Monday, July 20, 2015

New Collections Uploaded to Our Digital Collections Catalog

A page of tipped-in content from William Maitland’s History of London:  “A New & correct plan of all the houses destroy'd and damaged by the fire which began in Exchange Alley, Cornhill, on Friday, March 25th, 1748” with manuscript notes by Peter Collinson

Several collections were recently uploaded to ImPAC, the Library Company’s digital collections catalog. Peter Collinson’s annotated first edition of William Maitland’s 1739 History of London, Frederick Gutekunt’s Scenery on the Pennsylvania Railroad photograph album, and a mixed media scrapbook album showcased in Remnants of Everyday Life, our 2013 exhibition about historical ephemera, are just some of the recently added materials.

The Library Company of Philadelphia recently acquired this first edition of Maitland’s History of London that belonged to the London merchant and naturalist Peter Collinson (1694-1768) who heavily annotated the pages.  Not only did Collinson “discover” Benjamin Franklin, he also served as the first book purchasing agent for the Library Company.  Over his years of ownership, Collinson tipped in numerous additional plates, plans, notes, documents, and clippings, with the last note dated just two years before his death.  The hundreds of annotations and notes in Collinson’s hand deal with both the changing physical fabric of the city of London and events of daily life.

Select tipped-in content and entries were cataloged and the entire book was recently digitized.  Thanks to the assistance of intern Kayla Hohenstein, a senior at Earlham College enrolled in the Philadelphia Center internship program, the uploaded catalog records and digitized content from Collinson’s edition of Maitland’s History of London are now available in ImPAC and illustrated content is in Flickr Commons. The Library Company is also coordinating with the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) and the University of Pennsylvania in order to make all the contents of this book available in their upcoming Digital Diaries Project.

Frederick Gutekunt’s Scenery on the Pennsylvania Railroad photograph album was  added to ImPAC and shared on the website , a website compiling photographs and information documenting the history of photography.   A recent gift from the Greer family, this magnificent album, dating from ca. 1875, documents the Philadelphia, Middle, and Pittsburgh divisions of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The Library Company also contributed a late 19th-century scrapbook album containing periodical illustrations, comic valentines, and patent medicine advertisements compiled by an unknown scrapbook enthusiast.  The eccentric arrangement of the contents calls to question what the overall theme or motive of the scrapbook may be.  If anyone has any ideas, please do let us know!

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