Endangered archives blog

3 posts from May 2010

28 May 2010

Introducing the Devajit Bandyopadhyay Collection

One of the private collections digitised as part of the EAP127 project is that of Devajit Bandyopadhyay. A noted singer of North Indian classical music and Bengali songs, he is also active in the theatre, a passion reflected in his collection of theatre materials.

The collection comprises theatrical scripts, song books, and musical instruments, but it is his collection of booklets designed to promote new productions that have been digitised as part of the EAP project. These booklets, whilst not precisely programmes, contain much of the same information, such as castlists, a plot synopsis, song lyrics and photographs of the performance.

The images below are taken from the booklet promoting the play Himmati Ma, a Bengali production of Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, which opened in December 1995.




13 May 2010

Popular language primers

Cataloguing continues on the Popular Market Books from Bengal. For this post I've pulled out some language primers. Educational books are a common category in this material and language guides for Bengali, Hindi and English appear to have been very popular. Introductory books for spoken and written English appear quite frequently, as do manuals for professional letter writing.



I've also come across some wonderful illustrated Bengali primers. Since starting work with the EAP I've been studying the scripts of the new languages I'm presented with. It's important that our catalogues provide accurate transliterations of titles and other information, in line with Library of Congress standards, in order to facilitate access. These primers will, I hope, prove useful as I continue with Bengali and Hindi.

Here's a selection of pages from one of the most visually appealing.




07 May 2010

April Accessions 2010

Last month we received only one set of new material - two collections of rare dongjing archives from Yunnan in China. This material was copied by the project Survey on surviving dongjing archives in Jianshu, Tonghai and Mengzi. Its arrival couldn't have suited us better. It came just in time to be catalogued by Thushari Perera, who is doing a placement with us as part of her degree in Archives and Records Management at University College London.

We should be able to announce the completion of this catalogue and its availability very soon. In the meantime, I can tell you that the project copied 23 manuscripts and other records belonging to Mr Li Chun and 10 manuscripts from the collection of Mr Wang Kaichao. Most of these documents are music scores, lyrics or texts associated with dongjing performances and rituals. Also included are records from dongjing societies, a biography of the Sacred Zhang and volumes used in worshiping the North God.


The image above is from a music score belonging to the Li Chun Collection. The image below comes from the Wang Kaichao Collection and belongs to a text that gives details of donjing performances that celebrate the God Taiyi rescuing the threatened. This powerful early Daoist god is thought to act of behalf of those suffering misfortunes.