Shall We Dance?

Hello readers! The summer at Special collections is flying by and next week will already be my last week here as the Diane Werley Smith intern ’73. Though the weeks are winding down, we still are busy as bees here in Special Collections. As I said in my last post, I finally finished the rehousing of the Dance Card collection, and the next step taken my Alexa and myself was to start scanning and digitizing the cards for a digital collection. We chose to digitize 56 from around 80 dance cards to serve as highlights of the collection, for their aesthetics and unique charm. From that point we went through the tedious task of scanning each card, some just the front and cover, others multiple pages. After that we learned from Catherine how to create metadata for each card and to upload them into a digital collection. Just today I finished uploading the last of the cards that Alexa and I have been working on for the last few weeks. The next step for this and next week will be some additional corrections and proof reading. We decided to title the collection, Shall We Dance ~ The Gettysburg College Dance Card Collection. I’ll be sure to let you all know when the collection is primed and ready for viewers. So far the project looks great and both Alexa and I are excited for everyone to enjoy these small pieces of Gettysburg College history.

In other news, I finally got to rehouse the Lillian Quinn Letter Collection into new binder boxes. The letters are now really happy in their new home with their finding guide and are ready for eager researchers JThat is all for today but be sure to tune in next week for the last updates on my, and the other interns’, projects. Ta-Ta for now! 

To England and Beyond!

Greetings Dear Readers!

As I mentioned before, I am primarily working on transcribing the European travel diary of H. Lewis Baugher. He and his friend have so far arrived in England, and traveled to Wales, Ireland,  Scotland, and the 1867 Exhibition in Paris.. He has described in detail all the wonderful sights he has seen including Oxford, beautiful rivers, and talked to several interesting people. My favorite parts of the diary, however, are when he describes the scenes of nature. One particular scene that grabbed my attention was describing Mt. Snowden in Wales and he has also described the scenes in Paris with various churches .  I’m almost done and can’t wait to see how their trip ends up!

In addition to transcribing, I have also created a box for the diary to be safely housed in when not in use. This has been an interesting experience and I enjoyed learning about book conservation!

Well got to get back to transcribing so stay tuned for my final report!

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!


Would you care to Dance?

Dance cards rehousing solution. 12 Trays in total!
Howdy readers! There are so many updates here in Special Collections. As of late, I, and the other interns, have received cataloguing training from Kate and Carolyn and soon I will begin cataloguing the pamphlet collection. Also, I have continued work on a finding guide for the Lillian Quinn letter collection.
Most exciting, however, is my work on the Dance Card Collection. When I started working in Special Collections during the past spring semester I was given the task of rehousing the dance card collection. The collection spans from Gettysburg College from the late nineteenth century to the mid-20th century. With the help of Mary and Amy, I came up with a housing solution and for the rest of the semester and into the summer I worked on creating the housing. The housing consists of constructing a tray and forming compartments for the individual dance cards. This housing will keep the cards covered and will keep their chords from getting tangled up. Finally last week I finished the rehousing project and the dance cards are now happy.  I am excited for researchers to look at them in the future.
Dr. Birkner’s papers
Along with that, Alexa and I have been working on organizing and inventorying papers from the office of Dr. Michael Birkner. As you can see from the photo it is quite an undertaking but a good practice in inventorying and organizing. That is all for now folks and tune in later on to hear about all of the adventures we are having here at Special Collections! Cheers!

Faces of the Civil War

As the internship enters its final month of the summer, I’ve been processing and looking at various Civil War collections. This era in history is well know for the bloody conflicts that separated the nation. However, not much is known about most individuals that fought in different regiments across the country, or even what they looked like. Special Collections is home to a few faces that at Gettysburg, out West, prisoners at Andersonville, or stationed in places like Florida. The collections I have recently processed included photos of those soldiers at different stages in their life.
Hoaldey G. Hosford 1st Sergeant,
Co I., 44th New York
I mentioned in my first post that my main project was processing the Hoadley George Hosford papers. The dairies provide great information about an individual’s experience during the Civil War. The three diaries are not the only thing in this collection. There is an entire folder of tin types and photographs of Hosford, showing how he aged after the war and left some puzzling picture that we cannot identify. The earliest pictures of Hosford were from his time as a soldier. In his tintype, he looks very proper and distinguished in his New York State uniform. The same man was wounded at Second Bull Run, saw the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before this picture was taken. When reading his accounts during this battle, especially after Gettysburg, he was very cool under pressure but is absorbed in the chaos that the battle descriptions are not very detailed. He mentions key information but does not go down into the deep detail that is seen in other diaries.Its very hard to tell what Hosford was thinking during the time that the picture was being taken but it definitely shows an example of a young man that joined the Union Army to protect the United States.
James K.P. Scott, Bugler
Co H. 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry
Herman A. Stowe, Private
Co. D., 1st Wisconsin Cavalry
Hosford is one of many tintype/ photographs that we at Special Collections have in the collection. Two collections that I recently processed contained images of the individuals that fought in the Civil War, both in different Theaters. Their collections completely differ from each other but both help identify soldiers who fought. Herman A. Stowe was a member of the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, which served in raiding parties across the west. He would serve two years and helped aid the unit in capturing Jeff Davis. His collection included two diaries (1865 & 1871) and a tintype from 1874 of himself. The other collection is a large manuscript collect that contains some of the original drafts of The Story of the Battles at Gettysburg by “Col.” James K. P. Scott. Scott enlisted with his father in the 1st PA Cavalry in October of  1861. He was only 16 at the time but enlisted as a bugler. He was capture in August of 182 but was  released due to a prisoner exchange in December of 1863. Even though his book was written about Gettysburg, he did not participate in it. He moved to Gettysburg in the 1910’s and wrote until 1927 when the book was published. “Col.” Scott was never promoted to Colonel during the Civil War and had no indication of his promotion. However, everyone refers to him as Col. Scott is buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. The picture of Scott was taken in the early 1900’s, showing a very old Scott. There are no pictures of Scott before this point to my knowledge.
The men pictured in this post show the various faces that went through the Civil War. Special Collections contain more tintypes of Civil War soldiers that tell completely different stories. I am very fortunate in being able to work with these collections and hopefully discover the stories of the other photographs in the collection. 

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- 

Book Repair, Letters, and Pamphlets… Oh My!

Hello Readers!
A lot has been going on in Special Collections since my last blog post, so I’ll get you up to speed. As mentioned in my first post, I and the other interns created our own book. It was an awesome project and I learned to appreciate books as physical masterpieces and not just the words inside. I made my book with a black cover, and the end pages were made from homemade paper.
My poor bandaged book.
The spine after reattaching it
Most recently, I and fellow intern Alexa have been working with Special Collections Conservator, Mary, repairing damaged books. The book I was given was titled Peter Parley’s Tales About Asia, which was written for children’s education in geography and culture. When I received the book, the covers were detached or becoming detached and pages were falling out. The poor book was in bad shape. The basic rule I gleaned from this whole book repair process was that in order to fix a book, you pretty much have to break the book even more. It seems counterintuitive but Mary assured us that everything would be fine. In order to repair Peter Parley I went through a dozen different steps; taking off the spine, peeling up the covers on the boards, re sewing the binding, adding new hinges, filling in any tears or holes that were found in the book, etc. We also had to tone paper for new spine covers and hinges( pretty much playing around with paint to match a color to the original shade of the book), which was my favorite part of the process. I was also able to wash some of the pages to take away some discoloration. Throughout the process, the work table, between both my work and Alexa’s, looked like the scene of a book massacre. But once we finally finished yesterday it was all worth it and the books were much happier! Here are some pictures of me and Alexa at work as well as my book in its repaired state, but be warned… the pictures are rated BV for book violenceJ.
Filling in any tears or large holes with Japanese paper
Finished book from the front cover


For my other projects, I have finally read through all of the correspondence in the Lillian Quinn letter collection, and  I am in the beginning stages of creating a finding guide. What I find interesting about Lillian Quinn is that I do not actually like her personality; I find her to be an annoying busybody. She does provide an interesting perspective of World War II from the eyes of a woman as well as the experiences of those on the Pacific Coast during the war, but I just can’t bring myself to like her. Though I am not a fan of Lillian’s character, these letters really do make her come alive, for better or for worse J and I am excited for other researchers to read through the letters to see what they think of Lillian and her experiences!

In addition, I am continuing work on the Pamphlet collection, and I have just finished inventorying all of the pamphlets that have not yet been inventoried. At this point I am moving onto cataloguing the pamphlets into our database and eventually finding a new way to house and organize them. It is amazing how much time it takes to go through 950 pamphlets!

As you can see, my internship has started off with a bang and there is never a dull moment. I will bring this long winded post to a close and please tune in again to see what else I will be doing here in Special Collections. Cheers!


Greetings from the Civil War Intern!

Hello everyone! I would like to welcome you to Musselman Library’s intern blog. I’m Steven Semmel (the big goofy guy at the bottom of the current intern’s section) and I am the Brian C. Pohanka Civil War Institute intern at Special Collections for the summer of 2015. I will primarily be working with anything that deals with the Civil War in Special Collections. This includes diary transcriptions, digitizing, cataloging, creating displays, you name it! I am having a wonderful time so far this summer and currently working on transcribing three years worth of diary entries from Hoadley G. Hosford. Hosford is a soldier from the 44th New York and the 146th New York during the war. He wrote diaries from almost the entirety of his service. Some of the diary entries, (pictured on the right) shows the wear and tear of what Hosford went through during his time in the Army of the Potomac. I am very excited to see where this project leads ( I promise to post pictures).

So I figured I would tell a little bit about myself so you have some understanding of who’s posts you will be reading this summer. I promise, I will not put you to sleep (try not to anyway). I am from the small town of Palmerton, Pennsylvania at the base of the Poconos. I am a History and Computer Science double major and a Civil War Era studies and Public History double minor at Gettysburg College as a rising senior. And yes, I do have a social life. I am also a Campus Recreation Intramural Supervisor, Vice President of the Civil War club on campus and a member of the 26th Pennsylvania College Guard, the college’s reenacting group.  I used to play football here at the college but now focus my time on academics and combining my History and Computer Science backgrounds in most of my work. One of my current projects is creating a GPS based touring app that will allow you to create your own tours and take notes and pictures on other tours. I might be working on similar project here for Special Collections (shhhhh, its a secret!).

This is my second time receiving a Pohanka internship, my first in 2013 with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania  National Battlefield Park. I applied for Special Collections because I wanted to get a new experience and always love going through historical documents to learn new things every day. Gettysburg has been one of my favorite places since I was in middle school and was overjoyed to be going to school here and now working on campus for the summer. I hope you enjoyed this post and looking forward to posting more on the blog this summer!

First Post!

Hello! My name is Elizabeth Steinhour and I am working in Special Collections as the Diane Werely Smith ’73 Project Intern. This is the second summer I am spending in Gettysburg and I very excited to see where it takes me! This summer, I will be working on various college history projects and learning the ins and outs of book conservation and archives. Currently, I am working on transcribing the diary of the son of former Gettysburg College President Henry Lewis Baugher that was written during his trip to Europe in 1867 and I’m very excited to share with all of you where he travels! I will also be working on organizing other college files.

I recently graduated from Gettysburg with an Individual Major focusing on American Presidential Leadership with a concentration in Education Certification. I was involved in many activities on campus including  Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Kappa Delta Pi Education Honors Society, and Dance Ensemble. I have also interned with the National Park Service here in Gettysburg at the Eisenhower National Historic Site and in Harpers Ferry WV at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Additionally, studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark in the Spring of 2014 (I’m anxious to see if the diary travels there =)) !

That’s all for now, I can’t wait to share with you all my where my projects take me this summer so stay tuned!

Hello Everyone!!

 My name is Avery Fox and I am the Diane Werley Smith ’73 intern for the summer of 2015. My opportunities in the Musselman Library Special Collections include a spattering of  conservation, archival, and cataloguing projects and getting an introduction to all of the activities that take place in Special Collections. I will be working closely with the staff experiencing first hand all of the work that goes into the organized and preserved collections. So far I have begun work on a collection of letters from Lillian Quinn, a woman who lived in the World War II era, as well as a project with the pamphlet collection. In addition, I and the other interns have been working with Mary, the Special Collection’s conservator, on a variety of conservation projects.  There is more to come on these projects as the summer progresses, and I’ll be sure to post pictures!

For some background, I am from Lancaster, PA and I will be a senior at Gettysburg College in the fall. I am a History major, and once I finally get down to the registrar’s office, I will declare an Anthropology minor. I also spent a semester abroad in Bath, England in the fall semester of 2014. Other than academics I am a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, the Senate Representative for the Gettysburg College Dance Ensemble, and a fitness instructor. Gettysburg is my home away from home and I’m so happy that I have the chance to stay on campus over the summer to work in Special Collections. Tune in throughout the summer to read about all the awesome projects that I will be completing. Until then, Cheers!