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's Archive for November, 2010

Context, Context, Context! A Lesson in Archival Description

Right now I am working on a collection known as the Louis Getz papers and photographs in the Western Americana archival collections of the Magnes. I finished physically housing (foldering, sleeving, boxing) the collections and am now working on the catalog record. My job in creating this catalog record is to provide enough of a [...]

The joys (and power) of cataloging

I am knee deep in the Western Americana archival collections of the Magnes–physically processing them and cataloging them for access at the Bancroft. I  find myself reflecting frequently on the power of the cataloger, that creature who selects and categorizes and classifies and shapes our access to so many things. Oh, I know. All things [...]

Closer To Home: A Cultural History of Jews in California (Casden Institute’s Annual Review, vol. 7)

Congratulations to the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life (USC) for publishing the seventh volume of its Annual Review (August 2010). A Cultural History of Jews in California, edited by Bruce Zuckerman with William Deverell (guest editor) and Lisa Ansell (associate editor) covers a topic that is defined as [...]

New home, new opportunities: A report from the Magnes archivist

As the archivist for The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library, I am currently stationed out at a new, state-of-the-art storage facility on Regatta Blvd in Richmond, California.  The Western Jewish History Center archival collections, housed for forty three years in the attic of the Magnes Museum building on Russell [...]

UnCommons Perspectives: Strategies and challenges for digital collections in the Web 2.0 (Outside the Flickr Commons)

And now, it’s time for some (recent) institutional history… In the summer of 2007, several months before The Commons were launched by Flickr in partnership with the Library of Congress, the Magnes began sharing images from its Archives, Library and Museum collection on Flickr (the first set, created between July 3rd and August 21st, 2007, can be [...]

Celebrating Archives, National Parks, and the Great American Historical Record

To mark American Archives Month and California Archives Month, as well as the history of our National and State Parks and the history of the Jews of the Western United States, here are a few images of Yosemite from the wonderful archival collections of the Magnes.

From the Dusty Archives… to Your Desktop

In this group of Flickr “sets” the Magnes presents online for the first time a wide selection of digitized items from its Western Jewish Americana and Global Jewish Diaspora archival collections. The decision to give direct access to (often unprocessed) archival digital files reflects the attempt to integrate digitization technologies and social networking with traditional [...]

Theresa Ehrman Papers Now Open to Researchers

Theresa Ehrman (b. 1884-d. 1961) was a teenager when she travelled from San Francisco to Paris to live with Michael and Sarah Stein.  She could hardly have imagined what would await her. The daughter of Jennie Rosenthal Ehrman and Herman Ehrman, Theresa grew up in San Francisco, where she nurtured her talent as a pianist. [...]

Archive, Library, and Museum (ALM) Information Integration at the Magnes

Since its inception in 1962, the Magnes has strived to represent the Jewish experience in all of its manifestations: material culture, the visual arts, music, historical documents, and of course text. This has resulted in a multi-faceted collection that provides a wide-angled perspective on culture and history in the Global Jewish Diaspora. This diversity of holdings also presents a challenge. How can materials traditionally stored in distinct repositories – Archives, Libraries and Museums – all coexist under the same roof? How can they best be preserved? And, most importantly, what kind of access can be provided to them?

Access to a collection is determined by how the collection itself is described to the public. The question, then, is how can archive, library and museum collections be described within one and the same context. In this post, I am sharing with our readers a series of thoughts that were debated over the last two years among the Magnes staff: in which “collections” do the holdings of the Magnes belong? And, more to the point, what constitutes a “collection”?

US House of Representatives pays tribute to Florence Prag Kahn

Check out the new US House of Representatives’ tribute to Representative Florence Prag Kahn (the first Jewish woman to serve in Congress). The Magnes archives contributed many images to this digital exhibit. It is so lovely to see them out there! For more information about the Julius and Florence Kahn papers here at the Magnes [...]