Monday, September 22, 2014

Digital Friendship

The Program in African American History and the Print and Photograph Department are pleased to announce the launch of, which annotates and contextualizes our three prized African American women’s friendship albums. The Amy Matilda Cassey album and the Martina and Mary Anne Dickerson albums have long been some of the Print Department’s most-requested items. Visual, textual, and material, these rare artifacts of 19th-century African American history continue to inspire amazement in the casual observer and fresh research questions for new and established scholars.

The project took shape when the Library Company was approached in summer 2013 by Swarthmore professor Lara Cohen, who wanted her class to do some intensive work on the albums, and offered their help in creating a website in exchange. The albums proved to be a fertile basis for a digital humanities project, which expanded into a collaboration among students and faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology, Bryn Mawr College, Rutgers University, Swarthmore and the Library Company’s Summer 2014 Mellon Scholars interns.

We are pleased to share this beta website and welcome feedback. Long-term goals for the project include 3-D representations of the albums, illustrated biographies of the contributors, textual data mining, and a virtual reality module depicting the interior of a mid-nineteenth century African American home.

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