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Donation by Minerva alumni enables the acquisition of Woodbury glass positives for the Asian Library

On Wednesday 28 January Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker and University Librarian Kurt De Belder received a donation for the Asian Library from Jan Kalff, Jochem Helb, and Frits Kalff – representatives of the Minerva quinquennial anniversary committee 1955. This donation will partly enable the acquisition of around 100 Woodbury glass positives and a projector from circa 1865. The collection concerns mostly glass positives with images from the Dutch Indies.


The collection contains around 100
Woodbury glass positives with images
from the Dutch Indies created circa
1865 and an original Woodbury
projector. All the glass positives have
been marked with the name
‘Woodbury Lantern Slide’. The
collection is a fantastic acquisition
and substantially enlarges the current
glass plates collection on the Dutch
Indies, which contains 463 glass
positives and 3813 glass negatives.
The projector, which could be used
to share these ‘lantern slides’ with a
larger audience, is also a wonderful
addition to our collection of old photo
cameras and projectors. 

Woodbury (& Page)

Walter Bentley Woodbury (1834-1885)
was one of the most important pioneers
in photography, both as a photographer
and an innovator. His Woodburytype was
the first perfectly photomechanical
reproduction method. This process was
a breakthrough in photography and was
used globally from 1870 until 1900,
particularly for book illustrations, but
also for high quality portrait pictures.
In 1856 Woodbury travelled to the Dutch
Indies from Australia in the company of
James Page and started a photo studio in
Batavia. After W. Woodbury returned to
Great Britain his brother took over the
photo studio. They still collaborated long distance. The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) possesses a Woodbury (& Page) core collection with over 2300 photographs and slides created by this renowned photographer, which is managed by the UBL.

Glass positives

Glass positives were the high-quality forerunners of the colour slides Kodak started to produce in the early 1930s. The image quality of slides is strikingly sharply defined. Glass, or diapositives, are exceptionally rare, as the material is very fragile and thus has not been preserved well. These glass plates are so special because each slide contains the name of Woodbury.

Asian Library website: http://asianlibraryleiden.nl 
Brochure Asian Library: http://media.leidenuniv.nl/legacy/brochure-asian-library-event.pdf