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Golden Olden for the Modern Age: New Online Apples & Cider Collection

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From the Herefordshire Pomona, by Robert Hogg and Henry Graves Bull; illustrated by Alice B. Ellis and Edith G. Bull, 1876.

Mann Library is pleased to announce the creation of a new collection, “Pomology: Apples and Cider” in the online Biodiversity Heritage Library. This collection features sixty-four titles (over ninety volumes) on a variety of cider and apple-related topics. Many of these titles (including Pomona Herefordiensis and the Herefordshire Pomona, two gorgeously illustrated classics from the heartland of British cider apple heritage) are new to the BHL library, just recently digitized in a collaboration between Mann Library, Cornell University Library's Digital Consulting & Production Services, and BHL. Now part of the legacy life sciences literature in the BHL library, these selected titles make an invaluable record of agricultural history—and an important new tool in understanding and preserving agribiodiversity—widely available to scientists, breeders, apple growers, cider makers and historians worldwide.

To select titles for the collection, Mann librarians conferred with Dr. Greg Peck (Section of Horticulture, School of Integrative Plant Science), whose teaching and research at Cornell focuses on the challenges of sustainable tree fruit crop production to support growing New York State industries such as cider and perry. One particular target of Professor Peck’s recent work has been the assessment of large numbers of apple genotypes for their potential use in hard cider production. When genetic and chemical analyses of a tested cultivar raises question about its proper identification, historic literature of past centuries can help home in on the needed answer. And thanks to his collaboration with Mann Library on the “Pomology: Apples and Cider” collection, Professor Peck has discovered a powerful new tool for this research. As Dr. Peck shared on this week’s BHL user stories blog, “BHL is easy to use and I really like being able to share FREE resources with my students and commercial cider producers, Once I’m on the site, I’m there for hours. I guess time flies when you’re having fun!”

Dr. Peck will be presenting the talk, “The Modern Emergence of a Historic Drink” at Mann Library on Friday, June 8, 10 am. The talk will be livestreamed on Mann Library’s Facebook page.