Tag Archives: documents

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

History under the floorboards

History under the floorboards

Among the recent donations to Leeds Museums was this collection of “rubbish” which was found under the floorboards of a house in Roundhay.  The scraps of paper, torn-up letters and old cigarette packets might easily have been thrown away but the flat’s owners knew the history of the house and took a closer look.  Several of the torn envelopes had post-marks from 1943 and were addressed to officers of the 111 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery who had been billeted at the house during the Second World War. 

This small collection of discarded ephemera shines a small light on life in an officer’s mess in the summer of 1943.  They had time to go to the theatre, as there is a ticket from the Leeds Empire.  They got their writing paper courtesy of the YMCA and seem to have had to go as far as Batley to get their laundry done (there is a receipt from Batley Laundry Ltd.).  They may have had contact with G.I.’s as at least one of the razor blade packets is American.  Above all, they were heavy smokers and left behind large number of cigarette packets and matchboxes (Woodbines being the favoured brand).

There are many questions that we will never find answers to.  The collection includes some personal letters from wives and family back home, which have been screwed up and thrown away rather than lovingly kept.  The letters themselves mostly talk of banal everyday life on the home front with bits of local gossip.

Perhaps this extract from a letter written by Ida (from Surrey) to her “Dearest Dick” may indicate why he threw her letter away:

“Marie says that I was to tell you she still likes Ann Shelton better than Vera Lynn. Well Dear I hope you will be able to get home soon as there is still quite a bit of rubbish needs clearing up in the garden.”

All in all, a fascinating little glimpse of life in war-time Leeds.

via Blog details.

Cowan’s Auctions: The Midwest’s Most Trusted Auction House / Antiques / Fine Art / Art Appraisals

Captain D.G. Farragut, Sixth Plate Daguerreotype, Earliest Known Photograph, Ca 1854
Captain D.G. Farragut, Sixth Plate Daguerreotype, Earliest Known Photograph, Ca 1854

On June 13th Cowan’s is offering a remarkable selection of early photographs, letters, documents, flags, political ephemera and more dating from the Revolutionary War-period through the Civil War and beyond, as well as the American West. We are proud to present selections from the Paul DeHaan Collection of items related to Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and his flagship, the U.S.S. Hartford. Additionally, photography from the Tom MacDonald Maine Civil War CDV Collection will also be featured in the auction.

auction notes

Preview Times

Thursday, June 12: 12:00 – 5:00 pm EST

Friday, June 13: 8:00 – 10:00 am EST

Buyer’s Premium for this auction is 17.5[%]

via Cowan’s Auctions: The Midwest’s Most Trusted Auction House / Antiques / Fine Art / Art Appraisals.

Mexican War, Battle of Buena Vista, Letter Containing Graphic Content 6/13/2014 - American History: Live Salesroom Auction 3pp, 7.75 x 9.5 in. Buena Vista Camp near Saltillo Mexico, April 23, 1847. To Mr. George Smith of Frederick, MD from George Toms. In ink, spelling a bit "creative" and for the most part the entire letter is one sentence, but handwriting clear. Toms describes the march from Matamoros to Buena Vista, a distance of about 500 miles.
Mexican War, Battle of Buena Vista, Letter Containing Graphic Content
6/13/2014 – American History: Live Salesroom Auction
3pp, 7.75 x 9.5 in. Buena Vista Camp near Saltillo Mexico, April 23, 1847. To Mr. George Smith of Frederick, MD from George Toms. In ink, spelling a bit “creative” and for the most part the entire letter is one sentence, but handwriting clear. Toms describes the march from Matamoros to Buena Vista, a distance of about 500 miles.

Ephemera/34 Conference & Paper Show March 14-16, 2014

2014 Ephemera Conference

The Ephemera Society of America

(ESA) will be holding its annual three-day conference and fair at Old Greenwich, CT. in mid-March 2014, devoted to sharing and exploring various aspects of ephemera, and to buying ephemera to add to or to start collections. The first day, Friday, is devoted to presentations of papers with a specific theme and to exhibits and book signings by some of our published members and speakers. Saturday and Sunday feature a two-day ephemera fair with dealers from around the world and member forums on Sunday before the fair.

The theme for the conference is “Field to Table: The Ephemera of Food and Drink.”Our essential connection to what the earth produces, and how these sustain us is at the core of our lives. Each step of the process from the field to the table represents a different aspect of our society and its values. The ephemera of food and drink illustrates the different points of view of that story, reflecting how our society has evolved. This narrative includes survival, culinary achievement, hard work, the aesthetics of food and table presentation, balance, culture, health, satisfaction and commerce. What drives us? Our needs and initiatives, the creativity of our inventions and discoveries, our passions and resources are all involved in getting things from the field to the table. Ephemera helps us follow and understand the evolution of these comestibles and potables.

More info to be found at: Ephemera Society Of America website

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