Digital collections

Category: Digital collections

Recent projects

Archives student assistants Colby Lewis ’17 and Emma Lipkin ’19 have been busy over the past several months with some exciting projects. Here are the highlights:

Milk glass vase from the Artifact Collection, circa 1900
  • Emma inventoried and photographed more than 300 artifacts (3-D objects) associated with Lawrence history. These range from t-shirts to trophies to items that are more difficult to classify
  • Colby completed an extensive research project on the history of religious and spiritual life at Lawrence and designed a display to share this history for the dedication of Sabin House. The display is still on view in the group room on the second floor of the house.
  • Emma digitized a number of written transcripts of Commencement addresses, dating from 1926 to 1974.
  • Colby transcribed a series of letters written by Henry Colman (class of 1857) and his brother Elihu Colman (class of 1865) to their parents. These letters provide a unique view into student life during Lawrence’s early years.
One of five posters on the history of religious and spiritual life at Lawrence by Colby Lewis ’17

This is not to mention a bunch of other tasks that are not as exciting to read about but equally important for Archives operations (advanced paperclip removal, data entry, CD processing, and so on.) Thanks to both Emma and Colby for all of their work!

Addition to online Lawrentian collection

Cover of The Lawrentian, 1994-11-03
Cover of The Lawrentian, 1994-11-03

Three years ago, we debuted an online collection of digitized issues of The Lawrentian available through our institutional repository.  The collection contained issues dating from 1923 to 1992, digitized from microfilm at the Wisconsin Historical Society. Since this time we have added issues dating from 2006 to the present. But until recently we had a gap in coverage from 1992 to 2006. This gap has now been filled, thanks to a generous gift from Mary Jo Powell ’75. Digitization of this set of material was again completed by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

This has been consistently the most-used collection in the repository, extremely useful for research on Lawrence history. Here in the Archives, we use The Lawrentian online on a daily basis to answer questions about student life, traditions, athletics, special events and visitors on campus, changes in the campus or the curriculum through the years, and so on. We are very pleased to have a more complete set of issues available for use, and we are grateful to WHS for their work and to Mary Jo Powell ’75 for her support of the project!

New digital collection: The Lawrentian

The Lawrentian cover, September 20, 1963
The Lawrentian cover, September 20, 1963

We have a very exciting new digital collection to announce – issues of The Lawrentian from 1923 to 1992 are now available to browse and search online! The Archives has tons of interesting primary sources to turn to for information about Lawrence history, but The Lawrentian, Lawrence’s student newspaper since 1884, represents our most comprehensive source.

Bonus: advertisements! This one is from the February 11, 1944 issue.
Bonus: advertisements! This one is from the February 11, 1944 issue.

We regularly turn to it for information about student life, traditions, athletics, special events and visitors on campus, changes in the campus or the curriculum through the years, and even for the student perspective on national and international historical events. Until now, this kind of research required paging through large volumes. The ability to keyword-search across nearly 70 years of issues is a huge advantage.

You can read about the 1936 Peace Parade that received national media attention, learn about the beginning of the Navy V-12 program in 1943, check out an early April Fool’s issue, read about the student occupation of Wilson House in 1969,  see coverage of past Trivia Weekends, and explore all sorts of other topics.

A big thanks to the Wisconsin Historical Society for microfilming and digitization, and also to Archives assistants Jenni Roesch, Amelia Anderson, and Dakota Williams for their hours of data entry!



“Memory Pictures” of Lucinda Darling Colman

In recognition of Women’s History Month, this post celebrates an important figure in Lawrence history: Lucinda Darling Colman. Lucinda was one of three women in the first class to graduate from Lawrence University in 1857 and the first woman to receive an M.A. degree from Lawrence in 1865.

She was born in 1835 in Clarkson, New York. Her family followed a wave of migration to the west in 1840 and settled in Racine, Wisconsin. When it was time to consider opportunities for Lucinda’s further schooling, her father heard about Lawrence, a new school that had just opened in the northern part of the state. The family moved to the village of Appleton, and Lucinda entered Lawrence in March of 1850, becoming a member of the first college class in 1853. She went on to marry another member of the class of 1857, Henry Colman, in 1860, and to raise four children. Henry Colman was a Methodist minister and a Lawrence trustee from 1871 until his death in 1927. Both he and Lucinda remained actively involved in supporting Lawrence throughout their lives. Lucinda was the last remaining graduate of 1857 upon her death in 1930. In 1956, the newly constructed Colman Hall was named in honor of her.

During her late eighties and nineties, Lucinda decided to record memories of her life. She called the finished compilation “Memory Pictures,” and the LU Archives is very fortunate to have both her written manuscripts and a typescript of the finished work. In this work, Lucinda recalls Lawrence in its earliest days, including memories of classes and student activities, the dedication of Main Hall in 1853, the Academy building fire in 1857, and the first Commencement ceremony. She also recounts her family history and childhood, her marriage and children, and her extensive travels around the country from 1906 to 1923. Her travels included a trip to California that coincided with the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 as well as trips to the eastern United States, during which she saw Andrew Carnegie speak and met President Taft.

Lucinda’s “Memory Pictures” are now digitally available through our institutional repository, Lux. Lucinda discusses memories of Lawrence from pages 42 to 58, but the entire work is well worth the read. As President Henry Wriston said upon Lucinda’s death, “The memory of Lucinda Darling Colman will always be one of the rare treasures of Lawrence college.”

A new home for our digital collections

Just about a year ago, we introduced Archon, a database for searching and browsing descriptions of our collections. Since that time we have added descriptions for over 100 collections, including manuscripts, scrapbooks, audiovisual collections, and records from a variety of campus departments and offices.

Now, Archon is also the home for digitized content from collections in the Archives. Over 1,000 images of photographs, letters, Artist Series programs, and other materials are available for searching and browsing. New materials selected from our collections will be periodically added to Archon as they are digitized.

We also have some exciting new digital collections available in Lux. A service of the library, Lux is the digital home for preserving and providing access to the scholarly and creative works of the Lawrence community. Archives collections in Lux currently include recent course catalogs; a selection of yearbooks; oral histories with faculty, staff, and alumni; and a wide date range of Lawrentian issues (with more to come).

If you’re looking for something to do over the long winter break (or the long Thanksgiving weekend), spend some time exploring these great historical resources!

Glass slides digital collection

We are pleased to announce an exciting new addition to our digital collections! After several months of scanning and data entry, a collection of 240 glass slides depicting the Lawrence campus and student life from the early decades of the 20th century is now available here. The collection represents the majority of the glass lantern slides and glass plate negatives housed in the Archives and is composed of several distinct series of slides.

About half of the collection consists of lantern slides from promotional presentations that date from about 1910 to 1930.  These include images of campus buildings and grounds, student activities, and informational slides describing the college. A second series consists of photographs taken by Chester Allen, class of 1912. This series presents a view of Lawrence through the eyes of a student during Chester’s four years at Lawrence, 1909-1912. A third series includes images from the college’s 75th anniversary celebration held in 1922.

Since the fragility of the physical slides makes them somewhat difficult to use, we are particularly excited to be able to make these images more widely accessible through this digital collection. So go forth and check it out!

Glass slides sneak peek

Appleton Post-Crescent, January 15, 1953

Materials in the Archives sometimes have odd lifecycles. Such has been the case for a set of glass plate negatives, recently rediscovered on a shelf in the back of the Archives. They represent a series of amateur photographs taken by Chester Allen, class of 1912, dating from his four years at Lawrence. They were found in an Appleton attic in 1953 and subsequently enjoyed a bit of fanfare.

"Studying in room," February 1, 1910

These negatives have sat in the Archives for almost 60 years since this discovery, still in their original, carefully labeled envelopes. Since our rediscovery a few months ago, the negatives have been re-housed for preservation purposes, and a digitization project is currently underway. The 70 photographs in this series represent a truly unique look at Lawrence through the eyes of a student 100 years ago, and we are very excited to be able to share them with a wider audience.

The digitization of the Chester Allen photographs is part of a larger effort to digitize all 250 of the original glass slides in our collections. The images will eventually be added to our digital collections database, so keep an eye out for future updates!