In this article from the February 1, 2017 issue of The New York Times, Hilarie M. Sheets writes about the recent digitization of the Loewentheil Collection of African-American Photographs (which are 645 rare images that date from the 1860s-1960s) by the Cornell University Libraries, due to the increasing interest of this collection by researchers. These images, which are now available online, were donated to Cornell University by Stephan and Beth Loewentheil in 2012, and show both more famous African-American figures, such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali, and also historical images of everyday African-Americans going about their daily lives. I thought it was interesting that the goal of this digitization project, according to Katherine Reagan, a curator of rare books and manuscripts at Cornell University Libraries, “is to push back against the predominance of material on African-Americans as enslaved people or working in menial jobs or other stereotypical situations…We wanted to show a broader swath of people in everyday settings.” This shows how making information, such as visual records, organized and available online, and thereby making this information accessible to researchers, can be used to change stereotypical perceptions of certain groups in historical time periods. By digitizing these images and making them available online, researchers can see a different visual record of the African-American experience in America.
Posted by Alexander Vastola, LIS-653-02, Spring 2017
Sheets, Hilarie M. (2017, February 1). Rare images shed light on a century of African-American life. The New York Times: Art & Design. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/arts/design/cornell-university-loewentheil-collection-of-african-american-photographs.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FLibraries%20and%20Librarians&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection&_r=0