The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
- Meet the women behind African American hair care! [via #HiddenHerstory]
- MIT Libraries is kicking off the "Women in Science and Engineering@MIT" archival initiative to improve the representation of women in their archives. [via MIT Libraries]
- Know someone with cognitive and sensory processing disabilities? Tell them about Morning at the Museum, a program that provides early access to Smithsonian museums with facilitated activities! [via Smithsonian Torch/Smithsonian Accessibility Program]
- Hear and explore Russian futurist art books on the Getty's new website. [via Getty Hub]
- The Musée de la Civilisation can connect you with your 2000-year-old doppelganger! [via Smithsonian Magazine]
- Seven countries and an American donor are pledging $75.5 million to protect cultural heritage from war and terrorism. [via Art Daily]
- The U.S. National Archives and Mellon Foundation kicked off an initiative to "make historical records readily accessible to scholars, students, and the American people." [via Info Docket]
- A 360-degree sense for what it's like to conduct field research in the Amazon via Biographic:
More than two dozen field diaries handwritten by Arthur Wilson Stelfox (1883-1972), an Irish naturalist, are housed in the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Among them is a diary with an intriguing note attached to the inside of the front cover. It reads:
“All scribblings by M.P. Kerney in these 3 vols. of Stelfox’s journal have been removed today 10/2/1975. N.F. McMillan”
In different handwriting on the same slip of paper is written the following:
“Vols. 1, 2 and 3 of Stelfox’s Journal were lent to M.P. Kerney (Imperial College, London) and were returned heavily annotated—naturally without my permission or knowledge. Nora F. McMillan”
This small slip of paper offers several clues into Stelfox’s network of fellow naturalists. Both notes are signed by Nora Fisher McMillan, a fellow naturalist who spent her career working primarily in Liverpool, England. Born in Belfast as Eleanor Fisher, she made her mark as a self-taught naturalist and published her first paper in 1926, at the age of 18. Through the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club she met Stelfox whom she described as a major influence. Second, we have the mention of M.P. Kerney, a geologist. From McMillan’s note, we learn that he is from Imperial College London, although there is no information about when or why he borrowed the journals.
Interestingly, the note is written in two distinctive hands. There are other differences as well. The first is much less formal, using the term ‘scribblings’ rather than ‘annotations’ and it gives a date of 10/2/1975 for removing the unwanted writings. The second is more specific about Kerney, noting his university affiliation, and specifying that his annotations were done without McMillan’s “permission or knowledge”. Of the two, the second seems more likely to have been written by McMillan.
While we cannot know how Stelfox himself might have felt about the annotations, McMillan’s distaste for the practice was quite clear.
McMillan trusted Kerney with the journals. It is unlikely that Kerney meant any harm by his scribblings, but it is a good friend indeed who defends against unwanted annotations.
- Record Unit 7379, Arthur Wilson Stelfox Papers, 1904-1967, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Found in a Field Book, Field Book Project Blog
- 1 of 549
- next ›