This Week @ MHS
The lone event on the calendar this week is our free tour, "The History and Collections of the MHS." This tour is open to the public and begins at 10:00AM. Parties of 8 or more should contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley in advance at 617-646-0508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
| Published: Sunday, 26 July, 2015, 12:00 AM
An American Woman in Egypt, 1914-1915: Wadi Halfa to Asswan
By Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook, Reader Services
Today we rejoin our anonymous female diarist as she journeys down the Nile in the winter of 1914-1915. You can read previous installments of this series here (introduction), here (Cairo to Aysut), here (Aysut to Asswan) and here (Asswan to Abu Simbel).
Image: “The Oriental Lounge of the Cataract Hotel at Assuan,” from Douglas Sladen, Queer Things About Egypt (1910)
In today’s entries, our diarist tours various sites on the border of Egypt and Sudan, in an area today bordering (and in some cases subsumed by) the Lake Nasser/Lake Nubia reservoir. In one case, visiting the Temple Kalabsha, she would have seen the temple in its original location nearly half a century before it was moved to accommodate the rising waters of the lake as the Aswan Dam was constructed (between 1958-1971).
On December 15th our narrator departs the steamer on which she has been traveling and takes the train north to Asswan once more, where she checks into the Cataract Hotel at which she will spend her Christmas holidays. These entries continue to illustrate how, as an American tourist, she experienced the country through which
Dec. 11. A.M. wrote post cards & at lunch we arrived at Wadi Halfa. Went on shore after lunch & walked around, then went up to train and saw people off for Khartoum. Went to P.O. for stamps. After tea went ashore again with dragoman & walked through [illegible phrase]. Saw Nubian village & then Sudanese on the desert.
Dec. 12. Had early breakfast & left in small boat at 8:30. Miss M. did not go. Were rowed across first to shore & then towed along for about an hour’s ride. Then landed & got onto donkeys & rode over the desert to the rock of Abu Seer, 1 ½ hours. Went up on rocks & saw two [illegible word] shoot the rapids. Rode back to river bank & had lunch in a little hut there. Then visited Temple of [illegible phrase] took boats again & were rowed back to our steamer in time for tea. After it wrote a letter. Fine full moon.
Image: “The Rock of Abusir” from Amelia B. Edwards, A Thousand Miles Up the Nile (1890)
Dec. 13. Had early breakfast & at 8:30 went ashore in row boats to see rock temple of Sebel Addeli 4 papyrus columns with bud capitals -- used as a Christian church. Soon after leaving this we passed Abu Simbel again. Wrote till noon time. Sailed along all the afternoon.
Dec. 14. Reached Kalabsha just at breakfast & immediately after went ashore -- a large group of [visitors?] - went to rock temple of Beit-El Wali, a vestibule [illegible phrase]. Only side walls of vestibule standing, interesting historical reliefs. Some coloring in the hall & sanctuary. Then went back to river, took boats & rowed into temple of Kalabsha, which is partly submerged -- never finished -- has [illegible phrase] rooms -- 1st vestibule has [illegible word] columns with floral capitals, the roof is gone. The other 3 rooms have walls, preserved reliefs with vivid coloring. Arrived at Shellal at noon. Most of people took 3pm train to Asswan. After they had gone Miss M., Miss Gillender & I had a boat & went around to Philae & back for tea & stayed on boat overnight.
Dec. 15. Left Prince Abbas* after an early breakfast at 7.30 & took 8.30 train to Asswan going to Cataract Hotel to get room. Then walked round to steamer “Arabia” and made a call on the Phelps’, stepping into Cook’s on the way. After lunch lay down & slept, then sat on my balcony & watched sunset then went down & wrote till dinner. Talked with two English ladies in evening.
In our next installment, we’ll see how our diarist’s routines change (as well as stay the same) once she is no longer traveling daily from place to place but instead residing in a fixed location with a revolving cast of European guests.
*The first mention of it in this diary, I believe Prince Abbas may be the name of the boat our diarist had been staying on.
| Published: Wednesday, 22 July, 2015, 1:00 AM
This Week @ MHS
Once again this week, the MHS hosts another three-day teacher workshop. "Maritime Massachusetts: Salem Stories and Sources
" takes place in Salem, Mass. starting Monday, 20 July, and continuing through Wednesday, 22 July. The program is open to all educators and history enthusiasts with a fee of $35.To Register / For more information
: complete this registration form
, or contact the education department at email@example.com
And on Saturday, 25 July, there is another tour of the Society. Stop by at 10:00AM for "The History and Collections of the MHS." This free tour is open to the public with no need for reservations for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley in advance at 617-646-0508 or firstname.lastname@example.org
| Published: Sunday, 19 July, 2015, 12:00 AM
This Week @ MHS
It is all about the teachers this week at the Society as we host another three-day teacher workshop, starting on Tuesday, 14 July. This time around, participants have the opportunity to get acquainted with John and Abigail Adams in "John & Abigail: A Life in Letters." For more information: contact the education department at email@example.com 617-646-0557. To register: visit The Education Cooperative website: http://www.tec-coop.org/sites/default/files/PD-Sum15-AbigailandJohn.pdf.
Also, on Saturday, 18 July, join us for a tour of the Society. "The History and Collections of the MHS" is an opportunity for visitors to get an informational look at the art, architecture, collections, and history of the MHS. Free and open to the public, the tour is docent-led and lasts about 90 minutes. No need for individuals or small groups to make reservations. However, parties of 8 or more should contact the Curator of Art, Anne Bentley, at 617-646-0508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
| Published: Sunday, 12 July, 2015, 12:00 AM
MHS Staff Meet with Librarians from Uzbekistan
By Nancy Heywood, Collection Services
Although there are many miles between Boston, Massachusetts and Tashkent, Uzbekistan (6,148 miles according to Google) and although the English language is quite different from the Uzbek language, librarians from the National Library of Uzbekistan and staff of the Massachusetts Historical Society found much common ground and camaraderie during a recent meeting at MHS.
The scheduling logistics for the group - comprised of the Director, Deputy Director, Head, Reading Halls Lead Specialist, and Head of IT and Access to Foreign Library Collections - were handled by WorldBoston. The focus of the meeting and tour, which took place on 5 June, was on how the MHS makes special collections materials available to researchers both remotely and on-site. During the visit, with the aid of two highly skilled interpreters, we were able to convey information about cataloging, archival storage, and collections management issues.
Following Librarian Elaine Heavey's brief introduction to the MHS's history and collections, Digital Projects Coordinator Nancy Heywood and Web Developer Bill Beck showed some examples of how we make selections of our collections available online. The MHS website features a few different types of digital presentations—some sections of the website present sets of materials comprised of relatively small numbers of items with lots of contextual information and transcriptions, but other sections of the website present large sets of documents and/or fully digitized collection with minimal descriptive information and usually without transcriptions.
Elaine Heavey then conveyed information about how researchers use online catalogs and collection guides to prepare for their research visit and she demonstrated Portal1791, our new researcher request system. The group toured the building and saw the spaces that researchers use (orientation room, reading room, catalog room) as well as some staff areas including the conservation lab and one of the larger stack floors. They also saw a few highlights from the collections.
| Published: Thursday, 9 July, 2015, 1:00 AM