The Subway and Street Improvement Photograph Grant Project- Images of Progress

By: Angela Vanderbilt

The first delivery of scans depicting the 1920s subway construction project has arrived. These scans were made from a set of highly sensitive nitrate-based negatives, which are being digitized first due to their state of deterioration. A variety of factors have contributed to this deterioration, including the physical composition (an unstable silver nitrate emulsion held on a celluloid surface), age (many are from the 1920s-1930s), and environment (negatives had been stored in a location with dramatically fluctuating temperature and humidity levels prior to being stored at UC’s ARB repository), so it’s important to have them scanned as soon as possible. For safety reasons, the nitrate negatives will be destroyed once scanning is completed and image files are approved. Following the nitrate scanning, acetate-based negatives will be scanned. These negatives are also deteriorating due to similar factors but do not pose safety issues like the nitrate negatives, apart from their offensive vinegar smell…Following the negatives, the collection of prints will be sent for scanning. When completed, we will have over 8000 digital images of the subway and street improvements projects, images portraying Cincinnati from the 1920s through the 1950s, with over half produced as positive images from negatives.

Industrial Scene

Men walking along subway route Continue reading The Subway and Street Improvement Photograph Grant Project- Images of Progress

Moving Along. . . in the Subway

By:  Angela Vanderbilt

Subway ConstructionDigitization of the Cincinnati subway and street improvement project prints and negatives began this week with three boxes containing 681 silver nitrate-based negatives delivered to Robin Imaging Services for scanning. Each negative will be carefully scanned by a photo technician experienced in handling silver nitrate negatives, using scanners that operate at low temperature levels to ensure the sensitive nitrate is not exposed to heat. Each negative will be analyzed during scanning to ensure the proper exposure settings are applied to capture the best detail possible when it is saved as a positive image.

Continue reading Moving Along. . . in the Subway

Subway Project: When Good Negatives Go Bad

By Angela Vanderbilt

The project is off to a great start after the first week, with progress made on identifying the percentage of nitrate negatives in the collection, meeting with Robin Imaging Services – the contracted vendor that will be digitizing the negatives and prints – and deciding on what metadata will be captured during scanning to build the online collections.

With help from Lauren Fink, ARB’s student worker, I gathered from archival storage the 32 boxes containing the City Engineer’s negatives and prints and began surveying the collection to determine the percentage of cellulose nitrate vs. cellulose acetate negatives present. Continue reading Subway Project: When Good Negatives Go Bad

Cincinnati Subway and Street Images Digitization Project

By:  Kevin Grace

Today’s image from the project is certainly an intriguing one: when the Rapid Transit Commission in Cincinnati went ahead with their intent to turn the Miami-Erie Canal route into a subway system, they hired a photographer to document every step of the project.  His images detailing the particular day, time, and street location of the subway construction in the 1920s form the bulk of our digitization endeavor.  He captured extraordinary exterior views of the canal bed being widened and deepened as tunnels were built, showing the streets and buildings along the route that is now Central Parkway in Cincinnati.  However, the construction also led to these buildings being damaged – cracks in ceilings, walls, and foundations in private homes and businesses, for which the owners were submitting claims for repairs and restitution.

Photographer for City Engineer

Continue reading Cincinnati Subway and Street Images Digitization Project

Cincinnati Subway and Street Project Grant Underway

By Angela Vanderbilt

Digital Archivist, Cincinnati City Engineer Digitization Project

Angela VanderbiltAs the month of October begins, so too begins a new project for the Archives and Rare Books Library – digitizing and making available on the web the collection of negatives and prints documenting Cincinnati’s early 20th century subway development and street improvement program. New projects often require new hands to help facilitate, and it is my pleasure to join this project as Digital Archivist, marking my own beginning as I strike out on a new project in a new city. Continue reading Cincinnati Subway and Street Project Grant Underway

UC Libraries Receive Grant to Digitize Historic Cincinnati Subway and Street Project Photographs

The University of Cincinnati Libraries were awarded a $60,669 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the State Library of Ohio to digitize and make freely available on the Web the photographic collection of Cincinnati’s subway and street changes archive. Continue reading UC Libraries Receive Grant to Digitize Historic Cincinnati Subway and Street Project Photographs

Generous Gift Funds More News Record Digitization

UC News RecordBy:  Kevin Grace

An additional four years of the University of Cincinnati News Record has now been digitized, thanks to the generosity of a Bearcat alumnus.  Jordan L. Bleznick, a 1976 A&S graduate, funded the project to digitize the student newspaper from 1973 through 1976, adding to the previous digitized issues from 1960 through 1970.  Researchers can access these years by visiting the University of Cincinnati Digital Collections site at: http://digitalprojects.libraries.uc.edu/newsrecord/index.php.  The newspapers are available as full-text and are keyword searchable. Continue reading Generous Gift Funds More News Record Digitization

City of Cincinnati Birth and Death Records

City of Cincinnati birth and death records from 1865 to 1908 with surnames beginning with the letter “A” through the surname “Bach” are now available online. The remaining records are being loaded as quickly as possible. Please continue to check the Digital Collections and Archives and Rare Books Library websites for further updates.

The University of Cincinnati Libraries was awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the State Library of Ohio to digitize the records. Read more about the project online.

– By Janice Schulz