Posted: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Over the past ten years, Watson Library has built a rich collection of facsimiles of medieval illustrated Haggadot, the texts read at the Passover Seder meal. These purchases, made possible by Friends of the Thomas J. Watson Library, support the Museum's ongoing series of installations focusing on single masterworks of Hebrew manuscript illumination such as the Washington Haggadah, the Lisbon's Hebrew Bible, and the Rylands Haggadah. These facsimiles also complement Watson's collection of research material on Latin illustrated manuscripts from the same period, since illuminators occasionally worked on both Hebrew and Latin manuscripts.
Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2015
If you have something to sell, it makes sense to let people sample your wares before buying. That's why gelato shops will hand you those tiny plastic scoops with a delicious dollop of gelato: they want you to know firsthand what an outstanding product you will be getting. Businesses have been giving out such samples for ages, sometimes as a bound book. Naturally, there weren't books for ice cream samples (that would be messy), but rather for things like wallpapers, textiles, and fabrics—anything that could be mounted more easily on paper. Salesmen could take these books to show door to door, and businesses mailed them directly to customers. Thomas J. Watson Library has a number of these sample books in our special collections, and here in this post are two of my all-time favorite sample books.
Posted: Wednesday, August 19, 2015
¿Sabías que Nolen Library tiene libros para niños en varios idiomas? Or should I say . . . Did you know that Nolen Library collects children's books in many languages?
Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015
In our previous post, we discussed the safe handling of books with a specific emphasis on headcaps. In this post we'll review book joints and hinges, which also easily incur damage—often as a result of opening books too quickly and/or without adequate support. We'll then conclude by offering a few simple solutions to prevent this type of damage from happening to your favorite books.
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2015
For a few days in the spring, summer, and fall of 1917, the buildings and public spaces of New York City were festooned with decorations to welcome the visiting commissions of America's wartime allies—namely the British, French, Italian, Russian, and Japanese war commissions. Watson Library has digitized four albums documenting these visits with photography by the Wurts Brothers Company, whose studio, founded in 1894, specialized in architectural photography.1 The photographs are fascinating both for the historical context in which they were produced—the United States had just entered the war on April 6, 1917—and for the evidence they provide of buildings and monuments which have remained, have been altered, or have disappeared altogether.
Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015
From finials and doorknockers to gateways and stair railings, ornate iron has been an important medium for decorative expression since the Middle Ages.
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Since 2001, Watson Library has been growing an unparalleled collection of contemporary exhibition catalogues thanks to the generosity of galleries around the world. Our collection of over fifteen thousand print catalogues spans sixty countries, with more than thirty languages represented. Many artists featured in these catalogues have little else published about them, making these publications a vital resource for researching or discovering emerging artists.
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
The Battle of White Mountain, in 1620, was a watershed moment in Czech history. For the next three hundred years, Czech lands would be ruled by the Habsburgs of Austria, leaving Czech language, literature, and culture to fall into disfavor. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, however, as waves of nationalism spread across Europe, Czech academics, writers, and artists moved away from using German and revived Czech language, folklore, and history to refashion a cultural identity that was independent of Austria. As more schools and universities offered instruction in Czech instead of German, the Czech-speaking middle class increased in size and created a demand for a wide variety of Czech-language books.
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Nolen Library has been bustling with activity as of late. On Friday, June 5, the second Teens Take the Met event brought over two thousand New York City high school students to the Museum for all sorts of fun activities. Museum educators and more than forty community partners came together to encourage teens to create, share, and connect with art—and create, share, and connect they most certainly did, making this one of the most lively, energetic, and fun-filled nights of the summer here at the Met.
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2015
As we approach the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, there's no better time to think about redecorating those boring walls in your home with something a little livelier: red-white-and-blue bunting, patriotic songs, or, best of all, hot dogs. If the idea seems appealing, we have the source book for you: The Great American Happy Birthday Book by Jack Denst Designs, Inc., published in 1975 and held in Watson Library Special Collections.