The Mystery of Count Leopold Ferri of Padua – Library Archeology and the Stainforth Catalog

By Michael W. Harris

When the members of Team Stainforth discuss his library, we always like to say that it was one of the largest collections of women’s writing in the nineteenth century. But there is always the qualifier of “one of the” because we can never really say for sure.

The one library that the Team knew about and have always compared his library to is the collection assembled for the 1893 World’s Fair held in Chicago. At that exhibition, there was a “Women’s Building” that housed a library of works by women authors, representing twenty-four nations and included some 8,000 volumes, all arranged and cataloged by librarians handpicked by Melvil Dewey, he of the famous decimal system. (Read about that collection here.)

Recently, however, another library came to the attention of project director Kirstyn Leuner from an unlikely source: George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Continue reading “The Mystery of Count Leopold Ferri of Padua – Library Archeology and the Stainforth Catalog”

Stainforth Was a Nerd, and So am I

By Michael W. Harris

As part of my day-to-day job in Norlin Library Special Collections and Archives at CU Boulder, I work as a member of the Stainforth Library of Women Writers digital humanities project (the site is in the process of being migrated to a new platform, so please excuse our mess). Simply put, we are taking a handwritten catalog of the library of Francis John Stainforth (we will hopefully be updating and expanding the Wikipedia entry soon) and transcribing it into a searchable database.

Why? Because his library is one of the most complete records of poetry and drama (and some prose) by women and includes writings from the 16th to the 19th century. There is a whole lot more we want to do with the project and the data we create from the catalog database, but for the past two or so years, we have been simply focused on the task of transcribing the catalog and editing the data. And we are almost ready to release our first data set to the public. Continue reading “Stainforth Was a Nerd, and So am I”