Category Archives: preservation

Walking the Boards With Alexander Hamilton ( via The Archive | The New York Public Library)

Bravo to Mr. Doug Reside, the Lewis and Dorothy Cullman Curator for the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library (NYPL) for the Performing Arts (Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Billy Rose Theatre Division) for this piece.

Mr. Reside brilliantly uses the opportunity of the new Broadway musical on Hamilton’s life to open the vaults of The Archive of NYPL & show off some of the recently digitized collections.

In the musical Hamilton, which opened last night on Broadway, George Washington tells Alexander Hamilton, “You have no control…who tells your story.” At the New York Public Library, we preserve the artifacts that allow such stories to be told, and we have an especially strong collection of archives related to the women and men whose lives inspired the characters in the musical.

Source: HAMILTON: The Archive | The New York Public Library

Vintage Posters Up For Sale

An auction of vintage Post Office posters will provide funds for a new museum highlighting five centuries of social, communication and design history behind the postal service.

selection of vintage General Post Office posters are to be put up for sale as part of an online auction to raise money for The Postal Museum and Mail Rail.

Created by some of the most prominent artists and designers of their time, the original posters are duplicates from the collections in the British Postal Museum and Archive and will be put up for auction by Onslows Auction House in Dorset on July 9.

The images, made between the 1930s and 1960s, focus on a range of subjects, from airmail to pleas for the careful packing of parcels.

Adrian Steel, the director of the museum and archive, praised the creativity of the designers and highlighted the importance of the posters. “Along with a number of other trendsetting organisations, the GPO broke the mould with its marketing in the 1930s,” he suggested.

“Auctioning this striking series of posters prior to moving to The Postal Museum gives the public a rare opportunity to own a piece of iconic design.”

a photo of a poster featuring a women holding roses that have been unpacked from a parcel. Next to her reads the text ‘Properly packed parcels please’.
Poster advising correct packaging of parcels by Harry Stevens, June 1962
© Royal Mail Group courtesy of The British Postal Museum & Archive
Some of the most prominent artists and designers of the time were commissioned to create these images. The posters going on sale include works by Edward McKnight Kauffer, Stan Krol, Jan Le Witt and George Him.

Many of the artists went on to make iconic designs for places such as London Transport and the Ministry of Information with posters made to support the war effort during the Second World War.

“The funds raised will support our ambitious plans for a new, national museum and unique subterranean experience on the Mail Rail,” added Steel.

The Postal Museum will have permanent exhibition galleries and a temporary exhibition space bringing social, communication and design history from the past five centuries to London.

There are also plans to open up a section of the old Post Office Underground Railway, Mail Rail, allowing the public to take a ride through some of the original tunnels beneath the capital. Visit postalmuseum.org for more.

A selection of the posters will be available to view at the Chalke Valley History Festival until June 28. Onslows can also be contacted for a private viewing on 01258 488838 or onslow.auctions@btinternet.com.image

Rosa Parks archives remain unsold in warehouse – The Denver Post

Postcard from Dr. Martin Luther King to Ms. Parks and a photo of her.
Postcard from Dr. Martin Luther King to Mrs. Parks and a photo of her.

Ephemera of the Civil Rights struggle from the estate of Mrs. Rosa Parks is locked in legal limbo and waits in a storage locker until a decision is made. Historically valuable ephemera such as “her photographs with presidents, her Congressional Gold Medal, a pillbox hat that she may have worn on the Montgomery bus, a signed postcard from King, decades of documents from civil rights meetings, and her ruminations about life in the South as a black woman.”

Read more from the article by Jesse J. Holland in the AP article in the Denver Post.

For further info on the scope of the estate’s 8,000 items go to the Detroit Free Press video report by MIKE BROOKBANK / Detroit Free Press 9/1/2011.

Preserving Ephemera

Ran across this article which has some great advice about preservation and storage of your ephemera collection. Be sure to check out the link at the bottom of the post for a free eBook on ephemera preservation. Happy treasure hunting.

Most ephemera can be effectively handled by putting them in inexpensive polypropylene sheet protectors, and keeping these in a binder. The two clear sides of the protectors allow viewing of the items without destructive handling. Typically newspapers would have the relevant item cut out (either including the newspaper name, date, and page from the same sheet, or with that information noted on the retained item). Most items will fit into letter-sized protectors, but some may need some larger format.

Digital preservation is important, since the information can be better preserved and shared by having multiple backup and distributed copies. Flatbed scanners are usually the tool of choice to generate the images. 300 dpi (dots per inch) scan resolution is a good rule of thumb, although it may be more than needed for newspaper-like items. I like to name each scan file with the year, person and short subject indication. For cataloging, I usually rely on the descriptive filenames, which can be viewed and searched via the computer’s normal mechanisms. For a few kinds of items for which it seems important, I make text files with greater detail about the contents.

DON’T use the cheap plastic envelopes to keep your original paper records in. The chemicals in them destroy the contents over time. Use proper archive quality plastic envelopes if you wish to keep them in good order for future generations. – Colin Mar 20 at 7:26

I would start by investing in some (archival-quality) plastic binder pockets. For digital storage, a small flatbed scanner will get a better image, but a digital camera is also fine for recording a digital copy. Try to organize as you go (slip an article into the plastic, scan/photograph it, and then record any additional notes about it), although I would prioritize physical organization if you’re finding it overwhelming or you’re facing a time constraint.

The great thing about using binder pockets (assuming things will fit in them) is that it’s simple to:

1. take the binder to a family reunion and let everybody page through it

2. drastically reduce the possibility of damaging something while reading

3. take the collection to a library or other archive to look up vital records

4. reorganize the order

5. group by event (wedding, death, birth, etc.)

6. group pieces by family

7. group pieces by generation

8. or change your mind halfway through and switch your organization around!

Try to include your grandmother or other older relatives in the preservation process as much as possible — hopefully they will be thrilled that you’re excited about your family history and want to share all sorts of stories about the newspaper articles, photographs, etc. (Ironically, this makes the job of “family historian” harder, since you not only need to preserve the physical object, but also organize associated stories — but it is so, so worthwhile. The number of details and even new family relationships that I learned about when reading through newspaper articles with my grandmother was astounding.)

Ephemera comes in all shapes and sizes. Check out The Heirloom Registry to preserve the stories attached to ephemera found around the house. The online registry allows users to preserve and share the stories behind family heirlooms and precious belongings. You can see the Heirloom Registry sticker on the bottom of my teacup in this picture.

As another person mentioned, digital records, as simple as taking an image with your cell phone, are a good way to capture the information. I have done this with great success in photographing an old scrapbook full of newspaper clippings my grandfather made. I can zoom in and read all the text in the article clippings. The challenge with this is HOW DO YOU ADD CONTEXT AND METADATA TO A DIGITAL FILE? And therein lays the crux of your question. I would suggest that you do as the archivists would do. Assign each piece of ephemera it’s own unique identifier (number) and then in a separate document (notebook, text file or database) record the number and then all the contextual information you know about it. Like “Grandma clipped this out of the Washington Post when Aunt Mabel died” or “Cousin Grace gave Grandma this muffin recipe in 1960 – Grandma made it once, but thought it had too much baking soda, so she adjusted the recipe. She said it was Grandpa’s favorite :)”

I’ve been scanning the family photo albums and doing some acid-free repair as I go. I have a high quality flatbed scanner and have done the photos separately (both sides if there’s anything on the reverse) and transcribed any writing on the photo, photo back or page captions into the jpeg files information.

Then I set up a camera and photograph the entire album page with all photos on it. Context can be important.

After I have a set done, I put the photos up on a photoshare site (SmugMug in my case) in a private gallery so I can share them out and have an online backup of the information.

My next project is all the stories my grandmother handwrote to my siblings and I when we were children relating her growing up in Texas and New Mexico during the great depression. They are priceless to all our family.

There is now a free eBook in PDF format available from here all about preservation of records that is well worth downloading and reading imho.

Free Ebook about ephemera preservation:
http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/documents/ebookpdf_march18.pdf