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Exploring the Private Past of Passmore

Digital vs Physical Forms of Memory

Photo Album of Frances Passmore Lowe, Class of 1908, Page 44

Most likely Frances posing on Senior Row and a theater image on the right.

When I first flipped through Passmore’s scrapbook, it was physically right in front of me. The pages were literally at my fingertips and I could feel the texture of the pages and pictures. As a current Bryn Mawr student looking at an alumni’s visual narrative from 104 years ago there was a certain emotional connection created. Connecting with historical artifacts is really important as it fosters a greater understanding of the material. Viewing the scrapbook in person contrasted greatly when looking at the digitized version of the scrapbook. Whereas walking into a Special Collections reading room creates the academic space in which to examine historical items, viewing things through screens is entirely different. The Internet has of course made a plethora of historical documents, books, images, etc available to the whole world and is a great benefit to academia. But, screens and the internet is also incredibly distracting and does not necessarily allow one’s mind to go to the same intellectual mindset as traveling to a collection does. I noticed this phenomenon when viewing Passmore’s scrapbook online because other websites distracted me and this was not the case at all when in the Special Collection room. Digitized collections are a great addition to the global academic realm but one must proceed with a self-created mindset similar to the one that a reading room fosters.

Photo Album of Frances Passmore Lowe, Class of 1908, Page 64

May Day: a timeless Bryn Mawr tradition. The May Pole Dance still looks the same today as it does from the 1900's, women still wear all white and it held on Merion Green.