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  • November 2012
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Staring at people through history. It’s not rude if they can’t see you.

One of my favorite tumblrs (apart from the CLP Teens – Main tumblr, ahem) is Of Another Fashion. Its subtitle is: An alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color. Not only is it cool that a tumblr has a subtitle, it is also very cool that these photographs, stories, and articles are being collected and digitized to reach our eyes and brains.  It’s an offshoot of a project of Minh-Ha T. Pham, who also writes at the blog Threadbared, which talks about the politics (among other things) behind the common representations of fashion and beauty.

It’s always exciting to me to see the stories and, if possible, pictures of people who wouldn’t always get a chance to surface in the public after their personal history is over. In some cases these are people who should be mentioned in history books, and in some cases they’re just normal ladies like you and me, living their lives and having their own style.  I love those glimpses into other people’s lives. (I also check out how people have decorated their houses if their windows are illuminated at night. I’m nebby.)

For example, here’s one of the amazing librarian photos from Of Another Fashion (used via a Creative Commons License):

“Lucille Baldwin Brown was the first Black public county librarian in Tallahassee, Florida. This photograph is part of the collection at the State Library and Archives of Florida.”

It’s so easy to get lost in digital archives, like Historic Pittsburgh, the NYPL Digital Gallery and so many more. It’s really the best form of time travel I know.  All the better that tumblrs like Of Another Fashion are giving us better, fuller ways to see history and the people’s lives that may not have been documented and celebrated so publicly before.

Don’t forget about the library’s collection of books of portrait photography.

- Tessa, CLP- East Liberty

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