The library’s top-ten-most-popular digital objects of 2023—so far

  • Detail of cover with black background and in red the words "Fire!! Devoted to Younger Negro Artists" and below on light brown square in black lettering "From the Collection of Carl..."
April 24, 2023

The library’s Digital Collections has released its list of the top-ten digital objects that library users have accessed most often since Jan. 1, 2023.

Among the winners are the mysteriously inscrutable 15th-century Cipher (aka Voynich) manuscript (at number 1); a survivor’s handwritten journal of Ferdinand Magellan’s 1522 voyage around the world (number 4); 67 hand-painted illuminated tarot cards from the Visconti di Modrone Tarocchi deck, attributed to Renaissance artist Bonifacio Bembo (number 6); and the rare, sole issue of the 1926 journal Fire!!: A quarterly devoted to the younger Negro artists, signed by Harlem Renaissance writers Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, and others, once in the collection of Carl Van Vechten (number 7).

These top-ten-most-accessed digital objects were viewed more than 37,000 times, which is just a fraction of the more than 300,000 online views that individual images in the library’s digital collections have received so far this year.

  1. Cipher (aka Voynich) Manuscript
  2. Gleason’s new standard map of the world
  3. Rothschild canticles
  4. Journal of Magellan’s Voyage
  5. Wilfred M. Voynich and Ethel Voynich provenance and research files on the Cipher (Voynich) manuscript
  6. Visconti di Modrone Tarocchi
  7. Fire!!: a quarterly devoted to the younger Negro artists
  8. The histomaps, four thousand years of world history; relative power of contemporary states, nations, and empires …
  9. Arthurian Romances
  10. Shams al-maʻārif al-kubrá : manuscript شمس المعارف الكبرى : مخطوطة

The Digital Collections System continually expands: nearly 2,000 new object landing pages have been created since January. These pages contain almost 70,000 images of individual items, including printed material; handwritten letters, diaries, and other manuscript material; photographs; maps; and more.

The materials in Digital Collections are digitized and managed by members of the library’s newly formed Digital Special Collections and Access department, which provides leadership, services, and strategic direction to enable access to digitized and born-digital special collections content across Yale Library.

This year’s newly digitized materials and millions of others are available to view online and to download as JPG images, TIFF images, or PDFs via the Digital Collections site.

The digitized collections represent only a fraction of the library’s collections materials. Learn more about searching the entire repository of online and on-site special collections.

—Deborah Cannarella

Image: Detail of cover of the first and only issue of “Fire!!,” a quarterly publication “devoted to younger Negro artists.” After publication of this issue, the magazine’s quarters burned down, and the magazine folded. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library