1. Unlocking China’s Secrets: Day 2 — the 三反五反 (3 Anti, 5 Anti) Documents


    Yesterday, I got into the grittier aspects of this collection: the records of various individuals during the early communist years. Wikipedia titles it as “public records,” but based on what my mom told me, they are the exact opposite, considering that NO ONE in China even knows what their own record looks like. Needless to say, it’s pretty cool that I’m working with the personal records of several individuals.
    The ones I looked at yesterday were from 1950 and 1951, during the Three Anti, Five Anti Campaigns, launched to rid society of Corruption, Waste, Bureaucracy (3 antis) and Bribery, Theft of State Property, Tax Evasion, Cheating Government Contracts, and Stealing State Economic Information (5 antis). AKA Chairman Mao’s campaign to consolidate power and get rid of counterrevolutionaries.
    These documents are ridiculously detailed, and include things like month-by-month timelines of where they were and what they were doing:


    Each person was also required to write a “self-evaluation,” which included a detailed explanation of what they did and learned throughout their years of schooling. These documents were then evaluated by several groups of people through the hierarchy, and were signed off and stamped at each level.
    imageThe above files are from a member of the Anhui Province Food Management/Administration Department (粮食厅 — not a cafeteria, as I originally thought lol). According to my mom, this is a really big and important role, as this department controlled distribution of food at the provincial level. If they don’t give the go-ahead, everyone can starve.

    And the final, and perhaps most scary, piece of the day:
    imageFrom what I can make out, I think this person was charged with corruption/graft. And according to my mom, depending on the amount and the time period, that could mean a death sentence. O_O I don’t want to know if that paper in my hands precluded a sentence, but in all likelihood it could have.

    Playing it safe here, no names, but it’s scary and a little jarring to see names and pictures and know that these are files attached to real people. More to come tomorrow!

  2. rossicaberlin:

    Severnaia lira [Northern lyre], publisher. Collection of forty-three ephemeral Russian émigré editions of sheet music. [Krsko, Slovenia]: Izdatel’stvo “Severnaia lira”, ca. 1925.

    Presumably published in the mid-1920s by an undocumented Slovenian publisher of art songs, waltzes, arias, and other popular music genres. The wrappers are decorated with numerous contemporary illustrations as well as reproductions of known Russian artworks. The music represented ranges from Russian and Ukrainian folk tunes, to chansons and romances, to fashionable European dances, such as a “Kokain-Shimmy-fox mysterieux” and the “Tango-Maxixe.” KVK, OCLC show scattered issues at the University of Illinois only.


  3. narindaism:

    Our work matters.

  4. archivalia:

    'no Party will be permitted to Read the BOOKS in the REFERENCE LIBRARY whose Hands are not Clean' public notice, c.1890s (GB127.M740/2/13/1/4) (von archivesplus)

  5. oldbookillustrations:

    And just for the heck of it, a page of The idylls of the king printed in shorthand. Montreal, 1889.

    (Source: archive.org)

    (via missrumphiusproject)

  6. borninflames:



    Anonymous Works: Easter Bunny

    One of the earliest American portrayals of the Easter rabbit on a watercolor reward of merit by Johann Conrad Gilbert (Southeastern Pennsylvania, active 1775-1810). 3 x 4”.

    Sold for $24,000.00 at Pook & Pook.

    its so beatufitul

    Back when Easter Bunnies had scales and leapt lightly through the air like Pegasus with a message for Zeus himself!

    (Source: trixietreats, via archivalia)

  7. houghtonlib:

    Samples of dyed felt from a collection of materials used in the preparation of an 18th century French encyclopedia of trades and crafts.

    Réaumur, René Antoine Ferchault de, 1683-1757. Manuscripts and illustrations for Descriptions des arts et métiers, 1721-1787.

    MS Typ 432.1 (4)

    Houghton Library, Harvard University

  8. multcolib:

    It is true our collection has not a single binding made of human skin (thankfully…) but we do have this travel diary from the 1920s by William Keeney Bixby, a St. Louis businessman, former president of Washington University, and an avid book collector, and it’s bound in lion skin…

  9. aacalibrary:

    A collection of 1954 photographs via the Hudson Essex Terraplane Historical Society.

  10. congressarchives:

    Think your driver’s license photo makes you look silly? At least you aren’t Department of Commerce official J. Mishell George. No, this isn’t a April Fool’s prank. Newspaper reader Judge L.S. Oliver really thought George looked downright nefarious.

    Letter from Judge L.S. Oliver to the Permanent Subcommitte on Investigations, 3/13/1956, Records of the United States Senate

    (via todaysdocument)