The New York Public Library has joined the The Commons, the special Flickr program for libraries and museums, who share their collections on Flickr and encourage members of the community to add comments and tags to help describe the images. The New York sets shared here include photographs of dance legend Ruth St. Denis, production photographs from early cinema, travel photographs from Egypt, Syria, Japan and other places, Civil War photographs, a large selection of Berenice Abbott’s Changing New York photographs from the 1930s, and more.
The Boston Public Library is sharing several collections of artistic and historic images to Flickr, including local brewery posters, rare books, manuscripts, postcards, photographs and much more.
Two collections are of particular interest for local interest to NOBLE libraries. The Tichnor Brothers postcards of New England includes over 1,800 Massachusetts images, including many from our area. These postcards are a good source of images of parks, bridges, statues, libraries, churches and other local landmarks.
The Leon Abdalian collection includes historic sites photographed in 1930 during the Massachusetts Tercentenary celebration, when the Boston Daily Record hired Abdalian as the “Photographer of Historic Shrines,” and it includes some sites in our area, including the Balch House in Beverly.
Two recent news stories caught my eye, quite literally. Each reported the discovery of a previously-unknown childhood photograph of a legendary American woman. The women couldn’t be more different : the notorious Lizzie Borden and the inspirational Helen Keller. In each case, the newly-discovered photographs give us a rare glimpse into the childhood of these women — in both cases, the new photographs may be the earliest known photographs of their subjects.
Yesterday’s Brainiac column in the Boston Globe, “Everyone’s a historian now,” is about the Library of Congress images on Flickr. Columnist Joshua Glenn admits that asking the crowd to provide identification and information about these pictures makes him nervous, but notes that “so far, so good” and he gives examples of information already provided by Flickr members. “Crowdsourced history — maybe there’s something to it, after all.”
The Library of Congress collections on Flickr have gotten a lot of attention and activity since its launch on January 16. Flickr reported on their blog that in the first twenty-four hours after the launch, users added about 19,000 tags and just over 500 comments. The Library of Congress reported on their blog that all 3,100 + photographs had been viewed, with over 650,000 photo views in total as of the evening of January 17.
The Library of Congress and Flickr have a new pilot project called The Commons. Photographs from two of the American Memory collections, 1930s-40s in Color and News in the 1910s, a total of over 3,000 images.
The first set consists of photographs taken for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 and focus on rural areas and farm labor, and World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working, and these records have some descriptive and subject information that’s been carried over to Flickr. The other collection, New in the 1910s, are news photographs from the Bain News Service, taken in about 1910-1912, and there’s minimal information for these.