Category Archives: Ephemera

In Search of Lost Fireworks

July Fourth is one of those Rorschach holidays—it’s pretty much whatever you want to make it. If you’re patriotic, bless your heart, you can celebrate it that way. If you want to go to a party and drink beer and grill, there’s plenty of opportunity for that. You can just kick back and enjoy the […]

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Tom Tryniski’s DIY Digitization

Some years ago, I worked at a small journal under an executive editor who was, to put it kindly, very old-school. Curmudgeonly might be another word you would use. Cranky might be a third. Along with the standard editorial duties, a fair amount of my time was spent trying to convince him that the move […]

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Special Collections and Monkeys

You’ve got to give it to Buzzfeed—they do the lowest common denominator like nobody else. Even when they’re unpacking the quality stuff, you still have to pay attention to figure out which level of brow they’re aiming at. I know, I’m saying that like it’s a bad thing. It’s not—it’s what they do—but the sheer […]

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Take Note(s): National Handwriting Day

P.S. The parts underlined in green are links… there’s one thing that doesn’t translate too well from paper to pixel. (Paper: Field Notes FN-01 graph paper notebook. Pen: Lamy Safari.)

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Belles-Lettres: The Archives of American Art’s Art of Handwriting

It seems to me writing letters is a lot like running: great while you’re doing it, great having done it, and the rewards are many, but making it part of your routine is the stumbling block. I always have the best of intentions, and own things like stationery and note cards and pretty stamps and […]

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The Royal Library of the Netherlands’ Word Problem

When it comes to digitizing older and orphan works, most of the copyright controversies I see cropping up have more to do with intellectual property issues than actual conflict. Which is about what you’d expect—any real litigation is going to be hammered out in court rather than in the public debate arena. But what happens […]

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On Edward Gorey, George Herriman, and Creative DNA

Eve Bowen’s recent NYRBlog article on collecting Edward Gorey is full of enough eclectic links and images to make any fan happy. It also reminded me that I only had a few more days to catch “Gorey Preserved” at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. RBML is my former employer, and I’d been seeing […]

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Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence

When he first published his novel The Museum of Innocence in 2008, Orhan Pamuk already had plans in the works for an actual embodiment of the title institution. The book revolves around themes of obsessive love and objectification—its protagonist, Kemal, devotedly collects artifacts of a short-lived affair with a shopgirl to make up his own […]

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Dear E-Reader Manufacturer…

… I think I see what you’re missing here. All this time you’ve been thinking small, portable, handheld, modular, when all along the general public has been yearning for a brocaded lampshade. The above book reader of the future comes from the April, 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics. And the folks at Boing […]

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Naked Nun Marginalia

Just when I thought I didn’t have anything tonight, Kat sent me this fabulous find from Got Medieval concerning naked nun marginalia. Yes, you got that right. Apparently the manuscript in question, the Rothschild Canticles, was written for a nun at the turn of the 14th century. But in addition to the usual devotional illuminations, […]

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