Archive for February, 2011

Felucca at sunset

Posted by Nina in Best of The Commons
Felucca at sunset

creator: Mary McKercher, Photographer, Brooklyn Museum Mut Expedition
Felucca at sunset,
creation date: 2011
Brooklyn Museum: ID number: unknown

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Recent Uploads to the Commons

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Recent Uploads

Catching up with the Continent …

The Bibliothèque de Toulouse has been prolific in its uploads since the new year, with hundreds of new regional images, including stereoscopic landscapes, stamps, ships, bullfights, and warmer days in Biarritz.

Arènes, toréro, taureau
Eighty new images from Bergen Public Library focus on portraits, especially of Edvard Grieg and family, and on scenes of Norway.

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson & Edvard Grieg
The Swedish National Heritage Board continues regular weekly uploads of a range of its collection, with a wealth of rune stones and landscapes.

Archaeological excavation in Härnösand, Ångermanland, Sweden
From the Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, dozens of new images of architectural treasures, workplaces, celebrations, and more.

Móveis A. Campos, Ldª, Lisboa, Portugal
And Nationaal Archief brings us poverty to receive gifts and celebrate Mardi Gras.

Prins Carnaval Wannes I

60 Men, 61 Moustaches

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Uncategorized

For your viewing pleasure, we bring you Anna’s video Awesome Moustaches of the Commons. (Want to know what the accompanying music is? Find out here!)

The Contralto Arrives: Look, Watch, Listen

Posted by Penny in Uncategorized

Dame Clara Butt (1872-1936) was an English contralto with a successful recital career on both sides of the Atlantic. Her physique (she was 6 feet 2 inches tall) and her technique gave her a booming voice that could be mistaken for a man’s in some recordings. She married a baritone, Kennerly Rumford, in 1900. The couple performed together in concerts. They also had three children, Joy, Roy, and Victor.

Dame Clara arrived in New York City with her children in the 1910s and was greeted by news cameras (as were many famous arrivals at the port). Here’s the Bain News Service photograph of the occasion:

Bain News Service, publisher
Clara Butt and children, ca. 1910 to 1915
Library of Congress: ggbain 16086

Okay, family photo, not great art; one of the kids is grimacing, as kids will do. But here’s the cool part: British Pathé film cameras were also present at the occasion. Here’s video of the newsreel they made, showing nearly the same moment. If you ever wished you could see some of the Flickr Commons historical images “in action,” this is a case where you can.

And as long as you’re looking at and watching Dame Clara Butt, here’s audio, in case you want to hear her, too.

Couple of Black Crested Cormorants

Posted by Nina in Best of The Commons
Couple of Black Crested Cormorants

creator: unknown
Couple of Black Crested Cormorants,
creation date: unknown
Oregon State University Archives: P217:set 039 035

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Recent Uploads to the Commons

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Recent Uploads

After several weeks on hiatus, Recent Uploads is back! For the next few posts, Recent Uploads could be as “recent” as November, but we hope you’ll discover something new in the Commons that you’d missed in the meantime.

Montreal, Canada’s Musée McCord is also back, with new sets of Canadian ships and trains, winter and summer sports, and children with toys.

Kahnawake Lacrosse Club, Montreal, QC, 1867
From Western Canada, the Galt Museum & Archives brings Lethridge, Alberta firsts and lost buildings. And what says “Canadian Prairie winter” more than curling?

Eugene B. Ely Piloting The First Aircraft Flight In Lethbridge
Just below the Canada-U.S. border, George Eastman House, an early Commons member, brings more of its fine collection to the Commons — from the animal world … adorable kittens included.

Kitten nestled in a bonnet (ca. 1885)
Across the continent, Oregon State University Archives brings its usual wide range, from colorful suburbs, perfect pools, garden art, and promenades to postwar France, Germany, and “wonderful” Italy. And who can resist a set called Couple of people doing stuff in the Commons?

Couple of women observing rainbow trout
And also in the American West, the University of Washington Digital Collections a sizable set of photographs of Federal Emergency Relief projects from the mid-1930s, from construction projects to housing for the homeless — a significant addition to the growing amount of Depression-era American photography to be found in the Commons.

Cost of Living Survey Office

A Valentine for You, from the Library of Congress

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in News
1890s cupid (

1890s cupid (


Please be ours forever more

Your comments, galleries, & apps

Really help our pictures soar!


Happy Valentine’s Day, from the Library of Congress!

World War I comic (

World War I comic (

(Thanks to Helena Zinkham at the LOC for words and images!)

Wintry weather near Dolgellau

Posted by Nina in Best of The Commons
Wintry weather near Dolgellau

creator: Geoff Charles (1909-2002)
Wintry weather near Dolgellau,
creation date: January 1, 1952.
LlGC ~ NLW / Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / The National Library of Wales: 3368346

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Africa Through a Lens

Posted by Nina in News

The National Archives UK uploaded a new collection to their Flickr photostream, entitled Africa Through a Lens. This collection is comprised of 26 sets, and includes nearly 5,000 images. Happily, this collection will increase in size!

These images of Africa are from collections of Britain’s Colonial Office. This one is from the “Malawi” set:

Description: Chief Mpama. Gao Tribe.  Our Catalogue Reference: Part of CO 1069/108  This image is part of the Colonial Office photographic collection held at The National Archives, uploaded as part of the Africa Through a Lens project. Feel free to share it within the spirit of the Commons.

Chief Mpama. Gao Tribe.

Brady’s Ladies

Posted by Penny in Articles

The US National Archives on Flickr Commons currently has sixty-three sets of photographs by Mathew Brady. Brady is usually remembered as a Civil War photographer—maybe the Civil War photographer—but one set of his images on Flickr, over 200 images, is almost all of portraits of women in the 1860s. Now, before you imagine grim-faced widows in bonnets, high collars, and prim hair, meet Mrs. Chapin:

Mathew Brady
Mrs. Chapin, ca. 1860-ca. 1865
US National Archives: 111-B-1638

Not so prim, hm? The set contains actresses and doctors (Mary Walker and Clemence Lozier), a senator’s wife or two, and a lot of women who, like Mrs. Chapin, are Mrs. Somebody, and that’s all we know about them. The photographs are excellent for details of jewelry and dress construction; one of the images was analyzed at length in Joan L. Severa’s Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900 (Kent State University Press 1995): 335.