Some days you are handed a project that is so interesting and fun to look at yet poses to be complicated in how you want to accomplish the end result and this is one of those with the Curtiss-Wright Cadet Model Airplane as it needed an enclosure where the mounted airplane could easily slide out of its box with a drop down front and could be used in a display without its box.  This was a big enough project that I used the floor in the Preservation Lab to get enough “flat surface space” for the book cloth cut all in one piece for the bottom part of the box.

 

With the assistance of BB-stuff Baby Cys as weights they helped in several ways during the process of constructing this box from holding down a mylar template, gluing of book cloth, and Plazacoate blocks.

I used Velcro dots to close up the front of the box where the drop down side is in place.  The bottom tray inside of the box pulls out easily using two tabs and can be removed from the box completely for display.  Blocks were used to stabilize the airplane in a level position even though the tail and wings had been previously bent.  Underneath the airplane had an interesting marking and throughout all these years still had an antenna.

This was a fun and satisfying project to work on and I was happy with the end result.  The Curtiss-Wright Cadet Model Airplane is located in the Special Collections and University Archives of the Parks Library at Iowa State University.  Find out more about the Curtiss-Wright Engineering Cadettes Program through our Special Collections finding aid.

CWAIMG_20170302_124428392

 

 

Advertisements

Text written by by Cara Stone, Instruction Librarian. Photo captions by Sonya Barron, Collections Conservator.

Maize_2018_opening_session2

Susan Vega Garcia talking to the students in the beginning of the workshop. Susan shared about books in the library that were written by Latinx writers and poets, who have a connection to Iowa.

Library staff had the pleasure of welcoming 4-H students from around the state to ISU for the 2018 4-H Maize Retreat on April 13th. In their time at the University Library, students participated in three different workshops focused on “Telling Your Story.” They worked with Sonya Barron and Susan A. Vega García to learn about preservation and sew their own memory books.

Susan Vega-Garcia offering tips on getting the needle to go into the right sewing hole.

Ana Moreno, student assistant with the Special Collections/University Archives Department, helps an 8th grade student figure out the sewing pattern.

Students hard at work

Rosie Rowe and Harrison W. Inefuku led a workshop where students crafted a story that was meaningful to them and recorded it as an audio snapshot. Rachel Seale and Cara B. Stone focused on visual storytelling in their workshop where students combined pictures, stickers, decorative tape, images from magazines, and polaroid photos to add to their memory book.

The students created the first scrapbook page in their newly constructed memory books. Many of them made their page about the experience they had in the library workshops and the new friends they made.

It was so rewarding to see these students come together from all over Iowa (Marshalltown, Tipton, Muscatine, Des Moines, and Boone, to name a few) and develop new friendships, face challenges (the consensus was that sewing is hard, but the outcomes from the sewing were cool), and gain confidence in sharing their voice and being on a college campus. After their day at the library, the students spent to rest of their weekend at the Clover Woods Camping Center to continue celebrating Latino and Native American heritage, growing as young leaders.

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 2.44.32 PM

Frame still of ‘The Champion’ with ‘burnt-in’ opening title

When you’re going to digitally preserve a film (or a film series or an entire film collection), the important first step is to gather information on your film. Is your film 16mm, 35mm, 8mm, or 9.5mm, etc.? Is it color or black-and-white? Do you have the original negative, or only a print? Is the magnetic soundtrack available? If you only have an optical soundtrack, is it a negative or the positive? The list goes on – and the information can get pretty granular – but to keep this post simple, I’ll focus on the basics for a single film with an exciting title: The Champion.

A-Roll_Champion

Frame still of ‘The Champion’ A-Roll (16mm Reversal)

The Champion was filmed in 1971 by Jim Doran, a student in the Department of Speech and Telecommunicative Arts at ISU. It features wrestling prodigy Dan Gable, whose wrestling career at ISU produced an impressive 117-1 record. He was also a two-time national champion and a gold medalist in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany. So clearly, The Champion is a significant record for preservation in ISU Special Collections and University Archives.

We found for the picture elements, trims, an edited work print, A-B Rolls, and combined prints. With all the different versions held, how do we pick the best one for preservation?

B_Roll_Champion

Frame still of ‘The Champion’ B-Roll(16MM reversal)

With 16mm reversal film, filmmakers developed the A-B roll negative cutting system. After finalizing the final cut using a workprint they would then cut the master materials into two individual rolls, the ‘A’ roll and the ‘B’ roll. The A-B roll alternates between shots and opaque leader, completely in-sync. This pattern was called ‘checker boarding’. You can (and should) verify that all elements are in-sync by running each film through a gang synchronizer to ensure that the same number of frames are on each element. When you have A-B (and possibly C-D) rolls of 16mm film in your collection, treat them as your master negatives.

Pilot_Signal

1/4″ final mix sound track under a magnetic viewer with 60 hertz pilot tone

With the soundtrack, you might see optical tracks titled ‘A wind’ and ‘B wind’, a 16mm magtrack (the magnetic track), or a ¼” final mix master magtrack.  I chose to digitize the ¼” final mix master magtrack. There are a variety of reasons to choose the magtrack over the optical track whenever possible, but the most important reason is fidelity. Optical tracks are vulnerable to scratches, dust, and dirt that sound like pops and clicks when they’re transferred. Optical tracks have also been mixed with the Academy Curve in mind, so they contain attenuation of 18 decibels at 8Khz. Not to mention the poor signal to noise ratio, as a result, they don’t have the highest possible sound quality. The ¼” final mix, if it’s available, will be your highest quality soundtrack. The only issue you have to be aware of is sync(pilot tone). Keeping your sound perfectly in-sync with the picture is more difficult than you might think! (But that’s another post.)

So…the end result of scanning the A-B roll and digitizing the 1/4 “final mix soundtrack for The Champion is here. Compare that to our older, SD telecine version here. Hope this brief introduction to A-B roll film preservation was helpful. Cheers.

Hortense Butler Heywood papers and microscope slides, early 1900’s

Hortense Butler Heywood was an entomologist who was also a prolific illustrator. A lot of her work focused on the study of dragonflies. The collection of her papers at Iowa State University Archives includes several dozen microscope slides with samples of dragonfly parts. Below are images of some slides and their extreme-zoom closeups. The slides are in fragile condition and would be tricky to view in the reading room on the light box. Digitizing them made a lot of sense. So we did it! And we loved every minute of it. A link to the complete Heywood digital collection can be found on the bottom of the  Women in Science and Engineering webpage:

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, how did we do it exactly?  My first idea was to use the camera attached to the microscope to generate an image. But, sadly, the picture was too blurry and indistinct. Plan B was to use a light box and our nice Nikon D4 SLR camera on the copy stand. The massive resolution of the image files made it possible to zoom in and see the details of the specimens. Without magnification the samples looked like tiny specs of debris. With magnification they were intriguing and presented a direct link to Ms. Heywood’s illustration work.

Organizing the slides

Making sure the slides are organized and ready to go before reformatting starts.

The photo setup

Positioning the slide so that only a minimum amount of cropping is necessary.

Digital imaging

Shooting raw files, at 600 dpi.

Mindy McCoy is editing in Photoshop

The only alteration to the raw files was to crop the images  and to save them as TIFFs.

Lawrence H. Skromme farming goods catalogs

Another digital  adventure, which promises to be ongoing for a while, is working with a comprehensive collection of ephemera related to farm machinery and equipment. The cards, pamphlets and catalogs  date from mid-1800s to early 1900s. This collection is frequently requested in the reading room by students and professors involved in courses on mechanical engineering, agricultural sciences and history of farming.

Archivists from ISU’s Special Collections have already written some blog posts about the Skromme collection: Ephemera in the Archives and Agricultural Machinery Product Literature.

Party in the front. Butcher & Gibbs Plow Co., Imperial Plows advertisement card, date unknown.

Business in the back. Butcher & Gibbs Plow Co., Imperial Plows advertisement card, date unknown.

Many of the catalogs have been used extensively in the field (literally in the field), folded and stuck into pockets, left in barns and tractors – you get the idea… And keep in mind that the paper they were printed on was never meant to last (ephemera!). Direct physical handling of this stuff basically kills it. So, this large collection was a wonderful candidate for digitization. And what fun it has been to review! See for yourselves…

Powerful lady of multi-tasking. J.M. Childs & Co., Tiger Self Dump Wheel Horse Rake advertisement card, not dated.

This image of a patriotically-clad woman riding a roaring tiger, while also managing to plow, has been very inspiring to me.

Project Management:

Clearly, these objects need to be available online so a large number of people can see them. Working on several concurrent digitization projects requires collaboration, concise and clear communication and tight organization across department lines.  Adopting a project management software tool has really enhanced our efforts.

We use Meister Task to track progress of items as they pass through the Selection-Conservation-Digitization-Metadata pipeline. The software is easy to use and visually pleasing. I will even venture to say that using the interface is somewhat intuitive.

Repairs:

What about numerous conservation repairs that are needed to stabilize the super-fragile and damaged ephemera for digitization? My strategy has been to expedite without cutting corners. Using remoistenable (pre-coated) tissue has helped save time. One benefit is the quick drying time. Another benefit is the ability to use 5 gsm or 3.5 gsm tengucho tissue with ease and expediency. The tissues are pre-coated with a mix of diluted wheat starch paste and 4M methyl cellulose, per handout from the 2009 LCCDG/ACDG session. Most of the paper that needs to be mended in this project is lightweight and fragile, so the thinner tissues are a good fit.

Applying remoistenable tissue mends. C. Altman & Co., Buckeye Annual Catalog, 1889

For  many of the pamphlets, the covers have become detached from the textblocks. Since they will be digitized on the OpticBook book-edge scanner, which also functions as a flatbed scanner, it would not make sense to reattach the pages. The materials are archival and are meant  for study purposes, not for display, so I consider toning fills to be unnecessary.

Not attaching covers to textblocks; not toning fills. Aultman, Miller & Co., Swedish Buckeye Catalog, 1899.

Some of the covers and pages that are detached are also very brittle and have numerous tears. It would take too long to mend them all and the page would still not be stable for handling because of its brittleness. Enclosing a page in a Mylar L-sleeve and calling it a day is an acceptable treatment option because the item can be scanned directly through Mylar.

Enclosing the cover in Mylar after mending significant tears; not mending numerous minor tears. C. Altman & Co., Buckeye Annual Catalog, 1889.

This is one of my favorite, most irresistible images from the Skromme Collection. The artists that worked for these companies were incredibly talented and imaginative.

A cutout advertisement made from thick card stock. Bucher & Gibbs Plow Co,. Imperial Plow advertisement card, not dated.

Plow ink! who would have thought?? Bucher & Gibbs Plow Co,. Imperial Plow advertisement card, not dated.

Preserving history of use:

As I mentioned earlier, certain signs of use are evident when examining the catalogs: fold lines, dirt, water damage, ink stains. But there are other signs as well, which I think of as “signs of life”. They are traces of people who inhabited the world with these paper objects. Even though the traces of personal history are not connected to a famous individual or a specific historic event, the altered paper objects do tell a compelling story about American farm life.

Child adds some embellishments with colored pencils  in the parent’s magazine. Charles H. Childs & Co., Riding Cultivators Catalog, 1892.

The culprit’s signature on the other side of the page. Charles H. Childs & Co., Riding Cultivators Catalog, 1892.

This advertisement booklet had blank pages inside. It was used to write down recipes for baked goods and cakes. A delicious read. Instead of using a book-edge scanner, the pages of the booklet will be photographed with a digital camera on the copy stand. The booklet will be opened and supported at 90 degrees in order to safely keep the nail in place

A page with a recipe is attached to the inside of the pamphlet, using a nail. J.M. Childs & Co., Tiger Self Dump Wheel Horse Rake memorandum book, 1884.

Around Iowa State University campus you will see many works of art created by Christian Petersen.  Petersen emigrated from Denmark to the United States at the age of nine with his family.  At Newark Technical School he learned die-cutting, sculpting designs into metal models, and then in 1920 apprenticed with sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson learning the beaux-arts style used in sculptures honoring war heroes.

After the Great Depression under President Franklin D. Roosevelt the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was created for artists to work on strictly supervised projects for the American Public and he was invited by Grant Wood to come to Iowa State College and worked on two funded projects, the murals for the college library and a fountain for the Dairy Industry Building.  Petersen was Iowa’s PWAP only professional sculptor and was able to make his assignment into permanent employment.  Petersen became one of the best Regionalist artists with works from the 1930s and 1940s embracing the Midwest culture and history.  Christian Petersen was the nation’s first permanent campus artist-in-residence at Iowa State College and taught classes from 1934 through to his retirement in 1955.

Recently I received three archival boxes with Christian Petersen’s sculpting tools and needed to construct one box to house all items.  Chisels, a wooden mallet, a vase, a magnifier, and several Italian Caselli sculpting tools were the items Petersen used to create his sculptures.  I have my own set of Caselli tools I use in fine work at the Preservation Lab but they are nothing compared to the master’s tools.  I constructed a light weight box using corrugated blue board with trays at different levels.

IMG_20180122_074354540

IMG_20180122_074444111 (1)

IMG_20180122_074514952

Today Morrill Hall’s Christian Petersen Art Museum houses his works of art, which can also be found all across the Iowa State University campus.

The end of the year is nearing and things are winding down – oh wait – are they really? For some maybe but for others it is the end of the year push trying to meet deadlines and wrapping things up before the holidays.

How are we wrapping up the year in the ISU Preservation Lab?

Mindy Mc.: Assessing (and removing staples) collections to digitize and wrapping up 2 digital projects.

Mindy Mo.: Getting caught up on general collections repair.

Jim: Making LOTS of wedges and mounts for an upcoming exhibit.

Sonya: Working on the constant flow of Special Collections items coming through the lab.

 

And finally we want to wish Drew well on his graduation! We have had the privilege of having him as a student employee for 3 years! He has had many duties with us and really got to experience preservation as a whole – from working on book repair, doing marking & binding, and working on digitizing numerous collections. We will miss you Drew!

 

From all of us here at the ISU Preservation Lab – Happy Holidays!

 

 

Since I have been working more on artifact rehousing, some of the items I receive are very interesting pieces and I like to do a little investigating on them while making new enclosures.  Recently the 1827 General Geddes Sword  came into my hands looking for a new enclosure.

4

James Lorraine Geddes was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 19, 1827 and migrated to Canada in 1837 then returning to Scotland in 1843.  After studying at the British military academy in India and serving he was awarded the title Colonel of the Canadian cavalry.  From there he moved to Vinton, Iowa to farm and teach at a country school.  Upon the start of the Civil War he resigned from school to become a Private (1861) in Company D of the Iowa 8th Infantry the after several promotions to Brevet Brigadier General (1865).  Geddes was a prisoner of the Confederate Army and after release went to Mississippi and Texas then landing in Memphis, Tennessee as he became Provost-Marshall until he resigned from service on June 30, 1865.

Geddes

Geddes returned to Vinton to become Superintendent of the Iowa Institution for the Education of the Blind (1867-1868) then ventured to Iowa Agricultural College (later Iowa State University) as Steward (1870-1882)  and Professor (1871-1883) of Military Tactics and Engineering.  During his time on campus Geddes also served as Acting President (1877-1878), Treasurer (1880-1883), and Treasurer, Records, and Land Agent (1885-1887) until his death February 21, 1887.  Geddes served this university and country well and was respected by many.

Below is General Geddes’ 1827 Sword in its new housing enclosure cradled in protective Volara and now resides in the Special Collections and University Archives at the Parks Library at Iowa State University.

1827 swordIMG_20171106_064236211