Tag 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

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.

Museum of the City of New York Receives Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities – BWWVisual ArtsWorld

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) William Goldberg Date: May 7, 1937; Gelatin silver print: image width: 13 11/16" image height: 16 5/8"
Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)
William Goldberg
Date: May 7, 1937; Gelatin silver print:
image width: 13 11/16″
image height: 16 5/8″

Great news from the Big Apple for Ephemera lovers.
Another example of why we need to support the National Endowment for the Humanities!

New York, NY

The Museum of the City of New York is pleased to announce the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the project Illuminating New York City History through Material Culture: A Proposal to Process, Catalog, Digitize, and Rehouse the Ephemera Collections of the Museum of the City of New York. The application, submitted to the NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant opportunity in July 2013, outlines a plan to increase public access to over 6,500 objects of material culture over the course of two years. The materials will eventually be available on the Museum’s online Collections Portal. The Museum was notified of the successful funding of this application in the amount of $125,000 by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office in March 2014, by instruction of the NEH.

Read the full article hereMuseum of the City of New York Receives Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities – BWWVisual ArtsWorld.

The Ephemera of Love | Winterthur Museum & Library Blog

Vintage Mechanical Valentine

Hoping we love each other as much today as on any other day of the year.
Here’s an article from the Wintherthur Museum in Delaware on the Ephemera of love:

The Ephemera of Love | Winterthur Museum & Library Blog.

The Winterthur Museum houses one of the finest collections of American Ephemera,
The John and Carolyn Grossman Collection

This world-class collection contains some 250,000 items that visually documents life in America from 1820 to 1920, The John and Carolyn Grossman Collection is now housed in the Winterthur Library.

Enjoy!
cdavid

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