Eighteenth-century trolling, via U Penn researcher Mitch Fraas. The annotation reads: “Greatest nonsense I ever met, under so modest a title” and “[By a Young Lady] who I hope will never write again.”
The Arbre du Ténébré in 1961. The most isolated tree in the world, it was struck and killed by a drunken truck driver in 1973.
A sixteenth-century gardener from Adam Lonitzer’s Naturalis historiae opus novum (Frankfurt, 1551). Read the full book here.
A detail from Justin Berry’s Dual Horizons, 2012, an artwork composed of two modified vintage paperbacks. Read about the process on our blog: “Landscapes of Possibility.”
Dual Horizons, Justin Berry, 2012. Berry creates his artworks by selectively painting over vintage paperback covers.
Why did a Nazi think that the ruins at Tiwanaku in Bolivia were built by refugees from the lost city of Atlantis? “Andean Atlantis.”
Ivan Shiskin, Morning in a Pine Forest, 1878. Shiskin was a 19th century Russian painter associated with the Peredvizhniki, or “Wanderers,” movement of naturalistic paintings of wild scenes.
Today I pulled an eagle out of a drawer. There were three or four other eagles there, also female, but I was looking specifically for her. I recognized the handwriting on the tag, and turned it over for confirmation. Yes. She was lying on her back, neck extended, sharp claws crossed and secured. I carefully lifted her with two hands, and even though she is a skin—a shell, really, her organs and skeleton replaced with stuffing—I felt her weight. I wasn’t prepared for the eagle—for her size, for the impact that holding her in my hands would have on me.
Historians talk about material culture, about the importance of engaging non-textual sources in our work and in our teaching, but, holding her, I was almost giddy. It was more than that feeling that you’re looking at the coolest, biggest, weirdest thing in the archive; when you require the white gloves, a bigger book cradle, a stand for viewing large format photographs. She had been alive once. And I felt something. Connected through the feeling of her feathers on my fingers, the proximity to something I’d only ever encountered at a safe distance.
Behind the scenes of a Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber diorama, via.