Archive for September, 2009

To my fellow loafers,

Two more collections to bookmark today–both from the University of Washington’s digital archives.

In honor of the Jewish Day of Atonement this coming Monday, there’s the Washington State Jewish Archives, including 569 photographs, documenting the everyday life of the Evergreen state’s Jews from the 1890s to the 1990s. I can’t figure it out, but I kind of love this photograph of young people at Seattle’s Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society House. And for the holiday, take a journey back to Yom Kippur 1957, with this stagey photograph of some well-dressed (and tallis-ed) men of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, showing off the synagogue’s Torah scrolls.

Little did those gentlemen know what the next decade had in store. Witness the U of W’s superb Vietnam War Era Ephemera Collection. Among the wide range of images are issues of the groovily-illustrated Seattle underground newspaper The Helix, as well as flyers from Seattle’s Young Socialist Alliance, like this one in support of the Black Panthers.

Have a great weekend!

Lazily yours,


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Dear Partners in Leisurely Labor,

For this entry, I want to highlight the digital collection at University of Maryland, a mid-size but nice to navigate site.

One of their newest additions is a book of drawings from a Confederate soldier who was imprisoned in a Union camp in Point Lookout, Maryland for the last year of the Civil War. The illustrations are oddly funny–almost like a Robert Crumb or Art Spiegelman comic. I’ve attached a close-up from one of my favorite drawings, called “A Prisoner’s Dream,” featuring an unusually buxom woman playing a mandolin. (Read whatever Freudian symbolism you’d like into that.)

University of Maryland Manuscripts, item 5213

The site also has a nice exhibit of World’s Fair imagery, searchable or organized by location. Journey back to a time when “The World of Tomorrow,” (Trylon and Perisphere included) was just one architect’s dream!

I will say the one singular disappointment of the U. of Maryland archive is that there Jim Henson collection is only viewable from their campus. Which just goes to show, sometimes you do have to leave your computer after all.

Lazily yours,


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Dear readers,

Who, or what, is the Lazy Scholar, you ask? I’ve been mulling for a few months now the idea of starting blog devoted to the ideal of scholarly sloth–doing as much research as humanly possible without actually leaving your computer. In all seriousness, I think that web archives are an incredible resource for  scholars and teachers–particularly as it grows increasingly difficult to pry computers out of the hands of most  undergraduates (and many graduate students, too). So, on with the entry:

Some of you may already have come across Duke Libraries’ impressive digital collection, though I hadn’t until a few weeks ago. Among the newest gems rests their “AdViews” collection, an iTunes-powered menagerie of TV commercials from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Among my favorites, these creepy Corn Flakes ads (link will launch in iTunes) and these minstrel-y Honeycomb ads (“Come to the Honeycomb Hideout!”). You should also check out their highlights.

Sugar Coated Corn Flaked

For those studying the years before the baby boom, there’s also their fabulous Emergence of Advertising in America, with illustrated ads from 1850 to 1920. The broadsides section not only includes ads for hardware (NAILS!) and railroad shows (GIRAFFES!), but also some placed by detective agencies (WANTED FOR RAPE!


This is only a small glimpse of their resources on advertising–and an even smaller glimpse of Duke’s overall digital resources. If anyone else skims the collection (or has used it before), it would be great to highlight some of their other collections. But for now, I’m back to work. And by work, I mean surfing the internet for other distractions.

Lazily yours,


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