As of July 1 the new Cornell Library website went live.
This new website is going to be much better. It has a responsive design for ease of use on mobile devices, a new catalog, and a new single search interface with combined search results page. (It’s been publicly available on the beta site at https://beta.library.cornell.edu/ since January.) Making the change now, gives us time over the slower summer months to respond to feedback and make adjustments before the fall semester begins.
This transition will include the following changes to existing systems:
- The new catalog is an easy to use, powerful catalog (using open source software called Blacklight which is very sophisticated and customizable) and we think you will like it a lot. It draws its information from the Classic Catalog (still the “real” catalog) and other library systems.
- The familiar and powerful Classic Catalog will remain as a link off the new [Blacklight] Catalog main page as we continue to work to include all functionality of the Classic Catalog into the new system.
- The current catalog so prominently featured on the library home page (WorldCat Local) will still be available for easy requesting of non-Cornell items and will be more integrated into the system as a secondary search under a Libraries Worldwide link. This link will show up in the single search box results screen as well as in the new [Blacklight] catalog.
And later this summer, the following changes will be implemented:
- “Database Names” is being rebuilt, but will maintain the same structure and functionality, with the added benefit of being able to highlight the top databases in each subject category. You may find that the new catalog does an excellent job at getting you into your favorite databases quickly and easily.
- “E-journals” will also transition, but will maintain the same searching functionality, and add more browsing options.
Please feel free to contact me, or the Library Discovery & Access Implementation Team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any concerns you may have, including feedback about any potential loss in functionality you anticipate.
Gale’s Nineteenth Century Collections Online is a rich digital collection of primary source material. Rare primary sources, curated by an international team of experts, provide access to important works sourced from leading libraries worldwide. Users will find millions of full-text, fully searchable pages.
The trial runs roughly March 18-April 18, 2014.
This group of 12 primary source databases includes the following collections:
1: British Politics and Society
2: Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange
3: British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture
4: CORVEY Collection of European Literature: 1790-1840
5: Science, Technology, and Medicine: 1780-1925, PART I
6: Photography— the World through the Lens
7: Women: Transnational Networks
8: Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, Conquest
9: Science, Technology, and Medicine: 1780-1925, PART II
10: Children’s Literature and Childhood
11: Mapping the World
12: Religion and the Periodical: Point of View and Perspective
Please send any comments to Virginia Cole, history librarian (vac11).
Black Abolitionist Papers is now available at Cornell.
This digital collection consists of primary sources. It presents the international impact of African American activism against slavery, in the writings and publications of the activists themselves. Covering the period 1830-1865, the approximately 15,000 articles, documents, correspondence, proceedings, manuscripts, and literary works of almost 300 Black abolitionists show the full range of their activities in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany.
This just in: British Periodicals!
This digital collection allows searching full text of hundreds of periodicals from the late seventeenth century to the early twentieth, comprising millions of high-resolution facsimile page images. Topics covered include literature, philosophy, history, science, the social sciences, music, art, drama, archaeology and architecture.
We’re excited to announce Cornell access to Adam Matthew’s Victorian Popular Culture, a unique archival resource for four fascinating areas of 19th British century life: (1) Spiritualism, Sensation & Magic; (2) Circuses, Sideshows & Freaks; (3) Music Hall, Theatre & Popular Entertainment; (4) Moving Pictures, Optical Entertainments & the Advent of Cinema. In addition to printed and visual material from the period (books, magazines, pamphlets, posters, photographs, postcards, advertising), VPC offers audio and video files as well as 360-degree views of optical devices, toys, and other artifacts of the era. With its amazing range and depth of heretofore inaccessible material, VPC should prove to be a treasure trove for Victorianists.
For more literature resources, see English Literature bibliographer Fred Muratori’s blog EnglishLit @ CUL
This resource focuses on the British Empire.
It consists of five sections. Currently Cornell only subscribes to Section III. Materials for this section are drawn from two sources: the British Newspaper Library at Colindale, London and Cambridge University Library. This section focuses on journals published outside of London– Canadian, Caribbean and Indian, Irish journals and British provincial publications.
Proquest History Vault:
Announcing the arrival of this new digital collection.
The Slavery and the Law collection provides testimony on a broad range of subjects by a variety of southerners—Black and white, slave and free, slaveholder and non-slaveholder, man and woman.
The documents vividly portray the contrasts, ambivalences, contradictions, ironies, and ambiguities that comprise southern history. They reveal not only what southerners were saying, but what they were doing; not only what happened to slaves, but how the slaves responded. They show how complex political, economic, legal, and social conditions affected the lives of southerners, Black and white, male and female, slave and free. This unparalleled resource offers topical, geographical, and chronological breadth and penetrating depth of this subject matter. Responding to a specific event, situation, or danger, petitioners realized that it behooved them to be as forthright as possible. They often discussed their circumstances with remarkable candor. Included are rare biographical and genealogical details—how slaves, as chattel, could and often did find themselves sold, conveyed, or distributed as part of their master’s estates; and the impact of market forces on the slave family. The guardianship and emancipation petitions present an unusually clear picture of the association between whites and free Blacks; and the divorce petitions provide a unique picture of slaveholding white women.
Series I: Petitions to State Legislatures offers access to important but virtually unused primary source materials that were scattered in state archives of Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The collection includes virtually all extant legislative petitions on the subject of race and slavery.
The documents in Series II: Petitions to Southern County Courts were collected from local courthouses, and candidly document the realities of slavery at the most immediate grassroots level in southern society.
It was at county courthouses where the vast majority of disputes over the institution of slavery were referred. The petitions that were filed provide some of the most revealing documentation in existence on
the functioning of the slave system. Slavery and the Law also includes State Slavery Statutes, a master record of the laws governing American slavery, covering 1789–1865. Materials in the collection cover virtually every aspect of the regulation of Blacks of the period. With the slavery statutes available digitally, historians will have convenient access to revealing legislation on African American and southern history and culture.
In some cases,only abstracts of the documents are full text searchable. The documents themselves are handwritten manuscripts available for download as pdfs.
Format: Abstract and index, full text, full image, Text+Graphics
Total Sources Covered: 8 newspapers, 2000 pamphlets
ProQuest Civil War Era covers a range of topics including the formative economic factors and other forces that led to the abolitionist movement, the 600,000 battle casualties, and the emancipation of nearly 4 million slaves. It combines continuous runs of regional newspapers, as well as pamphlets covering a wide range of topics.
Newspaper and pamphlet sources–never before available online: Researchers will get the full story from nearly 2,000 pamphlets and complete runs of eight newspaper titles, covering 1840-1865, that were specifically selected for the regional and diverse perspectives they offer. The pamphlets expand on individual perspectives of government officials, clergy, social reformists, and others. Newspapers are a perfect complement to these sources offering insights on a broader range of events. The newspapers included in Civil War Era provide a variety of editorial perspectives reflecting different regions and political orientations.
Newspaper Sources (1840-1865): ProQuest Civil War Era allows researchers to follow the development of issues leading to the Civil War as recorded in the papers of the South, North, Mississippi Valley, and Border States. Many interrelated forces influenced the course of events during this 25-year period, and Civil War Era allows serious researchers to discover the details.
–Southern Titles: Richmond Dispatch (Virginia), Charleston Mercury (South Carolina), New Orleans Times Picayune (Louisiana)
–Northern Titles: Boston Herald, New York Herald, Columbus State Journal(Ohio)
–Border State/Mississippi Valley Titles: The Kentucky Daily Journal, Memphis Daily Appeal
Pamphlets from two important collections:
–Slavery and Anti-Slavery Pamphlets from the Libraries of Salmon P. Chase & John P. Hale includes 166 pamphlets, speeches, reports, legal opinions, and convention proceedings covering slavery, and anti-slavery movements, and the conditions of African-Americans after the Civil War
–Civil War Pamphlets 1861-1865 includes 1,758 pamphlets illustrating the “war of words” during the conflict. These pamphlets provide a broad ranging view of the issues and attitudes that led to the war and its impact on American society. Included in the collection are biographies, campaign literature, government documents, journals, presidential addresses, sermons, and speeches.
Pamphlets (often 20-40 pages treatises) were the op-ed pieces of their day. They provided an outlet for individuals to express their views through an alternative channel. These respected pamphlet collections are a perfect complement to the variety of editorial perspectives included in the newspapers.
We have a trial to this digital collection from 12-DEC-2013 to 20-DEC-2013.
You can access your trial product(s) using this web address:
The trial product(s) can also be accessed from within our existing ProQuest subscription. This means that as long as our trial product(s) are available in the new platform, they can appear in our database list and can be cross-searched with our currently subscribed products. A list of products that are available in the new platform is available here: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/promos/platform/databases_supported.shtml.
Comments and feedback are welcome and can be sent to Virginia Cole (vac11), Cornell Library History Selector.
Cornell University Library has purchased access to two new digital collections from Gale Cengage Learning’s Archives Unbound. They are available to Cornellians via the links below or through the library catalogs by title.
Between the early 1920s and early 1980s, the Justice Department and its Federal Bureau of Investigation engaged in widespread investigation of those deemed politically suspect. Prominent among the targets of this sometimes coordinated, sometimes independent surveillance were aliens, members of various protest groups, Socialists, Communists, pacifists, militant labor unionists, ethnic or racial nationalists and outspoken opponents of the policies of the incumbent presidents.
Date Range: 1920-1984
Source Library: FBI Library
Black Americans of all political persuasions were subject to federal scrutiny, harassment and prosecution. The FBI enlisted black “confidential special informants” to infiltrate a variety of organizations. Hundreds of documents in this collection were originated by such operatives. The reports provide a wealth of detail on “Negro” radicals and their organizations that can be found nowhere else.
More detail at Gale Cengage Learning Unbound Archives
This collection provides insight into the recent history of the surveillance of aliens and national security during World War II and the early postwar period.
Date Range: 1940-1978
Content: 29,061 pages
Source Library: FBI Headquarters Library
The Custodial Detention Index (CDI), or Custodial Detention List was formed in 1939-1941, in the frame of a program called variously the “Custodial Detention Program” or “Alien Enemy Control.” J. Edgar Hoover described it as having come from his resurrected General Intelligence Division — “This division has now compiled extensive indices of individuals, groups, and organizations engaged in subversive activities, in espionage activities, or any activities that are possibly detrimental to the internal security of the United States. The Indexes have been arranged not only alphabetically but also geographically, so that at any rate, should we enter into the conflict abroad, we would be able to go into any of these communities and identify individuals or groups who might be a source of grave danger to the security of this country. These indexes will be extremely important and valuable in a grave emergency.”
From Gale Cengage Learning Archives Unbound
A guest contribution by Patrick J. Stevens.
I don’t see your point as to [Ludvig Franz Adalbert] Wimmer’s book on runes. The runes form the oldest known form of the Icelandic language. You might as well object to any of the oldest skaldic lays, produced in Norway […] that they had nothing to do with Iceland because Iceland didn’t then exist. We are including the Old-Northern tongue & literature of whatever epoch. Ask Dr. Finnur [Jónsson].1
Daniel Willard Fiske (1831–1904), ca. 1880, about the time of his marriage in Berlin to Jennie McGraw
Thus commences one letter among the many Daniel Willard Fiske, indefatigable book collector and first university librarian of Cornell University, sent during his last years to a young Icelandic assistant, Halldór Hermannsson. The topic was, of course, the scope of Willard Fiske’s personal Icelandic collection, which at the death of its owner in September 1904 became by bequest the property of the young university still under construction above the small city of Ithaca and the southern extreme of Cayuga, one of the magnificent Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Fiske’s letter is remarkable not only because it testifies to the breadth of his vision as a collector2 but also because the name to this day of the collection – the Fiske Icelandic Collection – itself suggests a geographical circumscription when, in fact, Fiske’s fascination with the Norse Atlantic world embraced an entire cultural phenomenon from its dawn in the Dark Ages to the first days of the twentieth century.
In his penurious student days – Fiske withdrew from Hamilton College and wound up at the University of Uppsala in 1850–1851, achieving along the way fluency in German, Danish and Swedish3 – Fiske made the first purchases for what evolved into his Icelandic collection, notable among them a copy of Ólafs saga Tryggvasonar published in 1689 at Skálholt. Returning from Europe, Fiske worked inter alia for several years as a private librarian. In 1867 the newly chartered Cornell University offered him a post as “Professor of North-European Languages and Librarian,”4 which spoke aptly of his capacities and experience.
In summer and autumn 1879, Willard Fiske made his only visit to Iceland, whose literature he had been collecting slowly over the course of thirty years. Fiske’s field notes, preserved in the Fiske Icelandic Collection, are jottings on Icelandic vocabulary, idiomatic expressions and available books rather than a flowing narrative of his travels through the island, although there are several prose passages expressive of the landscape around him.5 While there he added to the number of friendships he was to sustain with Icelanders until his death. Widowed in 1881 after a year of marriage to the wealthy, cerebral but consumptive Jennie McGraw, Fiske resigned from Cornell in 1883 and lived thenceforward in Florence.6 The legacy from Jennie assured Fiske not only a comfortable existence but also his capacity to acquire for Cornell four remarkable collections: Dante, Petrarch, Rhaeto-Romanic and Icelandic.
Halldór Hermannsson, who was instrumental assisting Fiske in organizing his Icelandic collection during the latter’s final years in Florence, became curator in 1905, serving until 1948. During his tenure the collection nearly quadrupled, from 8600 to more than 24,000 volumes. As significant as the works on the shelves were Halldór’s unusual talents in bibliography. He published the catalogue of the collection in 1914 and two supplements, in 1927 and 1943; a Catalogue of Runic Literature in the collection appeared in 1918; and Halldór authored or edited the first thirty-one volumes of the Islandica series, beginning with a Bibliography of the Icelandic Sagas and Minor Tales in 1908. Six curators followed Halldór, three Icelanders through 1983 and three Americans thereafter. In a sense, the Cornell University Library grew in size and complexity around its early special collections, some of which were donated by the university’s first president, Andrew Dickson White, who was not only a scholar but a diplomat, serving in Germany and Russia; like Willard Fiske, long his friend, he was a discerning collector of books and manuscripts.
Davíþspsálmar. Manuscript, 17th century. Fiske Icelandic Collection.
Icelandic translation of the Psalms by séra Jón Þorsteinsson (1570?–1627), bound with his Genesis sálmar. The Psalms of David are in one seventeenth-century Icelandic hand.
Today the Fiske Icelandic Collection preserves its reputation as one of the chief repositories anywhere of literature on and from Iceland and the Norse world of the Middle Ages. Cornell scholars in Medieval Studies and researchers from the international academic community, including from Iceland, visit the collection regularly. Modern books and journals circulate from Olin Library, which houses the Cornell collections in humanities and social sciences, while antiquarian books and manuscript holdings are available through the reading room of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. The concentration of editions and criticism in Old Norse-Icelandic literature to be found in the Fiske Icelandic Collection is incomparable in the Western Hemisphere. Moreover, allied historical and cultural studies of the Viking Age match the collection’s core literary strengths in every regard. Modern Icelandic literature, among the most active of belles lettres flourishing in Europe, occupies more than seventy shelves in the library. Dozens of other shelves are devoted to modern history, travel literature, the Norse exploration of America and theological works.
At the close of the twentieth century, the Icelandic National Library and the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland launched a digital initiative that, with extensive collaboration from the Cornell University Library and the generous support of, inter alia, the Mellon Foundation, became SagnaNet (or SagaNet) – a textual image repository for hundreds of Icelandic manuscripts. Þorsteinn Hallgrímsson, an engineer by training who had worked for some years in Germany before becoming deputy Icelandic national librarian, was the Icelandic leader for the project and manifested what I called at the time “the sheer vision and talent that Icelanders seem to have for applying the new to the ancient.”7
In recent years the successor to SagnaNet, which has incorporated its image and metadata archives, has emerged. Principally a collaborative effort between the Icelandic repositories and the Danish Arnamagnaean Institute, handrit.is perpetuates the high standards of its predecessor in terms of image quality, exactitude of cataloguing and repository expansion. The Fiske Collection component in SagnaNet, not yet accessible through handrit.is, was digitized microfilm of the remarkably extensive holdings in nineteenth-century criticism of Old Norse-Icelandic literature. The film, produced through a hefty grant from the US National Endowment for the Humanities in 1995–1997, was ideal (in its digital version) for conveying the intellectual value of a vast literature of established texts, translations and commentary.
The rising facility of digitization has been a significant factor in archiving and interpreting visual resources in the Icelandic Collection. The 416 Icelandic and Faroese Photographs of Frederick W.W. Howell, which include contributions by Henry A. Perkins and Magnús Ólafsson and document the landscape and people of Iceland at the close of the nineteenth century, are available via the Internet, including in flickr: The Commons. Scores of antique glass slides and stereoscopic images await scanning initiatives we hope to launch in 2014.
Reykjavík from the Tjörn [the Tarn, or Pond], ca. 1900. The view faces northeast and includes Parliament (center left), the national cathedral to its right and Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík,
the country’s main high school at the time (to the right, with flag flying).
The mountain Esja rises in the background.
From the Icelandic and Faroese Photographs of Frederick W.W. Howell.
Also under investigation is a large quantity of memorial brochures containing erfiljóð [memorial poetry] and the lyrics of hymns recited during Icelandic funerals in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chronological and demographic data make this brochure collection a potential source for significant information on Icelandic society and the culture of commemoration just as the country was achieving autonomy and experiencing major internal migrations and the beginnings of a national economy.
Under way as well is an embryonic initiative to establish eventually, through the Fiske Icelandic Collection, an online database Concordance to the Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases of the Old Icelandic Sagas (currently accessible as a web site). The initiative, which envisions ongoing contributions and interactions from the community of Norse scholars, is the brainchild of Professor Richard Harris of the University of Saskatchewan, who recognized in Cornell’s Fiske Collection an optimal location for perpetuating the Concordance in proximity to the largest and deepest concentration of Old Norse research literature in North America.
The Story of Gisli the Outlaw. Edinburgh, 1866.
Sir George Webbe Dasent (1817–1896) penned several scholarly translations of Icelandic sagas, including Gísla saga Súrssonar and Brennu-Njáls saga. Their illustrations – this portrait of Gísli has a background of improbably high, mature deciduous trees for the Icelandic environment – were intended to attract a growing readership
from the Victorian middle class. X8
There are also initiatives under way within the Cornell Library to offer more description of the Fiske Icelandic Collection online. Currently a general introductory page directs researchers to four specific sites: an introduction to the rare component of the Fiske Icelandic Collection; information on Icelandic Studies collection development and the (circulating) Fiske Icelandic Collection at Why Icelandic?; the electronic version of a 2005 exhibition, The Passionate Collector: Willard Fiske and his Libraries, that celebrated the centennial of Fiske’s bequests to the Cornell Library; and the Islandica series site.
In recent years, the venerable Islandica series marked a quiet centennial by publishing two volumes of essays and, a few years later, a monographic study; all three works were dedicated to advancing Old Norse-Icelandic studies. All new volumes of the series are available both electronically and in print, and an initiative is under way to make older numbers (currently volumes 1 through 14) accessible through the HathiTrust Digital Library. More volumes are in preparation for publication next year in Islandica, whose scope will continue, as it has historically, to include all possible facets of Icelandic literary and cultural studies.
Patrick J. Stevens has been Curator of the Fiske Icelandic Collection since 1994. He is managing editor of the Islandica series of Icelandic and Norse Studies associated with the collection. He is also selector for the field of Jewish Studies in the Cornell University Library.
All images in this article are from the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library and are in the public domain.
“This article on the Fiske Icelandic Collection in the Cornell University Library initially appeared on NordicHistoryBlog = Nordeuropäische Geschichte im Netz, administered and edited chiefly by Dr.phil. Jan Hecker-Stampehl of the Nordeuropa-Institut, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.”
- Daniel Willard Fiske to Halldór Hermannsson, 21 October , Fiske Icelandic Collection, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library. Finnur Jónsson (1858–1934) was a leading Icelandic literary scholar of the day. Fiske was in frequent contact with a range of scholars in the Old Norse-Icelandic field, among them the great German legal scholar Konrad von Maurer (1823–1902), whose letters to Fiske are preserved in the correspondence files of the Fiske Icelandic Collection. [↩]
- In the preface to the 1914 Catalogue of the Icelandic Collection Bequeathed by Willard Fiske, Halldór categorizes the already considerable holdings (by then ca. 10,200 volumes) into two areas, the first having everything to do with Old Norse-Icelandic literature, including “all publications which, in one way or another, elucidate” these works; the second including all literature on all topics from the sixteenth century onward, “whether printed in Iceland or elsewhere […] dealing with Iceland, the nature of the country, and its affairs […].” [↩]
- For Fiske’s own travel narratives, see Daniel Willard Fiske, Memorials of Willard Fiske, collected by his literary executor, Horatio S. White. 2, The Traveller (Boston: R.G. Badger, 1920). For Fiske’s sojourns in Scandinavia and Iceland, see also Horatio S. White, Willard Fiske: Life and Correspondence: a Biographical Study (New York: Oxford University Press, 1925). Kristín Bragadóttir has published an extensive study of Fiske’s relationship with Iceland and the Icelanders in Willard Fiske: vinur Íslands og velgjörðamaður [friend and benefactor of Iceland] (Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan, 2008); this work is currently being translated into English. [↩]
- H.S. White, Willard Fiske, 26. [↩]
- See H.S. White, Willard Fiske and especially Kristín Bragadóttir, Willard Fiske, for a description of Fiske’s time in Iceland, much of it spent on horseback traversing the country from Húsavík in the north to Reykjavík in the southwest. [↩]
- There are various sources on Fiske’s widowhood and the subsequent controversial litigation that led to Willard Fiske’s entitlement as principal heir to his wife’s considerable estate. See Ronald John Williams, Jennie McGraw Fiske: Her Influence upon Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1949) for a sympathetic treatment of both Jennie and Willard. Andrew Dickson White (who witnessed the marriage of Jennie and Willard in Berlin) also wrote on the lawsuit in his autobiography; Morris Bishop is rather less sympathetic to Willard Fiske in his history of Cornell. [↩]
- Patrick J. Stevens, “From Netting Sagas to SagaNet,” unpublished paper delivered at the conferences of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study and the Society of American Archivists, 1999. [↩]
- The British scholar Andrew Wawn (among others) has researched the reception of Old Norse-Icelandic literature in the nineteenth century, and referred to the Victorian and English ideals in this illustration in a 2000 symposium on saga literature in Washington. The reference to the greenery invokes his more precise and scholarly description. [↩]