The Pose Slide Collection of The Ohio State University Libraries


This post was contributed by Jennifer Vinopal, Associate Director for Information Technology at The Ohio State University (OSU) Libraries and member of the DLF Advisory Committee. It is adapted from a blog post by Amy McCrory, Digital Imaging Specialist at OSU Libraries.


The Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute (TRI) at The Ohio State University Libraries owns a remarkable collection of handpainted glass slides from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Joel E. Rubin collection of “pose slides” are unique to a type of theater now largely forgotten. Curator of Theatre Beth Kattelman explains:

“The pose slides are artifacts from a vaudeville entertainment known as the ‘pose plastique,’ an early form of ‘living slide show’ that was very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These were acts in which performers [costumed in and surrounded by white fabric] would strike a pose recreating a famous sculpture or painting… while a pose slide was projected upon them. The white costume and stage functioned as a blank screen, thus allowing the projected image from the slide to ‘fill in’ the costume and scenery.”

McCrory scanned each slide twice: once to reproduce the surface of the slide (reflective scanning), and once (as below) to show the image as it would have been projected (transmissive scanning).


For more information on this unique and beautiful collection:

Pose Slides (Joel E. Rubin Collection)

“New Technology Meets Old”

“Automated reuse of finding aid metadata for the Knowledge Bank”


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