Digital Commonwealth: Massachusetts Collections Online

The Digital Commonwealth project provides access to thousands of photographs, manuscripts, books, audio recordings, maps, postcards, artifacts, and other material of historical interest that have been made available by libraries, museums, archives and historical societies across Massachusetts.

Barnum and Bailey

The collection can be searched by collection, institution, format, or geographical location. Although the items are all held in collections within Massachusetts they represent the cultural heritage from around the world.

Jamaica MapItems in the collections include American Revolutionary War era maps, a collection of anti-slavery material, photographs by Arthur Griffin ( a photographer for the Boston Globe), botanical prints, and books from Boston Public Library (including this recipe book from 1897 which can be read online via a link provided with the image in the collection.

Art-students and copyists in the Louvre gallery, ParisEach image or recording has a box listing information for the item, including the terms of use by which it can be used.

The image to the left is by Winslow Homer and was published in Harper’s Weekly on 11th January 1868. The terms of use for this image state that there are no known copyright restrictions and no restrictions on use. Whereas a photograph titled ‘Art class in Provincetown dunes’ by Arthur Griffin (taken between 1935 and 1955) is shown to be under copyright with all rights reserved. The two images show interesting similarities as well as obvious differences in the way in which artists work (and dress) almost 100 years apart.

Items from this collection are also available in the Digital Public Library of America – a freely available collection of material from across the US.

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