Paper, Not Plastic


I started transferring the Pulliam letters from plastic covers in binders to folders. It’s not particularly difficult, just extensive. I make sure to use acid-free paper to distinguish multiple-paged letters from one another and also to hold envelopes, newspaper clippings, advertisements, and other materials together with the letters they are grouped with in the binders. Rebecca continued to train me at the reference desk, showing me the proper forms as well as how and when to use them. To pass the time, she gave me some undocumented reference requests from recent visits to record in a Google document spreadsheet.

A Week at the Reference Desk


My day was divided today between the Pulliam collection and the reference desk in the Archives and Special Collections reading room. I worked for two hours to continue addressing the particularities I found in the Pulliam collection (i.e., letters in the wrong temporal order, those written by someone other than Grady, materials that may need redacting). Then Rebecca gave me a tutorial of how to work at the reference desk, including policies and procedures, followed by an online quiz. After two hours of that, I went back to the Pulliam collection, finished deciding what to do about each particularity, and talked with Stephanie about how to move forward with the project by transferring the materials to folders from the plastic coverings in binders.

Undated Letters


Still working on the Pulliam collection. It includes six boxes, with the first three featuring documents. I may have some trouble ordering letters, as many of the ones from winter 1944 only have the day of the week in which they were written. Still, I will consider the letterheads for reference, as Pulliam moved around the country during training, as well as each letter’s topic in relation to others and even ink color.

Starting work on a WWII collection


Today I went back to working on the Pulliam collection. I’m looking through the boxes to determine what is included and anything that may stand out in the present arrangement, such as out of order letters in the binders. Pulliam’s collection of letters written during World War II, mostly to his wife and daughter, are organized in several binders based on their date of authorization. Occasionally, a couple are not in proper temporal order. Also, some materials need to be properly stored, such as telegrams, which generally have more acidic paper. I’ve already rearranged some materials to more appropriate order, like the instruction manuals for Pulliam’s training in one series and information about the health of him and his unit in another.

Special Assignment (continued)


I finished organizing the Daniel collection. There did not appear to be any intentional reason for the arrangement of materials as we received them, so I put the letters (at least the ones in separate folders with transcriptions) in chronological order. The extra copies of letters, bound in a book or collected in one folder, came next in the order, followed by printouts of contemporary periodical mentions of Daniel and, lastly, unprocessed correspondence. I felt the last two groups would be best served in a smaller box, especially the fragile letters.

Special Assignment


I was supposed to go back to the Pulliam collection today, but Stephanie was out, so Tanya had a special assignment for me. I am organizing the Walter Eugene Daniel collection. He was an attorney North Carolina state senator in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who graduated from Wake Forest College. He was also a member of the Democratic Party and supported Jim Crow, unfortunately. The collection is mostly letters written from him to his fiancée, later wife, whom he met through a friend. The collection is already well-organized chronologically. I just have to figure out the subject of each group of letters and decide whether to rearrange them by topic or correspondence figures in addition to a temporal aspect.

Preservation Week Closes


We took a look at the archival boxes we made yesterday, and they looked good. Craig then took me up to the closed stacks to show me some of the maps, banners, posters, and other rare materials collected by the University; Craig repaired some of them himself. I then went back to placing protective covers on the tagged books in the closed stacks using the Colibri machine and finished the entire aisle. Finally, I created a couple more customized four-flap enclosures from scratch. The precise measurements are time-consuming, but I enjoy the work. I had a great week in the preservation department.

Library Tour


Craig and I took a look at the books we repaired yesterday; they look good for the most part. We then took a brief tour of the processing departments of the library, including the circulation and collections areas. I learned how to make protective archival boxes for vulnerable materials and created a couple in the process. Craig and I helped out briefly in relocating stacks of volumes to a new section of the library, a process that has included many employees volunteering to help; I managed to rearrange some of the materials properly according to reference number after the relocation. I then learned how to create a protective four-flap enclosure (slightly different than an archival box, which is usually for thicker volumes) for fragile materials.

Book Repair


We put the new spines on the book repairs we started yesterday. Now we put them in a press to set them. Craig also demonstrated how to repair book spines for volumes with paper rather than cloth covers. He also showed me how to replace missing cover corners by creating a filler using hemp fibers. I repaired three more book spines. Craig went to the closed stacks to document the work I finished with the Colibri machine yesterday and said I did a great job and impressive amount of books. He also gave a few pages of instructions on how to repair books spines and build my own accompanying press, for future reference.

Preservation Week


Today I started a week of working in the preservation department with Craig. First he showed me how to use the Colibri machine to place books in protective plastic covers. After practicing it myself on several volumes, he took me to the closed stacks and had me do the same thing with marked books. I worked for a couple of hours there and completed a great deal of work, but there’s still more to do. Craig then showed me the first stages of how to manually repair the spines of weathered books, mainly creating a new spine and accompanying cloth cover.