All posts by Krystal Thomas

About Krystal Thomas

Digital Archivist at Florida State University

“Venison” Pasty Adventure

This past weekend I went on my Rare Books Bake Off adventure and it was an adventure, believe you me. While my end product was yummy and made my apartment smell like the best of local British pubs, it wasn’t much of a looker and it was a journey to get it made. Here are my takeaway lessons from this journey to make a recipe from early 19th century Britain, a venison pasty. 

This was the recipe I started with but…I ended up not following most of it. Recipe from Modern domestic cookery, and useful receipt book, London, 1817 [see original cookbook page]

First lesson: A pasty was something different in the early 1800s;  it was essentially a full size meat pie, not the handheld pies we know and love today. And I could find only three recipes that used “pasty” in their title in our Cookbooks & Herbals digital collection and all three were for the same thing, a venison pasty. It was always found among all the meat pie recipes though. The only difference I could discern is that the pasty called only for a crust on top of the pie filling with no crust under – all the other pies called for a traditional pie crust. It was also a recipe only to be found in cookbooks from Great Britain.

Second lesson: One cannot simply buy venison these days, at least not around Tallahassee. I spoke to the two main meat markets in the area and was told that if I killed a deer, I could bring it in and they would process it for me. That was a bit more commitment than I was willing to make for the Bake Off challenge so I subbed in stew beef for venison. All the recipes also called for mutton and that wasn’t something I even attempted to find as I didn’t think that would go well (nor did I really want to try mutton). 

Collecting together the ingredients to get started

Third lesson: The recipes all assumed I know a lot more about cooking and baking than I do. One of the recipes I looked at simply remarked at one point to “pour the gravy over the meat” and yet had told me nothing about making a gravy or how to do so! Other recipes used venison bones and mutton to make a gravy, two things I did not have either. So, I needed a modern day recipe to guide me on this journey. Luckily, I found this fabulous recipe at The Spruce Eats, shared by one of their British writers so I would keep to the original character of this very British dish from its early 1800s roots. I did my best to also find British ingredients where I could. Thinking I would not find mustard powder (what even is that?), I thought I would need to sub-in ground mustard but Publix to the rescue! They had a mustard powder from Norwich in stock. I did not however buy or make the ginger biscuits the recipe wanted – I am curious how that might have thickened the final filling though as that was pretty thin in the end.  

Fourth lesson: Puff Pastry is not my friend. This was my first time trying to make puff pastry from scratch and it actually went well until it came time to roll it out to place over the filling for the pie. My dough remained very sticky throughout the process and no matter how much flour I would put on the counter, it would stick! I did eventually get pastry over the filling but by then, I’d worked the dough a lot and it was breaking in lots of places. So while it does taste good, it did not puff as it should have in the baking process so the final product looks a flat and a bit sad. Also, since it didn’t puff, the underside is soggy (Mary Berry is so disappointed in me) but, as a pasty, there is only crust on the top of the pie so no soggy bottom at least! 

Puff pastry is shown rolled out on a kitchen counter
Rolling out the puff pastry to create the layers
A pie crust is shown over the pie dish and sitting on a cookie sheet to go into the oven
It didn’t look pretty but I got the pastry on top of the filling!

Fifth lesson: The cooks of the early 19th century clearly had a lot of time on their hands (and I know often cooking was an actual occupation at the time) but this dish was time-consuming. I started work at 2pm and finally sat down to eat the final product at 7pm. And there were a lot of dishes and cleaning up in between and after as well. I was exhausted when I went to bed that night.

The final product out of the oven
Digging in (finally!) – It was yummy and made my apartment smell like a local!

All that said, I really enjoyed this project and chronicling my journey through Instagram stories and getting lots of encouragement from the ladies of my network who are all great bakers and assure me for a first effort, my puff pastry wasn’t as much of a disaster as I thought it was (still, I think I might stick to the frozen pre-made versions in the future…). Now, I get to enjoy left over pie all week for dinner – yum!  

World Digital Preservation Day

The first Tuesday of every November is World Digital Preservation Day: a day when all digital archivists and preservationists get to toot our horn a bit and celebrate the work of ourselves and our colleagues over the last year. It’s also a day where digital preservation practitioners talk about what everyone could be doing to ensure their digital files are preserved for long-term access.

You may have heard of personal digital archiving. The Library of Congress has done great work over the years to create a robust online website to help guide anyone looking to maintain and preserve their digital files – from the hundreds of photographs on your phone to the paper you wrote on Word Perfect back in college. I recommend digging into that website if you’re looking to get started on this work. What I want to do with this post is give you some places to start

Edna Mode says it best

A really great – and easy potentially? – place to start is by giving your files meaningful, and computer friendly names. The first rule here, is as Edna tells as above, don’t include any spaces in your file names. Your computer, and future digital archivist, will thank you for that. Use a hyphen or underscore if you want to separate words in your file name.

The next step is to name your files meaningfully and uniquely. Choose the main subject of the photo as your base and go from there. For example, if it’s a picture of your cat, you would use their name. Now, let’s add more information, use the date you took the photo to make it even more unique. If you take more than more photo of your cat a day (no judgement), add a number after the date so the file name is complete unique. You now have a file name that looks something like Whiskers-11052020-001. Not only is that unique, but you can also get a lot of information about the photo just from the file name. You know what the photo is about, when you took it and that it was the first photo that day you took of that subject.

Now, that means that file names may also get long and complicated very quickly if you try to list all the things in a complex photo as part of the file name. This is where using file folders, or collections, can help in personal collections. Make sure you are “filing” your photographs under the correct folders. So for example, you may take a lot of pictures at your child’s birthday party but want to name the images something other than KatieBdayParty-110520202-001 etc. If you do, just name a folder KatiesBdayParty2020 and put all the photos in the same folder. that way, you know the event and can name files more usefully like KatieandGrandma-11052020

If you have a lot of files, renaming can seem like a daunting task but I’m actually hiding two tasks in it – surprise! To rename files means you have to look at them all again and this is a great time to decide if you actually need to keep all 50 photos of the same sunset you took on your vacation last year or if maybe just a couple will suffice to help you remember the moment. Deleting digital files you no longer want or need is a necessary part of personal digital archiving (and any archiving) and it means a couple of great things. One, you’ll have more digital storage space to create more files in the future and two, you aren’t creating such a large personal digital archive that even you don’t remember what half of the files are anymore or can’t afford the storage space to keep it all

Sticking with our Pixar theme, Buzz gets it

Which brings me to my last tip of the day – make sure you are storing your files in more than one location. The last thing you want is for if your computer or phone dies, you lose all your files on those devices especially when there are some easy, and fairly cheap, solutions. For your home laptop, make sure you have an external hard drive that you back up your laptop to on a regular basis. A lot of laptops have built in programs to help with this task (Time Machine on Macs, Backup on Windows) so all you have to do is plug in the external drive, open up your machine’s program and let it do its thing! Doing this on a regular basis (bi-weekly or monthly depending on your use case) means your laptop, and all its data, is safe even if you encounter the blue screen of death.

For your phone, your provider may have a cheap service to pay for on a monthly basis that will back up your data for you which can just be included in your monthly bill or your phone of preference (Apple or Google) may have a service to pay for to make sure your data are available on devices other than your phone and they are safely backed up through the service. The cloud is your friend especially with your phone data!

Hopefully your are feeling empowered, and inspired, this World Digital Preservation Day to start personal digital archiving at home – go forth and archive!

Sun City

Recently, we digitized the Sun City Development and Motion Picture Studio Plat Map Sheets for use in a class which led me to look into…what are these exactly? I uncovered a fascinating story of the brother of Cleveland railroad barons and a Georgia inventor who, a decade apart, tried to bring Hollywood to Florida.

One of the maps of Sun City. See original object.

During the 1920s, Florida experienced a land boom. Florida’s population was growing four times faster than any other state, spurred by the abolition of income and inheritance taxes and an active road-building program. Sun City, original name Ross, was located near present-day Ruskin, in Hillsborough County, and was one of many boom towns at the time in the state.

Herbert C. Van Swearingen, who made his living in real estate in Cleveland, Ohio, was the chief developer of Sun City. Herbert was the forgotten brother of two of Ohio’s biggest railroad barons, Oris and Mantis Van Swearingen. Sun City was his attempt to make a name for himself outside of his brothers’ shadows. The 500-acre Sun City Motion Picture Studio was constructed in late 1925 and built in the Spanish-Moor style with business offices, a projection room, a carpentry room, and 20 dressing rooms. Unlike any other studio, it offered a visitors gallery where Sun City residents and tourists could watch motion picture stars work. Initially, Sun City was successful. Land sales hit $2 million. The emerging city soon had a small number of residences as well as a school, hotel, theater, church, city hall, and power plant. Two short movies were filmed in the state-of-the-art studio.

However, by early 1926, the real estate speculation bubble in the state burst. Also, per usual in Florida, a hurricane hit, creating damage that further drove away seasonal visitors and tourism from the city. Land sales dried up, and Sun City Holding Co. fell into debt and was dissolved. Herbert filed for bankruptcy and returned to his family in Cleveland. Herbert’s brothers helped cover his losses and persuaded Herbert to retire from business. On July 4, 1932, all of Sun City was auctioned at the Hillsborough County Courthouse. Orlando businessman W.W. Staplen bought the land and dismantled the movie studio. He sold the bricks for $1,500. What was left quickly became a ghost town.

In the late 1930s, the next person tried to entice Hollywood to what was left of Sun City. J.T. Fleming, a developer and inventor from Georgia who went broke during the land boom in Florida and lost everything except 500 acres in southern Hillsborough County, bought special masters deeds to Sun City for $100. Fleming believed that the land would be worth millions as a moviemaking destination and resurrected the idea of a city where filmmakers and actors would live among regular residents. However, Fleming became increasingly involved in legal battles and this second try at an East Coast Hollywood never got off the ground. After years of continuous legal challenges, Fleming was ruled insane in 1953, incarcerated for 19 months, and finally had his rights restored by a Fulton County (GA) court. When Fleming died in January 1968, Hillsborough County reclaimed his 500 acres of land near present-day Ruskin for unpaid taxes.

Today, the land that Sun City once stood on is largely a mobile home park situated among industrial sites, fish farms, orchards, and scrapyards. The power plant that was built still stands on Route 41 and if you compare Google Maps to the original maps in our collection, you’ll see the names of movie stars are still on the roads. In fact, side by side, you see that where a movie studio once stood, there is simply woods.

Comparison of the 1925 urban plan for Sun City with an image from Google Maps showing Ruskin, Florida today

Sources:

Raponi, Richard. Herbert C. Van Sweringen House, Cleveland Historical app. https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/407

Sun City, Ghosttowns.com, http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/fl/suncity.html

Sun City Development and Motion Picture Studio Plat Map Sheets, Special Collections & Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. https://archives.lib.fsu.edu/repositories/10/resources/705 Accessed October 16, 2020.

Capturing Virtual FSU

When the world of FSU changed in March 2020, the website for FSU was used as one of the primary communication tools to let students, faculty, and staff know what was going on. New webpages created specifically to share information and news popped up all over fsu.edu and we had no idea how long those pages would exist (ah, the hopeful days of March) so Heritage & University Archives wanted to be sure to capture those pages quickly and often as they changed and morphed into new online resources for the FSU community.

Screenshot of a capture of the main FSU News feed regarding coronavirus. Captured March 13, 2020.

While FSU has had an Archive-It account for a while, we hadn’t fully implemented its use yet. Archive-It is a web archiving service that captures and preserves content on websites as well as allowing us to provide metadata and a public interface to viewing the collected webpages. COVID-19 fast-tracked me on figuring out Archive-It and how we could best use it to capture these unique webpages documenting FSU’s response to the pandemic. I worked to configure crawls of websites to capture the data we needed, set up a schedule that would be sufficient to capture changes but also not overwhelm our data allowance, and describe the sites being captured. It took me a few tries but we’ve successfully been capturing a set of COVID related FSU URLs since March.

One of the challenges of this work was some of the webpages had functionality that the web crawling just wouldn’t capture. This was due to some interactive widgets on pages or potentially some CSS choices the crawler didn’t like. I decided the content was the most important thing to capture in this case, more so than making sure the webpage looked exactly like the original. A good example of this is the International Programs Alerts page. We’re capturing this to track information about our study abroad programs but what Archive-It displays is quite different from the current site in terms of design. The content is all there though.

On the left is how Archive-It displays a capture of the International Programs Alerts page. On the right is how the site actually looks. While the content is the same, the formatting and design is not

As the pandemic dragged on and it became clear that Fall 2020 would be a unique semester, I added the online orientation site and the Fall 2020 site to my collection line-up. The Fall 2020 page, once used to track the re-opening plan recently morphed into the Stay Healthy FSU site where the community can look for current information and resources but also see the original re-opening document.

We’ll continue crawling and archiving these pages in our FSU Coronavirus Archive for future researchers until they are retired and the university community returns to “normal” operations – whatever that might look like when we get there!

The DLC in the times of COVID

A long time ago, in March 2020, when we all had such hopes that closing the library was a temporary measure, the Digital Library Center (DLC) started to think about how it could support remote research and instruction during the rest of the spring semester. Fast forward to August 2020, and the DLC is now firmly engaged in on-demand digitization for patrons as well as a fully developed instructional support digitization work stream that is digitizing and fast tracking description to get materials into the digital library for fall classes. We’ve faced a lot of challenges during the last few months, the least of which at times has been a pandemic, but I think the DLC is headed in new and exciting directions.

Illuminated manuscript Leaf from a Book of Hours
Leaf from a Book of Hours, 1465, see original object

First of all, the challenges. One, a global pandemic but this one the DLC has navigated (cross all the fingers) really well so far. The DLC was closed from mid-March through early May. We returned to work on a rotation schedule which is working well. Another challenge was the retirement of a long time employee (we miss you Giesele!) which means the DLC is down a staff member. We’re also not actually *in* the DLC right now. Due to construction on the 2nd floor of Strozier Library, we’re in temporary digs until mid-September. This limits what equipment we have to do digitization right now. Bonus square on 2020 bingo? We’re also prepping for a platform migration for our digital library because why do one thing at a time when you can do ALL the things at the same time!

So, what are we doing to meet these challenges? The open position in the DLC is being reviewed currently and hopefully, we’ll be able to move forward with it before the end of the year. While we are limited in terms of our temporary space, we’re making it work and creating a “wait list” for projects to do once we’re back in the DLC. We’re proactively communicating with those on the wait list and so far, everyone is working with us on delayed delivery dates. We’re also working with our Special Collections & Archives Instruction Group on digitization needs and created guidelines to help instruction liaisons understand when the DLC might not be needed to meet their needs. We’re also planning and prepping for our upcoming migration and getting ourselves ready for if the digital library might need to be offline for a time during our move into the new and improved platform.

Even through all that, we’ve managed to get a lot of new materials up in the digital library since May. Some of this material was already digitized prior to our shutdown in March but was waiting on description for loading into the digital library. Thanks to the need for remote work, and the increased number of staff looking for it, we got a lot of waiting materials off the list and into the digital library. We’ve continued to add new materials online as we’ve digitized on campus and worked on description and loading remotely.

The cover of The Black Voice: June 1977. Volume I. Number II.

We added several university publications this spring and summer. Smoke Signals and Talaria (highlighted in a blog post earlier this year), Athanor, Black Insight, Black Voice (see the full issue highlighted at the side here), and Affirmative Action Quarterly were all added to the University Publications digital collection. We completed loading several more years’ worth of issues to the ongoing project to make the full run of Il Secolo available online. Continuing our partnership with community organizations, we also added new materials to both the Leon High School and First Baptist Church of Tallahassee collections.

Just this past month, we also added new video footage from an interview with Wright Family members to the Emmett Till Archives, shared our first submissions to the FSU COVID-19 Community Experience Project and loaded our first big batch of Instructional Support materials. The instructional materials are scattered through several collections in the digital library but include some of SCA’s “greatest hits” such as our chained book and our signed first edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species as well as many of our Book of Hours leaves.

As we head into the Fall, the DLC is trying to be prepared for whatever 2020 might throw our way next but we feel confident we’re moving in the right direction and continuing to support our faculty, staff and students!

Community Partner Spotlight: Leon High School

Along with First Baptist Church of Tallahassee, Leon High School (LHS) was one of our first community partners and we learned a lot on this project (what to do and not do with future community partners). Overall though, it was a rewarding experience to work with this sort of non-traditional archive and also to work in the high school environment and interact with the students while in the Media Center at Leon High.

Leon High School in Tallahassee is Florida’s oldest continually accredited high school, founded in 1871 just twenty-six years after Florida became a state. We digitized all the yearbooks along with all the issues held in the Archives Room of the school newspaper, published since 1920. Last week, the Class of 2020 had a drive-through graduation celebration, a mark of these strange times for the latest LHS graduates. So, in celebration of this year’s class, I did a deep dive into the Leon High School newspaper’s Graduation Issues over the school’s history.

The first Senior Class was celebrated on the front page of the May 28, 1920 issue of The Hill Top, the original name for the LHS school newspaper:

Front Page of the Hill Top, May 28, 1920
Front Page of The Hill Top, May 28, 1920 [original object]

In 1935, the newspaper, now renamed Leon High Life, printed out the “stats” for each graduating Senior and shared some fun stories about each Senior:

Statistics of Class of 1935, Leon High Life, May 20, 1935
Statistics of Class of 1935, Leon High Life, May 20, 1935, page 4 [see original object]

Eventually, the newspaper’s title changes again to just High Life and the features to celebrate the seniors became more and more involved until starting in the 1980s, there is a special Graduation Issue of High Life that is published in late May each year to celebrate the most recent Senior class. 1981 was one of the first years a special Graduation Issue was published:

High Life Graduation Issue Front Page, June 5, 1981
High Life Graduation Issue Front Page, June 5, 1981 [see original object]

As Leon High entered the 2000s, the newspaper shifted between entire issues and special inserts in a normal issue of the paper. For the Class of 2000, a special insert celebrated seniors with both a hopeful and somewhat ominous front page:

Detail of front page, Senior Special, May 20, 2000 [see original object]

Sadly, Leon High Life has not published an article in its online portal since mid-March of this year when schools were closed due to the COVID-19 in Tallahassee. However, the Class of 2020 hopefully is celebrating digitally through their preferred digital platforms and we here in FSU’s Special Collections & Archives wish this class in all local high schools the very best in their next adventure!

Community Partner Spotlight: First Baptist Church of Tallahassee

For our second community partner spotlight, I am excited to be able to share newly available materials in the First Baptist Church of Tallahassee (FBCT) digital collection!

Once we completed digitization of the church bulletins, I met with my contacts at the Church for what they wanted to explore for digitization next. A set of photographs, programs and other historical documentation about the Church emerged. I set my contacts to the task of creating some basic description about these materials. As the subject experts, they were the best suited to the task of telling me who was in these photographs or what events they were showing and how they reflected the history of the Church. They did not disappoint! I was very pleased to be able to provide rich metadata for the new materials thanks to the hard work of my volunteer catalogers.

I was particularly happy to see this photograph from the 1940s showing a celebration held in the sanctuary of the Church for recent college graduates, many of whom were probably graduating from Florida State College for Women, FSU’s predecessor institution.

Celebration of Graduates at First Baptist Church, 1940-1950 [see original object]

Another aspect of the Church that this set of materials shares is the work of the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) and its Girls Auxiliary. Around this time of year, a new set of girls would be initiated into the Auxiliary and start their paths to becoming maidens, ladies-in-waiting, princesses and queens for the Auxiliary. It would have been a crowning achievement for these girls as they contributed to their church and local communities to earn their titles. The materials relating to the WMU and Girls Auxiliary share their work over the years to contribute widely to the Church, both locally and around the world.

Please browse all of the FBCT collection in DigiNole to explore the history of the Church, its congregation and how it fits into the wider historical picture of Tallahassee.

Community Partner Spotlight: Havana History & Heritage Society

One of my favorite responsibilities in my work is coordinating and working with community organizations in the Tallahassee area to digitize materials they hold in their historical collections. As a public university, I feel FSU, and by extension myself, have a responsibility to help smaller community institutions who are unable, for various reasons, to digitize and provide access to these materials on their own. I have found this to be rewarding work and over the next month, I’ll be spotlighting the collections of these partners and the work I’ve been lucky enough to share with them to bring these materials online.

Havana, Florida is 30 minutes north of downtown Tallahassee and is considered by some online sources to be a suburb of Tallahassee but its residents would argue it is a distinct rural community in its own right. The Havana History & Heritage Society was established to preserve and highlight the historical assets and events that have made Havana an exceptional community in which to live, have a business, and visit. The Society’s home is in the Shade Tobacco Museum in downtown Havana.

FSU was first approached by the Society in February 2019, referred by one of our other community partners, to gauge interest in digitizing a set of scrapbooks documenting the Home Demonstration Extension Service work in Gadsden County from 1916 through the 1960s. In particular, the scrapbooks documented the work of Ms. Elise Laffitte who ran the home demonstration portion of the extension services in the county for several decades.

Ms. Laffitte at work in the home demonstration office, Gadsden County [see original item in scrapbook]

In 2019, FSU did digitize seven scrapbooks and a loose set of photographs from the Society which are now available online in DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository. These scrapbooks provide a fascinating look at this farming community during the World Wars and Great Depression years. It also showcases the importance of women in producing food and clothing in these communities. In the 1942-1946 scrapbook in particular, the importance of the activities of the extension services during the war effort are clear. There is also a focus on what women and children through gardening and 4-H clubs were doing for the war effort in this scrapbook which is a different perspective then we often get. There is also correspondence showing businesses went to Ms. Laffitte to find fresh produce and products they needed during the war that they could not get elsewhere but that small farms and gardens could provide at the time.

Newspaper articles taped into the 1942-1946 scrapbook [see original pages in scrapbook]

Over time though, there is a shift in interested in the home demonstration extension service. By the last scrapbook from 1960-1961, the focus has shifted from food production to soft goods like clothing and quilts. Canning is still mentioned frequently but food production does not seem to be as much of a focus for the group. The State Style Show features prominently in this later scrapbook.

Page from the 1960-1961 scrapbook showing some of the State Style Show winners [see original page in scrapbook]

We look forward to our next project with the Havana History & Heritage Society later this year and encourage you to browse all of the Society’s collection available online.

Sermons from a Changing Tallahassee in the 1960s

Recently, one of our community partners, the First Baptist Church (FBC) of Tallahassee, gave us an audio CD with digitized recordings from Dr. C.A. Roberts, the pastor for the church in the 1960s. Tallahassee, as you can imagine, was undergoing a lot of social and cultural change in the 1960s as the Civil Rights Movement started to challenge and change the way of life for the country but particularly, for southern cities.

Header from Dr. Robert’s column in the church bulletin, 1965 [original item]

At the 1965 Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Roberts addressed the attendees and gave a rousing speech about his efforts to integrate FBC at that time. Dr. Roberts was a fiery speaker and he clearly felt strongly about his duty to help the Church welcoming all parishioners to worship at the Church. At a time when attitudes about such a decision were filled with anger, fear and prejudice, Dr. Roberts shared his story about why it was important to him and how the congregation came to agree with him.

The other recording is a sermon given at some point during Dr. Roberts’ tenure at the First Baptist Church between 1962-1967. It is titled “Ethics of Sex” and is a fascinating glimpse into Dr. Roberts’ and the Church’s feelings about the changing sexual environment of the 1960s. It was especially interesting to us at FSU as Dr. Roberts particularly calls out a recent PowWow he attended at FSU and the behavior displayed by fraternities and sororities at the event as being against the teachings of the Church as regards sex. Many FSU students have attended FBC over the years so I can imagine some students in the audience at this sermon being either very embarrassed or perhaps angered at the sermon and what might have been seen as the Church not keeping up with the times.

Both recordings are a window into a very different time in Tallahassee and the challenges the Church and the community faced as society altered quickly and drastically throughout the 1960s. Please browse all of our materials from the First Baptist Church in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository.

International Children’s Book Day in the DL

As we adjust to our new realities in the time of coronavirus, and we’re going stir-crazy and already bored with the books in the house, maybe it’s time for a deep dive into the children’s books of yesteryear for some new material. So, on today, International Children’s Book Day, celebrated on or near the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen each year, I would like to highlight some of the children’s literature we have in the digital library (DL) from the John Mackay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection.

Fairy tales abound in the Shaw Collection but Cinderella has always been a personal favorite. We have several digitized but my favorite version is a hand colored Cinderella from the 1800s.

A page from Cinderella, 1800s [see original object]

The story of Cock Robin is in many of the books of the Shaw Collection. This particular spread is from a children’s book titled Cock Robin: a pretty painted toy for either girl or boy : suited to children of all ages, published in 1840.

Pages from Cock Robin, 1840 [see original object]

Alphabet, or ABC, books are also plentiful in our digital collection. This one, Goode’s instructive alphabet for children from the 1800s, uses many professions and expressions that children today would probably not recognize (a reading and history lesson in one!)

Page from Goode’s Instructive Alphabet, 1800s [see original object]

And lastly, in case you are in need of some new songs (possibly the Disney tunes are already wearing on the nerves), Silver carols: a collection of new music for district schools, high schools, seminaries, academies, colleges, juvenile conventions and the home circle from 1874 may have a new set of songs for you and your children to explore.

Trip Lightly from Silver Carols, 1874 [see original object]

These are just a few of the hundreds of titles we’ve digitized and made available in the digital library from the Shaw collection. Happy reading on this International Children’s Book Day!