Thursday, January 17, 2013

LCP Contributes History of Oil to Global Commodity Database

Library Company collections related to the exploitation of oil will be included in an online database exploring global commodity trade that is being assembled by Adam Matthew Digital. The Global Commodities database brings together manuscript, print, and visual primary source material dealing with chocolate, coffee, cotton, fur, oil, opium, porcelain, silver, gold, spices, sugar, tea, timber, tobacco, wheat, wine, and spirits—commodities that changed the course of world history.

The featured commodities have been transported, exchanged, and consumed around the world for hundreds of years. They helped transform societies, global trading operations, habits of consumption, and social practices. The site includes a fully searchable interactive chronology; maps; digital images of photographs, artworks, advertising materials, and ephemera; online exhibitions; and scholarly essays. Users also have the ability to explore commodity prices across time and space using a unique data visualization tool.

Material representing Library Company collections, which will be available on the site within the year, includes Abraham Gesner’s 1864 A Practical Treatise on Coal, Petroleum, and Other Distilled Oils; a large number of mid-19th-century marketing and governance documents from oil companies with names such as Great Basin, Hickory Farm, Lightfoots Currying, McClintock Reserve, Maple and Wyle, National Oil Creek, Muskingum, Story Farm, and Burning Spring; as well as a variety of maps and geological reports. Along with distinguished research collections, private company archives such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Cadbury’s, General Mills, Harveys of Bristol, and Imperial Tobacco are contributing material to the database.

The resource is available free of charge to readers in our Reading Room as well as by subscription.


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