To make space for new book and manuscript collections (acquired by gift or purchase), we have been shipping College administrative records to offsite storage during the summer & fall. Peter Rawson, Associate Curator of Archives and Manuscript Collections in the Watkinson Library, has been working with students and interns since June to create contents lists for the boxes, and to put barcodes on them, so that they can be easily called back if needed. Today’s load was 64 of a total of over 350 cartons of records which we will have sent off site by the end of December. Most of these are non-current records (prior to the year 2000) of the President’s office and the offices of the Dean of Faculty.
Just acquired for the College Archives from an online estate auction in Pueblo, Colorado–a postcard photo of the 1891 Trinity football team! For those who want to know who is pictured, there is a team photo with names in the 1892 IVY (opposite page 100), which can be found online here, or you can visit the Watkinson to see a physical copy!
We are thrilled to show you a series of pics (before-during-and-after) of a small expansion to the Watkinson’s existing compact shelving units, which will allow us capacity for 8,000 more volumes. This is critical, as the Watkinson has taken in (by gift and by purchase) no less than Fourteen (14) collections this year totalling well over 16,000 items (approximately 1,950 books, 10,000 comic books, 1,000 science fiction magazines, 700 film reels, 100 manuscript letters, and over 2,600 pieces of ephemera). For more info on the new collections and acquisitions coming in, see the curator’s blog.
As part of our preservation efforts in the Watkinson, we sometimes hire a conservator to make a clamshell box to protect an extra-special, fragile book. Stephanie Gibbs, a bookbinder from Easthampton, Mass., is making a linen clamshell box for an incunable with delicate, exposed sewing. The fit of the box is important so that the book doesn’t shift when being shelved and get damaged.
An “incunable” (the English form of the Latin incunabula = “cradle”) is a book from the “infancy” of printing, covering the years 1455 to 1500. Why doesn’t Stephanie just repair the binding? Several reasons: being able to see the original structure of the book is a window into the history of the artifact; appropriately restoring a binding is time intensive, requires a high level of expertise, and is therefore very expensive. This type of treatment would be reserved for a book that is very rare indeed or that needs to be handled fairly often for teaching or research. Boxing is a practical way to protect an artifact for the future.
—Sally Dickinson, Associate Curator & Preservation Librarian
During J-Term, history professor Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre taught a class on the historical contexts of Downton Abbey, and the students come into the Watkinson twice in one week to look at maps of London, books on etiquette and house architecture, British war (WWI) propaganda posters, view stereoscope photographs of the front (a sort of “3-D” picture process popular in the 1920s), and to listen to the music of the time on one of the phonographs we have in the Watkinson.