A Window into Nineteenth-century Parlor Music

Ruffin-Pollard illustrated title pageNineteenth-century bound sheet music offers a window into domestic music making. The accouterments of musical life—instruments and sheet music—were recognizable symbols of elite taste and education. Much nineteenth-century sheet music was bound together into volumes by owners, sometimes with ornate, personalized covers and marbled endpapers. Collecting loose sheaves of music into a bound volume gave the music greater permanency and value; bound volumes became objects for display as well as use in the parlor. Symbols of status and taste, a piano and sheet music were ubiquitous fixtures of most middle- and upper-class American parlors.

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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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Check Please!

In my current project at the SCRC, I have the good fortune of being able to check transcriptions from our Civil War Transcription Project that have recently been uploaded to our Digital Collections database. I am thrilled to be able to participate in this auspicious undertaking. We currently have over 980 documents uploaded, all of which must be transcribed by the hundreds of phenomenal volunteers who donate their time reading and transcribing them. As the transcriptions come in, they are uploaded and subsequently verified by a staff member. Lately, that staff member has been me.

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