Archive for the ‘legacies’ Category

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Design a Logo, Win Some Goodies!

Another day, another contest.

We’re looking for a logo to use with our new Legacy Library spin-off project, Libraries of Early America. Very ambitiously, we intend to LT-catalog all known American libraries from before c. 1825 (you’d be amazed at how many there are). We’re focusing on individual and family libraries for the time being, but may look to expand that in the future.

Wanted: Basic but elegant Libraries of Early America logo design for use on LibraryThing pages, an eventual LEA portal site (to feature essays, digitized book catalogs, &c.) and elsewhere. I’ll leave it open-ended from there – let your imaginations run wild!

Reward: Tim’s offered up a lifetime membership to LT, an LT t-shirt, and a Cue-Cat, and we’ll also send along one of Monticello’s great Thomas Jefferson library mugs to the winning entrant.

How to Enter: Send your entry (as URL or image file) to me at jbdibbell at gmail dot com by, oh, let’s say 15 October. I’ll circulate them to other interested parties and we’ll pick a winner shortly thereafter. Tim’s standard fine print (“Our decision is final, incontestable, irreversible and completely dictatorial”) applies. Any questions or clarifications, just ask.

Labels: legacies

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

The Legacies, One Year Out

One year ago today, after a few days of discussion on Talk about the potential of adding Thomas Jefferson’s major library to LT, the I See Dead People’s Books group was formed, marking the beginning of what we now know as the Legacy Libraries project (here’s our very first Talk thread, wherein I make some very silly suggestions, just going to show how vitally important the collaborative process has been to this project).

We’ve come a long way since last 3 September. More than 100 LT members working together have completed twenty-seven libraries; thirty-two more are currently in the process of being entered. That amounts, as of this morning, to 47,773 books – a pretty impressive year’s work by any standard.

Since my last blog-update, some very interesting Legacy Libraries have been completed, including those of Mormon church founder Joseph Smith; Thomas Jefferson’s childhood friend Dabney Carr; authors Theodore Dreiser (left), Robert E. Howard, and Charles Lamb (below right); and English scientist/theologian/historian/educator Joseph Priestley (above right).

The Legacy projects have also begun to attract some publicity and media attention, which is always welcome in that it draws more focus not only to the importance of these libraries but also to the value of LT in making these collections possible. I and several other members were interviewed for a piece in this month’s Fine Books & Collections magazine (on newsstands now) and on Monday morning I spoke with Clare Graves of the BBC Scotland program “Book Talk” about the projects (you can listen here for the next few days; we’re in the first fifteen-minute segment).

Here’s to many more years and many more libraries – onward and upward! As always, if you’re interested in helping out on a library or would like to start one for your favorite historical reader, stop by and jump in.

Labels: legacies

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Two More Legacies Finished

The ever-growing pantheon of Legacy Libraries now includes two new members.

LTers Larxol and moibibliomaniac have cataloged the library of Samuel Johnson from the 1784 sale catalogue of his books (which, while neither complete nor accurate, is the best list available of the good Doctor’s library in his later years). Not surprisingly, Johnson shares many of his 748 books with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (168 and 63 books respectively). The overlaps are endlessly fascinating, I think.

My own latest and long-running project has been the library of the Mather Family. This collection was accumulated by (and then dispersed among) members of several Mather generations, from patriarch Richard down through several of his great-grandsons. So far as I’ve been able to tell, this is the first time this collection has been put together in one place (a 1910 bibliography included a fair portion of the books, but not all of them; I’ve tracked down all the ones I can find, but I’m sure there are more out there squirreled away in other libraries, so I’ll be on the lookout for additions. I’ve written a (probably much too) lengthy introduction to collection on the Mather Family profile page, and if you’re so inclined have posted a few more of my own musings on this library here.

As always, anyone is welcome to participate in the Legacy projects (or start your own!). Stop by anytime.

Labels: legacies

Friday, April 4th, 2008

What Books Do You Share with Hemingway?

Some updates from the Legacy Libraries front: yesterday saw the completion of the largest LT-Legacy catalog to date, that of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway’s library (compiled by Dr. James D. Brasch and Dr. Joseph Sigman of McMaster University, and provided online [PDF] through Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library) included more than 7,000 titles (7,411 to be exact). A small team of dedicated Thingambrarians has been entering them since 4 January: many thanks to nperrin, who initiated the project; spookykitten (who added about 2,450 books); christiguc (2,350); Rullakartiina (1,350); and jjlong (1,200). Amazing work for a three-month period!

You can read more about the Hemingway effort at this talk thread; they’re looking for tagging assistance and offer some suggestions for where to read more about Hemingway and his books. It’s a fascinating and very wide-ranging collection, so if you have some time to browse through it, do.

Much removed from Hemingway’s library (so far removed, in fact, that they share no books at all) is the library of British scientist James Smithson (1765-1829), the man responsible for the creation of the Smithsonian Institution. His books were included in the bequest he made to the United States, and they now reside in the vault of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History (digital gateway). There are currently 113 titles in the catalog; a few more will follow (I’m told that eight more books from Smithson’s library were recently found in the Library of Congress and are now making their way back to the Smithsonian).

I worked with the Smithsonian’s Martin Kalfatovic and Suzanne Pilsk on this project, and Martin has a post up on the SI blog about the addition of Smithson’s library. As one might expect, most of the books in Smithson’s collection are scientific tracts, but the catalog also includes some cookbooks, travel accounts, reference works, &c.

Hemingway and Smithson have been added to the “Overlap with Legacy Libraries” section of your stats page (introduced here).

We’ve also been continuing to enhance John Adams’ LT catalog since its unveiling; through the wonderful assistance of Boston Public Library staff we’ve been able to make transcriptions of much of John Adams’ fascinating marginalia widely available for the first time (see what he thought, for example, of Mary Wollstonecraft’s An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution) – his copy of the book contains more than 10,000 words written in the margins! I’ve also been adding comments from JA’s diary and other writings about specific authors or works; that’s going to be an ongoing process, but it’s at least underway.

You can keep track of progress on the various Legacy projects by clicking here.

[Update: Thingamabrarian spookykitten reports that the cataloging of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s library (322 books now held at Princeton) has also been completed. So you can now satisfy your curiosity and see how many books Fitzgerald and Hemingway share.]

Labels: dead people, john adams, legacies, special libraries