Barnard's Library recently launched the Barnard Digital Collections, a web-based resource of digitized archival materials reflecting the College’s 125-year legacy of excellence in women’s education. Featuring content from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, the Digital Collections provides a glimpse into the history of women’s education and collegiate culture, 19th- and 20th-century struggles for women’s rights, and the history and development of Morningside Heights and New York City.

“The Digital Collections makes Barnard’s vibrant history more easily accessible to alumnae, the wider Barnard community, and researchers everywhere,” said Barnard’s digital archivist Martha Tenney, noting that the launch coincides with Barnard’s 125th anniversary, which is being celebrated with a variety of events and special projects throughout the 2014-2015 academic year.

Collection highlights include:

  • A photography collection with images of Barnard’s storied Greek Games, Morningside Heights campus, and notable alumnae, all accessible using an advanced, open-source image viewer that allows for deep zooming and clear resolution, even on highly detailed images. Concurrent with the launch is the Digital Collections’ first exhibit, curated by Barnard Librarian Heidi Winston. The exhibit is comprised of images of students’ participation in political demonstrations and movements--from suffrage to Black Power to reproductive rights.
  • The Barnard Bulletin, Barnard’s weekly student newspaper (and later its student magazine), is digitized and searchable from 1901 through 2002 and reflects a century of student life, the Barnard curriculum and faculty, and events around the city and the country—such as the issue from February 25, 1965 that features an article on Malcolm X’s last speech, delivered at Barnard days before his assassination, alongside articles about a SNCC meeting at Columbia and the new student editor of the Bulletin.
  • The Mortarboard, Barnard’s yearbook, documents the changing population of Barnard students and provides a window into the activities and concerns of women’s college students over the course of the 20th century, often with hand-drawn illustrations. Barnard gratefully acknowledges Jessica Schwartz '13 and the Schwartz Family, whose donation made the digitization of The Mortarboard possible.

The site—a project of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, a part of the Barnard Library and Academic Information Services, in conjunction with Barnard College Information Technology—reflects the hard work of many people across Barnard's community including digital archivist Martha Tenny, instructional applications developer Dillon Savage, college archivist Shannon O'Neill, along with BCIT staff, archives fellows, and student staff. Special thanks are also due to Library Dean Lisa Norberg for the vision and advocacy that pushed this initiative through.

The Digital Collections employ the Islandora platform, an open-source software framework built on a base of Drupal, Fedora, and Solr. The contents will continue to expand in the coming months and years to include more of Barnard's rich history and archival materials.