Variety and Similarity

Is one purpose of the archive is simply to preserve the variety of any given age?

This question about variety led me to consider what similarities might exist between journals that would seem to be in opposition to one another, for instance, a self-proclaimed "conservative" journal like The Owl and a undeniably political journal such as The Egoist. Thus, I took three issues from each journal and, after putting them into Voyant Tools, subsequently took a look at the terms they have in common, featured below:


I'm going to come back to this post and add some more. But, for right now, I'm appreciating the movement that Voyant Tools allows for this issue of The Masses. I've been reading some queer theory for Dr. McLaughlin's class, and one thing that has really spoken to me is the idea of stasis as a tool of potential oppression used by political hegemonies. Perhaps, through reanimation (digitization, playing with words, etc.), there is a reimbuing of political potential.

Lab 2/12

I was most curious about the potential political ramifications and biases that an archive may be subject to. So rather than if there are any biases, I decided for this excercise, to just ask where any biases manifest, just due to the nature of modernism.

For this lab, I put the June 1914 issues of Blast, The Crisis, and The Masses into a corpus and pumped the whole thing into Voyant Tools. By doing this, I hoped to examine the points of friction between the issues, and potentially examine potential political biases in modernist journal archival.

For starters, the word "like" appears with a higher frequency in Blast than the other journals, and the word links map has it connected to the term "God," indicating a tendency to compare people to higher beings, which furhter indicates a sense of superiority coming from the Vortecists. Meanwhile, terms such as "negro" and "colored" almost exclusively are relegated to The Crisis, highlighting the Anglo centric perspective of Blast and The Masses.

Trying to Explain Why Archives Make The Choices They Do

With the general question of if an archive must explain themselves and the choices they make, the largest objection I could think of would be time. Digitizing and/or cataloging items already takes quite a bit of time. Add in having to explain why you made the choice you did, and you're now spending even more time. And what explanation is long enough? Or too short?


I think a potential solution to this problem is also a potential side step. By linking together texts/objects with metadata tags, you are showing a general theme through specific items that can span the entire archive (as well as helping with search and user access). Perhaps you do not have to excuse your choice as much as you have to prove that said choice has a place in the archive. Maybe that's enough.

That alone is a big ask, as it can be rather subjective as to what terms to use as a metadata tag for which journal. I have decided to explore using the text itself, and using major terms found in the text itself as potential metadata tags. That can take a bit of time, so you to automate it.

To illustrate this, I have used Voyant Tools to automatically read the PDF copies of Blast issue 1, Camera Work number 5, and The Dome, vol. 1 no. 5. By doing so I was able to gather a word map which I have provided below:

The "TermsBerry" that Voyant provides is also useful in this regard, but Voyant does not like making an image of it that I can link here, apparently.

As you can see, there are plenty of words that we can look at to see about using as metadata tags. However, there are also spelling errors, and some more useless words like "good" or "new." We discussed methods in class that we can use to clean up XML files, and I feel as if that is a good way to avoid the spelling errors. This may work rather well if I were to expand the scope even further, and include say all of the MJP's offerings. Then we can get search tags that appear in (at least) a majority of the magazines, and show a clear link between the offerings. 

3 Journals

So for this post, I went and had a look at some issues of The Crisis and The Masses, as well as the two issues of Blast (which is kind of cheating but they have been on my mind recently). For The Crisis, I looked at the first and last issues, in addition to vol 9 issue 1, to see the amounts of change in policy and stance on issues across the length of the war. I did the same with The Masses, looking at the first and last issues, and then Vol. 6 No. 6.

One of the most essential aspects to each of these periodicals is the political aspects running through them. The Crisis focusing on black civil rights and uplift, both before, during, and after the war, The Masses with its socialist leanings, and Blast's fairly obvious facistic leanings. All of these varying political perspectives coexist within the archive of the Modernist Journals Project, which I find fascinating. The description of The Masses acknowledges it's "radical politics," and does The Crisis, but the description for Blast doen not outright mention the political ideals the journal presents. Do we, as archivists, have a responsibility to contextualize the material we choose to preserve, especially when some of the materials push violent and potentially dangerous ideologies (I am aware that some people would leverage the same political questions towards The Masses that I am at Blast)? Because the discussion of archival and preservations can center around similar discussions of ethical consumption that we were having at the end of last week, with regards to the #MeToo era. Is it even up to the archivists to decide if anything is too "problematic" to preserve?

Three magazines


The magazine Rhythm shows some poems which contain various literary works that shows diverse imageries, sounds and twist of traditional convention. For example, the poem ‘the sea child’ describes sea as a child who goes back toward her mother earth by describing various imageries. She is described as ‘fashioned her body of coral and foam, combed a wave in her hair’s warm smother, and drove her away from home.’’ From this scene, we can find that natural object of sea is described as a woman who has fashioned with her with various objects and this makes us to imagine the movement of sea like a person who actually go between the earth and the sea. This makes us imagine the scenery of sea which ceaselessly move back and forth. A story, ‘the holy man’ disrupts the tradition of convention of religion. The is an old man who knows anything about God, but when Bishop looks him he thinks that he is really like Jesus, because he always tries to help others. Even Bishop sees the old man walks on the water to visit him. From this story, we can find that the story distorts the traditional authority of bible. A poem ‘smiles’ uses imageries, but in this case, it also distorts the tradition of using imagery of white and black. The speaker says that a black girl ‘as black as winter’s night’, but when she smiles, “there came a flood of light; it was the Milky Way”. From this speaker finds bright thing from the black girl. On the other hand, a maiden now fair as a summer’s day is described as black when she smiles by comparing her smile to the milky way of black night. Whether the woman is black or white, the speaker describes them as Milky Way, but in a different way. This seems to contrast traditional convention of division between black and white.  There are also many abstract images and this experimental way of depicting the images seems interesting because this could be only found through Modernist digital archive.


Seven arts

In this journal, we can find various issues in politics around the world and USA, and its relation of literature. ‘The Thimble’ written by D. H. Lawrence shows a story of a couple who have trouble of making their lives. When the woman finds out treasure-trove, a thimble accidentally, she feels terrified, and she even imagines that she was laying under the ground. She says that she feels like helpless baby in her situation, but the man says that there is a hope of becoming growth. This story seems to suggest after war mentality in people, and their possibility of resurrection. This idea can be found in the lines saying. “Are we dead now?”, “Yes we are”, “Then we must be born again” John Dewey’s ‘In a time of national hesitation’ explains the situation of USA confronting world war, and suggests the righteous way for the nation to do their work. He explains that the nation is in a paused in making decision, because they lack national mind. He explains that their nation should fight for defending democracy for other nations. He also says that as their nation is a new body and a new sprit in the world, they should finish their hesitation.


As a socialist journal, this journal seems to focus more on lives of people who are in a trouble, and instead of adopting the aesthetics of modernist, just sticks to the idea of realism. In a journal of June 1915, we can find an image of a man and woman. The man is sitting on the floor, putting one leg made of prosthetic leg and he is begging for something to people. Besides him, we can find a woman who is dressed well, and putting one of her leg with shoes which seems luxurious. Below the picture, there is a line saying ‘putting the best foot forward.’ By contrasting two images of man and woman who have different foot, the image seems to depict the problem of the poor and the rich, and there is no artistic experiment in the painting, so we can find that the image tries to depict the problem of society, instead of just sticking to the artistic experiment. In an article, “knowledge and revolution”, we can also find that the article tries to explain the problem of human value in the prison by depicting how prisoners are not treated well. Such description of the problem of prisoners seem to follow the style of reportage which depicts situation with realistic perspective.  

3 Journals and 3 Entries Per

Alright, so I'm getting my wisdom teeth removed on Thursday. Let's celebrate by looking at a few issues of Rhythm, Camera Work, and The Dome. Seeing as how they make extensive use of images, I want to focus on those for the most part.


Rhythym only had 14 issues published, so I looked at issues 1, 7, and 14, in an effort to gain a general understanding of Rhythm's life as a publication. Volume 1, Number 1 is very worried about detail and how it is used. In particular to the drawings, this issue is very concerned about being able to give adequate detail to the whole image. "Study" by Othon Friesz is our first full page image, and you can see that the character's worker-qualities (its strength, muscle mass, rounded shoulders, broad feet and hands) are emphasized over its face. In fact, it looks as though the figure could be wearing a mask, which highlights the replaceability of the worker-classes. The next image we have is by Picasso, in which we get two women whose faces are very detailed, but their clothing is barely outlined. Issue 7 seems to be following the same general focus, going as far as Picasso's piece focusing only on a wounded soldier's hands and his bandaged head. The rest of his body is a thin, ragged outline. Issue 14 is no different, though there are quite a bit more nude drawings. The nudity is not as pronounced as the woman's face, so while the women are are an edenic landscape, the focus is on their beauty and not their body.


In Camera Work, I went for the same broad sampling. They are largely worried with establishing photography as an artform in itself, and as such give quite a bit of space to people calling it such. The pictures they include are rather haunting by today's standards (the black and white images help with that), but I'd like to have seen more. For a journal that is called Camera Work, there is decidedly little of it on display. The question here is if the journal does enough to establish photography as an art form.


In The Dome, I think the biggest difference is that they don't offer any "apology" or "introduction" section to their journal. It is entirely focused on the art, and offers no defense because there isn't anything to defend. The question is, then, if that is enough. Can you simply present a journal of nothing but your era's art and stand aside, because your job's done now? Is any period's art good enough to do that? Or is The Dome being a little presumptuous?


I think a larger question these journals can drag to the surface about archives is if an archive has to defend or describe their rationale for allowing items into their collection. The Dome certainly does not think an explanation is necessary, but Camera Work and Rhythm and many other journals that I've interacted with do. Do archives have to answer to anyone? Archives are doing all of the work in collating and protecting these pieces, so why do they have to explain why they chose one thing over another?



Magazines & Archives

This week, I checked out The Dilettante (one of the "ephemeral bibelots" of the 1890s), the socialist magazine The Masses (my favorite magazine so far - it's delightful), and the Irish magazine Dana. I was particularly interested in finding magazines that represented either minority or burgeoning political factions - The Masses and Dana definitely satisfied those criteria. I chose the Spokane-based Dilettante for a similar reason, in that, as a magazine from "backwards America" (released just about 10 years after Washington achieved statehood), it also corresponds to a kind of burgeoning political identity (albeit in a less immediate way than The Masses or Dana). With each magazine, I chose the first and last issues as well as an issue from the middle in order to map, in a way, the formal evolution of the magazines. 

The questions that I was considering as I read these texts were (unsurprisingly) political in nature. I was drawn to the fact that, with The Masses and Dana at least, these magazines were less of a business venture and more of an attempt to form a political coalition. So, for my question, I would like to consider the relationship between the political potential of these magazines as social networks. Can we see a correlation between these magazines and the social media that we know today? I'd also like to consider, more broadly, how the political potential of these magazines changes over time.  What happens when The Masses, for example, as a socialist magazine can only be accessed at an archive based at an institution such as a university? Is there a loss of political potential? Is that potential reclaimed when the text transitions from a physical archive to a digital archive? 

Journals and the Archive

The three journals I chose to peruse this week include "McClure's Magazine", "The New Freewoman", and "The Owl". Different things drew me to each of these titles, from the title, the description given by the MJP, to even the cover art, but there were a few similar questions I had while perusing them.

For The New Freewoman I looked at volume 1 no. 1, 7, and 13, for McClure's Magazine I looked at volumes 14.4, 17.5, and 36.2, and for The Owl I looked at volume 1 no. 1, 2, and 3, since apparently these 3 were all that was ever published.

I was curious about "The New Freewoman" due to our discussion last week of it in-between status, bookended on either side by "The Freewoman" and "The Egoist. I was curious what shifts I might notice in the journals mere 6 month lifespan. While perusing these volumes I noticed concerns with the suffrage movement, as the title might suggest, but beyond this also travel and responses to beauty (in Rebecca West's "Trees of Gold", particularly), anthropology, philosophy, the necessity of caring for the environment (no. 7), and that some writers (such as that same West) appear on multiple occasions. All three volumes also include an abundance or mythical and literary references, as well as an apparent fascination with the Greeks. IT was from no. 7 to 13 that I noticed the most striking difference, with no. 13 beginning with a violent and enigmatic story, upon the end of which the change of names is announced dramatically: "It is proposed that with our issue of January 1st, 1914, the title of The New Freewoman be changed to The Egoist." The reason for this seems rather intuitive based upon the content of all three volumes: the writers therein are concerned with a multitude of areas that are at once connected to and also perhaps autonomous of the previously held titles.

McClure's Magazine I chose for the illustrations: From the Renaissance cover art of volume 14.4 to the sloping landscape of volume 17.5, I was sold, and the colored illustrations throughout were quite interesting.  Looking at the content itself, I learned that we used to have a beef boulion-esque product called "Armour's", complete with an accompanying knight jousting.  Additionally, the word that kept coming to mind when considering this stories and advertisements within the journal was "discovery". Based upon the content, the writers and readers of McClure's seem to have been quite interested in travel narratives, depictions of "exotic" animals, and adventure stories in general.

As for the three volumes present of The Owl, I found here, as the journals introductory material asserts, a rather conservative and straightforward collection of seemingly good writing of the time in a less experimental vein. This was rather refreshing for me, honestly, since I have been rather used to thinking that everything published during this period was radical in some way, shape, or form.  In fact, The Owl's refusing to take any one stance or movement, in some ways, seems to lend it to inclusivity, for since "It must be understood that "The Owl" has no politics, leads no new movement and is not even the organ of any particular generation", this potentially welcomes a variety of perspectives instead of catering only to those of a certain age or agends, and thus "sixty-seven years separate the oldest and youngest contributors." (The little owl drawings are also just super cute, honestly.)

About these particular journals I kept asking myself, what was the intent of the editors and contributors? What were those things they felt so passionately about as to create in such a way, and why this way, in particular?

One question about the archive in general that these journals prompted me to consider is whether perhaps one purpose of the archive is simply to preserve the variety of any given age? I am used to thinking that archives rather boil a time-period down to it's most common denominator, but here found such differences of perspective circulating as to reorient my preconceptions remarkably.