3rd Week of December, 2022

December 18th, 2022

The Huntington Acquires Thomas Pynchon Archive

“Comprising 70 linear feet of materials created between the late 1950s and the 2020s—including typescripts and drafts of each of his novels, handwritten notes, correspondence, and research—Pynchon’s literary archive offers an unprecedented look into the working methods of one of America’s most important writers.”

Cover of Inherent Vice


The Most Important Science Book Ever Written

Adam Savage visits the Royal Society Library to see the 1st edition and manuscript of Principia Mathematica, and Newton’s death mask. (Despite the cover image, the book handling is blessedly gloveless.)

Screenshot of YouTube video


Lincoln Presidential Museum offers a virtual gallery of artifacts

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has released a collection of 100 3D models of artifacts ranging from Abraham Lincoln’s desk to Mary’s bloomers.

The desk on which Lincoln wrote his First Inaugural speech


New Interactive Map Showcases the Panoramic Maps Collection

The Library of Congress’s collection of bird’s-eye maps of the late 19th and early 20th centuries spans the U.S. as can be seen in its new browseable map interface.

Browseable map of panoramic map locations


Dream Anatomy

20 years after its online debut, the National Library of Medicine has revamped its pioneering exhibition Dream Anatomy.

Anatomical diagrams of the muscles


2nd Week of December 2022

December 11th, 2022

The 2,000-Year Story of Building the Book

The New York Times’ Jennifer Schuessler covers the new Grolier Club exhibition celebrating the teaching of the history of the book at Rare Book School. (NYT gift link)

Erasable ivory tables


Huntington’s Shōya House Will Open in Fall 2023

The newest addition to The Huntington’s grounds is 320 years old–the Shōya House, a magistrate’s residence moved from Marugame, Japan and reconstructed The Huntington’s Japanese Garden.

Exterior of the Japanese Heritage Shōya House


A Holiday Feast of Colorants

Can you smell what the Library of Congress is cooking? It’s the spices traditionally used to make dyes.

From left to right: saffron threads, annatto seeds, sumac powder, and some experimental colorant patches made from them following 16th-18th C. treatises.


Armenian Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library

The Bodleian has digitized 14 Armenian manuscripts and one early printed book as part of an ongoing Carnegie-funded project.

Betrayal of Judas. Bodleian Libraries, MS. Arm. d. 13, fol. 12r


Digital Jigsaw Puzzles: Holiday 2022 Edition

Enjoy these virtual jigsaw puzzles drawn from the collections of the Smithsonian Libraries.

Plate 38, The natural history of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands (1771).


1st Week of December 2022

December 4th, 2022

34,000 New Digital Images of Medieval Items Go Online

Seven institutions, including the Berlin State Library, Leiden University Libraries, and the Bibliotheque National de France, contributed to a new Europeana project called “The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages”.

Translator at work from BL Royal 18 E III, f. 24


Year of Glass: Contemporary Native American Beadwork

As part of an ongoing series highlighting holdings during the UN’s International Year of Glass, the Cooper Hewitt Museum looks at a new acquisition that demonstrates the use of glass beads in contemporary Native American artwork.

Ah-Day: The Favorite One’s Chair, 2002; Designed and made by Teri Greeves (American [Kiowa], born 1970) and Dennis Esquivel (American [Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa], born 1970); Cherry wood, glass beads, deer hide, metal, and brass tacks;


Nick Biddle and the Commemorative Power of the Carte de Visite

The story behind this portrait of Nicholas Biddle, a 65-year-old Black soldier attacked by a pro-slavery mob in the first days of the Civil War

CDV Portrait of African-American Nicholas Biddle


The Many Names of Laurence James

All these books have different authors, but they and nearly 200 more were all written by the same man–Laurence James, an editor at a major paperback publisher who grew tired of the vagaries of working with temperamental authors and decided to eliminate the middle man.

Six 1970s paperback novels


Animated Advertising: 200 Years of Premiums, Promos, and Pop-ups

A new online exhibition at the Grolier Club surveys two centuries of three-dimensional or moving advertising ephemera.

Kellogg’s Krumbles. Battle Creek, MI: Kellogg's, 1912.


4th Week of November 2022

November 27th, 2022

Tuning in for World Television Day

For World Television Day, the Smithsonian highlights the 100 top television-related items from its collections, including a pair of sneakers that Fred Rogers slipped into on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

A pair of blue sneakers


Cunard’s “Around the World Cruise” Centenary

Delve into the University of Liverpool’s Cunard archives on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the first passenger cruise liner to circumnavigate the globe.

Souvenir bookplet for a 1924 cruise around the world


Renewed Meaning: Exploring Madison’s Constitution Debate Notes

Library of Congress staff are using multispectral imaging to delve beneath the strikethroughs in James Madison’s notes from the 1787 Constitutional Convention.

A researcher views a screen showing a handwritten text under various imaging conditions


3rd Week of November 2022

November 20th, 2022

NMAAHC Debuts Freedmen’s Bureau Search Portal

Access to the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau, created by Congress during Reconstruction to support newly emancipated African Americans, providing a vital source of Black history and genealogy in the 19th century.

Screenshot of the search portal page


Student Book Collecting Prizes: Dates and details

Links to a number of book collecting competitions for students, including Harvard’s own Hofer Prize.

Stack of old books


Floating Phantoms: A. G. Mayer’s Medusae of the World (1910)

Public Domain Review highlights a beautifully illustrated work on jellyfish, available through the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Illustration of an orange and yellow jellyfish


Of No Small Account: A Lilliputian-sized Diary from World War I

As a young printer drafted into World War I in 1917, Irving Greenwald knew something about making the most of a page. He did just that to an astonishing degree in this 5 inch-high pocket diary.

Diary with extremely small handwriting, held open with a white string weight


New initiative will make Cather’s manuscripts available online

An NEH grant will enable the Willa Cather Archive to digitize 4,000 pages of manuscripts from it’s holdings and those of 19 other repositories.

Several pages of typescript with manuscript corrections


2nd Week of November 2022

November 12th, 2022

Inside My Favorite Manuscript
Launching November 15th, a new podcast from Dot Porter of the Schoenberg Institute at Penn. The first episode features guest Allie Alvis of Type Punch Matrix Books. I can’t wait to hear it!

Logo for Inside My Favorite Manuscript


The expenses of Queen Eleanor of Castile
As part of its ongoing Medieval and Renaissance Women digitization project, the British Library has digitized a manuscript documenting the expenses of Queen Eleanor of Castile from September 1289 to December 1290.

The first page of Eleanor’s wardrobe account: Add MS 35294, f. 3r


Fancy things: Cataloguing the Tercentennial Collection
The Bodleian reopens some of the presents it got for its 300th birthday in 1902 from libraries around Europe.

Scrolls making up the Tercentenary Rolls collection


1880s Chemistry Set of Harmon Cozzens
Columbia RBML acquires a chemistry set used by one of the students in its School of Mines in the late 19th century. This is one item you’ll be handling with gloves in the reading room, as it contains a number of substances you don’t want to get on your hands.

Harmon Cozzens’ Chemistry set


Code Cracking in the Tinder Postcard Collection
Knowledge of the “Pigpen Cipher” makes it possible to decode a 1911 romantic message from Myrtle to Leon.