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Special Collections Unbound

Stanford University Libraries receives Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funding for ePADD phase three development

January 17, 2020
by Sally DeBauche

We are excited to announce that the ePADD project has been awarded a grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the planning and future development of the ePADD software!

ePADD is free and open-source computational analysis software developed by Stanford University Libraries Special Collections & University Archives and partners that facilitates screening, browsing, and access for historically and culturally significant email collections.

Three tourists sit in an early automobile in front of a grove of giant sequoias.

Highlights from the Gary D. and Myrna R. Lowe collection on the Big Tree of California

January 9, 2020
by Brian Bethel

Last year, I had the pleasure of processing one of the most fascinating collections I’ve had the opportunity to work on: the Gary D. and Myrna R. Lowe Collection of Big Tree materials. As the title suggests, the Lowe Collection by and large consists of photographs, prints, postcards, ephemera, pamphlets, government reports, periodicals, and souvenirs related to ‘Big Trees’ -- the original vernacular term for the awe-inspiring redwoods we know today as giant sequoia trees.

Volvelle page 42. Tebalducci, Claudio. Delli dialogi della quantita et del numero delle sfere terrestri et celesti. Roma: Per il Santi, & Comp., 1588.

Volvelles: the rotating diagrams with some assembly required

December 18, 2019
by Ann K.D. Myers

A recently cataloged 16th century astronomy book provides fascinating insight into how a particular kind of diagram was printed and constructed. These rotating diagrams, called volvelles (from the Latin volvere, to turn), were used in both manuscripts and printed books to calculate data related to calendars, tide tables, astronomy, astrology, and more. They typically consist of one or more circles surmounted by other graduated or figured circles or pointers which rotate from a central axis. The circles could be made of paper, cardboard, or vellum, and the pivots were typically made of string or thread. The most common were printed with woodcuts.

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