As a recent Boston Globe article discusses, historians, archivists, and other cultural professionals are increasingly relying on the public to help provide information and feedback about the materials in their collections. These efforts have been hugely expedited by the internet—see, for examples, Flickr collections put up by the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, a “crowd-curated” photo exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, and this very blog!
In addition to our online efforts, we here at the library decided to experiment with “crowdsourcing” in person. A few weeks back, we hosted an event we called a “Hugh Morton Photo Identification Party.” Hugh’s wife Julia Taylor Morton (in white top above), Bill Friday, and some other guinea pigs we felt would have specific knowledge and experience related to various areas of Morton’s work were invited. We set up some unidentified Morton prints on tables labeled “Sports,” “People,” and “Places,” pulled together a slideshow, armed a few library staff with paper and pencils, and started recording.
The result, we think, was a great success—more than 300 previously undocumented images were at least partially identified!
The award for most efficient and prolific identification has to go to the “Sports” table (shown above), where former UNC men’s basketball coach Bill Guthridge and UNC sports reporter/historian extraordinaire Fred Kiger kept our own Jason Tomberlin’s pencil flying for hours.
They identified the shooter in the Morton image below as Dante Calabria, playing for UNC against the Texas Longhorns in the Smith Center. (I haven’t yet done the research to confirm the year).
The composition of this next Morton photo is simply amazing. The ID we got from Guthridge and Kiger was (in unknown order) Tommy Lagarde, Walter Davis, and Mitch Kupchak vs. NCSU, 1975 or 1976. Perhaps fittingly, they didn’t identify the NC State players. Can anyone help refine this description?
These are just a few basketball-related highlights from what may be the first of (potentially) several “Morton Photo ID Parties.” We’re thinking future events could be topically based—e.g., another one just for Sports, one on Morton’s nature/scenic photography, the Azalea Festival, etc., etc.
Let us know if you have ideas, or would like to host one!