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Fondly, Pennsylvania

Fondly, Pennsylvania is HSP's main blog.  Here you will find posts on our latest projects and newest discoveries, as well articles on interesting bits of local history reflected in our collection.  Whether you are doing research or just curious to know more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at HSP, please read, explore, and join the conversation!

HSP Blog

Highway to the TEI Zone, or, Applying Text Encoding to Image Annotation

We’ve been making a lot of technological progress on the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) Project. My colleague Cat Lu has highlighted the exciting capabilities of the new HSP image viewer and annotation tool in a great blog post. We now have the ability to annotate images by drawing shapes around details on an image and associating a text box—containing transcription or commentary—with that portion of the image.

Detail from political cartoon "Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal," with annotation "urn baby, urn."

A lot of the behind-the-scenes work on the project, however, has centered on the question of how to incorporate TEI encoding, which we’ve used in our previous text-encoding-based digital history projects, into the new tools we’re developing for this project (see my colleague Dana Dorman’s informative blog posts here and here for some background on TEI and text encoding).

The updates we’ve applied to our digital assets management system now allow us to import and export TEI encoding. But how do we use TEI encoding to annotate details of graphic images?

Thomas Nast, "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair," Harper's Weekly, May 13, 1876

 "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair," HSP cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133), box 10, folder 6

For example, in this cartoon, how would text encoding and the HSP image viewer work together to create an annotation highlighting an easily-overlooked detail—that the medal worn by the presidential lion says “Patria”?

Detail of "Patria" medal from cartoon "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair"

We can already encode the word “Patria.” But to link it to the right part of the image, the helpful TEI <zone> element comes into play. We can add a <zone> element to the section of the document that provides detail on the image file to which we’re applying annotation and give it an identifier, such as “medal,” a number, and an empty “points” attribute to record the zone’s coordinates.

<zone n="5" xml:id="medal" points=""/>

In the section of the document where we transcribe text and add editorial commentary, we encode a <div> element with the transcription of the medal text and link it to the zone element by using an attribute called “facs” (short for facsimile).

<div type="image_transcription" n="5" facs="#medal"><p>Patria</p></div>

Then, thanks to the updates we’ve made to our digital asset management system, we can upload the TEI code to the HSP image viewer, causing a polygon and annotation box to appear. Imported zone annotations are placed randomly on the image, so we have to position the polygon over the right part of the picture. We also have the option of adding or subtracting points to the zone to make it whatever shape we want.

Detail from cartoon "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair" with "patria" medal annotation visible

Then, again, thanks to the behind-the-scenes updates, we hit an “export” button in the system to create a valid TEI document in which the correct points of the polygon have been filled in:

<zone n="5" xml:id="medal" points="52.82,55.32 55.51,54.83 56,59.73 51.35,59.57"/>

This works really nicely for light annotation of cartoons. For instance, transcribing just the text of “The Crowning Insult” involves encoding and positioning just eight zones, spaced comfortably around the image as a whole.

Political cartoon "The Crowning Insult to Him Who Occupies the Presidential Chair" annotated with eight zones

But images that require a lot of zones present a challenge. Here’s one with sixty-four zones, placed randomly after export.

Political cartoon "Liberty Triumphant: or the Downfall of Oppression" covered by sixty-four annotation text boxes

Clearly, we’ll have plenty of challenges to work through as we work to annotate hundreds of political cartoons for our planned demonstration exhibit, Politics in Graphic Detail. Luckily, I think I’ve found a theme song to help me power through (with apologies to Kenny Loggins):

Highway to the TEI <zone>
Gonna take it right into the TEI <zone>
Highway to the TEI <zone>
Ride into the TEI <zone>

Inherent Vice, part I

In the field of conservation there are degradations and vulnerabilities that are brought about by circumstance and environment, and then there are those that are endemic to an object, and fall under the poetic epithet of “inherent vice.”  Perhaps one of the most infamous and widespread potentialities of inherent vice in the realm of historical manuscripts is that of iron gall ink.  So named for its composition of gallotannic acid and iron salts, iron gall ink was the writing ink of the Western world from the late-Middle Ages up through the 19th Century.  The prevalence and popularity of this ink for so many centuries was due in greatest part to its outstanding permanence – a quality which with time has sporadically been known to shift from virtue to vice.  

 

A title page written in iron gall ink from the Bank of North America collection: vol. 404.

 

Nearly all of the record books and ledgers in the Bank of North America collection (col. 1534) are written in iron gall ink, as are many of the other 20 million manuscripts held here at the Historical Society.  In the Western world, the ubiquity of iron gall ink lasted well into the 19th Century when the proliferation of metal nibs and fountain pens required a writing liquid that didn’t result in abundant rust and a “gumming up of the works.”  When considering an ink that rusts steel, it is easy to imaging the potential havoc it might wreak on the comparably delicate substrate of paper.

 

An example of iron gall ink corrosion from a collection of miscellaneous marriage certificates (collection Am .10155)

 

Oak galls from trees in the Aleppo region of Turkey.

 

Iron gall ink is comprised of four essential ingredients: oak galls, iron sulfate, gum arabic, and water.  Oak galls are an abnormal outgrowth that can be found on oak trees, and are an especially rich source of tannins.  The characteristic blue-black of iron gall ink when it is newly written is the result of a chemical reaction between tannic acid and iron sulfate.   For hundreds of years before such a reaction was ever applied to a writing fluid, both oak galls and iron sulfate were used in the dying process – oak galls as a coloring agent, and iron sulfate as a mordant.  As an ink, iron gall acts as a sort of dye, searing itself into the paper and bonding with the fibers; the result is indelible, being both lightfast and waterproof.  

 

    

Gum arabic and iron sulfate, ready for ink making.

 

A fresh batch of iron gall ink, made at HSP in September of 2014.

 

Traveling back a few millennia, it goes without saying that the advent of writing was revolutionary.  Knowledge was suddenly unencumbered by the limitations of a lifespan and the pitfalls of remembrance, and acquired an unprecedented potential to live on for centuries after its author had passed.  Or at least it might live on, if the marks that conveyed the meaning could actually be made to endure.

By way of Late Latin (encaustum) and Old French (enque), our English word “ink” derives  from the Greek enkaustos – a shared great-grandfather of another English word, “caustic:” to burn, to etch.  It is fitting then that humankind’s quest for a permanent writing fluid should find its apparent success in an ink that literally burns itself into the surface of the page.  

 

Detail of a page from the BNA collection; here the iron has started to migrate and the writing is now visible from the opposite side of the page.

 

Unfortunately the very reason that iron gall ink holds up so well initially is also at the heart of its eventual degradation.  The acidity of the ink over time can begin to attack the very paper that supports it.  Historically iron gall ink was made by hand, meaning that while a majority of these manuscripts may be written with ink of the iron gall ilk, the actual chemical makeup can vary greatly based on the recipe, the maker, and the availability and purity of ingredients.

Having an ink with a well-balanced chemistry is crucial.  Because of the iron sulfate, all iron gall inks contain a tiny bit of sulfuric acid; the tannins in the oak galls can actually serve to neutralize this acidity, so long as the molecules remain bonded.  Iron rusts, and so it follows that water would be the bitter foe of manuscripts containing an iron-based ink.  Exposure to moisture or elevated humidity can cause these molecules to breakdown, and the corrosive iron can begin to migrate and attack the substrate.

 

A spread from the BNA collection (vol. 447).  Notice how the ghost of the writing has imprinted, or burned onto the facing page.

 

From the BNA collection (vol. 348): an example of iron gall ink that has etched into the suede surface it was applied to.

 

For museums and special collections libraries, maintaining appropriate climate levels is of the utmost importance.  So long as they are not exposed to excessive moisture, most iron gall manuscripts will last for years to come, but it is still inevitable to encounter books and documents that are suffering from aggressive ink corrosion.  Areas where the ink has been applied more heavily are especially vulnerable, as are papers that have not been adequately sized as this allows the ink to permeate more completely.

 

Blotter papers from the BNA collection, used to blot the ink when it is freshly applied to prevent smudging while wet.

 

Evidence of excessive ink corrosion and losses in the company of water damage.  From an 18th Century school book, belonging to Grace Hoopes (Collection 1066), 1710.

 

Detail of the above, here shown with white paper.

 

By far though, the greatest culprit is water, and excessive ink corrosion is often coupled with staining and other telltale signs of water damage.  The certain peril of exposing iron gall ink to water presents quite a challenge to book and paper conservators as many standard treatments and repairs are fundamentally water-based.  Reversibility is a high priority in today’s philosophy of preservation, and water-based adhesives and humidifying are important tools in the conservator’s arsenal.  To aid in the solving of this conundrum, the Conservation Department at HSP recently attended a weekend workshop at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.  Be sure to stay tuned for part II of this entry, set to appear sometime in April of 2015.

For those who would like to learn more about iron gall ink, there is currently a window display on the subject located on the first floor of HSP, across from the elevator. 

 

 

Political Cartoons and the Classics

As part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, we’ve been researching over 500 political cartoons and have come across a number of cartoons that humorously reinterpret famous works of art and literature.

“Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal,” published in the June 4, 1884, edition of Puck, parodies Jean-Léon Gerôme’s famous 19th century painting Phryne before the Areopagus. In the 1861 painting by Gerôme, an ancient Greek courtesan named Phryne is on trial for a capital crime. Hypereides, her lawyer, fears she will be convicted, and so he brings her before the tribunal and removes her robes. Phryne’s beauty overwhelms the tribunal and they acquit her. Bernhard Gillam, the cartoonist of “Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal,” pokes fun at the 1884 Republican presidential candidate James G. Blaine by depicting him as the courtesan Phryne in Gerôme’s painting. Blaine is covered in tattoos illustrating his corrupt political dealings.. Whitelaw Reid, editor of the New York Tribune, takes the role of Hypereides and unveils Blaine to the stunned ancient Greek tribunal made up of prominent 19th-century Republicans including George W. Curtis, William M. Evarts, Carl Schurz, and Theodore Roosevelt.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal, 1884, (#Bc 612 P 567)

Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gerôme, circa 1861, Wikimedia Commons

The following cartoon pokes fun at Boss Tweed by turning him into the Trojan Priest Laocoon. In the famous ancient sculpture entitled Laocoon and his Sons, sea serpents attack and kill Laocoon and his sons. In the cartoon below entitled “The Modern Laocoon,” Boss Tweed and his ring are attacked by a sea serpent labeled “The Press”.

The Modern Laocoon, 1871, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons & caricatures collection (#3133)

Laocoon and his Sons, Marble, copy of Hellenistic original ca. 200 BC, Wikimedia Commons

“They Have Him Down” satirizes Samuel J. Randall opposition to free trade by recalling a famous scene in Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century novel Gulliver’s Travels. Randall, as Gulliver, is tied down by an army of little people called the Lilliputians. Two little men hoist the Liliputia flag of “Free Trade” on Randall’s chest. Grover Cleveland, the King of the Lilliputians, sits on a throne and wears a crown.

They Have Him Down, Hampton L. Carson Collection (#117)

The following Joseph Keppler political cartoon alludes to Richard Wagner’s 19th-century opera entitled Siegfried. Grover Cleveland, as Siegfried, is dressed in fur, holds a sword of “sound policy,” and fearlessly attacks the war tariff monster. 

Siegfried the Fearless, 1887, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons & caricatures collection (#3133)

If you enjoyed this post about art and literature references in political cartoons, stay tuned for an upcoming post on pop cultural references in cartoons.

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: November 1864

Happy Fall to you all! And thanks for returning to HSP's Fondly PA blog for another set of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.

To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page.  Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Library where you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.

*****

Parry spent November 1864 in two states: Tennessee and Kentucky. At the very beginning of the month, Parry and his regiment set out for Nashville, Tennessee, and they made several stops along the way, including a stop on the outskirts of Chattanooga for horses.  Parry's travels did not keep him away from the polls ("voted for Lincoln & Johnson" – 11/8/64), his spirits remained in good order despite the generally rainy and cold weather he encountered. After spending some time in and around Nashville, he arrived in Louisville, Kentucky, close to the end of the month. He apparently had a decent amount of downtime as he noted attending the Louisville Theatre several times before the month's end.


Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.


*****

Tuesday, November 1
Signed pay Rolls
                                 turned over
Saddles + equipments, those who
had no Horses and at 12 noon
started for Nashville[.] passed
through Rome and encamped on
Calhoun Road[.]           a very rainy
night.

*****

Saturday, November 5
Up and moved out at light[.] marched
to within seven miles of Chattanooga
and encamped. Passed through
Tunnel Hill and Ringold.
                                  Sergt. Connor
And I had some words with
Caot. Griffin[,] 4th Mich. Cavalry
a cowardly sneak of Mc[illegible]
order.

*****

Thursday, November 10
Orders to go to Correll mount the
Men and take charge of (800)
eight hund. Horses + mules and to
procede[sic] to Nashville[.] Started at
[illegible] M. marched to top of Cumberl[and]
Mt. and encamped.  Very grand
Scenery and dreadful bad sleep[,]
Rough road.   The Grandest
Scenery in the South or in America[.]
Clear and cold

*****

Tuesday, November 15
Rainy morning – moved out at
eight O'clock + marched twenty
miles (22) on to Woodbury and
camped.         Drew five Days
Rations.--        very disagreeable
Day --
                 Eve. Conner, Limerick
and I attacked by a fine
corn fed Hog and we killed
him after a Hard fight for
our own private use.

*****

Sunday, November 20
Arrived in Louisville – Dirty,
tired + Hungry having gone
without sleep for 48 hrs and
with very little to eat – got
Shaved + Breakfast and proceded[sic]
Out to camp.
                       Erected quarters.
very cold – no wood and very
disagreeable. Rec'd Letter from
Miss Lukens + Paper from Home.

*****

Wednesday, November 30
Called on Paymaster at Lousiville
and rec'd Pay to October 31, 1854
ammounting[sic] to $1208.27[,] twelve hund. And
eight Doll[ars]. and twenty Seven cts.
             Paid Major Jennings $65.00 due him
on note.       Sent by Adams express
Co. to Phila. for Susan Parry $1000.00
Sent Joseph Willard $5.00 Due him.
Eve. attended Louisville Theatre[,] saw
Cora Hudson play Mazzeppa or the
Wild Horse of Tartan.

*****

Joint Tacketing for Books in Bank of North America Collection

Last summer, the Conservation Department had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for a workshop with Renate Mesmer at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Renate Mesmer the Head Conservator of the Folger Shakespeare Library explaining and demonstrating various techniques.

 

While there, we learned several state-of-the-art techniques in conservation practice.

Among many, one of the eye-opening techniques we learned is called “Joint Tacketing or Board Tacketing”. It is a very simple and less-invasive method of reattaching detached or loose boards. This technique is ideal for mending books with intact text blocks and spines, but where the covers are detached or the hinge is broken.  It works for both hollow-back and tight-back structures.  As we have completed most of the deteriorated volumes that require a whole new binding, we have encountered several volumes that are perfect candidates for this fairly simple and efficient technique.

It is a big challenge for the conservators to decide the best way of treatment to balance these three priorities: least sacrifice of the original quality, function, and the efficiency of the execution. 

Instead of slotting boards or lifting the leather on the boards all across the joint area, this technique requires only several small spots drilled and cut. Also, there is the minimal use of new materials which maximizes preserving the original appearance.

Below are some of the photos of Renate Mesmer’s demonstration on Joint Tacketing

The linen threads and two small pieces of airplane cotton are the only materials used in this technique.

 

We have applied this board attachment method to the books in the Bank of North America collection. Below are images of our treatment procedure in HSP Conservation lab.

These books from BNA collection (above) had detached and loose covers while the text block and spine were still intact where the condition required a board attachment.

Using a hand-held push drill (Jeweler's drill), carefully drill a hole through the shoulder.

Lacing through beading wire as a needle to get thread through the hole.

Cutting a groove into the spine next to the hole to hide the thread.

Using a small piece of airplane cotton, create bridges for the head and tail of the spine.

The linen threads and airplane cotton are all attached to the spine.

The cover is ready to be reattached to the textblock.

Trimming the linen threads before tucking underneath the leather on the cover board.

Using Lascaux, which is reversible and flexible synthetic adhesive, to glue down the thread on the board under the leather.

The detail view from the outside of the book showing the thread knot holding the text block and board together. 

The detail view from the inside of the cover showing the thread knot holding the text block and board together. 

The inner hinge of trimmed Washi (Japanese paper) or Han-ji (Korean paper).

 Pasted down Han-ji hinge over the board covers the gap and the tacketted spots along the joint.

The board attachment procedure is completed without any dramatic change of the original appearance.

After completing the board attachment, carefully touching up the white cotton bridges with acrylic paint for a better match to the original material.

Quick and simple touch made a big difference!

 

We have successfully reattached the boards with this new technique.

Although we cannot use this method of board attachment for treating every volume of the Bank of North America collection, it is a great method that responds to all of the three questions we have as conservators: functional longevity, retaining the original look, and the efficiency of the procedure. 

 

The Election of 1864

Tuesday, November 4, 2014, was Election Day in Philadelphia. One hundred and fifty years ago Americans headed to the polls to participate in another important election. On Tuesday, November 8, 1864, voters decided whether to elect Democratic candidate George McClellan or Republican presidential incumbent Abraham Lincoln. The presidential election of 1864 was a crucial election in our nation’s history because it would directly determine the outcome of the Civil War and ultimately, the fate of the Union.

After three long years of Civil War, the nation grew tired of the continuing bloodshed, and so a war opposition group called the Peace Democrats formed in the North. Also known as the Copperheads, the Peace Democrats wanted an immediate end to the Civil War. They believed the South ought to remain in the Union, but if the South wanted its independence, it should be allowed to secede from the Union.

George Pendleton, McClellan’s vice presidential running mate, was a staunch Copperhead. However, McClellan, who had served as commander of the Army of the Potomac, rejected the notion of an immediate end to the war and disagreed with his party’s platform, which would allow the South to form the Confederate States of America. Consequently, McClellan’s views on the war seemed inconsistent to many voters. Lincoln, on the other hand, would never accept peace without first restoring the Union and abolishing slavery. Despite the divisiveness in his political party and the fact that the country had grown war-weary, Lincoln won a landslide victory. He was reelected with 55 percent of the vote and won every state except New Jersey, Kentucky, and Delaware. Lincoln’s victory meant that the nation was willing to continue fighting in order to secure the abolition of slavery and the restoration of the Union.

As we’ve worked to select approximately 500 political cartoons as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Images, New Technologies project, we’ve come across several cartoons depicting the 1864 presidential election. In the 1864 cartoon below, “Slow and Steady Wins the Race,” the artist depicts McClellan’s conflicting viewpoints on the war. McClellan tries to straddle two horses by placing one leg on the “Mac War Horse” and the other on “The Peace Donkey.” Meanwhile, Lincoln rides off to victory on his horse “Slow and Steady.”

Slow and Steady Wins the Race, 1864. Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)

 

In the 1864 cartoon below, Liberty wields a sword and shield, calls McClellan an “unworthy Son of a great Nation,” and tells him to abandon his bid for the White House.

Little Mac Trying to Dig His Way to the White House but is Frightened by Spiritual Manifestations, 1864. Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)

In an 1864 political cartoon published by Currier & Ives, McClellan serves as mediator between two men tearing the nation apart, Abraham Lincoln (president of the Union) and Jefferson Davis (president of the Confederacy).

The True Issue

The True Issue or "Thats Whats the Matter," Currier & Ives, 1864. Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)

In another 1864 cartoon published by Currier & Ives, a Copperhead is surrounded by a Blunderhead, Sorehead, Blockhead, and Wronghead. The cartoon is a commentary on McClellan’s acceptance of the presidential nomination and rejection of the Democratic Party’s peace platform.

Heads of the Democracy

Heads of the Democracy, Currier & Ives, 1864. Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (#3133)

Researching political cartoons from the Civil War era is certainly a fun and rewarding experience. The cartoons we’ve found depicting the election of 1864 have reminded me that elections shape the course of history and that every vote counts.

#CreepyCartoons

Halloween is right around the corner, and to celebrate, the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project has been posting a selection of the creepiest cartoons in our collections to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Tumblr blog. Click here, or on any of the image details below, to experience some of the CREEPIEST...

Andrew Jackson's head (detail from "The Political Barbecue")

SPOOKIEST...

Wall of skulls (detail from "An Available Candidate")

FREAKIEST...

Stephen Douglas on an oyster shell, about to be eaten by a giant Abraham Lincoln, exclaims "I'm a gone sucker!!" (detail from "Honest Abe Taking Them on the Half Shell")

EERIEST...

Death, depicted as a skeleton in Egyptian garb, holding a scythe and labeled "cholera" (detail from "The Kind of 'Assisted Emigrant' We Can't Afford to Admit")

and MOST DOWNRIGHT DISTURBING cartoons we have to offer.

A grinning William Jennings Bryan hides behind a giant William Jennings Bryan mask (detail from "A Hallowe'en Party. Nearly Time to Unmask, Willie")

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Full versions of these cartoons can also be viewed on HSP's Digital Library:

The Political Barbecue (1834). Call number Bc 612 Pb232, in Historical Society of Pennsylvania medium graphics collection (V64)

An Available Candidate (New York: N. Currier, 1848). Call number Bb 612 Ac161, in Historical Society of Pennsylvania medium graphics collection (V64)

Honest Abe Taking Them on the Half Shell, by Louis Maurer (New York: Currier & Ives, 1860). Box 4, folder 4, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (3133)

"The Kind of 'Assisted Emigrant' We Can Not Afford to Admit," by F. Graetz, in Puck, July 18, 1883. Box 5, folder 1, Balch Broadsides: Satirical Cartoons (PG278)

"A Hallowe'en Party. Nearly Time to Unmask, Willie," by Fred Morgan, in Philadelphia Inquirer, October 31, 1908. Box 2, folder 9, Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection (3133)

 

An Introduction to the HSP Image Viewer

Those of you who have been following our Historical Images, New Technologies (HINT) Project closely will be aware that the project involves development of our Digital Library image viewer for use and integration with TEI-encoded annotations. Our aim is to both provide users with a much more technically capable image viewer that includes long-awaited panning and rotation features, and also allow for a level of graphics cataloging—using a combination of transcriptive and interpretive annotations—that goes beyond structured but limited subject terms and generalized, free-text descriptions. The hope behind this more ambitious workflow is to improve the discoverability of graphic materials and render them more readily usable to researchers.

While work continues on the TEI export component and the research front, here's a sneak peek at the new capabilities of our improved image viewer.

Public features:

1) Image rotation—Simple, but invaluable. 360 degrees capable.

2) Image overview—This allows for easy panning across the image, which comes in handy when zoomed-in for high-resolution viewing. Minimizes endless scrolling across vast engraved landscapes.

Staff features:

3) Rectangle annotation tool

4) Point annotation tool

5) Polygon annotation tool

Ultimately, our hope is that the annotation tool can be utilized for a variety of graphic materials ranging from maps to artwork to photographs, though its zoning capabilities will also allow for new possibilities for encoding manuscripts.

Our end goal, regardless of collection material types, is to provide users with an information-rich digital record using tools that can be reused across platforms by our peer communities.

With that in mind, both the HSP Viewer code and the TEI documents for the project will be available on GitHub, and we would most welcome any thoughts or feedback on future uses and additions to the image viewer.

How Does it Sound? Name Spelling Variations in Pennsylvania German Fraktur

 

 

As the digital collections intern at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, I have been working on digitizing and creating metadata for the Pennsylvania-German collection (V80). The collection consists mostly of Geburts- und Taufscheine (birth- and baptismal certificates), furthermore there are some confirmation certificates, writing exercises, house blessings, bookplates, one butcher’s certificate, an indenture, a watercolor, and some facsimiles of Pennsylvania German fraktur art.


This blog post is about the spelling of names in fraktur, particularly in Geburts- und Taufscheine. While extracting metadata from the birth- and baptismal certificates, it occurred to me that in different documents, some people seemed related yet the spelling of their names were different. However, if you would pronounce their names, they would sound very similar or even the same.


Putting this observation together with a little research on additional information taken from the documents themselves, such as names of parents, names of townships and date-ranges, it became clear that some differently-spelled but similar-sounding names were in fact representing one and the same person or a family-member. In fact, that particular realization greatly helped to clarify that several documents --and respectively the people-- were related to each other.

 

Last names

Let me give you examples taken from this collections, where name-spellings appeared in different versions but which in fact turned out to represent one person or immediate family members. The following images show how the name of Maria Röder appears in different spellings including Roeder and Rohder (record no. 12577 & related objects):

 

 

 

 

 

The situation is very similar with the occurance of the last names Clemmer and Clymer (who are actually related to the Roeders, record no. 12582 & related objects), and Merckel and Merkel (record no. 12675 & related objects).

 

Another example, and the most compelling one about the interchangeability of name-spellings can be found in the Indenture between Godfrey Weyland and Laurence Spindler (record no. 12637).

 

In this document, two versions of the same name appear within one document (see below). The appearance of the name in the official text is stated as Godfrey Weyland and the signature on the bottom right reads Gottfried Wieland. So while the official document spells his name in the anglicized way, the person still signed his name the German way.

 

 

 

 

First names

First and last names were not always anglicized together. My examples above pertained mainly to anglicizations or sound-transcriptions of last names. However, the indenture above (Godfrey Weyland - Gottfried Wieland) already shows how the spellings of first names were also subject to change. 

 

Names such as Heinrich may have records describing him as Henry, and Maria could be found as Mary. The example for Mary can be seen in the three images above. Below you can also see the change from Heinrich Röder, father of Maria (record no. 12577) to Henry Roeder, father of Mary (record no. 12592). 

 

 

 

 

 

In another case the name Feioleta was later transribed into Violetta (record no. 12677). Feioleta is the way a German speaker would literally pronounce the English name Violetta.

 

Abbreviated names

Furthermore, some first names may appear abbreviated in a way that seems rather unusual today. For example: Mar: Macht: Schulze (record no. 12571) is an abbreviation for Maria Magdalena Schulze, as a later document verifies (record no. 12576). Concluding from the transcription of the first example, it looks like that “gd” may likely have been pronounced as a “cht” by these people.

 

Suffixes

Suffixes can also present a spelling-variation of last names. This applies in particular to last names of women, who may carry the suffix “in,” which in some cases designates the feminine form of a name. Today, this is not done anymore with personal last names, hence it still exists in the designation of professions which distinguish between masculine and feminine form (masc./fem.) such as Lehrer/Lehrerin=teacher, Bäcker/Bäckerin=baker, Professor/Professorin=professor.

 

In the (V80) collections, the suffix “in” was found several times, and one example is the name “Gilbertin” as documented in the Geburts- und Taufschein Ritschert Rickert (Ritschert=Richard), where the woman’s last name, Gilbert, contains the suffix “in,” (record no. 12563), while her birth certificate clearly indicates that the family name, as represented by the father, was Gilbert (record no. 12604).

 

 

 

In some cases, the suffix "in" can be abbreviated with an apostroph preceding the "n" (see second image of the blog above: Roeder'n). In other cases, the suffix of a simple "n" to a personal last name will indicate being part of that family.

 

 

Summary

When doing genealogical research involving German immigrants’ documents such as birth certificates, looking beyond the written text and including the sound of the words may reveal otherwise overlooked relationships.

 

In case of doubt, reading words out loud and imagining what the German pronunciation may have sounded like (experts may additionally take regional variations into consideration) and how they then may have been transcribed into English can lead to new insights. Vice versa it may be helpful to think about how various English transcriptions of German names may have looked and sounded like.

 

Another aspect to keep in mind is that in the 18th century, women's last names often carried the suffix “in”. Last not least, the anglicization of first names is also something to include when looking at fraktur documents with personal information.

 

Juliette Appold, PhD, MLIS candidate and intern at HSP Digital Services, October 2014

George F. Parry's Civil War Diaries: October 1864

Greeting readers – we're glad you've returned for another group of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. In celebration of Parry's work and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I'm providing monthly posts on Fondly, PA of transcripts of entries from his diaries.

To see other posts in the series, check out the links over on the right-hand side of this page.  Clicking on the diary images will take you to our Digital Library where you can examine the volumes page by page, along with other digitized items from the Parry collection.

*****

Parry was a busy soldier during October 1864. He and his regiment remained on the outskirts of Atlanta traveling around the city, and they eventually broke farther east. Parry entered several battles with the Confederates and, at least according to Parry's allusions, the Union Army seemed to come out on top each time.  Parry mentioned often made mention of fighting near Rome, Georgia, where he was stationed for a time. At the end of the month, Parry's regiment made a brief march into Northern Alabama, but soon returned to Rome.


Notes about the transcriptions: I've kept the pattern of Parry's writings as close as formatting here will allow, including his line breaks and spacing. My own additional or clarifying notes will be in brackets [ ]. Any grammatical hiccups that aren’t noted as such are Parry's own.


*****

Monday, October 3
Very rainy night. Moved in the Morning
towards Lost Mt. found the Rebels in
heavy force across Sweet Water[.]
rained very Hard part of Day[.]
a Lieut. In Gen'l. Killpatrick['s] Staff
killed one of 4th Michg. Shot
Halted at Sun down and got
supper.   Expecting attack any moment[.]
Genl Hood and Army at Big Shanty.

*****

Friday, October 7
Marched at Night in westerly
direction to near Dallas where we
found Rebels in force. Attacked
them and captured one Brigadier
General and one Lieut. Colonel – the
Brid-Gen'l. Formerly belonged to
The 4th U. S. [illegible][,] also number
of Prisoners[,] one Ambulance, &c.
very nice day and had much
sport. Foraged Corn & Potatoes[.]
Encamped at night five miles
from Dallas.     Cold night.

*****

Thursday, October 13-Friday October 14
Moved on the Rebels at Day Light.
Our Brigade mounted and the 7th
Regt. in advance in the road[.] the other
Bridgs. Dismounted in battle line each
side of road.   Rebes fought will with
Artillery and small arms.  Our Regt. was
ordered to charge with drawn sabers[,] we
flew into the rebel ranks Killing and
capturing their Artillery[,] Sixty Prisoners
and Killing Seventy[.]  Charged on full
run at two [charges?]  fifteen miles
to [illegible] River. Rebels completely
routed [illegible] to near Rome at Dark.
Received a Mail Letters from Home. Shirt[,]
Gloves[,] (Election papers) and Sallie Lukens.
Moved out at light through Rome.
on till after Dark to near Kingston
And then went into camp[.]   Everything
in confusion.     Hard Days march.

*****

Thursday, October 20
Marched at light on into Alabama
through Gaylesville – six miles west
on the same road[.]  Gen'l Jackson
marched on New Orleans.    Fought
the rebel rear Guard all day.   A
splendid day[,] Birds a singing like a
spring day North.     Rosey and I foraged
Corn Oats Potatoes Honey Chickens
Hog &c. Flour.           Fight with a Woman

*****

Tuesday, October 25
Our Brigade in Camp all
Day[.]   other Bridge with [illegible]
went with two Days Rations to
attack the Rebels.
                             Gen'l Elliot
Relieved[.]   Our Division ordered to
Reorganize[.]
                              Mail arrived at Dark[.]
Letters and Papers from Home[.]

*****

Sunday, October 30
Moved out in advance at Light[,] marched
on twenty five miles to home and
encamped North of the city.
                                              Rome Alive
with Soldiers – Thousands of them
three army Corps[.]
                                               Foraged Flour
Dried Apples. Pork and Potatoes[.]
Eve'g Received Mail Letters from Home[.]
Lizzie Barnsley[,] Sallie C. Lukens & papers
From Home.

*****

12/17/14
Author: Rachel Moloshok

We’ve been making a lot of technological progress on the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) Project. My colleague Cat Lu has highlighted the exciting capabilities of the new HSP image viewer and annotation tool in a great blog post. We now have the ability to annotate images by drawing shapes around details on an image and associating a text box—containing transcription or commentary—with that portion of the image.

Comments: 0

12/16/14
Author: Charissa Schulze

In the field of conservation there are degradations and vulnerabilities that are brought about by circumstance and environment, and then there are those that are endemic to an object, and fall under the poetic epithet of “inherent vice.”  Perhaps one of the most infamous and widespread potentialities of inherent vice in the realm of historical manuscripts is that of iron gall ink.  So named for its composition of gallotannic acid and iron salts, iron gall ink was the writing ink of the Western world from the late-Middle Ages up through the 19th Century

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12/10/14
Author: Diane Biunno

As part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project, we’ve been researching over 500 political cartoons and have come across a number of cartoons that humorously reinterpret famous works of art and literature.

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11/26/14
Author: Cary Hutto

Happy Fall to you all! And thanks for returning to HSP's Fondly PA blog for another set of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Comments: 0

11/25/14
Author: Sun Young Kang

Last summer, the Conservation Department had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for a workshop with Renate Mesmer at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Topics : Banking, Business
Comments: 1

11/5/14
Author: Diane Biunno

Tuesday, November 4, 2014, was Election Day in Philadelphia. One hundred and fifty years ago Americans headed to the polls to participate in another important election. On Tuesday, November 8, 1864, voters decided whether to elect Democratic candidate George McClellan or Republican presidential incumbent Abraham Lincoln. The presidential election of 1864 was a crucial election in our nation’s history because it would directly determine the outcome of the Civil War and ultimately, the fate of the Union.

Comments: 0

10/29/14
Author: Rachel Moloshok

Halloween is right around the corner, and to celebrate, the Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT) project has been posting a selection of the creepiest cartoons in our collections to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Tumblr blog. Click here, or on any of the image details below, to experience some of the CREEPIEST...

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10/24/14
Author: Cathleen Lu

Those of you who have been following our Historical Images, New Technologies (HINT) Project closely will be aware that the project involves development of our Digital Library image viewer for use and integration with TEI-encoded annotations.

Comments: 0

10/22/14
Author: Cary Hutto

Greeting readers – we're glad you've returned for another group of transcriptions from the George F. Parry Civil War diaries (George F. Parry family volumes, Collection 3694). If you're just joining us, in 2012 HSP acquired the diaries of Bucks County resident and Civil War veterinary surgeon George F. Parry. In that collection are three diaries he kept during the Civil War dating from 1863 to 1865, when he served with the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Comments: 0