Sept. 19, 1890: Edison’s talking doll in the Sydney Journal.
Ron Cowen in the Washington Post has a great story about scientists using optical scanning to recover a primitive recording made by Thomas Edison about 1889 for a talking doll. This recording is a recitation of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” There were apparently a variety of recordings. One model said: “I love you, mamma; I love you dearly, mamma, but I am tired and sleepy now. Please put me in my little bed.” Another sang “Rock-a-Bye Baby” and a fourth sang a German song, according to the Sydney Mail, June 15, 1889, quoting the Chicago Tribune.
Adam Clymer and Don Van Natta Jr. in the New York Times: As archivists prepare to make public 63 boxes ofRobert F. Kennedy’s papers at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, his family members are having second thoughts about where they should be housed and are considering moving them elsewhere because they believe that the presidential library has not done enough to honor the younger brother’s legacy.
Carolyn Kellogg in L.A. Times Jacket Copy: The first 12 pages of Jane Austen’s “The Watsons” are at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum. The rest of the unfinished manuscript will be auctioned by Sotheby’s Thursday. It is the last Austen manuscript to be held by a private collection.
[Update: The manuscript sold for $1.6 million.]
Rachel Saslow in the Washington Post: “The computed tomography scanning machines at Inova Alexandria Hospital are typically used to diagnose strokes, blood clots and other internal injuries. But recently the hospital utilized its CT scanners for an unconventional purpose: to examine the skulls of deceased children who have gone unidentified for years.”
Elizabeth Flock in the Washington Post has the story of The Cincinnati Art Museum putting conservator Per Knutas on display as he removes wax from the back of Van Gogh’s “Undergrowth With Two Figures.”
In “Picturing Science: Museum Scientists and Imaging Technologies,” at the American Museum of Natural History, scorpions under ultraviolet light take on the appearance of Warhol portraits. A great story by Henry Fountain in the New York Times.
Ralph Gardner, writing in the Wall Street Journal, has the story of Doris Mack, a tour guide at Eleanor Roosevelt’s home who shares her first-hand knowledge of the former first lady.
Mike Boehm in the Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s plan to build a skateboard park in the shadow of the Watts Towers is being ramrodded through without full consideration of the potential impact on the fragile national historic landmark or proper consultation with its owner, the state of California, the top state parks official in Los Angeles said Monday.
Alex Rodriguez in the L.A. Times:Few people today will have a chance to see these ruins, which French and Afghan archaeologists are unearthing. Sometime soon, perhaps in as little as 14 months, the sprawling, 9,800-acre Mes Aynak site will be crushed by Chinese bulldozers hunting for copper — a clear choice of economic development over historic preservation in a country trying to overcome decades of war, religious extremism and occupation.