The Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection features a wide range of folklore related topics and this week’s blog explores food lore and folk art with a local twist. Carol Watkins’ paper from the collection features photographs and information on Myra’s Dionysus, a charming restaurant situated in a unique building at 121 Calhoun Street. Myra’s Dionysus is well known locally for their ethnic foods, vegetarian options and, perhaps most notably, for their seasonal soups. If you have ever visited the restaurant, you might remember that the soups which are being offered that day are listed on colorful hand-painted signs hanging in the doorway to the small, but cozy, dining room. Continue reading Myra's Dionysus: Local Folk Art and Food Lore
Are you in election withdrawal? Don’t know what you will do without those election commercials? Even if you are still celebrating the fact that you can turn on the TV and listen to a commercial that does not talk about Republicans, Democrats, unemployment, or debt, you may still enjoy this exhibit by the Museum of the Moving Image. “The Living Room Candidate” holds presidential campaign videos from every presidential election since 1952. It provides an interesting look at the issues of each of those elections and the changes in presidential campaigning since the mid-20th century. For example, look at the cartoons and catchy tunes used in the commercials of John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower, and then the references to violence in the commercials of both Nixon and Humphrey in 1968. See how the families of candidates have been used in campaign commercials over the past sixty years, and make sure to look for any television or movie stars who might show up in a commercial.
The construction of the subway seems to have been something of a spectator sport in Cincinnati, with groups of onlookers crowding along the banks of the old canal and hovering over the rails of bridges, watching as workmen dug out the canal bed to build the framework for tracks and tunnels.
This week I’m reading Pete Townshend’s recently published autobiography, Who I Am, and it brought to mind how we document part of his life here in the Archives & Rare Books Library. It was nearly 33 years ago that The Who played Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati on December 3, 1979 and eleven people were killed in a stampede for festival seating.
Digitally preserving eighty-year-old negatives and prints for online access requires clear guidelines and close attention to detail to ensure all information contained in the photographic records is captured. Such a project also requires careful organization of the physical collection so that all assets may be accounted for through each stage of the project. Finally, close inspection of the digital rendering is necessary to ensure the highest quality of scanned images is obtained and preserved for future use.
Due to the unstable nature of the negatives, safe handling of the physical material is a priority both during the organization phase of the project at the Archives & Rare Books Library, as well as during the scanning phase at Robin Imaging Services. Proper handling will not only protect the physical condition of the negatives and prints, but of those handling them, as well! While organizing the collection, I wear cotton gloves to avoid contact with the negatives and a filtered mask to avoid breathing in any fumes that the negatives may be putting off as they deteriorate. I also use a metal spatula to lift and separate each individual negative. This allows me to create an itemized list of each asset in a spreadsheet, which will be used to generate the metadata that is required to build the online collections. It will also give us a final tally on total number of negatives and prints contained in the collection. Continue reading Subway and Street Improvements Project Digitization Taking Shape
The ability to predict and foresee oncoming weather has long fascinated humans. Before advanced Doppler technology and the ability to capture satellite images, weather prediction methods were passed through generations by way of proverbs and superstitions. The Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection features such lore and shows the interesting ways that it continues to be cycled because of its (sometimes surprising) accuracy.
Jennifer L. Collins’ contribution to the folklore collection has a wide range of weather lore from Southeastern Indiana farmers who depend on the proverbs’ precision even in contemporary times. Even before almanacs became popular, easy to remember lines were most effective for passing the tradition of weather lore. A fairly common proverb of Southern Ohio is “Red sky at night, sailors delight, Red in the morning, sailors take warning.” This lore can be traced back at least to biblical times where it is paraphrased in Matthew 16:3 “And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring” (King James Bible). Continue reading Silver Linings and Early Birds: Weather Lore in the Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection
The Archives and Rare Books Library has been working with Cincinnati Ballet to prepare for their 50th anniversary season which begins in 2013. As part of the celebration, David Lyman, the dance writer for The Cincinnati Enquirer, is working on a book about the ballet. Lyman was contracted to write the book by the Cincinnati firm, Allegori, who, in turn, has a contract for the book with Cincinnati Ballet. Lyman has been doing research on the ballet using Cincinnati Ballet records and the David McLain and David Blackburn Collection held in the Archives and Rare Books Library. Photos and slides from these records are currently being scanned for use in the book which will be released in 2013. Although the images in this blog post are not necessarily ones chosen for the book, they are a sampling of the some of the images in the collections.
-Not your colloquial Irish farewell, mind you, because that would have us skipping out when it is our turn to buy a round of drinks, and you just know we would never do that! Rather, a farewell to Archives Month in Ohio and its 2012 theme of “Ethnic Peoples of Ohio.” In southwest Ohio, the focus has been on Irish heritage and the Celtic contribution to our culture. From businessmen and women and Civil War soldiers to civic leaders and politicians, to writers and artists, Cincinnati and this corner of the state have been greatly enriched by the Irish.
In addressing this theme in October, we were very fortunate that it coincidentally embraced the annual Niehoff Lecture at the Mercantile Library, presented by Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. It could have been happenstance, of course, but more likely cinnuint, or destiny to youse guys. On Saturday evening, October 20, Heaney spoke before an enthralled audience at the Westin Hotel as part of a lecture series that has helped mark the Mercantile as the center for literary life in Cincinnati. Continue reading Cead Slan, or, A Farewell to Archives Month
As Halloween approaches, many of us are preparing to celebrate the holiday, from trick-or-treating to haunted house tours. October is a month filled with a sense of the uncanny, and the Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection has many local examples from several research papers dealing with all things mysterious and ghoulish.
All communities have their collective legends and mysteries, and Clifton is no exception. Elise Maynard’s paper in the collection titled The Arlin’s Ghost in a Community Context features first-hand accounts from Arlin’s bartenders on the supernatural legends housed within this Ludlow Avenue bar. For years among the staff, there have been legends passed down about spirits that inhabit the building. The oral legends that passed down were brought to action when several bartenders and a few patrons conducted a séance in the basement. Continue reading Local Lore: Haunted Buildings of Clifton
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.