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1st Week of May 2023

May 7th, 2023

LGBTQ+ at the LOC!

Surveying LGBTQ+ collections and resources at the Library of Congress.

Frances Benjamin Johnston, full-length portrait, seated in front of fireplace, facing left, holding cigarette in one hand and a beer stein in the other, in her Washington, D.C. studioFrances Benjamin Johnston. 1896 Self portrait.


Treasures of comic strip art

CBS Sunday Morning visits the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University.

Curator Caitlin McGurk and correspondent Luke Burbank observe the exhibit "Man Saves Comics!"


RHS launches digital library of over 10,000 items, including rare treasures from their collections

The Royal Horticultural Society has launched a new Digital Collections platform, allowing anyone to access 10,000 library items and herbarium specimens online for free.

Plate featuring various types of beets


Looted Monastery Manuscripts Rediscovered During Office Renovation

A Manhattan auction house found and returned the 16th- and 17th-century texts, which are thought to have been looted from a Greek monastery during the turmoil of World War I.

Opening of one of the manuscripts


Lost and found: in praise of Cardinal Wolsey

Multispectral imaging is making it possible to read the burned fragments that survived the infamous Cotton Collection fire of 1731 for the first time in three centuries.

A charred manuscript fragment mounted in a paper frame.


Preserving Leaf Paintings in an Anglo-Indian Commonplace Book, 1822-1825

Creating secure mountings for paintings executed on the delicate leaves of the Bodhi tree.

Leaf painting depicting flowers and a butterfly


5th Week of April 2023

April 30th, 2023

Years in the making

The new site Science in the Making digitizes 30,000 manuscripts from the collections of the Royal Society’s long history of scientific publishing.

Screenshot of a page on the site


Under the microscope

Conserving a Mughal Album from the Shahjahan period

A magnified image of flaking paint in the manuscript


A Century of Dining Out: The American Story in Menus, 1841-1941

The latest Grolier Club exhibition in-person and online surveys the Henry Voigt Collection of menus.

Art Deco image of a bartender pouring a cocktail at the Fountain Room


PSU Libraries amplifies ‘Black History and Visual Culture’ with digital collection

The digital collection, a celebration and remembrance of Black life at Penn State campuses, broadly across the United States, and around the world, is free for public viewing.

Photo of Malcolm X captioned "He was ready, are you?"


2023 Acquisitions of the Library Collectors’ Council

New acquisition highlights from the Huntington Library.

The diary of John Shaw, 1810, and letters by Francis Hoyt Gregory, 1845, and Elizabeth (Shaw) Gregory, 1842.



4th Week of April 2023

April 23rd, 2023

Behind the Scenes: Sorting Part X of the NAACP Papers

The challenges of processing this large and important collection to make it available to researchers.

boxes of NAACP Records awaiting processing in the Manuscript Division Preparation Section.


Reconstructing a medieval volvelle

Any volvelle content that reaches my RSS reader will be featured here–that’s the Special Collections Roundup promise to you the reader. Be sure to click through for the animation of the volvelle in action.

A 15th century manuscript with a series of rotating disks for astronomical calculations


Preserving Bach’s manuscripts

Repairing damage to the Well-Tempered Clavier by some ill-tempered iron gall ink.

Music manuscript with iron gall ink burn


Entering the Public Domain

A new project from Princeton will digitize highlights from the collection that enter the public domain each year.

Cover of “Copper sun,” by Countee Cullen; with decorations by Charles Cullen


Register Now for Free Preservation Week Programming

Beginning Monday, a series of webinars on preservation at the Library of Congress.

Multispectral imaging system


3rd Week of April 2023

April 16th, 2023

New Discovery Finds Hidden Text Between the Lines of Biblical Passages

UV imaging reveals a Syriac palimpsest in the Vatican Library

Manuscript under UV light


National Taiwan Library repairs 500-year-old Quran

‘Book Hospital’ tasked with repairing ancient Quran damaged by time, elements

Conservator at work on the Quran


Seeing Codicologically: New Explorations in the Technology of the Book

The latest volume of the Journal of the Walters Art Musuem

A manuscript book of hours with repeating patterns cut into its blank margins


The Printed Image: Wuthering Heights

Fritz Eichenberg’s powerful wood engraving illustrations to the 1945 Random House edition.

“I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.”


Tradition and Modernity in the Palm-Leaf Manuscripts of Lombok

Research into one of the most significant libraries of Indonesian palm-leaf manuscripts ever collected.

Invoice for the cost of religious ceremonies, totalling 24000 copper coins [Or. 5239]

2nd Week of April 2023

April 9th, 2023

Baseball Opening Day, and the Library Adds MLB History Online

Celebrate the start of the season with a new digital collection on baseball history from the Library of Congress.

The "Bull" Durham baseball guide 1910-


The Wonderful World of Passover Haggadot

The oldest illustrated Haggadah at the John Rylands Library dates from the early fourteenth century.

A marginal figure raises a cup of wine


Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plants

A new Dumbarton Oaks exhibition highlights botanical illustrations from Brazil.

Margaret Mee, 1958, 66 x 48 cm, gouache, signed and dated “Bromeliaceae, Pitcairnia flammea, Jardim Botanico


Inside a Tudor woman’s home

A 1593 inventory of the London house of Alice Smythe.

The beginning of the inventory of Alice’s house: Egerton Roll 8797



1st Week of April 2023

April 2nd, 2023

Note: this is an April Fools-free zone; all posts are true to the best of my knowledge.

Medieval and Renaissance Women: full list of the manuscripts

An index of links to all 93 manuscripts digitized for this British Library project.

St Birgitta of Sweden, sitting and writing in a book, from a copy of her Revelations


Anticipating Preservation Needs of Archived Audio Tapes

Testing the stability of audio tape answers some pressing questions for the future of the Library of Congress’s vast collection.

A technician examines reel-to-reel tapes at a shelving unit.


ARCHiOx, part 4: ‘Let him make a statue of a horse with its rider’

Part of a series on a special imaging project at the Bodleian–ultra-high resolution images of clay seals from the Achaemenid Empire reveal the fingerprints of its maker.

An impression of the seal of Aršāma from Sigill. Aram. V.


ASMR at the museum

A series of behind-the-scenes videos from the Victoria & Albert Museum to send tingles down your spine.

A conservator stuffs paper into a bowler hat


Ashbery-esque: Adventures in Cataloging the John Ashbery Reading Library

Houghton Library recently acquired a collection of 2500 books belonging to poet John Ashbery, which shed light on the reading that shaped his work.

Copy of Animal Farm inscribed by John Ashbery as a Harvard Student


4th Week of March 2023

March 26th, 2023

Fabulous Flutes

The Madison crystal flute played in concert by Lizzo last year is just one piece of the nearly 1700 woodwind instruments in LC’s Dayton C. Miller Collection.

Lizzo playing the Madison flute


Students Propose New Diverse and Inclusive Acquisitions in Notre Dame RBSC

Last fall, students in the multi-disciplinary class, Stories of Power and Diversity: Inside Museums, Archives, and Collecting, created acquisition proposals for Hesburgh Libraries.

Two 1968 Dick Gregory for President pins


Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Reveals Identities of Hundreds of People in Early 19th-Century Silhouette Album

Portrait Gallery Research and Conservation Project Used Getty Grant To Create a Microsite Featuring 1,800 Paper Silhouettes From Political Elite to Everyday People

Digital image viewer showing a page of silhouettes including George Washington


Posters With a WOW Factor

Posters depicting World War II “Woman Ordnance Workers” show them wearing a red bandana with a pattern representing hand grenades.

The Girl He Left Behind” Is Still Behind Him–She’s a WOW. Poster by Adolph Treidler, 1943.


The Morgan Library Rejoiced When It Saw This Photo from the Amherst Archives

It is the oldest known image of Belle da Costa Greene, perhaps the most celebrated librarian of her time.

Greene in a 1900 group photo at Amherst College's library school


3rd Week of March 2023

March 19th, 2023

Frances Clayton and the Women Soldiers of the Civil War

Clayton was reputed to be able to pass as a male soldier in part because of her enjoyment of “manly vices” such as drinking, smoking, swearing, and gambling.

Francis Clayton in military uniform


Classics Illustrated Comics at Falvey Library

Great works of literature like you’ve never seen them before!

Cover of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


Experimenting with Print

Radiocarbon dating confirms an 18th century origin for a woodblock long thought to be centuries older.

Woodblock depicting two scenes from the blockbook Apocalypse cycle,


Modern Books and Manuscripts and the Reese Sale

Houghton added six items to its incomparable Melville collection at the sale.

Melville’s note to George Putnam, May 1854


Note, Gentle Reader

A heavily annotated copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle.

Annotations around an image of Cleopatra


4th Week of February 2023

February 26th, 2023

The Typography of W.E.B. Du Bois

A new Cooper Hewitt exhibition examines the remarkable data visualizations he made for the 1900 World’s Fair

Caption "Political Unrest"



Mapping the Battle of Fredericksburg

Images from the Library of Congress Map Collection

“Plan of the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia” by Robert Knox Sneden


Hogarth Gets a Spa Day

Restoring a volume of prints by the great British caricaturist William Hogarth.

Volume before treatment


A Letter Writing Cat?!

Henry writes to his owners while they’re away on vacation.

Typewritten letter signed with a pawprint


2nd Week of February 2023

February 12th, 2023

Sounds of St. Cecilia’s

Digitizing a collection of historical musical instruments that look as beautiful as they sound.

18th century hurdy gurdy


Mapping “Points of Interest underneath the Harlem Moon”

The making of A Night-Club Map of Harlem” (1933)

A night-club map of Harlem


Magnificent margins in the Alexander Romance

Images from the manuscripts on display in the British Library’s Alexander exhibition.

Alexander’s army is attacked by ‘ypopatamos’; beneath, a dog chases a stag and people watch a puppet show remarkably like Punch and Judy


The Archives of the East Village Eye Go to the New York Public Library

Leonard Abrams started the paper, which chronicled the cultural life of downtown New York, in 1979. After trying for eight years to place its archives, he handed them off to the library last fall.

Covers of the East Village Eye


Sidney Lapidus Gift to Princeton University Library Opens Digital Access to Collection of Rare Revolution-Era Books and Publications

The donation of more than 2,700 books, newspapers, and magazines included funding that enabled Princeton to digitize the collection, making it keyword-searchable and openly available.

Thomas Paine's Rights of Man and photo of Sid Lapidus