Leiden University Libraries (UBL) has donated over 3000 historic photographs and prints on the Dutch East Indies, China, Japan, Singapore and Suriname to Wikimedia Commons, the image database of Wikipedia. The images are part the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) collection, which is conserved by the UBL. The upload of the images was done by Wikipedian Hans Muller.
Besides images from the Dutch East Indies, the donation also includes pictures from China, Japan, Singapore and Suriname. Material such as watercolors depicting various Surinamese populations created by Father Borret, photos of nineteenth century Japan by pioneer photographer Felice Beato and photographs made by the famous photographic studio Lambert & Co. in Singapore.
The pictures were already available through the UBL and KITLV, but with the donation to Wikimedia the historical material is now also online in the public domain. This means that everyone is allowed to use the pictures for free. The user can also improve the descriptions and make additions. One year ago, 2400 Asian historical photographs were added by UBL to Wikimedia.
The donated images are available through Wikimedia Commons. The search can be done in Dutch as well English. It’s also possible to search on KITLV, preferably followed by a geographical location, name of photographer or subject.
On Wednesday 28 January Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker and University Librarian Kurt De Belder received a donation for the Asian Library from Jan Kalff, Jochem Helb, and Frits Kalff – representatives of the Minerva quinquennial anniversary committee 1955. This donation will partly enable the acquisition of around 100 Woodbury glass positives and a projector from circa 1865. The collection concerns mostly glass positives with images from the Dutch Indies.
The collection contains around 100 Woodbury glass positives with images from the Dutch Indies created circa 1865 and an original Woodbury projector. All the glass positives have been marked with the name ‘Woodbury Lantern Slide’. The collection is a fantastic acquisition and substantially enlarges the current glass plates collection on the Dutch Indies, which contains 463 glass positives and 3813 glass negatives. The projector, which could be used to share these ‘lantern slides’ with a larger audience, is also a wonderful addition to our collection of old photo cameras and projectors.
Woodbury (& Page)
Walter Bentley Woodbury (1834-1885) was one of the most important pioneers in photography, both as a photographer and an innovator. His Woodburytype was the first perfectly photomechanical reproduction method. This process was a breakthrough in photography and was used globally from 1870 until 1900, particularly for book illustrations, but also for high quality portrait pictures. In 1856 Woodbury travelled to the Dutch Indies from Australia in the company of James Page and started a photo studio in Batavia. After W. Woodbury returned to Great Britain his brother took over the photo studio. They still collaborated long distance. The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) possesses a Woodbury (& Page) core collection with over 2300 photographs and slides created by this renowned photographer, which is managed by the UBL.
Glass positives were the high-quality forerunners of the colour slides Kodak started to produce in the early 1930s. The image quality of slides is strikingly sharply defined. Glass, or diapositives, are exceptionally rare, as the material is very fragile and thus has not been preserved well. These glass plates are so special because each slide contains.