Admittedly scatter-brained in many regards, it sometimes takes a few days for me to catch on to matters. To wit, two weeks ago a book arrived on my desk from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers accompanied by no letter or other explanation, only the package with my name typed on the label. I thought it was just another of the occasional books that find their way here, usually self-published religious or philosophical musings that are mailed wholesale to everyone and his brother. The title was interesting, though: Terrorist Attacks on American Soil: From the Civil War Era to the Present, and it was from a legitimate publisher. But even so, I set it aside with barely a glance. Continue reading The McNamara Brothers and American Terrorism
An immediate advantage gained by the digitization of the subway construction negatives is that one can now easily follow the progress being made on the project. From images of the drained canal bed and the earliest scoops of dirt removed to shots of the broad parkway ready to receive pedestrian and automobile traffic, researchers accessing the images will be able to follow each step of the process, much like the crowds of curious onlookers who gathered daily to watch the event in the early 1920s.
Once the collection is made available online, viewers may easily follow the construction process for each section of the proposed route, thanks to the photographer who carefully documented each image by writing the date, time, and location of each photograph directly on the negative itself. Such information is an invaluable historic record of the project, and of the city of Cincinnati, and will be captured in a database to make searching for specific images within the collection that much easier.
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
In addition to the John Cage Festivities this week at CCM, another major event has happened in the musical world: one of the century’s greatest composers, Elliot Carter died on Monday, Nov. 5th, at 103 years of age.
Born on Dec. 11th, 1908, at age 15 Carter met composer Charles Ives who was an extremely influential mentor, introducing Carter to contemporary composers and musicians and encouraging his musical development. Throughout the 1920s, Carter spent most of his summers in Europe studying the scores of composers from the second Viennese school – Schoenberg, Berg, Webern – and eventually matriculated to Harvard University. At Harvard, where he studied with Gustav Holst, Carter received a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Music. In 1932, Carter went to Paris to study at the Ecole Normale de Musique, in addition to taking private lessons with Nadia Boulanger (who was a notable teacher of many other famous composers, like Aaron Copland and Philip Glass). Carter returned to the US in 1936, mainly residing in New York. Throughout his career he taught at Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Julliard, Peabody Conservatory, Queens College, and St. John’s College. He was also composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome and Berlin. Continue reading Celebrating the 103 years of Elliot Carter's Life: Reflecting on the Great Composer's Ties to the Queen City
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 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.
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