November 2008

blackcatThe title of this post is to commemorate one of the more interesting items spotted for sale in the Bellevue Community College cafeteria by one of my colleagues last week while we were attending the SAA workshop, Understanding Photos.  It also can serve as a catchall for a bunch of items of interest that have been accumulating.

The image of the menu from a New York city restaurant, Au Chat Noir, was chosen because: a) we needed another cat picture on this blog; and b) wanted something illustrative, but unusual, to grab your attention about yet another historic preservation campaign related to the performing arts.  As has been widely reported, five of the remaining buildings on West 28th Street that once constituted Tin Pan Alley are up for sale (presumably for demolition and redevelopment).  32 West 28th Street isn’t among them, but perhaps some of the songwriters and publishers dined at Au Chat Noir.

Meanwhile, over on the Archives Hub blog, the latest post talks about a recent event held to demonstrate “what archives can show us about holidays and seaside resorts” in Britain and publishes a great image of a pierrot show cast, held by the University of Exeter Library.

Finally (and this is to whet your appetite for the hopefully-not-too-stale series of upcoming posts about SAA 2008 Session 406), NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday featured a segment on Jonatha Brooke’s creative utilization of material in the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives.

Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery Image ID: 475669


Another announcement of a major gift to an institution in the U.K. — this time it is a transatlantic transfer.  A private collector and playwright from the United States, John Wolfson, is donating a valuable collection of early editions of Shakespeare (including a copy of the first folio) to Shakespeare’s Globe, which is planning to open its own library.


Image credit: British Library G.11631 title page

Professor Edison Exhibiting the Phonograph to Visitors at his Laboratory, Menlo Park, NJ

Professor Edison Exhibiting the Phonograph to Visitors at his Laboratory, Menlo Park, NJ

An elusive collection of early wax cylinder recordings have been turned up by scholars in Russian archives.  Read the NY Times account (and hear some samples) here.

Image credit: Portrait of Thomas Alva Edison, et al. from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Family Almanac, 1879; NYPL Digital Gallery ID #1227620