Thursday, October 23, 2014

Message from the MARAC Outreach Committee: 2014 Archives Month - "History is All Around Us"

The theme for 2014 Archives Month in the MARAC Region is “History is All Around Us.”  

American Archives Month is intended to raise public awareness about the importance of historic documents and records. To celebrate Archives Month in the MARAC region, the Steering Committee designated the month of October for activities to raise awareness and to publicize the importance of archives.  Although member states and institutions may promote their own themes, MARAC encourages all members and member institutions in October 2014 to consider the role of archives and archivists in raising awareness about the pervasiveness of history—and the archival repositories that house historical records and artifacts—in everyday life.

Your outreach efforts could include posting items in these areas at your institution:
  • Elevators  
  • Stairs
  • Entry Desk
And could include items such as:
  • Bookmarks  
  • QR Codes
  • Social Media


Photographs courtesy of David D'Onofrio, United States Naval Academy

For more in-depth information about Archives Month, please see our website ( for suggestions and ideas. Do you have other innovative outreach ideas?  Consider sharing them with your colleagues via outlets such as the MARAC Blog (  Or, to submit Archives Month events for inclusion on this page, please contact the MARAC Outreach Committee at
Happy Archives Month!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

News from The Brick Township Archives: Conservation of Brick Township Historic Minute Books

Located in northern Ocean County, the Township of Brick was created on 15 February 1850 by the New Jersey State Legislature in the same act that created the County of Ocean from the County of Monmouth.  Starting at the Township’s founding, the official acts and meetings of the Township Committee were recorded in three Meeting Minute Books which span 1850 to 1931 (Volume 1: March 1850 to February 1890; Volume 2: March 1890 to December 1915; and Volume 3: January 1916 to December 1931).  
The three volumes serve today as irreplaceable records of the Township Committee’s activities from its founding onward. They also document a number of important events in the community’s history during this period, including the Civil War, municipal elections, changes in the organizational structure of the municipal government, the secession of five sections of the original community to form new municipalities, and the introduction of utilities such as electricity and telephone service.
In 1975, officials of the Township of Brick arranged for a private vendor to microfilm the three volumes.  This costly project was intended to ensure the longevity of the books’ content by creating backup copies in an alternate format.  However, it caused some unforeseen problems in the process.  The original books were dismantled to facilitate microfilming, then re-assembled using plastic Velo-style bindings that involved drilling holes through the pages.  By 2012 these plastic bindings had broken, leaving many text pages loose and in danger of being lost.  The covers were detached or loose, and the books were difficult to handle safely.  In addition, the 1975 microfilm images were no longer readable.  Nearly forty years after the initial preservation effort, drawing on advancements in the field and the benefits of hindsight, in the spring of 2012 the Township Clerk’s Office decided to have the three Township Committee Meeting Minute Books digitally imaged and conserved. The digital imaging was performed by the New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management (now Records Management Services) and their contracted vendor. 

After the digital imaging was completed, the Township arranged for conservation of the books with the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), a nonprofit conservation center located in Philadelphia and specializing in the treatment of works of art and artifacts on paper.  First, CCAHA staff disbound the text blocks by either dismantling what remained of the plastic bindings (Volumes 1 and 3) or by releasing the cover (Volume 2). Surface dirt was cleaned from the leaves as needed with natural rubber sponges and a solid white vinyl eraser.
Volume 3 proved to be the most involved of the three Minute Books.  Numerous pages of resolutions, ordinances, and other records were found attached to the text pages with pressure-sensitive tape.  This tape was removed with a heated spatula, and the adhesive residue was reduced using a crepe eraser. The crepe eraser was dipped in ethanol when lifting adhesive residue from particularly fragile areas of the paper.
In all three volumes, major leaf tears were mended and losses bridged with mulberry paper and wheat starch paste. Mends extending into areas of text in Volume 3 were adhered with hydroxypropylcellulose in ethanol, a non-aqueous adhesive, to avoid disturbing the water-sensitive media.
The volumes were adhesive bound with PVAc (polyvinyl acetate, a high quality white glue). New alkaline machine-made paper end sheets were added to each text block.  The spines of the volumes were lined with layers of mulberry paper, cotton textile, and/or machine-made paper, laid down with PVAc. The text blocks were placed in dark brown Canapetta cloth cases with computer-generated spine labels printed on alkaline paper.
The three Township Committee Meeting Minute Books are among the most historically and legally valuable documents in the Township of Brick’s possession.  CCAHA’s expert repair and conservation of these documents has greatly extended their life and helped to ensure that the documents will be usable for many future generations to come.
About the Authors – Bryan J. Dickerson is the Township Archivist for the Township of Brick.  Amber Hares is one of the CCAHA Conservation Assistants who conserved and rebound the Township Committee Meeting Minute Books. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Message from the MARAC Meeting Task Force

Help us improve our meetings!

Is there something about our meeting model that drives you crazy? Do you have some wild idea you would like to see MARAC try? Now is your chance to let it all out. Don’t be shy, your idea may be the next great thing for our organization!

This past summer MARAC Chair John LeGloahec created a task force to evaluate our current meeting model. The members of this task force include Tim Corlis, meeting coordinating committee member; Margaret Kidd, Virginia caucus rep; Adriana Cuervo, long-time MAC member and new to MARAC; and Susan Kline, steering committee member-at-large and chair of the task force. After some discussion and review of conference evaluations, we have come up with several areas for review. These include:

·         Call for proposals and session formation
·        How members utilize the conference program in both printed and electronic form
·         Ways to encourage broader participation

It is clear from the conference evaluations that MARAC members find the meetings useful and enjoyable, but that there is always room for improvement. Many commenters have suggested trying different types of session formats and lengths, creating more networking opportunities, encouraging greater participation, etc. The task force would like to get feedback from the membership about what you want from the meetings and ideas on how to improve them.

Please give this some thought and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or send an email to task force chair Susan Kline at If you are attending the Baltimore meeting, task force members would be happy to talk with you.  Members will also learn more about the task force at the town hall and business meetings.

We look forward to hearing from you!

MARAC Meeting Task Force

Thursday, October 9, 2014

News from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Robert Lehman Papers Open for Research

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announces the availability for research of the Robert Lehman Papers, 97 linear feet of archival material related to the collecting of art by financier Robert Lehman (1891-1969) and his father, Philip (1861-1947).  Over the course of sixty years, first Philip and then Robert assembled a collection of thousands of artworks with scholarly knowledge, astute connoisseurship, and skillful negotiation of the art market. Spanning seven hundred years of western European art, from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries, the works include paintings, drawings, manuscript illumination, sculpture, glass, textiles, antique frames, maiolica, enamels, and precious jeweled objects. Upon Robert Lehman's death in 1969, he bequeathed 2,600 works to the Metropolitan Museum with the stipulation that they be exhibited as a private collection, reflecting his belief that "important works of art, privately owned, should be beyond one's own private enjoyment and [that] the public at large should be afforded some means of seeing them." The Robert Lehman Wing, erected to display the collection, opened to the public in 1975.  

The Robert Lehman Papers document the acquisition and cultivation of this magnificent art collection by Philip and Robert Lehman, and include correspondence with galleries, dealers, advisers and museums, invoices, insurance records, object descriptions and inventories. Prominent individuals represented in the papers include art dealers and consultants such as F. Kleinberger, Harry S. Sperling, and Charles Durand-Ruel, as well as art historians Bernard Berenson, R. Langton Douglas, and Max Friedl√§nder. The papers also include photographs and memorabilia regarding the Lehman family, Robert’s military service and travel. This material offers a wealth of historical information that will advance research on one of the finest private collections ever assembled in North America, and that will support scholarship in other arts and humanities disciplines.   A comprehensive finding aid to the papers is available here:

Processing of the Robert Lehman Papers was supported by a generous grant from the Robert Lehman Foundation. 

For information about access to the physical materials at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, please email  

For information regarding the Robert Lehman Collection and the Robert Lehman Wing visit