Library Digitized Collections

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16th - 20th Century Maps of Africa

This site features digital copies of 113 antique maps of Africa and accompanying text dating from the mid 16th Century to the early 20th Century. All scanned maps are authentic and originally collected by the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies (or the Africana Library) at Northwestern University.



Posters from the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies

In 2008 Northwestern University Library and Michigan State University Libraries were the recipients of a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources as part of the "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" program. Completed in 2011, this project unveiled two of the most significant poster collections held in the United States concerning issues related to the study of Africa.

Over 4000 bibliographic records are now accessible to this joint portal and through both institutions individual library catalogs. The posters represent a variety of social, political, and cultural issues, including public health, education, liberation and independence, political campaigns, the anti-apartheid movement, Biafra, Darfur, economics, art, publishing, and music. Through these collections, scholars and students can explore how institutions and organizations communicated with African populations from the mid 19th century through the present day.



The Siege and Commune of Paris, 1870-1871

This site contains links to over 1200 digitized photographs and images recorded during the Siege and Commune of Paris cir.1871. In addition to the images in this set, the Library's Siege & Commune Collection contains 1500 caricatures, 68 newspapers in hard-copy and film, hundreds of books and pamphlets and about 1000 posters. Additions are made regularly. The originals are located in the Charles Deering McCormick of Special Collections in the Deering Library at Northwestern University.



Transportation Library Menu Collection

The Menu Collection of the Northwestern University Transportation Library currently includes more than 400 menus from 54 national and international airline carriers, cruise ships, and railroad companies, with coverage from 1929 to the present. U.S. airlines predominate, but European, Asian, African, Australasian, and South American companies are also represented, with particular strength from the 1960s to the late 1980s.



Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs: 1865-1965

The website for the Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs: 1860 - 1960 was created in order to increase access to the materials in the collection, which includes of 7,610 photographs, 230 glass lantern slides, and various other materials depicting life in Africa from 1860 - 1960. The original materials are housed in the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University, the largest separate library for the study of Africa in existence.



World War II Poster Collection

The 338 items, primarily World War II-era posters, featured in this site's database were collected and preserved by the Northwestern University Government and Geographic Information and Data Services Department. Issued by various U.S. government agencies, these posters represent the government's effort, through art, illustration, and photographs, to pull the American people together in a time of adversity for the country and its population.



Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian, Photographic Images

The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis is one of the most significant and controversial representations of traditional American Indian culture ever produced. Issued in a limited edition from 1907-1930, the publication continues to exert a major influence on the image of Indians in popular culture. Curtis said he wanted to document "the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners." In over 2000 photogravure plates and narrative, Curtis portrayed the traditional customs and lifeways of eighty Indian tribes. The twenty volumes, each with an accompanying portfolio, are organized by tribes and culture areas encompassing the Great Plains, Great Basin, Plateau Region, Southwest, California, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. Featured here are all of the published photogravure images including over 1500 illustrations bound in the text volumes, along with over 700 portfolio plates. 

The collection is also availalbe through the Library of Congress site Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian. 



The Masks of Antonio Fava

Through a generous grant from The Estate of Dorothy Jean Adams, five of Maestro Fava's masks have been purchased by the Northwestern University Library and will be housed in its Special Collections - Charles Deering McCormick Library. The masks will be available for members of the Northwestern University community to use for research and performance. Along with the physical masks is this website which will include photos and 3D models that will allow a wider public to appreciate these masks. Digital versions of these masks will also be available in the virtual world of Second Life so that users can actually experience wearing and moving with the masks and observe others in action.



League of Nations: Statistical and Disarmament Documents

Northwestern University Library's digital collection "League of Nations Statistical and Disarmament Documents" contains the full text of 260 League of Nations documents. The League existed from 1919 to 1946. Although Russia and the United States refused to join, its members included countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America. The documents in this digitized collection focus on three areas: the founding of the League, international statistics published by the League, and the League's work toward international disarmament. To promote peace and security, the League reduced national armaments and prevented the manufacture of implements of war. Most of the publications in this digital collection concern disarmament.



The Paris Codex

This site contains a digital version of an ancient Maya hieroglyphic book called the Paris Codex. The images were taken from a photograhic record of the ancient book, created by Theodore A. Willard in 1933. The original is still preserved today at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France. It is one of only four pre-Columbian Maya hieroglyphic manuscripts that have survived the book burnings of the Spanish Conquest.

Scholars believe that these books hold many insights into the Maya civilization. The purpose of this site is to make the photographic images of the pages of the Paris Codex available to the public - to see, interpret and use in their studies of this ancient civilization.

This digital version of the Paris Codex was created by Northwestern University Library's Digital Media Services.