Hablot Knight Browne, The London Stereoscopic Company; The Ghost in the stereoscope; 1856 - 1859. Image and original data provided by Rijksmuseum: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl

Hablot Knight Browne, The London Stereoscopic Company. The Ghost in the stereoscope, 1856 – 1859. Image and original data provided by Rijksmuseum: http://www.rijksmuseum.nl

In 1862, amateur photographer William H. Mumler of Boston took a self-portrait in his studio, unaware of a ghostly apparition lurking directly behind him. It wasn’t until he viewed the resulting image of a pellucid arm draped casually across his shoulder that he realized the camera must have exposed the lingering spirit of his deceased cousin. With this eerie, novel image, Mumler, a jewelry engraver by trade, became the first of many photographers to claim having photographed a spirit. Photographs like Mumler’s provided timely evidence that spirits of the deceased freely interacted with the world of the living–a discovery he would milk for profit within the framework of the Spiritualist movement.

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Good news – Artstor and JSTOR are back together again in Charleston exploring new ways to bring you images and journals, books, and primary sources for education and research. This October 31 to November 5, celebrate with us  at tables 95 and 36—sign up for our raffle and pick up some stylish swag! And don’t forget to join us for our panel:

First-Time Digital Collection Building: How to Manage Time, Resources, and Expectations
November 4, 3:35 PM

This panel brings together a group of librarians who have created their first institutional digital collections within the last year. You will learn about strategies, workflows, resource allocation, and lessons learned–everything you need to know about getting your own project up and running. Attendees will also be invited to give feedback to help the group realize best practices.

Panel members: Dave Chatham, Library Director, Presbyterian College; Maryska Connolly-Brown, Technical Services Librarian, Hampden-Sydney College; David Wiseman, Manager of Library Information Systems, Roanoke College

Moderator: Erin McCall, Senior Implementation Manager, Artstor

Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, ca. 1000

Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, from Conques, ca. 1000, with gothic additions. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y., artres.com

Join Heather Madar, Chief AP® Art History Reader and specialist in the Art History of the Northern Renaissance, and Artstor in a conversation  about best practices in the teaching of AP® Art History.

This year brought us a completely new exam, the first produced in accordance with the revised AP® Art History Curriculum Framework, and Heather will be looking at how students have performed, with a focus on understanding the nature of the exam, its relationship to the curriculum framework, and the scoring methodology used. The session will conclude with audience questions and the opportunity for informal discussion.

This free webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, October 26 at 6 PM EDT. Sign up now!

Advanced Placement® and AP® are trademarks registered and/or owned by the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this website.

On this day: Michaelmas

The Christian festival of Michaelmas, also known as the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, is celebrated in many parts of the world on September 29.

Michaelmas celebrates the story of Saint Michael defeating Satan, which is often depicted in the motif of Saint George and the Dragon, Saint George being the Archangel Michael’s earthly counterpart. The earliest depictions of this story go all the way back to the 10th century. The images of Saint George fighting the dragon in the Artstor Digital Library span centuries. Continue Reading »

Charlotte Perriand, La Maison du jeune homme, Brussels, Belgium, 1935

Charlotte Perriand, La Maison du jeune homme, Brussels, Belgium, 1935, © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, Data source: Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University and Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University

An interview with the graduate student curators of Avery/GSAPP Architectural Plans and Sections

The second phase of Avery/GSAPP’s collection of 20,000 architectural plans, sections, and related materials was recently released in the Artstor Digital Library. To celebrate the completion of our two-year collaborative project with Avery Library and GSAPP, Lisa Gavell, Artstor’s Senior Manager of Metadata & Content, spoke with five of the graduate student co-curators who contributed to the project: Sabrina Barker, Serena Li, Ernest Pang, involved from the beginning of the project, as well as Sharon Leung and Ayesha S. Ghosh. Working with Avery staff, they pored over a vast array of Avery’s holdings in order to compile a selection that reflects the most important modernist architectural works of the 20th and 21st centuries. The result is a resource of essential documentation of modern architecture, shared online for the first time.

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We invited Stanton Belford, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Martin Methodist College, to tell us about his three Marine Biology collections in Shared Shelf Commons: Red Sea, Trinidad, and Key Largo.

Bearded fireworm

Bearded fireworm (Hermodice carunculata). From the Martin Methodist College Marine Biology Collection: Trinidad

Before describing the marine biology digital collections, I would like to mention I first became interested in marine science thanks to my high school teacher, who allowed us to experience informal science education with the reefs as our classroom. Here I saw a kaleidoscope of colors bursting through the ocean’s blue: corals, fishes, invertebrates, all hidden underwater, just waiting for my eager eyes to discover them.

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Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web, 1871. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Some stories we’ve been reading this month:

Visual arts

  • Artists’ model Jane Morris served as muse to the Pre-Raphaelites, married one and became the undying love of another–and was a fascinating person all around.
  • Zoos make money selling paintings made by animals. Are they art?
  • For unknown reasons, René Magritte cut up a painting into four pieces and reused the canvas for new works. Conservators recently discovered one of the pieces–but there’s still one missing.
  • Paul Klee’s response to crashing fighter planes during WWI was, uh, unique.
  • One of the leading experts on Degas has changed his long-held (and combative!) stance and now thinks that a long-disputed plaster of the artist’s “Little Dancer” is indeed an earlier model of the famous sculpture.
  • Not sure which of the stories behind this hyper-realistic sculpture is true, but it doesn’t matter because the piece itself is unbelievable.
  • Is Edward Hopper’s gloomy painting Nighthawks optimistic? Watch the video.



  • A decorated floor uncovered in the buried ruins of an ancient synagogue in Israel may depict a legendary meeting with Alexander the Great. Even if it’s not Alexander, the mysterious mosaic itself is great.
  • Archaeologists at Turkey’s neolithic site of Çatalhöyük have unearthed an intact complete female figurine.
  • Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Museum installed a monumental statue of Athena Parthenos from Pergamon on special loan from the collection of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Watch how they did it.