Feeds:
Posts
Comments
Erich Salomon. The American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst reading telegraphs in his castle “La Cuesta Encantada,” San Simeon, CA. 1930. Silver gelatin photograph. Licensed under CC0

Erich Salomon. The American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst reading telegraphs in his castle “La Cuesta Encantada,” San Simeon, CA. 1930. Silver gelatin photograph. Licensed under CC0

The William Randolph Hearst Archive has contributed 2,050 images to the Artstor Digital Library,* providing an intriguing perspective on the collecting passions of Hearst, the man best known to us as a newspaper baron, and notoriously immortalized on film as the unscrupulous “Citizen Kane.”

Continue Reading »

SS37798_37798_42256744

James Winthrop. Egyptian hieroglyphics, from public monuments extracted from Denon. Late 18th or early 19th century. Image and data courtesy Allegheny College Library Special Collections.

The Allegheny College Egyptian Hieroglyphics collection features every page of a single manuscript in the James Winthrop Collection. The collection includes approximately 3,000 titles from the libraries of Winthrop and his father, John Winthrop, who was Hollis Professor of Natural Philosophy and Mathematics at Harvard. This particular manuscript is in the public domain, and Allegheny has shared this digital reproduction as a Public Collection in Artstor so that anyone can view and download the images. Continue Reading »

…and how to protect yourself from them

While there were a lot of delightful beliefs about animals in the Middle Ages (our favorite: hedgehogs roll on grapes to spear them on their spines so they can take them home to their young), this Halloween season we’re focusing on the creepiest creatures of all: reptiles! Not to worry, we’ll also tell you what to do to stay safe from them.

Our source for this guide is Richard Barber’s translation of the Bodleian Library’s MS Bodley 764, a mid-thirteenth century bestiary, so don’t be too surprised if the descriptions deviate just a tad from contemporary herpetology.

BODLEIAN_10310802178

Bestiary. Folio #: fol. 160r, 12th century. Image and original data provided by the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Let’s start with plain old snakes. We bet you didn’t know that snakes are frightened by naked men, but attack clothed ones. Unfortunately our source doesn’t specify how snakes respond to women (the thirteenth century not being the most progressive of centuries), so your best bet is to keep a stag nearby, as they can handily deal with bothersome serpents. Continue Reading »

MMA_IAP_10310750531

Mummy of Ukhhotep, Egypt. Detail. c.1981-1802 B.C.E. Wood, cartonnage, paint, linen, human remains, obsidian, gold, alabaster. Image and data provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In an 1898 article for Scientific American, a chemist describes his process for working with a powdered material that smelled of myrrh and meat extract:

On heating the powder turns dark brown black, with a pleasant, resin-like odor of incense and myrrh, then throws out vapors with an odor of asphaltum; it leaves a black glossy coal which leaves behind when burnt 17 percent of ash with a strongly alkaline reaction, evolving plenty of carbonic acid when sprinkled with acids. In the closed tube vapors of acid reaction are obtained. With hot water a yellow brown solution of neutral reaction is obtained which smells like glue and extract of meat when inspissated…”

The powder in question was in fact the ground desiccated corpse of an ancient Egyptian, heated for the purpose of creating commercially-produced oil paint. Shocked? Let us treat you to a short history of the many strange fates of pillaged mummies between the sixteenth and early twentieth centuries. Continue Reading »

Citadel of Erbil (Arbil), brick houses along wall perimeter. 18-19th century. Erbil, Iraq. Photographer: Zainab Bahrani, 2013. Image and data provided by the Media Center for Art History, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University.

Citadel of Erbil (Arbil), brick houses along wall perimeter. 18-19th century. Erbil, Iraq. Photographer: Zainab Bahrani, 2013. Image and data provided by the Media Center for Art History, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University.

Columbia University’s Media Center for Art History at the Department of Art History and Archaeology has contributed additional material on world architecture to the Artstor Digital Library, including approximately 335 interactive and dynamic virtual reality panoramas and more than 5200 photographs.* The contribution presents ancient buildings and monuments in Iraq and the architecture of Turkey—mostly mosques in Istanbul—from the 15th through 19th centuries.

Continue Reading »

SS37858_37858_43400844

Chatham University, Rachel Carson in the Pennsylvania College for Women Yearbook, The Pennsylvanian, 1928. Image and data courtesy the Collection on Rachel Carson, Chatham University Archives & Special Collections.

On this day in 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published, bringing widespread attention to environmental issues caused by the use of synthetic pesticides in the United States. The book sparked controversy, particularly from chemical companies that dismissed Silent Spring’s assertions about the connection between pesticides and ecological health. However, Carson’s claims were borne out and the book is widely credited with sparking the modern environmental movement that eventually spawned the Environmental Protection Agency. Continue Reading »

Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul-Spiti, Dankhar Gompa, India. Offering table in front of second Buddha. c. late 17th - 18th century. Detail from mural painting (east corner, south wall) in sNa ka mTshang Hall. Image and data provided by Rob Linrothe.

Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul-Spiti, Dankhar Gompa, India. Offering table in front of second Buddha. c. late 17th – 18th century. Detail from mural painting (east corner, south wall) in sNa ka mTshang Hall. Image and data provided by Rob Linrothe.

An additional contribution of nearly 1,000 images has been made to the Rob Linrothe: Tibetan and Buddhist Art collection in the Artstor Digital Library, bringing the total to over 5,000.* Scholar/photographer Linrothe has provided this unique resource in collaboration with the Lucy Scribner Library, Skidmore College and Northwestern University.

Continue Reading »