The Day is Done

It truly seems as though my time in Special Collections started only a few short weeks ago, when in actuality three months and a variety of projects have since taken place. From making countless boxes, to repairing a 200 year old book, to digitizing dance cards, my time in Special Collections has provided me with invaluable hands-on conservation and processing experience. One of the most unique aspects about Special Collections (that I’ll greatly miss) is the spontaneous experiences of discovering a new historical treasure on every shelf or seeing a patron bring in a valuable item and share their side of the story on any given historical event or time period. I think it goes without saying that I won’t be able to stay away for too long before coming back to visit!
As the Holley Intern, my internship continues through the end of the 2015-2016 academic year; so even though my time in Special Collections has drawn to an end, I’m only moving a few floors down and will be splitting my days between Technical Services and the Research and Instruction Department. It is with sadness that I will be leaving Special Collections, but eager excitement with which I will be starting what are sure to be a variety of new projects!

And Then There Was One. . .

As you can tell from the many “last posts” below, Special Collections has grown increasingly quiet over the past two weeks, as all of the other interns have completed their time here at the library. Despite being the last one standing, a very quiet Special Collections has allowed me to put the finishing touches on the Dance Card Collection (Shall We Dance) that Avery and I spent a large portion of the summer working on. Though at times the project seemed never ending, between finding new dance cards in the depth of already existing collections, to learning what it means to create metadata for our newly digitized dance cards, the project has been finally launched. 

Here’s a quick screenshot to entice you on over to the actual page. Make sure to pay special attention to the variety of ways to search through the dance card, either by event theme or Greek affiliation.
Enjoy discovering the many treasures we’ve been spending each and every day with! 

The Art of Processing a Collection

One of the most astounding things about Special Collections and Archives is that there is no necessarily right or wrong way to process a collection. If you have the same questions as I did when I first started, you may be wondering what exactly processing a collection means. Coming from a background of working in libraries, there has always been a right and wrong order, and most often than not the right way includes being alphabetical and chronological. However, that’s not always the case in Special Collections. What I’ve learned so far is that effectively processing a collection means to organize any array of papers, letters, artifacts, etc., in a manner that will make it easiest for researchers to either know if the collection could be useful to them, or quickly identify which parts of a collection they’re interested in.
With this new knowledge, I’ve been spending a large majority of my time processing what have become the Schwartz Family Papers and the Papers of Janet Biesecker Schmidt ’32. Though the contents of both began as one collection, I made the decision to separate Janet’s belongings because she had not apparent relation to the Schwarz’s. After many hours of sifting through and reading letters and documents, it became obvious that the collection contained items from three generation of Schwartz’s: John William Schwartz (1834-1919), his son Frederick Keller Schwartz (1893-1966), and Frederick’s son, John Frederick Schwartz (1928-2007). Each of the Schwartz’s graduated from Gettysburg College, respectively in 1856, 1917, and 1950. Beyond College memorabilia, the collection includes information about Worthington, Pennsylvania where John W. was originally from, a photograph album from Fred’s early years at Gettysburg, and John Frederick’s letters home while serving in the Navy for 18 months during World War II.

Separated from the Schwartz Family Papers and turned into their own manuscript collection were the belongings of Janet Biesecker. Janet graduated from Gettysburg College in 1932 and the items in her collection primarily consist of 12 dance cards and various paper ephemera (such as College event and sorority invitations, a pin, ribbons, name cards, and bridge score cards, among other things) from her time at Gettysburg College. 
As always, new and exciting things continue to happen in Special Collections and Archives each and every day!


Summer in Special Collections

With no windows to the outside world and a thermostat that always reads a brisk 66°F, it feels as though summer never comes in Special Collections. However, these measures are taken to protect the many rare and delicate items housed behind the doors of the Special Collections and College Archives Department in Musselman Library’s third floor.
Working closely with Avery, a fellow intern, the past few weeks have provided a diverse speckling of learning new skills, all primarily revolving around conservation. Such activities have included encapsulating Chinese posters from the 1950’s and 60’s, paper repair, and most notably rare book repairs. For the latter task I was given a copy of History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814 that had detached covers, pieces of spine missing, and a few loose pages. Though it appeared as though my book would come apart easily in order to replace the spine, the cloth it was bound in turned out to be incredibly fragile, supported only by the deteriorating boards I was working to remove or repair. I can’t deny that there were moments when I truly questioned whether this book would’ve been better off with detached covers, but my doubts were proven wrong as my book slowly came back together!
Paper repair 
Removing the spine of my book
Toning my new spine to match the old

Inside cover- BEFORE repair
Inside cover- AFTER repair
Book spine and label- BEFORE repair
Book spine and label- AFTER repair
Most recently, we’ve just completed making book boxes to house our repaired books in, since we took the time to repair them, we surely want to make sure they’re now protected! But unfortunately, with the completion of this project, our time working with book conservation has come to an end and Avery and I will be moving into the realm of cataloging in Special Collections. Somehow it’s already July and a whole month has already passed in the Library, yet I’m more than eager to see what the next month and beyond has in store!

Until next time- 

Hello, readers!

My name is Alexa Schreier and I am serving as the Barbara Holley Intern for the next year (through Academic Year 2015/2016)! As the Holley Intern I will be moving around between the four main departments at Musselman Library, which includes Special Collections & Archives, Tech Services, User Services, and Research and Instruction. With that said, I will be spending the entire summer in Special Collections & Archives where I am currently learning the ins and outs of both book repair and preservation as well as what it means to process a collection, whether that be letters, journals, relics, historical memorabilia, or anything else that finds its way into the Special Collections department. As this is only an introduction, watch soon for details on the exciting projects I’ve already been tasked with!
Though there is a brief biography of each intern on the side panel, I’ll take just a quick moment to tell you a little bit about myself. As a Pennsylvania native, it felt only natural to be applying for a position at Gettysburg College after spending four years at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland as a double major in English and Environmental Studies. My childhood and teenage years were spent in and out of libraries, forming both an appreciation for the curation of knowledge and information as well as the fostering of community support in both public and private libraries, making it seem only logical to consider a career in the field. After discovering a dual passion for Environmental Studies, it soon became evident that Academia provided the research setting I was most interested in pursuing. In an effort to continue familiarizing myself with the ideas of research, information accessibility, and community involvement, the Holley Internship at Gettysburg’s Musselman Library seemed as though it would provide the exact opportunity I had been hoping to find as a graduate fresh out of college.

With that, hopefully you feel slightly more informed as to who I am and what I am/will be doing during my time at Musselman Library! Make sure to check back often for updates on the many neat things happening around here.