Recently, our Lennox Foundation Intern Cynthia Kapteyn  finished working with  conservator Sonya Barron to create a portfolio for a Periodic Table found here on campus. Dr. Wolfgang Kliemann, a member of the Mathematics Department at ISU, requested that the Periodic Table be repaired and preserved so that he could use it in lectures and  demonstrations.

The Periodic Table was made by W. M. Welch Manufacturing Company in 1956.  The print  was found rolled up and stuck deep in a closet in the Ames Lab facility. It had been stored there for many years after being removed from its hanging place on the wall of Gillman Hall’s main lecture auditorium. The heavy weight paper of the print had turned brittle. The print had sustained moisture damage at some point in it’s lifetime and had a few major tears. When measured, it turned out to be H 41 ¼ in x W 57 ¾ inches. Sonya and Cynthia knew that whatever they created to house the table, it was going to have to be large.

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Lennox Foundation Intern Cynthia Katepyn, ISU conservator Sonya Barron, and Dr. Wolfgang Kliemann with the Periodic Table.

With Sonya’s input, Cynthia got to work building a portfolio that would not only house the Periodic Table, but would also work as a display support when Dr. Kliemann was using it during show-and-tells. The table was humidified and flattened and the tears were mended with a heavy-weight Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste. Once the piece was repaired, hinges were adhered with paste to the reverse side.  These Japanese paper hinges were used to attach the Periodic Table to the portfolio that Cynthia had created.

The portfolio needed to be light enough to carry with ease but still sturdy enough to protect the Periodic Table from future damage. Archival foam core boards, book cloth and cloth sewingse tape were used to create a portfolio that would open and close safely for storage and display.

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Once the frame was constructed, lightweight handles and dust flaps were added. With the handles, the portfolio could be carried from location to location without the worry of needing extra help to move the large piece. After all the work was completed, Sonya and Cynthia delivered the periodic table to Dr. Kliemann, who now has it in his office in Catt Hall.

While working on this blog piece, Sonya thought it might be fun to include some photos of Gilman Hall during the era, during which the periodic table would have been in use! Cynthia found the photo below, and while we thought that we hit the jackpot and found a picture of the actual periodic table, we later realized that there is a slight difference between the lower right hand corners of the tables. However, they are very similar and it is still definitely a cool find!

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Gilman hall, 1961. Photo from Special Collections and University Archives RS 13/6/F, M Box 1053

The preservation department of Parks Library here at Iowa State University offers an internship every year generously funded by the Lennox Foundation with the goal of providing experience and education in preservation work within an academic library to a graduate student or recently graduated student of a preservation or conservation  program. The 2018 recipient of the Lennox Foundation Internship for Preservation Education, Training, & Outreach is Cynthia Kapteyn.

Cynthia grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended high school. After graduation, she went on to study a double bachelor’s program in English and Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. After a winding route of positions, places, and bookbinding
courses, Cynthia packed up her bags and moved to London, England where she enrolled at the University of Arts London. While there, she studied at the Camberwell College of Arts in the Conservation program.

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Lennox Foundation Intern Cynthia Kapteyn

While living in London, Cynthia had many exciting jobs and internships. She held internships at the London Library, The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, and at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She applied for the Lennox Foundation Internship because she was looking for a chance to get some hands on experience  in an academic library setting. Since she started at the preservation lab in July, Cynthia has worked on some interesting projects!

Most recently, our conservator Sonya was repairing a very large periodic table from 1956. After Sonya was done stabilizing the piece, Cynthia was able to create a portfolio to house the document in to prevent it from future damage. damage. The portfolio also doubles as a mount for exhibition. In the picture below, you will see Cynthia holding the table after it was mounted into the portfolio that she designed with helpful feedback and advice from the library’s conservator, Sonya Barron..

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Lennox Foundation Intern Cynthia Kapteyn posing with the periodic table that she and our conservator Soyna worked on together.

 

Cynthia has also spent time repairing agricultural pamphlets for our Skromme archive. In the photos below you will see a pamphlet, where Cynthia has mended tears and filled in losses using remoistenable tissue and toned tissue fills.

When Cynthia isn’t at work, she enjoys reading in her spare time. Moving to Ames, Iowa was a bit of an adjustment for her, as Ames is the smallest city she has ever lived in, but she assures us that she is enjoying her time in the midwest! After completing her internship here at ISU, Cynthia hopes to go on to work in a preservation department of another academic library or museum.

Back in March of 2018, our department conservator Sonya wrote a blog piece about the slides and papers in the Hortense Butler Heywood Collection here at ISU. The collection was digitized, and is now online for public viewing. One viewer, Kelli Ireland, stumbled across our piece and the collection while researching her barn in an effort to get it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kelli reached out to Sonya to let her know that Heywood’s name is quite literally written on her barn!

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“Mrs. R.E. Heywood 8-29-1929” photograph by Kelli Ireland, Clay County, Iowa

Hortense Butler Heywood was a well known entomologist who was born and raised right here in Iowa. She co-authored the book, Handbook of the Dragonflies of North America and is also known for her detailed illustrations of specimens.

Ireland’s family rented the property from Hortense’s daughter Julia for a number of years before purchasing the land. How cool for this family to have such an interesting piece of history in their own yard! Thank you to Kelli for sharing this wonderful information with us, and for allowing us to update our readers!

 

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The Butler Heywood Barn photograph by Kelli Ireland, Clay County, Iowa.

In mid-June the Preservation lab hosted our Residency Librarian, Shaina Destine, for a full week of hands-on activities. This was the last week of Shaina’s residency at ISU Library. Shaina’s area of focus is in special collections and archives and she has done some great work with the library’s rare and unique collections.

Shaina Destine, Residency Librarian, having fun in the Preservation lab

Shaina really enjoyed the opportunity to learn how to made and modify archival enclosures, a skill that she is sure she will make use for in her career. She also found it valuable to be able to assess the condition of special collections items alongside the conservator, as items were routed to the lab for treatment. Although Shaina had no previous experience with hands-on preservation work, she had done a lot of sewing as a child, helping her grandmother measure and cut. Those “measure twice, cut once” skills really came in handy during her week in the Preservation lab! Shaina had a wonderful, enthusiastic can-do attitude about all of her projects. The rotation was a positive and rewarding learning experience for both Shaina and for myself. We wish Shaina success and happiness at her next destination – the University of Tennessee in Knoxville!

 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.