Friday, December 25, 2009

Stories from the Clippings

Just like Sara promised, here I am (Karen) with my first posting.

I have embarked on a considerable project that will most likely take me to the end of my days here in the Archives. Jeff, my assistant, and I have been painstakingly digitizing the 30 or so newspaper clipping folios that have been languishing for decades in our storage room.

The impetus for this project is four-fold: to preserve the collection and bring to an end the damage caused by handling; to make sure that the information held between the pages is more widely accessible; to drop breadcrumbs along the path… to pique interest in our collections and to lead you to the rich history held in our care; and lastly, the reason for the blog entries, is because I couldn't keep this all to myself; I needed somewhere to say, "Hey! Listen to this!"

Environmental controls have helped to stall the rapid deterioration of the folios but providing access to the large and unwieldy books has done them absolutely no good. The glue is dry and brittle, the paper highly acidic, the pages are stained and the articles stiff and fragile. The folios are simply falling apart. As each page is turned, dislodged articles lie like dry leaves face down on the next page, some flutter and float to the floor as if carried by a light wind. We scurry to catch them to return them to their original location as we try to capture the page as it was created.

Some say with disdain that journalism has never been more than "organized gossip", while others opine that journalism is a lofty endeavor, claiming that it is "the first rough draft of history". I make no claims that any substantiated truth is reposing in the folios. What I do think is that the stories in the clippings are interesting, even fascinating and that yesterday's newspapers can stand proudly among all extant stories of the past and should not be discarded as bits of insignificant trash.

While I am working on the project, I will share with you a range of information from the fantastical to the mundane. I will deliver the weekly stories that have been published by large corporate publishers to extinct neighborhood rags to your "doorstep". Gossip or history? That's up to you!

"Seldom ever was any knowledge given to keep, but to impart. The grace of this rich jewel is lost in concealment". Bishop Hall