Posts filed under ‘archives’

birds preserve documents

sfw_qcm_jwlprik.jpgBirds living in a cathedral in Zvenigorod, Russia accidentally preserved documents from the 1830s! ” ‘Swifts and jackdaws, which collected the documents to build nests, run their archives differently than people do,’ wrote Sedov [Dmitriy Sedov, research director of the Zvenigorod Historical and Architectural Museum] in a statement on the museum’s website. Instead of gathering up the most historically important documents and shelving them according to subject and chronology, the birds took whatever they could find. The result is an ‘incredibly diverse collection of fragments of human thoughts, feelings, experiences, concerns, passions and desires,’ he wrote, forming ‘a single giant discordant chorus’ of Zvenigorod life from 1830 through the early 1900s.”

It’s not often I get to use the category “perpetrated by animals,” so, thanks, Steve Lawson!

December 10, 2015 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

kitty cat pulls prank on monks

catpawsSometime in the year 1445 (probably), a cat stepped in black ink and made paw prints in this Croatian manuscript. I wonder what the scribe (likely a monk) said when he (likely a he) found these marks. My guess is that it involved a few swear words. Thanks, Ross Gresham!

October 13, 2015 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

rare books dress

dressModCloth is selling their “Archive Got the Power” dress for $99.99 in sizes from XS to 4X. Oddly, no one has reviewed it yet, which seems strange for a dress with books all over it, somehow.

October 7, 2015 at 4:18 pm 1 comment

lost ancient art of librarian miniaturization

Book1BoingBoing’s no-text post showing this image is titled “Fragmentary evidence of the lost ancient art of librarian miniaturization,” which counts as a shenanigan, I think.

The image is all over the internet, sometimes with a citation to the Archives of Prague Castle. [UPDATE, November 14: I’ve just received an email from Martin Halata, head archivist at Prague Castle, who tells me the photograph is not from their archives.] It’s even got lolz versions in Czech [I found these a few days ago but now I can’t find them anymore and it’s driving me crazy].

I used Google’s nifty image search mechanism to discover that — as far as I can tell — this image first appeared on the internet on April 22, 2013, at Lost and Found in Prague. The photographer is M. Peterka and the date is unknown. [Some versions of the image appear with a date of ca. 1940; some say the person in the picture is a man; others say it is a woman.]

November 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm 4 comments

Papier-mâché employees of the Internet Archive!

The Internet Archive, home of the Wayback Machine and an enormous public-domain digital book collection, is housed in an old church in San Francisco. The pews of the church sanctuary are filled with papier-mâché representations of the employees! I haven’t been able to find out who made these or how it all came together or whether it’s a temporary thing — if you know anything about it, please comment. Thanks, Carol Dickerson!

May 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

A hawk in the Library of Congress! An actual live hawk!

A hawk somehow made its way into the Library of Congress this week. It has now been safely captured and will be released back into the wild. Thanks, David Weinstock!

January 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm 2 comments

National Archives researcher confesses to forging date

This is a non-cute shenanigan. From the press release: “Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives. The pardon was for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion. Lowry admitted to changing the date of Murphy’s pardon, written in Lincoln’s hand, from April 14, 1864, to April 14, 1865, the day John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. Having changed the year from 1864 to 1865, Lowry was then able to claim that this pardon was of significant historical relevance because it could be considered one of, if not the final official act by President Lincoln before his assassination.”

My researchers sometimes wonder why we don’t like to have pens in the reading room. Now you know one reason. (There’s also the problem of pen explosions.) Thanks, Leah Davis Witherow!

January 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm Leave a comment

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