The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Found: Two People in the Flickr Commons!
In celebration of 5 years of the Flickr Commons, peruse a set of the most popular photographs on Flickr to date.
Today marks five years of the Flickr Commons, an online space for cultural heritage institutions to post historic photographs, and other images, with the "no known copyright restrictions" terms. Library of Congress was the first to make their mark on the Commons. We follwed 6 months later in June 2008. It's been immensely satisfying to get to know visitors, see what they dig up about our collections, and after 5 years, observe the dedication people show in helping us do some of the work we frankly don't have time and/or resources to get to. Specifically, two recent comments helped us identify faces in our collections.
The first identification happened in September 2012, nearly a year after we uploaded a picture of Agnes Mary Claypole Moody. A timely comment from Flickr user, Elliot20122012, gave us evidence supporting previous comments made pointing to Moody. It turns out Elliot20122012 had been in touch with a descendant of Clarypole Moody’s, Kate Moody, who sent Elliot20122012 a photo of the Claypole sisters in 1898. Elliot20122012 shared the photo with us and alas, a match was made.
Agnes Mary Claypole Moody (1870-1954), was a zoologist and professor of natural science, and Edith Jane Claypole (1870-1915) was also a biologist. According to Caltech’s website, when the California Institute of Technology was known as the Throop University vocational school in 1898, Edward Waller Claypole was their geology and biology instructor. He had twin daughters, Agnes and Edith, who earned their Masters of Science; Edith in 1893 with a thesis on the blood cells of amphibians and Agnes in 1894 with a thesis on the digestive tract of eels. In 1898, Agnes Mary Claypole wrote a book called, “The embryology and oögenesis of Anurida maritime" (Anurida maritima is a wingless animal found in water).
When Edward Waller Claypole died in 1901, both daughters were hired on at Throop University to teach in his place. In 1903-4, Agnes M. Claypole was Professor of Natural Science and Curator, the first female biology professor at Throop. After a year on the job, she married Robert O. Moody, and moved to northern California where she later joined the faculty at Mills College.
The second identification happened just the end of last week. We had posted a set of images from the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in January, 2010. We knew the identity of the man on the right to be William Silverman, the father of the donor of the collection, Henrietta Jenrette. However, we didn't know the name of his teacher who had accompanied him to the trial.
Jenrette contacted us after finding his photograph in the 1925 and 1922 Chattanooga Hight School yearbooks with a match. There's no mistaking the face of Creed F. Bates, Jr., aka "the living Dynamo of Chattanooga High School," as the senior class of 1925 affectionately called him.
Jenrette commented, "Isn't the Internet wonderful?" Actually, we think the people who give their time to helping us learn about our collections are wonderful. It is satisfying to see an unidentified person become a complete composition with a history and a name. This is the power of the crowd, and we thank you!