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Archive for the ‘Digital collections’ Category

With Amherst College’s Bicentennial coming right up in 2021, we in the Archives are working closely with the Digital Programs Department to digitize collections relating to Amherst College history, including the Amherst College Olios and soon, The Amherst Student.  With this in mind, we have revised the finding aid for the Amherst College Early History Collection in preparation for digitization.

The Early History Collection is an artificial collection, meaning a collection of material with varied provenance assembled around a single topic, in this case the early history of Amherst College.

"To the public" pamphlet in Amherst College Early History Collection (Box 3, folder 7)

“To the public” pamphlet in Amherst College Early History Collection (Box 3, folder 7)

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Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

This summer in the Library, we have four excellent Digital Humanities interns conducting research in the Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Collection.  Working with these interns has been a great excuse for me to delve a bit more into this collection and fall in love with the artwork of Orra White Hitchcock, perhaps the Pioneer Valley’s earliest female botanical and scientific illustrator. (more…)

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Elmer, Arthur and Walter Nelson lived in the small town of Goshen, New Hampshire, in the late 19th century. They used incredible imagination to make the most of their rural home by creating a remarkably detailed imaginary world right in their own backyard. They left behind wonderful drawings, imagined periodicals, maps and stories chronicling their own adventures and the adventures of their characters. So if you are ready to get outside for your own adventure, even if you go no farther than your own backyard, the Nelson brothers could serve as able guides. They will have you planting seeds, using new tools, and pulling boats and bicycles from the garage in no time at all. Amherst College recently acquired the Nelson Brothers Collection and it is now available for viewing online, so take a look and get inspired for some springtime adventure of your own.

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Our digital collections are growing with regular ingests of digitized material from the Archives & Special Collections.  Past highlighted ingests have included our Emily Dickinson manuscripts, selections from the Younghee Kim-Wait/Pablo Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection, material from the Doshisha Collection, Amherst College Olios and Catalogs, and more.

This month marks the addition of the William E. Barton Walt Whitman Collection and more of the Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Collection.

Hitchcock

Edward Hitchcock

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Walt Whitman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you’ve been following this blog, then you may already be familiar with the Amherst College Digital Collections — ACDC for short.  ACDC is the result of collaboration between Robert Frost Library Digital Programs and Technical Services departments, and Amherst College’s Information Technology department.  ACDC focuses on digitizing and making available unique or rare content from collections owned by the Library or the College at large, as well as open access scholarly content created by Amherst College faculty.¹  The Amherst College Digital Collection continues to grow with monthly ingests of new content, including materials from the Archives and Special Collections.

Here are a few highlights from recent additions to ACDC:

51 books from the Younghee Kim-Wait/Pablo Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection

https://acdc.amherst.edu/browse/partOf/Younghee+Kim-Wait+(Class+of+1982)_2F_Pablo+Eisenberg+Collection+of+Native+American+Literature

The Native American Literature Collection continues to be a very exciting collection, highly used in classes and by visiting researchers.  Now there are 51 books from this collection freely available to the public through ACDC.

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Initial AA Mellon-funded Five Colleges digitization project began last fall; its goal is to digitize and catalog the manuscripts (created prior to 1600) held by our institutions. The digitized versions will eventually be available through Digital Scriptorium, a database that currently provides access to more than 6,000 manuscripts held at more than 30 institutions.

Later this month, the images of the 24 manuscripts owned by Amherst College will also be accessible via ACDC. You can read a brief overview about these manuscripts here in Lisa Fagin Davis’ blog Manuscript Road Trip. For additional information about several of Mount Holyoke and Smith College’s holdings, check out Brittany Osborne‘s blog Mysteries in the Margins.

So here’s a little sneak preview:

 

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Celebrating the coming of spring, I took a gleeful stroll through our Rare Books Collection and pulled out some of my favorite harbingers of the season.  This also happens to be a great way of highlighting our substantial holdings in Natural History, Earth Science, and Nature.  And, of course, Emily Dickinson, who cannot meet the spring unmoved.  She and I have that in common.

Emily Dickinson "I cannot meet the spring unmoved," AC 230, F 1122, J 1051

Emily Dickinson “I cannot meet the spring unmoved,” AC 230, F 1122, J 1051

Our holdings in Ornithology include an outstanding copy of the double elephant folio edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, as well as the Richard L. Soffer (Class of 1954) Ornithology Collection.

Richard L. Soffer ’54 has donated an extensive collection of volumes about birds, with many books specifically focused on the various methods and techniques that have been used to reproduce illustrations of birds. The books in the collection provide examples of every type of illustrative technique: hand painting, woodcut and wood engraving, etching and engraving, lithography, and modern photomechanical methods.

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Brasher, Rex, and Lisa McGaw. Birds & trees of North America. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1961.

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Those who work in digital collections often talk about supporting scholarship and new research. While that’s certainly an important endeavor, occasionally it can be fun to explore the wacky and weird in the archives without necessarily having higher academic pursuit in mind.

Full-length portrait of Edward Hitchcock

Edward Hitchcock

Since December 2013, I have been working closely with the Edward and Orra White Hitchcock collection held by Amherst College. As the Metadata Resident, I look at individual objects in depth to attach titles, dates, subject headings, and abstracts (among other things) to these items to make them discoverable in our online collections in Amherst College Digital Collections (ACDC). I have read nearly all of the letters that passed between Edward Hitchcock and Benjamin Silliman, have read pages upon pages of sermons written by Hitchcock during his early career as a Congregationalist minister, and have become quite the expert at reading Hitchcock’s notoriously bad handwriting. In all, I’ve read over 200 letters, 144 sermons, 28 sermon outlines, packets of lecture notes on botany, chemistry, and natural history, and much, much more. Often, I come across passages, phrases, or situations that strike me as funny and I thought I’d share some of them.

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Last month Amherst College announced a bold new publishing initiative: The Amherst College Press. This new press will be entirely open access — it will produce academic works to the highest standards then give these works away online for free. Bryn Geffert, Librarian of the College, is leading this initiative and frequently invokes the Amherst College motto — Terras irradient “Let them give light to the world” — when he describes his vision for this venture.

Kate's doughnuts.

Kate’s doughnuts. (AC 889)

In same spirit of open access and sharing our light with the world, we are delighted to announce that all of the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson held by Amherst College are now freely available for viewing by anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world. Last summer the Digital Programs department in Frost Library worked closely with the team in Academic Technology Services to set up a new digital assets management system called Amherst College Digital Collections (ACDC for short). In addition to thousands of images that support the work of Art & Art History students and faculty, ACDC is home to a growing volume of unique materials drawn from the vast holdings of the Archives & Special Collections. The obvious candidate for the first Archives collection to mount in ACDC was Emily Dickinson.

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As a cataloging librarian, one of the questions I’m often asked about my job is “do you have to read a lot of the book (thesis, script, video…) when you catalog it?” The answer is usually “no” because most published materials have helpful indexes, tables of contents, blurbs, or external reviews to help sort out the subject matter. (Most librarians will tell you that a very long “to read someday” list is an occupational hazard, because we don’t have time to read all the cool things we see every day.) Cataloging unpublished manuscripts is a little different, requiring more skimming and historical detective work (of the type I discussed in a blog post from last year). Last week I cataloged an unpublished manuscript that was entirely hand-written. Deciphering that much handwriting was a first for me, and fascinating!

Rev. Royal Merriman Cole graduated from Amherst College in 1866 at the age of 27.¹ In the summer of 1868 he graduated from Bangor Theological Seminary, married Eliza Cobleigh (who had attended Mt. Holyoke Seminary), was ordained by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and set sail from New York on August 15. They arrived in Erzroom (Erzurum), Turkey, on Sept. 30, 1868. Cole wrote in an 1873 letter to an Amherst professor: “I was able to take hold of the language with great earnestness, and have, I feel, succeeded beyond my best expectations. In six months I preached my first regular sermon…written in full, in the Armenian character. From that time on I have used simple notes and have now come to speak with about as much freedom, I think, as I should in English. Of course I have not so wide a range of words.”

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