Tag Archives: digital collections

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!

Florida Home Economics Association Scrapbooks

With our work on extension service scrapbooks with the Havana History and Heritage Society for Gadsden County, we took a look at our own collections and found Leon County scrapbooks for a similar period on our own shelves! The Florida Home Economics Association Records holds scrapbooks which are mostly Leon County extension service records from 1923-1966. The collection also holds the administrative records of the Association and Florida State College for Women (FSU’s predecessor) was an integral part of the instruction branch of the association.

Digitization of scrapbooks is always a challenge. The scrapbooks were dis-bound before being brought up to our studio for digitization. Dis-binding scrapbooks such as these and other similar material allows us to capture higher quality images of individual pages faster than if they were left in their original, bound state. From a preservation standpoint, this also reduces the amount of potential wear-and-tear on older items such as these can sustain during the digitization process. 

Since we digitized the material as individual pages instead of bound scrapbooks, we relied primarily on our overhead camera setup to complete this project. This setup utilizes an IQ180 reprographic camera system and Capture One Cultural Heritage software to create high quality, high resolution images. We digitized all material in this collection as 400 PPI (pixels per inch) TIFF images as recommended by our FSUDL Imaging Guidelines document. 

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Capturing high resolution images of individual pages using our IQ180 system

Being a tethered system, all images are automatically and instantly transferred from the camera to the computer where the Capture One software handles basic editing of the images including color correction, cropping, file naming, and exporting the final images to our internal server before being loaded into the FSU Digital Library

The Cultural Heritage version of Capture One allows us to increase the rate of image processing by providing helpful features such as auto-cropping and advanced white balance adjustments. The software also acts as a file management tool and allows us to batch-edit and export the images we’ve digitized. We use this to apply the same color and exposure settings to all pages of an item at once instead of performing the edits one-by-one on individual pages, which would take much longer to complete.  

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Screenshot of Capture One CH software showing batch editing features

The scrapbooks, once they were digitized and images ready for the digital library, were loaded into the FSU Digital Library. Please enjoy browsing these materials and the fascinating glimpse they offer into the work of the extension services in Leon County over several decades.

Astrological Healing from the Seventeenth Century

An herbal is a book containing the names and descriptions of various plants, and usually contains the effects that were associated with each one. Effects could range from a plant’s toxicity to its magical power. In the 15th century, it was common practice to publish medical journals in Latin, which was only accessible to those with wealth or nobility. In 1652, Nicholas Culpeper published one of his most notable works, The English Physician, in English, allowing those who did not read Latin to be able to practice medicine. 

Culpeper’s herbal was groundbreaking for its combination of the “doctrine of signatures” with astrology. The doctrine of signatures was the idea that plants and herbs that looked like human body parts would help heal ailments that stemmed from that part. Combining this practice with astrology formed what is known as astrological herbalism. Astrological herbalists connected herbs to different signs of the zodiac. They treated specific ailments by determining what sign and planet ruled over the part of the body that needed care, and then prescribing an herb of the same astrological sign.

Culpeper’s British herbal ; and, Complete English family physician. (1802)

Culpeper’s earlier works mainly relied on written descriptions of the plants to be able to identify them. As he progressed, his herbals included more images and color, illustrating them with etchings that are then colored in with watercolors, such as the 1802 edition of his British Herbal.

The heart and blood, for example, are ruled by Leo, which is ruled by the sun, so for ailments such as anemia, the patient would be prescribed “centaury,” or centaurium erythraea. Issues like anxiety are ruled by Mercury, and depending upon your astrological sign you might be prescribed lavender as a treatment. The process goes more in depth depending on your sign and other planetary factors.

While we cannot recommend depending upon Culpeper’s prescribed treatments — medicine has come a long way in 400 years — it is fun to see what herbal applications he found for a variety of ailments. FSU Libraries Special Collections and Archives possesses seven editions of The English Physician, from the 1652 first edition up to one from 1932. Fortunately, three editions have been digitized and are available for your perusal from home!

Culpeper’s English Physician and complete herbal. (1798)

Culpeper’s British herbal; and, Complete English family physician. (1802)

Culpeper’s Complete herbal. (1817)

Celebrating Women’s History with a new digital collection

The DLC recently completed processing and started loading materials from the League of Women Voters (LWV), Tallahassee Chapter Records materials held at the Claude Pepper Library into DigiNole. The materials in this first round of digitization with the collection include the newsletters of the Tallahassee chapter from 1962-2012 as well as Study and Action guides for the national LWV agenda from 1975-1999.

The records of the League of Women Voters, Tallahassee Chapter, are comprised primarily of administrative files, publications, and subject files and document 55 years of Tallahassee League activities including the organization of conventions and meetings, coordination of league activities, and the chapter’s relationship with the League of Women Voters of the United States.

Of particular interest is the story one can find in the newsletters regarding the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in Florida. First appearing in the newsletters in 1972, it appears in every monthly newsletter throughout the 1980s including the big push to try to get it ratified before the amendment expired in 1982. The League often reminded its members that it was used to a long struggle, having been founded just before women received the right to vote in 1920 by women suffragists. Still, there is some discouragement to be found in the newsletters when, over and over again, the Florida Legislature failed to take up the ERA in any meaningful way.

This is just one of the many stories you’ll find in these materials which offer a unique look at women and politics in Tallahassee, Florida and the United States in some of our most volatile political decades. To get an idea of what you’ll find in the entire collection, please see the finding aid. To browse more of the materials digitized, please visit the collection at DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository.

Sunshine State Digital Network New Local Site

The Sunshine State Digital Network has a new local site. This page aims to highlight the “rich history and culture” of Florida through user-friendly search technology and pre-made collections. SSDN.DP.LA, the new local site, has many filters that make searching and sifting through content an easy and enjoyable experience. Some of these filters include contributing institution, date range, type of content, language, or more. Users can uncover content ranging from text, images, videos, audio clips, books, or more.

The new local site has 4 highlighted, curated searches for users to browse. Users can look through search results focused on the Caribbean, Civil and Human Rights, maps of the state of Florida and its local communities, and Florida’s environment. Users can access these pre-made searches straight from the homepage of the new local site.

This is the Browse by Partner page of the new SSDN.DP.LA site.

Another unique feature to the new local SSDN site is the browse by partner tab. In the upper left hand corner of the SSDN.DP.LA page is an option to browse the content via the contributing institution. All 21 contributors are available to browse through. This browsing option makes it easy to access a specific contributor’s content or discover a new contributor whose content you have never accessed before.

Love Your Pet Day – Means Family Home Movies

Today on National Love Your Pet Day, Special Collections & Archives celebrates not only our own pets, but those of our collection creators as well!

Dog and people at beach, 1954
Means Family and dog at beach, 1954. From MSS 2018-004, Box 9, Reel 6.

Continue reading Love Your Pet Day – Means Family Home Movies

State of the Digital Library

In 2019, we added 11 new collections to the digital library. We also added 1,414 new books (over 71,000 pages). 6,759 images, 1,028 newspaper issues and 3,707 PDF files. All added up with all the other types of files we loaded, we added 13,760 new items in the digital library in 2019! Now, the more interesting question, what are people looking at in the digital library?

We can’t break these numbers down by year easily unfortunately so these are the top viewed items in the Digital Library as of early February 2020:

Dissertation of Paul A. M. Dirac for Ph.D. degree, Paul A.M. Dirac Collection: 20,517
Golden bells, or, Hymns for our children, multiple collections: 7,113
Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey clown college, Harrison Sayre Collection Posters: 6,463
Child’s ABC of the war, multiple collections: 4,982
Il Secolo (Milan, Italy) (newspaper object only): 3,602
Stephen Graham’s notes from travels in the Jim Crow-era South, Stephen Graham Papers: 1,875
Joyfull newes out of the new found world, Cookbooks and Herbals: 1,738
Le Moniteur universel (newspaper object only): 1,654
All about cookery, Cookbooks and Herbals: 1,371
Tallahatchie Civil Rights Driving Tour, Davis Houck Papers: 1,331

Title page from Mrs. Beeton’s All About Cookery, 1890

I separated out the most views in the Heritage & University Archives (HUA) items as those are a different set of materials with a different audience than the rest of our digital collections. In news that will surprise few, FSU football items dominate the top viewed materials with the university archives. The top viewed items in the HUA collections as of early February 2020:

Florida Flambeau (newspaper object only): 5,616
2015-16 Florida State University Fact Book: 3,606
Tally-Ho 1952, FSU Yearbook: 1,306
Dorothy Price at FSCW, Florida State College for Women Photographs: 1,289
1980-81 Florida State University Bulletin General Information: 1,072
1993 Florida State Seminoles Football Media Guide: 1,000
Vernon Fox, Criminology, FSU Historic Photographs: 956
President Campbell with Werner Baum: 895
Florida State Football Team, 1962: 845
“A Cannibal Wife” in the Zo-Imba Production, Pat Arrants Collection 1955-1958: 835

“A Cannibal Wife” in the Zo-Imba Production (don’t you wonder what is happening here?!)

Explore all the items in the FSU digital library and see what you can find!

Enslaved Lives in the Archives at FSU- Research Guide and ASERL Exhibit Update

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A list of enslaved people that George Whitfield of Tallahassee owned as of 1862. [Original Object]

Special Collections & Archives wants to share some updates on our work surfacing and highlighting collections documenting local enslavement and sharecropping. Collaborating with the Tallahassee History and Human Rights Project in their creation of the Invisible Lives Tours produced a list of our archival materials that we wanted to make more visible and accessible to researchers and the general public. What followed was the creation of a research guide solely devoted to gathering our primary sources of Enslavement and Sharecropping in Florida in one place.

The guide aims to promote and support historical and genealogical research in Tallahassee and surrounding counties. In the guide you can find relevant manuscript collections, rare books, and oral histories available on-site and/or digitally. To find Special Collections research guides, navigate to the FSU Libraries home page, click on “Research Guides,” select “By Group,” and then select the drop-down menu “Special Collections.”

From that body of material, we digitized and submitted objects for inclusion in the Association of Southeast Research Libraries’ (ASERL) “Enslaved People in the Southeast” collaborative exhibit that debuted November 4th. The exhibit commemorates the 400 years that have passed since enslaved Africans were first sold in the English colonies in 1619 marking the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

FSU and thirty-five other institutions offered a range of primary sources including “photos, letters, bills of sale, emancipation documents, insurance and taxation documents, and maps indicating segregation zones.” With this breadth of archival primary sources, “Enslaved People in the Southeast” seeks to show the social complexity of enslavement and its legacy across sharecropping, Jim Crow, and segregation. 

To access our collections, we invite members of the FSU community and the general public to our reading room on the first floor of Strozier Library Monday-Thursday from 10:00-6:00 and Friday from 10:00-5:30. We also encourage those interested to browse our digital library, DigiNole.

Boots Thomas Digital Collection online from the FSU WWII Institute

Ernest Ivy “Boots” Thomas Jr. was born on March 10, 1924 and raised in Monticello, Florida. He served as a Platoon Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Company E, Second Battalion, 28th Marines of the Fifth Marine Division during World War II. His collection, held by The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience, contains the letters he sent home to his mother during his time training at Parris Island, South Carolina, as well as the time he served as a drill instructor for the Marine Corps.

Through his letters, one can follow his very active and exciting time in the service, starting from his attempts to join (despite having color blindness) and leading him through to his training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Camp Pendleton in California, Camp Tarawa in Hawaii, and eventually into the Pacific Theatre for combat in the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Ernest “Boots” Thomas postcard to his mother, Martha Thorton Thomas, September 9, 1943 [original object]

Boots Thomas was known by his comrades and leaders as a natural leader, taking a post as drill instructor early on in his military career. During the campaign for Iwo Jima, Thomas battled through the rough terrain of the island and Mt. Suribachi, taking charge after the platoon leader was wounded. Leading the platoon, he and his men successfully defended against the Japanese and raised the first American flag atop Suribachi on February 23, 1945. The subsequent second larger flag raising, for which Thomas was not present, would later be repeated and captured in the now-famous photograph from Joe Rosenthal of American Press. Thomas was killed in action on March 3, 1945, seven days before his 21st birthday, and awarded the Navy Cross for “extraordinary heroism,” along with the Purple Heart Metal and other combat-recognition awards.

This digital collection was described by FSU student Carmellina Moersch of The Institute for World War II and the Human Experience. Moersch is a senior at Florida State studying Classics, Humanities and Religion. At the Institute, she works as an Archival Assistant, processing collections and gaining important experience related to historical research, analysis, exhibit curation, and more. The Institute works diligently to preserve the photographs, letters, and artifacts of service members and their families. The Institute depends on Undergraduate and Graduate students to process collections, create finding aids, perform administrative tasks, and help further the goal of making our holdings available to researchers and scholars around the world.

To view the Boots Thomas letters in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository, visit its collection there. You can see all digital collections from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience in DigiNole as well. For more information about the Institute and its programs, please visit its website.

Behind the Scenes: Enslaved Lives in the Archives at FSU

Special Collections and Archives spent this summer contributing to two projects centered on the lives of local enslaved people. Currently, we are supporting the Tallahassee History and Human Rights Project. The first phase of this collaborative effort between the Grove Museum, Goodwood Museum & Gardens, the Tallahassee Museum, and the community seeks to better interpret the lives and experiences of the enslaved people that lived on and built the plantations at those sites.

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The Roderick Kirkpatrick Shaw Estate Division of Slaves

To support them, Special Collections & Archives identified manuscript collections, rare books, oral histories, and historic newspapers held at FSU that provide insight on African and African American lives from Territorial Florida to the Great Depression in Tallahassee and surrounding counties. We primarily found plantation records, personal papers, and business records documenting the era of enslavement and sharecropping in the Tallahassee locale. Please join these three museums for a series of tours on Saturday, September 14th that commemorate the lives and experiences of local enslaved people.

Alongside the research done for the Tallahassee History and Human Rights Project, Special Collections and Archives digitized and submitted objects to a collaborative online exhibit curated by the Association of Southeast Research Libraries (ASERL). The exhibit recognizes and commemorates the 400 years since the arrival of enslaved Africans in the United States.

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The Notebook of George Whitfield, a Slave trader in Tallahassee and Leon County. Digital version available here

The exhibit covers five periods: Colonial, American Revolution and Constitution, Antebellum, Civil War, and Twentieth Century. The digital exhibit is slated to debut on the Omeka platform in November. Our contributions, including the Whitfield Notebook to the right, have been digitized and added to our digital library, DigiNole.

Supporting these initiatives led Special Collections and Archives to question how to make our own holdings more visible and accessible. We started with the objects submitted to the ASERL Exhibit and added them to our digital library. The documents below are examples of what we identified that will be digitized in the near future. Alongside digitization, we have begun to incorporate these materials in class visits and aim to include them in research guides. As always, we encourage everyone to visit our reading room to view and work with our collections.

New additions to the digital library documenting enslavement and sharecropping include manuscript and printed sharecropping contracts, the Whitfield Notebook, and the R.F. Van Brunt General Store 1911 Day Book.

Special Collections & Archives welcomes visitors to our reading room on the first floor of Strozier Library Monday-Thursday from 10:00-6:00 and Friday from 10:00-5:30.