The Allegheny College Egyptian Hieroglyphics collection features every page of a single manuscript in the James Winthrop Collection. The collection includes approximately 3,000 titles from the libraries of Winthrop and his father, John Winthrop, who was Hollis Professor of Natural Philosophy and Mathematics at Harvard. This particular manuscript is in the public domain, and Allegheny has shared this digital reproduction as a Public Collection in Artstor so that anyone can view and download the images.
A guide to Medieval creepy crawlers
…and how to protect yourself from them
While there were a lot of delightful beliefs about animals in the Middle Ages (our favorite: hedgehogs roll on grapes to spear them on their spines so they can take them home to their young), this Halloween season we’re focusing on the creepiest creatures of all: reptiles! Not to worry, we’ll also tell you what to do to stay safe from them.
Our source for this guide is Richard Barber’s translation of the Bodleian Library’s MS Bodley 764, a mid-thirteenth century bestiary, so don’t be too surprised if the descriptions deviate just a tad from contemporary herpetology.
Let’s start with plain old snakes. We bet you didn’t know that snakes are frightened by naked men, but attack clothed ones. Unfortunately our source doesn’t specify how snakes respond to women (the thirteenth century not being the most progressive of centuries), so your best bet is to keep a stag nearby, as they can handily deal with bothersome serpents.
The strange fates of pillaged mummies
In an 1898 article for Scientific American, a chemist describes his process for working with a powdered material that smelled of myrrh and meat extract:
On heating the powder turns dark brown black, with a pleasant, resin-like odor of incense and myrrh, then throws out vapors with an odor of asphaltum; it leaves a black glossy coal which leaves behind when burnt 17 percent of ash with a strongly alkaline reaction, evolving plenty of carbonic acid when sprinkled with acids. In the closed tube vapors of acid reaction are obtained. With hot water a yellow brown solution of neutral reaction is obtained which smells like glue and extract of meat when inspissated…”
The powder in question was in fact the ground desiccated corpse of an ancient Egyptian, heated for the purpose of creating commercially-produced oil paint. Shocked? Let us treat you to a short history of the many strange fates of pillaged mummies between the sixteenth and early twentieth centuries.
On this day: the book that led to the creation of the EPA
On this day in 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published, bringing widespread attention to environmental issues caused by the use of synthetic pesticides in the United States. The book sparked controversy, particularly from chemical companies that dismissed Silent Spring’s assertions about the connection between pesticides and ecological health. However, Carson’s claims were borne out and the book is widely credited with sparking the modern environmental movement that eventually spawned the Environmental Protection Agency.
Divine creation: tracing the rise of Tibetan Buddhism through art
An additional contribution of nearly 1,000 images has been made to the Rob Linrothe: Tibetan and Buddhist Art collection in the Artstor Digital Library, bringing the total to over 5,000.* Scholar/photographer Linrothe has provided this unique resource in collaboration with the Lucy Scribner Library, Skidmore College and Northwestern University.
Paradises on earth: the sublime architecture of the Indo-Islamic empires
The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) has contributed an additional 5,094 images to the Artstor Digital Library, bringing their total to more than 69,000.*
Artstor across disciplines: images for the humanities and social sciences
Artstor’s global collections span time and cultures and provide a wonderful resource for teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences. Our “Artstor Across Disciplines” LibGuide outlines how Artstor’s collections can be used in over 20 disciplines, including American studies, religious studies, the history of medicine, women’s studies, and more.
Fake news: the drowning of Hippolyte Bayard
In a grainy 1840 photograph, a partially-covered corpse is propped against a wall, its decay evident in the darkening skin of the face and hands. The body is that of Hippolyte Bayard, an early inventor of photographic processes and supposed drowning victim, and written on the image verso is a strange note:
Photographer Erich Lessing dies
Renowned photojournalist Erich Lessing passed away on August 29th in Vienna, Austria at the age of 95.
A member of Magnum Photos and a former Associated Press photographer, he began his career photographing political events before switching his focus to cultural subjects.
How do you browse millions of images?
With nearly 2.5 million images making up 300 collections in Artstor–plus hundreds more public collections–where does one begin browsing in Artstor?
Browsing images may not seem like the best way to find an image, especially if you are looking for something specific. However, browsing allows you to serendipitously discover images you might not find with a more focused search. Next time you’re working in Artstor, try some of these techniques and see what you discover: