Centering animals in archival research

"Poodle" in Vier und zwanzig Abbildungen verschiedener Hunde by Magnus Brasch. Nürnberg, in der Raspischen Buchhandlung, 1789. Rare Book N7660 .B7 Chapin-HorowitzTracing the histories of oppressed groups is notoriously difficult as their members may have been prevented from attaining educational or material resources that would allow them to keep records of their experiences. Or their existence may have been deemed so inconsequential that they were simply excluded from or misrepresented by larger data sources like census records, upon which researchers often rely. Consider the especially elusive nature of historical records that detail the lived experiences of nonhuman animals in a society where they are largely regarded as objects, property, or pests.

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K.O.B. Ribbon Society

K.O.B. Group Photo, circa 1931This image of female students of the K.O.B. ribbon society surrounding the Botetourt Statue appeared in the 1931 Colonial Echo yearbook. Shortly after William & Mary became a co-ed in 1918, “a certain group of girls who found each other’s company congenial, decided to form a ribbon society.” As a precursor to the current sorority system, selected William & Mary female students formed the G.G.G. club and others the K.O.B. club. K.O.B. members “wore a yellow ribbon on their wrists once each month and on special occasions” as a mark of their membership in the ribbon society.

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Beautiful Penmanship

Chart, Wilson Miles Cary Genealogical Notebook, circa 1900-1914, Mss. MsV Ad2One of the most beautifully executed manuscript volumes in the Special Collections Research Center is a genealogy notebook compiled by Wilson Miles Cary (1838-1914). Cary, the grandnephew of Thomas Jefferson, was born in Harford County, Md. and later lived in Baltimore, Md. where he served as a court clerk and also pursued his genealogy interest.

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Recent Women’s History Acquisitions in Special Collections

Diary entry for July 4, 1889 with American Flag.In honor of Women’s History Month, Swem Library Special Collections would like to highlight two of its most recent acquisitions related to women’s history. The  Rowena Goddard Diary is a travel diary kept by Rowena while traveling with her mother in Germany during the spring and summer of 1889. Some of the sites she visited while in Germany include Berlin, Dresden, Bohemia, Karlstad and Bayreuth. In her diary, Goddard wrote of taking German lessons and socializing with other students, seeing and describing the Kaiser in Berlin, making sketches of the countryside, and getting her fortune told among other topics. The diary also contains loose drawings, train tickets, and flowers. Here are some photographs of different pages from the diary:

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Newton’s Principia


William & Mary will soon be home of one of history’s most famous trees. Well, at least a very close relative. This Saturday, February 22, the College of William & Mary will accept the first of three apple trees grafted from a descendant of the purported apple tree that inspired Isaac Newton’s theory of gravitation. The gift comes to us from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is connected to William & Mary is through its founder and W&M alumnus, William Barton Rogers.

Newton holds a special place for us here in Special Collections, as we have our very own 1st edition copy of Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, otherwise known simply as the Principia.

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