Friday, April 17, 2015

New Accessions - Nurse Midwifery Program Image Collection

The past month or so has been a flurry of accessioning and resource description of a variety of unique archival materials; we have dealt with radioactive materials, we've explored a chamber and there are even more strange and unusual additions to discuss in the coming weeks.  For this week, I wanted to get back to our regular series on highlighting new accessions from the university and other health sciences groups.

This week we have a fantastic accession from the Nurse Midwifery Program.  This accession came to us by way of Meg Langford's work with the School of Nursing.  The accession is made up of a total of 2 scrapbooks, seen here:

Scrapbooks.
These scrapbooks detail, in images and several documents, the early formation of the Nurse Midwifery Program here at OHSU.  Included in both books are a high number of images including ones of professors, students, gatherings, and celebrations.  Along with the images there are several documents including brochures, newspaper clippings, and an issue of Nursing Progress (Spring 1990) which features nurse midwife Linda Wheeler on the cover and has an article on the midwife program as well as a spotlight on Carol Howe, R.N., C.N.M., D.NSc., Associate Professor of Family Nursing.

Spring 1990 issue of Nursing Progress
Here are some additional images showing pages from the scrapbook:

Program brochure

First page of book 1

These two books contain some very unique images and text from the history of this program.  Similar to many of our image collections on medical, dental or nursing students these images give us a sense of the people involved, locate them within time and place and provide context for their work.

Program image and booklet of historical photos
Meg and I have a plan to digitize the materials as part of the transfer agreement and will most likely have scans available during the processing phase of fully gaining control over the materials.  One of the biggest issues with scrapbooks (don't get me wrong, I LOVE scrapbooks) is that many times the materials they are constructed from contain high levels of acid-releasing paper products, utilize plastic coverings that after time merge with images on the emulsion level of the photograph or they contain massive amounts of adhesives that either degrade into a fine pseudo-sticky powder that effects the images, off-gas which can discolor the image or cause degradation of the inks or the adhesive can slowly penetrate the back photo leading to a variety of preservation issues (ripping, discoloration and loss of structural integrity of the actual photograph).

Paging card for the program
When mitigating these issues, archivists tend to deconstruct the scrapbooks paying close attention to pagination, preservation issues and content maintenance.  We use the same processes as with a records-based or manuscript accession, however there is more attention paid towards keeping the content structure of the scrapbooks together in their original order due to the close relationship of information bearing labels, highly volatile photographic materials and other preservation conflicts that can occur with the mixing of various materials formats.

The collection is open and available for research, please contact us to set up an appointment to view the materials.

Till next week,
Max

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