (MS Russ 144) – processed by Irina Klyagin

Angna Enters Collection, 1929-1962, and undated (MS Thr 1784) – processed by Betts Coup

T.T. Gill Scene Designs, circa 1900-1930 (MS Thr 1779) – processed by Betts Coup

Father Michael J. Gillgannon Collection of Missionary Writings on Bolivia, circa 1976-2002 (MS Am 3172) – processed by Magdaline Lawhorn

David Hilberman “The Mother Of Us All” Designs, 1947-1965 (MS Thr 1781) – processed by Betts Coup

George Holland Papers, circa 1817-1869 (MS Thr 1786) – processed by Melanie Wisner

Joan Personette Costume Designs, circa 1940s (MS Thr 1782) – processed by Betts Coup

Daniel Rabel ballet drawings, 1625-1626 (MS Thr 1775) – processed by Betts Coup

Alekseĭ Remizov Letters to Boris Ungebaun with Related Papers, 1920-1963 (MS Russ 143) – processed by Magdaline Lawhorn

Theatrical Portrait Photographs (TCS 28) – processed by Betts Coup

Theatrical Scene Photographs (TCS 29) – processed by Betts Coup

Jo Ellis Tracy ballet drawings, circa 1990-1999 (MS Thr 1776) – processed by Betts Coup

Wulkan Family Theatrical Cabinet Cards, circa 1880-1900 (MS Thr 1773) – processed by Magdaline Lawhorn

May 3rd, 2018

Born-Digital Blog Post #4: Digital Forensic Workstation

This post continues the series, “Behind the Scenes at Houghton”, giving a glimpse into the inner workings of the library’s mission to support teaching and research. Thanks to Magdaline Lawhorn, Administrative Fellow & Project Archivist, for contributing this post.

A functional workstation is pivotal to every archivist’s work, especially when dealing with the born-digital environment that always appears to be in flux. Initially Houghton’s digital forensic workstation (DFW) was based on preliminary findings that reflected a small set of materials from a select number of collections. Presently the DFW toolkit is comprised of basic hardware and software with a few more advanced elements.

The first things every DFW needs are fundamental tools: computer, keyboard, mouse, and a suitable desk. Our workstation is outfitted with two tools that allow us to capture, store, and process our born-digital materials, the Mac Mini 2.3 and the G-Raid Mini. The Mac Mini 2.3 is an asset because it is a portable computer that has the capacity to run a virtual machine (an operating system or application environment that is installed with software, which imitates dedicated hardware). Likewise the G Raid mini is a portable device with a dual-drive storage system that acts as immediate but temporary storage.


Digital Forensics Workstation (DFW)

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April 30th, 2018

Langdon Warner through his Archive

Langdon Warner, 1908, during his first trip to Japan as a Harvard Sheldon Travelling Fellow. Houghton Library, MS Am 3138

Langdon Warner, 1908, during his first trip to Japan as a Harvard Sheldon Travelling Fellow.

In 2016, I stumbled across a surprising body of materials at Houghton Library while conducting research for my dissertation project on the establishment of East Asian art history as a discipline in the United States, circa 1900-1960. I had been aware for some time of the life and legacy of Langdon Warner (1881-1955)—the first curator of Asian art at the Harvard Fogg Museum. Like many others, I was cognizant of Warner’s involvement with two expeditions taken on behalf of the Fogg Museum in the 1920s to western China. Warner’s actions on these trips have long overshadowed a lifetime of study, teaching, and travel. However, my research concerned his role as an early American educator in the field of East Asian art history. Having already examined the Warner materials at other repositories across campus, I expected to find only a small body of letters and journals related to Warner’s expeditions in the Houghton collections.

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April 23rd, 2018

Announcing Houghton Library Visiting Fellows 2018-2019

Each year, Houghton Library awards visiting fellowships to support scholars whose research requires extensive use of the library’s collections. We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018-2019 awards, including two inaugural fellowships: the Maryette Charlton Fellowship for the Performing Arts, and Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship for Research in Early Modern Black Lives, including Africa and the African Diaspora, 1500-1800. For an insight into the projects and experiences of former Houghton fellows, please read blog posts here.

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April 17th, 2018

More Mystery Film Stills

We received an enthusiastic response to our first post on uncaptioned film stills in our Ludlow-Santo Domingo Collection, including a very nice writeup in the Boston Globe. Thanks to all who posted comments to help us identify those mystery movies. It seemed like readers had fun with the process, so we’ve asked the cataloger of the collection, Elise Ramsey, to provide us with another batch. As last time, please post a comment if you know what movie or performer is shown, and be sure to include the number of the photo.

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April 11th, 2018

Calling All Movie Buffs!

UPDATE: The response to this post was so great we’ve posted 25 new unidentified movie stills–let us know if you can help!

We recently cataloged a collection of several hundred film stills as part of the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library. Many identify the film or actor depicted, but to make this collection as useful as possible to researchers, we’d love your help identifying those with no caption. If you recognize the film or stars in these images, please leave a comment below, and be sure to give the number of the photo you’re referring to.

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April 11th, 2018

Aspects of Edward Lear (Part IV)

‘Never was there a luckier piece of work!’, remarked Philip Hofer when recalling W. B. O. Field’s gift of over 3,500 of Lear’s pictures to Houghton in 1942. In recent years a comprehensive online finding aid has been created, which includes high-resolution images of the drawings and detailed transcriptions of the annotations Lear made on them. Not intended for sale, these pictures were his aide mémoires, references, trials for future work. Yet their unfinished state often lends them an understated, beguiling beauty, and it also allows us to catch the artist in the act of creation, to eavesdrop on his thoughts as he talks to himself while composing. As Hofer observed in his illuminating study, Edward Lear as a Landscape Draughtsman, the year in which Lear began adding nonsense words to his drawings (‘rox’ to denote ‘rocks’, say, or ‘raven’ to signify ‘ravine’) was the same year in which he was preparing his first Book of Nonsense for press. ‘O path!’, he writes on one sketch. Such whimsical hailings might stand as invitations to viewers to take their own unusual paths through the images—and to read them with nonsense in mind.

Granted, many of the pictures are distinctly non-nonsensical:

Near Tivoli: Ponte Nomentano, 1842? Houghton Library, MS Typ 55.26 (229)

Near Tivoli: Ponte Nomentano, 1842? Houghton Library, MS Typ 55.26 (229)

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April 5th, 2018

Born-Digital Post #3: Space

This post continues the series, “Behind the Scenes at Houghton”, giving a glimpse into the inner workings of the library’s mission to support teaching and research. Thanks to Magdaline Lawhorn, Administrative Fellow & Project Archivist, for contributing this post.

Our born-digital journey continues to be filled with research, trial and error, and lots of excel spreadsheets. Besides all of the technical preparations and planning that make up Houghton’s born-digital project, there are physical requirements that have to be addressed as well. Location, location, location! Physical space is very important to the success of accessioning the backlog identified in the survey; it is one of the factors that determines how quickly we can gain access to the materials. Ironically, digital materials (all those ones and zeros) do take up physical space!

Two of the main concerns are where to house the materials throughout the survey and where to conduct the survey and actually accession the materials. At the beginning we knew right away that we could not house all of the born-digital materials (currently mixed in with manuscript material, so it takes up a ton of space) and accession in the same place due to the physical constraints of our office. So, we determined that if accessioning were to take place in our office, an alternative space needed to be created for staging the materials. In order to find temporary storage we talked to one of our colleagues Micah Hoggatt, Reference Librarian, whose familiarity negotiating space at Houghton came in handy. Micah was able to find temporary space, two bays in our stacks (in the sub-basement).

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