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Senior Megan Barrett lends art historical expertise to FSU Special Collections

Published March 28, 2019

Art History senior Megan Barrett, who graduates this May, has worked in the Digital Library Center in Strozier Library for the past three years. During this time she’s worked on numerous digitization projects spanning genres from newspapers to research manuscripts to poetry.

One of her most recent projects involves digitizing a 19th century poetry anthology call the Poetical Star. The scanned edition of this publication is now available to view in DigiNole, the digital repository for FSU collections and research. The Poetical Star currently held in Strozier’s Special Collections and Archives, in the John McKay Shaw Collection, which consists of literary and manuscript works relating to themes of bibliography, biography, children, collecting, publishing, and writing. Much of this collection is devoted to 19th century poetry and children’s literature full of romantic and neoclassical themes and imagery.

Megan found the Poetical Star particularly fascinating because of its relation to topics she researches in Romantic art. The poem “Description of a Mad-House” from Lord Byron’s The Lament of Tasso narrates the time that the Italian poet Torquato Tasso spent in a mental hospital, the same subject of Eugène Delacroix’s Tasso in the Madhouse (1839). As a student of Art History, Megan regularly compares cultural topics across genres such as painting, poetry, literature, and philosophy.