May 2017 Archives

May 30, 2017

“Constructing a Pictorial Identity: Bookplates in the Golden Age of Collecting,” a new exhibit in the Sterling Memorial Library Exhibits Corridor, explores the early twentieth century phenomenon of collecting and exchanging bookplates. Curator Olivia Armandroff (Berkeley College ‘17) focuses her research on the career and artistic output of William Fowler Hopson (1849-1935), a New Haven-based bookplate designer.
By the late nineteenth century, improvements in printing technology allowed books to become more affordable and accessible to members of the rising middle class. This new accessibility encouraged individuals to establish personal libraries, and customized bookplates quickly became a popular way to celebrate collections. Eventually, commissioning and collecting bookplates became a means of self-expression. Tucked inside privately-owned volumes, bookplates captured everything from treasured memories to favorite fictional scenes. New Haven-based artist William Fowler Hopson became a prominent bookplate designer in the late nineteenth century, and his business remained active until his death in 1935.
“Constructing a Pictorial Identity” developed from Armandroff’s senior thesis. Given the highly visual aspect of her research topic, selecting which images to display became one of the most daunting aspects of her project. Out of the over two hundred designs by William Fowler Hopson available through Yale Library, Armandroff could only include a small number. She wanted to demonstrate trends by displaying similar designs, but she also wanted to represent the breadth of Hopson’s artistry. Deciding which examples were most important and determining how they should be organized and displayed impacted how Armandroff approached her written thesis.
Throughout her research process, Armandroff made extensive use of sub-collections contained within the Yale Bookplate Collection, an archive containing over one million bookplates. Molly Dotson, Special Collections Librarian, guided her as she navigated this considerable resource. Many collections within the Yale Bookplate Collection do not have finding aids on the library website, and Dotson helped her understand how the diverse collections are organized.
In addition to the visual materials by Hopson included in the Yale Bookplate Collection, the William Fowler Hopson Papers, held by Manuscripts and Archives, also became an essential resource. This collection includes Hopson’s business correspondence, account books, and other personal files. Bill Landis, Head of Public Services in Manuscripts and Archives, provided Armandroff with valuable support as she explored and analyzed these materials. The Hopson Papers gave her insight into Hopson’s artistic processes, interactions with customers, and day-to-day business operations.
As a double major in both the History and History of Art departments, Armandroff received guidance from two faculty advisors, Jean-Christophe Agnew (Professor of American Studies and History) and Edward Cook (Charles F. Montgomery Professor in the History of Art and Professor of American Studies). They encouraged her to consider her potential audience members and tailor her research so that both her exhibit and thesis could appeal to a wider scope of individuals.
Kerri Sancomb, the Exhibits Production Coordinator for Yale University Library, advised Armandroff as she developed her thesis into a visually compelling exhibit. Sancomb also served as chair of the committee that selected her as this year’s student curator. “When we interviewed her in the fall,” says Sancomb, “Olivia showed a strong understanding of her subject matter, articulated a clear vision for her project, and asked the right questions.” The project gave her the unique opportunity to participate all aspects of the exhibit from start to finish and make major decisions.
Over the past three years, exceptional students like Olivia Armandroff have received opportunities to curate exhibits within Sterling Memorial Library. Selected students gain curatorial experience and work closely with faculty members, librarians, and conservators. This spring, Stephen Stack ‘67 committed to endow a fund that will support student exhibits at Yale Library in perpetuity. Next year, Armandroff will move to Washington D.C. and serve as a John Wilmerding Fellow at the National Gallery, and she hopes to pursue a career in curatorial work. The opportunity to design and create an exhibit at Yale Library has provided her with valuable and unique experience.

The exhibit is on view until October 6.

Post on May 30, 2017 - 2:29pm |

July 25, 2017

The Digital Humanities Lab is delighted to announce the three Postdoctoral Associates who will be joining the DHLab team for the 2017-2018 academic year. While here, the postdocs will pursue digital humanities research relevant to their academic disciplines, with a Yale faculty member serving as a mentor. 

Nadya Bair
A historian of photography and the press, Nadya Bair holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Southern California. Her book project, The Decisive Network: Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market, examines the role of photo agencies in shaping postwar visual culture. Based on years of research in archives around the world, The Decisive Network looks beyond heroic photographers and their iconic images to demonstrate how a range of professionals brought the aesthetic and production mode of news images into multiple markets for photography. At Yale’s Digital Humanities Lab, Bair will be mining data from thousands of pages of Magnum business correspondence in order to visualize and analyze the full scope of the agency’s networks. Working on a scale that exceeds the limits of chronological and linear narrative, this project will model new ways to study image saturation and the collaborative labor that yielded it. Nadya will join the lab on August 1, 2017.
Damon Crockett
Damon Crockett's present work concerns the role of visual evidence in the social sciences. In particular, he considers the ways in which image data can be used to ground substantive explanations in fields like media studies, cultural studies, and digital art history. During his appointment with the Yale Digital Humanities Lab, Damon plans to develop a set of flexible software tools for the direct visualization of image data. Additionally, he will conduct an in-depth user study aimed at making the tools as useful and learnable as possible. Damon will join the lab on September 1, 2017.
Gabor Toth
Gabor Toth (currently a fellow of the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC) will join the DHLab in October 2017. His background spans both Digital Humanities and History. During his dual appointment in the DHLab and Fortunoff Video Archive, Gabor will work on a digital tool that will enable the exploration of a big collection of interviews with Holocaust survivors. Besides, Gabor will prepare a monograph on the computer-assisted analysis of Holocaust interviews. Gabor will join the lab on October 1, 2017.

Post on May 30, 2017 - 11:43am |

June 6, 2017

Call for Participants

The Digital Humanities Lab and Center for Teaching and Learning are putting together an informal working group to brainstorm, design, and build a Jekyll-based web application this summer. Our goal is to gather a group interested in digital work in order to collectively construct a fun proof of concept application using Jekyll and JavaScript. 
This will be a great opportunity for each member of the group to learn about Jekyll—which offers an easy introduction to web programming—and to collectively have some fun while building something useful to others. All levels of programming experience, from beginner to advanced, are welcome.
If you are interested in joining, send a quick email to by June 6, so that we count you in for our initial planning meeting!

Post on May 26, 2017 - 3:40pm |

June 15, 2017

User Testing for John Ashbery's Nest

June 15, 2017 at 17 Hillhouse Avenue, LL07(specific meeting time to be arranged with each volunteer)

The Yale Digital Humanities Lab and ITS are looking for volunteers to try out John Ashbery’s Nesta website centered around a virtual tour of the Victorian home of American poet, art critic, and collector, John Ashbery. We are seeking users to test the usability of the website, particularly the interactive experience of the Center Hall, which includes unique objects from Ashbery’s collections.

Participation is open to the entire Yale community. User testing will take no more than thirty minutes. We welcome participants from all disciplinary backgrounds; no specific technical or subject matter expertise is required.   

Interested participants should contact Julie Ramaccia:

For more on the project, visit Nest's project page.

Post on May 26, 2017 - 1:43pm |

May 25, 2017

What is the most-produced play at Yale? Which actors have played Hamlet on our stages? To find out, the Digital Humanities Lab and Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library created Ensemble @ Yale, a platform for crowdsourced transcription, that was recently featured in YaleNews.

Covering 90 years of Yale's theater history, Ensemble @ Yale provides full-text access to playbills from the Yale School of Drama, Yale Repertory Theatre, and other theatrical groups on campus. Visitors to the site have the option to login and help transcribe or mark playbills, which are organized by decade, by drawing boxes around titles, actors, directors, and more. No Yale affiliation is required to login and participate. 

Check out YaleNews's website for an interview with Lindsay King, one of the projects principal investigators.

To see the project and begin transcribing, visit Ensemble @ Yale.

Post on May 25, 2017 - 9:30am |

March 21, 2017

Harrison Ford takes to the skies in AIR FORCE ONE, the Wolfgang Petersen blockbuster celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. Gary Oldman and Glenn Close co-star. 7:00pm Monday, June 12, at the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall Street). "Treasures from the Yale Film Archive" screenings are always free and open to everyone. Learn more.

Post on May 23, 2017 - 8:00pm |

May 19, 2017

On Monday, May 22, the university will be celebrating its 316th Commencement ceremony, which will affect access to Sterling Memorial Library for several hours, as follows:  

  • SML will be closed to the public until 3:00pm, when it will reopen until 7:45pm. Bass Library will be open its usual hours, 8:30am-9:45pm.
  • The book-drops outside SML will remain open until 3:00pm, after which books can be returned inside the building.
  • LSF and Eli Express deliveries will be suspended all day.

Thank you so much for your understanding and cooperation!

Post on May 19, 2017 - 3:16pm |

May 17, 2017

Accordionist/composer Guy Klucevsek recently became the 500th figure to be added to Major Figures in American Music, the core collection of Oral History of American Music (OHAM) at Yale University Library. OHAM director Libby Van Cleve interviewed him on April 19 at his Staten Island home.
Major Figures in American Music, which was started in 1970 when Vivian Perlis interviewed Charles Seeger, consists of over 1,200 interviews with composers, performers, and other significant musicians. The first subjects were those most fragile in terms of age and health, such as Eubie Blake, Nadia Boulanger, Aaron Copland, Harry Partch, Claire Reis, and Virgil Thomson. Among other senior composers interviewed during OHAM's first decade were John Cage, Lou Harrison, Ernst Krenek, Leo Ornstein, and William Schuman. As OHAM proceeded, composers actively involved in their careers were included and have been updated periodically. To name a few: John Adams, Anthony Braxton, David Del Tredici, Lukas Foss, David Lang, Steve Reich, and Julia Wolfe. OHAM's program also includes oral histories with emerging young talents, with the plan to track their careers as they unfold in the future. In addition to interviews with primary subjects, the core unit includes testimonies from secondary sources about George Gershwin, Henry Cowell, Harry Lawrence Freeman, Percy Grainger, and Arnold Schoenberg. Interviewees in recent years include an increasing number of Jazz figures, such as Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny, Sonny Rollins, Larry Coryell, and Sue Mingus.
OHAM’s other collections include secondary-source interviews on Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, Paul Hindemith, and the Steinway Brothers, as well as video interviews with Yale School of Music composition students and numerous acquisitions. The complete OHAM archive includes more than 2,500 interviews.
A listing of OHAM’s interviews, along with selected transcript tables of contents, can be found at OHAM’s LibGuide.
Researchers may submit this form to acquire transcripts and request free 30-day limited streaming.

Post on May 17, 2017 - 10:55am |

May 15, 2017

Bookplates, marks of ownership that have existed for centuries, acquired a new life outside the covers of books in their golden age. At this turn-of-the-twentieth-century moment, bookplates were prized for their aesthetic value, and it became an international phenomenon to collect, study, and exchange them. This accompanied improvements to printing technologies that made books and their bookplates more affordable for the aspiring and rising middle class. From his home on New Haven’s Whitney Avenue, William Fowler Hopson catered to a growing marketplace that sought out individualized, personal bookplates. Hopson’s process realizing his 201 bookplate commissions—preserved in correspondence, sketches, and corrected trial proofs—demonstrates his commitment to encapsulating his patrons’ identities.

This exhibition in the Sterling Memorial Library exhibits corridor, features Hopson’s artistic materials and personal papers, part of the Yale Bookplate Collection and Yale’s Manuscripts and Archives, to elucidate the process of inventing, negotiating, and printing bookplate designs in their golden age. Ultimately, Hopson’s clients commissioned bookplates with artistic representations that were emblematic of their familial, personal, and communal contributions. By tracing the claims made through these commissions, we gain unique insight into some of the social standards and aspirations at the turn of the twentieth century in America.

The exhibit is on view until October 6.

Post on May 15, 2017 - 4:11pm |

May 15, 2017

In March 2017, Jana Krentz, Librarian for Latin American Studies at Yale, traveled to Cuba as an embedded librarian in a Yale Course on Cuban history and culture, and as part of the Cuban Initiative of the Council for Latin American & Iberian Studies. During the two-week trip, she continued her work with students and also purchased books for the Yale University Library. On Tuesday June 13 at 2:00 pm (Bass Library L01 A&B), Jana will talk about her integration into the course, her expectations as an embedded librarian, and the reality of that role once in Cuba. She will also discuss the challenges of undertaking a buying trip to Cuba.

All are welcome to join us for this forum sponsored by SCOPA.

Post on May 15, 2017 - 4:08pm |