Showing posts from June, 2012

Clarke stacks cleaned

10 years after we moved into our new building the stacks had accumulated a lot of dust, labels had fallen off of shelves, and bits and pieces from old leather volumes had covered the floor. Three students tackled the mess with vacuum, Swifters, cloths, and brooms. The stacks are looking clean for the first time since we moved in. Good job by our student workers Trinessa, Bronwyn, and Romey. Labels have also been replaced on shelves and artwork and furniture dusted, no with Pledge. I remember reading about the NYPublic Library cleaning its stacks. They had a considerably larger, professional company come in for a lot more money (3.1 million dollars) than what we paid (minimum wage for 1 month). If you are interested in reading that 1987 article click here,3846376

Russian State Archives exhibit on the murder of Nicholas II and his family

The Russian State Archives is now exhibiting artifacts, including the pistol, used in the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, as well as materials related to the investigation of the murder. A fascinating topic with international effect, but not one that is fun. For more read the article at

Anglo-Saxon woman/cow burial found

Archaeologists have found the first of its kind, a ;ate 5th c. Anglo-Saxon burial of a woman and a cow. Powerful men were sometimes buried with a horse, but this is a woman, a powerful one from the grave goods, with a cow, a source of food, milk, and little cows. Interesting article at

Leonardo exhibit in Ireland

The Leonardo exhibit from HM The Queen's collection, in honor of her Jubilee, will travel to Ireland. Wish I could see it. For more, and a lovely view of one of his most famous portraits, click here

stolen early Book of Mormon recovered

The early Book of Mormon, recently reported stolen, has been recovered. Although the owner thinks the book is worth $100,000, because she took pages out of it to sell individually, the police value it at $40,000. It is sad to me that 1) it was stolen 2) it wasn't kept in a secure or environmentally preserving environment and 3) that the owner took pages out of it to raise money. To read more about it click here

digital emancipation events map

Reflecting emancipation events, runaways, captures, and instances of slaves helping Union troops a digital map has been created called Visualizing Emancipation. Fascinating. Too read more click here

HUGE railroad map in Clarke

Recently a huge, rolled Saginaw and Flint Railway map, 1909, measuring 60 feet long by 2 feet six and three-quarters inches wide, was donated to the Clarke. The railway was incorporated in 1908 to run the 24 miles from Saginaw to Flint and included a branch to Vassar, MI, as well. The line opened in late 1908 and by early 1914 was conveyed the Michigan Railway. The oversized map shows property owners and lines of their property on both sides of the tracks, composition of station locations, degrees of curves in tracks, and various other markers such as rivers  and a crossing spot for the Pere Marquette Railway. The map was created by E. French, a Detroit engineer. To facilitate use a DVD and scanned tif files of the original were made. All three copies are available in the Clarke. The original is too big to fit into any drawers so it will remain rolled. It was so huge we had to open it up on the hall floor.  Here are some photos highlighting parts of the map.

more terracotta warriors...

After 3 years, China has announced it has found more (120) terracotta warriors, acrobats or entertainers, and accoutrements, some with paint. Some of the warriors are so badly damaged that only their feet remain. They are in the tomb of the first Chinese emperor Qin Shihuang. To see a cool video click here
There was an also an article on the painting of the warriors in a recent Smithsonian.Click here to link to the Smithsonian Magazine's website with related info

Enigma machine in exhibit

Bletchley Park, land of WWII decoding, is having an exhibit featuring an original Enigma machine, the coding machine used by the Nazis. For more info click here

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rare Napoleon letter to be auctioned

A letter written by Nappy after his capture, after he learned English, is to be auctioned and is presumed to bring $100,000. Ah, rare manuscripts. How much are they worth? For more info click here

Journal of dr who treated shot Lincoln discovered at NA

Researchers finally realized the importance of a journal of one of the doctors who treated the fatally shot Pres. Lincoln.  "Dr. Charles Leale was a 23-year-old army surgeon." He was near Lincoln when Booth shot him, treated him at the Ford, helped carry him to the nearby bed, and stayed with him, making meticulous notes. For more info click here

reading penmanship/cursive in historical manuscripts

Recently I watched a show, Finding your roots, where people discover things they did not know about the ancestors through archival collections. It struck me during the most recent show I watched that the stars whose ancestry was researched could actually read all the copies of relevant manuscripts the research staff had assembled for them. In 10 years this will not be the case. Penmanship is taught in a very limited fashion now, or not at all, due to the impact of typing on computer keyboards and texting.  Because the stars I have seen so far on the show are of a certain age or older, they can read penmanship. What will happen in the future as the students graduating from high school now can barely read penmanship? This is seriously going to impact archives with handwritten manuscripts and handwritten folders. I wonder if reading handwritten manuscripts will become a subject specialty like reading early medieval manuscripts or manuscripts written in certain languages?   Will we be ask…

Facebook and the tween crowd

Facebook is thinking about allowing those under 13 onto FB so their accounts would be linked to their parents who would be able to "control" their children's accounts.  I wonder. Of course, statistics show they are already present in very large numbers. I was quite stunned at the numbers. A 2011 study showed 72% of parents know their children under 13 have joined FB. Another recent report showed 7.5 million are under age 13 on FB, and 5 million are under age 10. Those are some large numbers. Hopefully parental control may limit bullying. For more info see todays BBCNews Tech article at

India has world's largest identification database

Many people in India have no identification cards or numbers not even bank accounts. Their existence is not recognized by the government. Therefore it is difficult for them to get governmental services, care, etc. Over the past 2 years, the government has set up stations across India to id people and the information is going into what is billed as the largest government/national identification database. 200 million are already registered, with an additional 400 million expected to be registered in the next few years.  This will help many people, especially those who are most vulnerable, the poor. It should have a major impact on health care and rights in the future. It may also have a major impact on personal privacy, which is a concern to some. The government states it is a secure database. Let's hope Anonymous doesn't target it.  For a brief visual on this click here