Friday, January 20, 2017

1830 vellum indenture (deed) with seals and ribbons

Another interesting item I showed in class Tues night was the 1830 indenture (deed), 1830, of Joseph Logue. Here is the catalog description.   It is a lovely piece made of velum with ornate script handwriting on the main side. Pieces are sewn together with ribbons. It has original wax seals. There are visible holes in it along fold lines.

Here is the catalog description and some images.

Deed, dated May 1830, on three pieces of vellum sewn together with ribbon to make a two-page deed measuring 2 feet 5 inches wide and 2 feet 7 inches high. The script is lovely and was obviously done by a professional scribe for display purposes. The deed is written in standard legal language and follows standard legal protocol, providing a property description and a list of previous owners. 

It was signed by various members of the Walter family, with their attached seals, which are still intact but cracked, including William Walter of Philadelphia, a blacksmith, Aaron Stoops of Baltimore (Md.), shoemaker, and his wife, Hannah J. (late Hannah J. Walter), and Joseph Walter of Lycoming County (Pa.), teacher, and their attorney, Wm. Rowan of Wilmington (Del.), merchant, and his wife Ann (late Ann Walter, widow of James, late of Philadelphia, teacher, deceased), and Lydia Hough (late Lydia Walter) of Wilmington, widow, Joseph C. Carpenter and his wife, Jemima, of Wilmington, James Caldwell of Philadelphia, blacksmith, and Ann Maria his wife (late Ann Maria Walter). The fact that all the women signed for themselves and had their own seals, as well as the occupations of the men, indicates that the extended family was both well educated and middle class. The property, which is described as including 1,500 acres of land with its roads, buildings, passages, etc., in Roanoke (Va.) on Shavers River, was sold to Joseph Logue of Philadelphia, merchant, for $2,000 U.S. silver. The deed was recorded in Justice of the Peace courts in both Philadelphia and New Castle (Del.), and also the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. 

 At one point, the deed was folded in thirds and then quarters. Regardless of this, the deed is in excellent condition, except for three holes along one fold line. Although the deed does not fit the Clarke Historical Library's collecting policy, it is retained as an example of early historical manuscripts and vellum (parchment) for instructional purposes.

front of Indenture showing attached flap folded down

here are the wax seals on the bottom right front of the indenture, lightened in the image for better visibility

Back of deed showing several addendums and the word Deed in large letters in the middle
three holes visible along fold line

Thursday, January 19, 2017

archival CIA information released online by National Archives

Yesterday the CIA and NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) released 13 million pages of declassified documents via an online database. The records had been available since about 1995 on a few computers in the National Archives in Maryland during limited hours. The information includes documentation on UFO sittings, the papers of Henry Kissinger, intelligence analysis, scientific research and development, psychic evaluations including those of Uri Geller, and an invisible ink recipe.

The release online occurred after several years of activity seeking to make the pages available online by a journalist who paid NARA to print and scan documents one at at time via crowd funding in excess of $15,000 to make them more widely available, and a lawsuit against the CIA by a freedom information group called MuckRock.

This process follows established precedence. In the recent past, copies of declassified British WWII information from British archives were copied and taken to the National Archives (in the US) in order to speed up the declassification process as well as the types of materials declassified held in NARA archives. Historians and journalists argued that they could fly to the UK to do their research, but if they could access it in the UK, they should be able to access it in the US as well. There was no logical reason why it would be available in the UK and not the US if it was the same information. That opened up a lot of files.

It is very likely that  it will become a trend to request that more archival information is released online to make it easier and faster to access. This will be easier on researchers and take more time and effort and cost up front by NARA. It is a the technical pro and con for archives we all face today.

Read more about the release of the CIA information here

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Respect du fonds

Last night I taught my class about the archival theory and concept of respect du fonds, a concept and practice of France, where they kept related series of archival French government record collections together (even tied together) as they were created by purpose, by the creator, for a purpose, and for retrieval and future use. For example all tax records together, by city, by year, for ease of storage and later retrieval. This is a practice dating to the Roman period, a pattern of record keeping which the Catholic Church and Catholic Europe continued, which has become part of modern archival theory. Respect du fonds is one of the big three theories on which all later archival theory is based, the other two being the concepts of original order and provenance.

These are copies in our Detroit (Mich.) Collection, 1672, 1858, of documents which were copied by hand from the French Archives, which is clearly stated on the documents. These are in French. They include materials by/about French Canada and Michigan, such as letters and reports.  The records are kept together by colored ribbons, binding related materials together. Other records in the collection are in English.

Here is one example with a larger and smaller size document that are related which are tied together by a ribbon.
1 folder of numbered documents, showing different colored ribbons holding like topic materials together, just as they were kept in the French Archives. This style continues the original way the materials were created and stored.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King Day

It's Martin Luther King Day in the Archives.

While we have publications by/about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we do not have much in the way of archives.

The only cataloged archival item specific to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr we have in the archives is a cassette of a speech by bell hooks in which she quotes the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom she respected. A feminist thinker, bell hooks' (born Gloria Wakins) writings cover a broad range of topics. Hooks is the Distinguished Professor of English at City College in New York.

I"m excited to share that three 1/2 -inch EIAJ videotapes of the Feb. 14, 1974 CMU Black Symposium have been converted to a MP4 files which are currently on a harddrive. They have nationally famous African American poets reading their work, including Herbert Woodward Martin, who also sings during part of the recordings; Etheridge Knight who began writing while in prison; and Raymond Paterson.  They are all amazing. Both Knight and Patterson  read poems and make comments specifically about the death and political speeches at the funeral of Dr. Marking Luther King Jr. I have yet to hear/view the entire third tape recording and then catalog it and make it available.Also, of note, all three had at least some of their work published out of Detroit by Dudley Randall of Broadside Press. We have a large collection of Broadside Press. Randall established the press as well as the Poetry Foundation

Friday, January 13, 2017

winter sports in the archives

With continued inclement weather I thought about Michigan winter activities documented in the manuscript collections in the archives. 

We have one collection which includes images of a snow plow in action: Ann Arbor Railroad Company Photograph collection, 2006.

Then, I also thought about school closings.due to weather. We do not have any manuscripts just on that topic, although I"m sure a number of the District School volumes document bad weather days.

We have a number of manuscript collections that document winter sports:

MI Postcards: Winter Sports-Skiing examples-From top: Over the tree tops, world's highest unofficial ski jump at Iron Mountain (MI); winter play at Caberfae winter sorts area, Cadillac (MI); untitled

Skiing at Boyne Mountain Ski Resort in Rotary Club Slides, 1958-1962

William Jamerson Film Collection, 1920, 1962  includes skiing, Ski villages at multiple sites in Michigan, as well as winter festivals and events.

The Michigan and non-Michigan films collection, 1927, 1973 includes winter sports

City of Petoskey (Mich.) Scans and CDs of photographic collection, 2013 includes 1300 scans of images 19-20th c. mostly in Petoskey with winter sports.

There are also numerous images of winter activities in the miscellaneous photographs, CMU photographs, and postcards collection

MI Postcards: Winter Sports-Skiing examples-From top: Winter at Caberfae, Cadillac (MI); ski jumping at Ishpeming (MI)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ice in the archives

After yesterday's snow and rain, which we are still recovering from here today dealing with ice, I thought I'd share the Clarke  manuscript collections which document ice, ice storm, commercial ice production, ice fishing, or ice formation.

Haslanger, Clarence, MRs. Commercial production of ice at Barron Lake, Cass COunty, Michgian, 1904, 1914.

Wait, Stephen Edwin. Traverse City (Mich.) photographic collection, 1850,1969.

 Weidman, Christine. CMNS Times photograph album, 1893-1895. Images of a terrible ice storm that hit the CMU campus.

Saginaw News. Photograph Library Historical prints of Saginaw (Mich.), 1894, 1948. images of ice harvest on Lake Linton, late winter 1914.

Jack R. Wesbrook Miscellaneous Michigan collection, 1920, 2010.  Feb. 1922 ice and sleet storm images and articles

Clarke Historical LIbrary. . Cadillac stereographs. undated. Ice storm, ice harvesting.

Clarke Historical LIbrary. Great Lakes stereographs, ca. 1880-1900. Views of ice formation on Great Lakes.

Clarke Historical LIbrary. Marquette stereographs. ice formation in Marquette.

Clarke Historical LIbrary. Saginaw stereographs. ice fishing

Brandell, Richard P. Michigan postcard collection, 1908-1960. Vol. 5 includes postcards of damage caused by ice storms

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

snowy manuscripts

We have had quite a snowfall. It was very messy getting in to work and the plows are still working.

In the Clarke there are 13 manuscript collections that discuss snow, the snow fall, snowball fights, have a snow-theme poem in them, or images involving winter and snow activities.

Packard Motor Car Company Collection, 1915, 1950
Jack R. Westbrook, Mount Pleasant Area Historical Society presents: a year in the life of 1950s Mount Pleasant Michigan, 1950,2005
Virginia Sharp, Photograph collection, 1915, 1919
Warriner Hall grounds photograph albums, 1950, 1956
David Balfour Central State Normal School photographs, 1915
Ann Arbor Railroad Co. Photograph collection, 2006
Fred R. Trelfa Photographic collection, 1849-1925
 Fred R. Trelfa Photographic collection, 1860-1961
Miscellaneous maps collection, 1907-1987
Walter H. Alexander, Correspondence, 1864
Saginaw stereographs, 1880-1930
John Greenleaf Whittier, Papers, 1829-1892
John Greenleaf Whittier, poem, question, envelope, 1864, 18uu