The Rosenweb

After last week’s blog post in which I trailed off into a discussion of the Old 100th psalm tune, I got to wondering if there were any recordings of what the Bay Psalm Book’s music would really have sounded like. Lo and behold, the folks at Smithsonian Folkway records put out such a record, way back in 1965, entitled “Early American Psalmody: The Bay Psalm Book-Cambridge, 1640.” You can go to their site to listen to decent length excerpts of each track, or to buy the CD. You can go here to listen to the whole thing online, but you have to get a (free) membership first.

Aside from scoping out 17th-century music, much of my time recently has been taken up with preparing for the launch of a redesigned Rosenbach website, which will take place in the new year. The site’s not public yet, so I can’t really show you what I’m working on, but trust me that there will be lots more information about all of activities and collections at the Rosenbach and it should be a lot easier to navigate and to find both the information you are looking for and related material for which you might not have thought to look.

Although the new website is still a little ways off, I thought I’d keep to the spirit of webbyness and point out a few neat, and sometimes underutilized, features of our current website which will also be present in the new site. For example, many of our visitors don’t realize that our entire collection of fine & decorative arts and photographs is available through a web-based catalog called Phil, in honor of Philip Rosenbach, who handled the art side of the Rosenbach Company. So if you’re interested in chairs, or paintings by Thomas Sully, or photographs of Marianne Moore, you can search away to your heart’s content. Or if you just want to browse and see what we have, you can do that too, or just select random images to get a sampling of our holdings (this is a feature our curator Judy Guston especially likes).

Or if manuscripts are more your thing, you can check out Manuscripts Online, a very powerful tool which allows you to get up-close with some of our Americana documents by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert Morris. You can do word searches and find out what Washington and Lincoln had to say about “liberty”, or any other word you choose. You can zoom in so close that you can practically see the fibers in the paper. It’s lots of fun.

Finally, in case you missed it last summer, I want to put in one (last?) plug for our 21st-Century Abe website, which features our Lincoln documents with scholarly commentary, fabulous artist’s projects inspired by our Lincoln holdings, and really neat material contributed by site visitors. The site has been “evergreened,” which means we are no longer accepting new submissions to the interactive portions of the site, but you can still access all the material. Head on over to watch videos of Lincoln as a TV personality, design and save your own 21st-Century Abe poster, listen to audio commentary by renowned Lincoln scholar Douglas Wilson, and so much more.

I guess that’s all the news that’s fit to print for now. Go forth and surf the Rosenweb.