Afro-Americana Imprints

The Past and the Future

It’s that time of year, folks. The library is trialing a variety of different online resources, including:

Afro-Americana Imprints (1535-1922)

This online collection spans nearly 400 years, from the early 16th to the early 20th century. Critically important subjects covered include the West’s discovery and exploitation of Africa; the rise of slavery in the New World along with the growth and success of abolitionist movements; the development of racial thought and racism; descriptions of African American life—slave and free—throughout the Americas; and slavery and race in fiction and drama. Also featured are printed works of African American individuals and organizations.

Give it a try and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or emailing Celia Rabinowitz.


Russia, 100 years ago – in color

While we’re on the topic of history, I’d like to take a moment to tell you about one of my favorite historical image collections: the Prokudin-Gorskii exhibit at the Library of Congress.

Beginning in 1909, a Russian photographer named Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii was given, by Tsar Nicholas II, an “all-access” pass (in order to be permitted to enter otherwise restricted areas) and a railroad car outfitted with a darkroom so that he could travel throughout the Russian Empire and document it with color photos.  For most of the next six years, he traveled extensively throughout Russia – ending up with well over 3,000 negatives.  Some 2,600 of these negatives were purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948 from Prokudin-Gorskii’s heirs, and they are now available for viewing on the web.

These photos provide a striking glimpse into all aspects of life in Russia in the very early part of the 20th century.  From the decadent opulence of the royal palaces and the stunning architecture of Russia’s cathedrals and churches to panoramic views of towns and portraits of rural farmworkers, these vivid color photographs provide a fascinating insight to Russian life 100 years ago.

These photographs were taken  on the eve of World War I and very shortly before the Russian Revolution – they are images of a country that was about to be changed forever.  The juxtaposition of these tranquil images and the chaos that was to immediately follow adds to the mystique of this collection – they depict a way of life that is long gone from the Western world.

In addition to the photos themselves, the exhibit website provides biographical information about the photographer; details about the techniques and equipment used to take the photos and the processes used to restore and digitize them (Prokudin designed his own camera); and provides historical information and context for the images.  In addition, the images are organized by subject area (Architecture, People at Work, Ethnic Diversity, Transportation, etc).

I know that everyone has a lot of homework to do, but if you get a chance I highly recommend taking a few minutes to travel back in time and peruse this collection.  You won’t regret it.  If this exhibit piques your interest about Russia (or anything else!) then feel free to check out some of the Library’s databases or stop by and see us – we’re always glad to lend a hand to your research.

Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, from the Library of Congress exhibit

Online now, the Point News (etc.)!

When was the Point News not the Point News?

For most of the 1940s and ’50s the St. Mary’s student newspaper was called “The Signal News.”

Signal News 1953

Tom Barrett plans orientation

It first became “The Point News” in 1959.

Point News 1961

A recurring theme

Then for most of the 1970s and into the ’80s it was “The Empath.”

Empath 1973

Another recurring theme

Empath 1979

Uncharted territory

Empath 1984

Not to be confused with the mac lab

Much to the dismay of some 1970s and early ’80s alumni, the name “The Point News” returned in 1985.

Point News 1989

Witnesses to history

Point News 1998

First report on the storied Riot of ’98

Point News 2000

Going green in 2000

Whatever the name, St. Mary’s student newspapers  from 1952 through 2002 have been digitized and are now available online, fully word-searchable, via the Archives web site!

And because we take our duty to preserve our historical record seriously, physical copies of all these papers (as well as those from the 1940s and from 2002 to date) are safely tucked away in the College Archives.  Hard copies of issues from 2002 to date are also available in the Library.

Happy reading!