Government Printing Office Visit
Senior Conservator Jana Dambrogio was invited to the bindery of the Government Printing Office (GPO) to capture impressions of their early brass decorative finishing tools. Dambrogio documented over 379 tools (69 brass rolls and over 310 stamps, gouges, and fillets) used by the bindery since before the civil war to the present day. Many of the tool’s marks are found on hand-made bindings that were fabricated by the GPO bindery for many federal agencies. These bindings have been subsequently deposited in the holdings of the National Archives.
Garrison Style Caps
These four garrison style caps were donated to the National Archives by the American National Red Cross (ANRC). The documentation indicates that they are vintage WWI hats worn by Red Cross staff. They are all similar in that they are wool and have ear flaps, but only one has a ribbon around the crown and an embroidered red cross.
One of the garrison hats has a leather sweatband and a label from John Baillie & Co. Paris, 1 Rue Auber. Many Red Cross staff waited until they got to Paris to have their uniforms custom made by Parisian designers. Research on shops and designers of the period is often very difficult. Can you suggest any good sites or books for early twentieth-century costume history?
ARC ID: 6293339
High Praise for Preservation EXPosed!
American Historical Association blogger Jennifer Reut writes that the National Archives Preservation EXPOsed! event on March 14th “merited the high-volume crowds that PBS’s better-known Antiques Roadshow attracts.” We proudly share her blog from AHA Today: http://blog.historians.org/news/1997/preservation-exposed-deserves-more-exposure
Preservation Conference Canceled
The 27th Annual Preservation Conference—scheduled for Thursday, June 27, 2013, in St. Louis—has been canceled due to Federal budget issues. We share in your disappointment, and we hope to see you in 2014.
Check out the latest from our ongoing Red Cross Uniform Preservation Project! Here is how staff prepares hats for long term storage.
First a sheet of lining tissue is placed inside the hat. This is followed by a soft cotton stuffer that is coiled and inserted to provide gentle yet firm support. The filler and lining tissue are left slightly higher than the hat brim, so when the hat is flipped over the tissue will support the hat. This technique eliminates stress on the hat’s brim while the hat is stored horizontally. Each hat is then measured for a custom box which is made on-site by our boxing team. The hats are gently lifted with a tissue paper sling during measuring.
ARC ID: 6882883
Sometimes bad things happen to good films.
In this case three feet (or about five seconds in running time) of perforations and about 1/4th of the image area were stripped away on this 16mm original negative.
Matching up the tear is time consuming and requires precise registration. Multiple pieces of tape must be laid down and used to cover the tear only and not the entire image area to avoid introducing air bubbles or other defects that would show up in the image when being transferred.
Razor blades are used to pick up the ends of Mylar tape to avoid getting fingerprints, lint, or other debris transferred onto the tape as the repairs are being made. The blades are also used to make clean cuts where the tape will be laid down along the frame line so that the breaks don’t appear in the footage. White paper tape is used to keep the film from sliding around during the repair work and doesn’t leave any residue on the film or harm it.
The repair is then reinforced on the back and the tape is excised from the perforations.
Et Voila! The film is now repaired and we can move on to the rest of the preservation process. We’ll be creating a new print of this film so that the public can work with one of our vendors to receive the copies for their particular needs.
More artifacts from Preservation’s Red Cross Preservation Project for American Red Cross Month.
Interested in preservation? If you’re in DC, today is their free Preservation EXPO!
This doll is from the Red Cross records and came into the conservation lab to receive custom housing. Here it is in its new box. The label explains that the doll was handmade by a soldier wounded in the Crimean War. The doll was presented to Queen Victoria and was later won in a raffle by an American Red Cross nurse in 1918.
How did we detect the forged date on the Lincoln Pardon? How did we conserve records from a WW II shipwreck? How will you preserve your family archives? Learn the answers and (much) more at Preservation EXPOsed! Join Preservation Programs for this free event on Thursday, March 14th from 11 am to 2 pm at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Browse display booths and talk with our knowledgeable staff. Attend free lectures on special preservation projects. Make an appointment for a consultation on your favorite family treasure. For more information, see http://www.archives.gov/preservation/exposed-2013.html
Preserving Family Papers and Photos
Want more preservation tips? Be sure to follow PreserveArchives on Tumblr!
This Thursday the National Archives holds its Preservation EXPO in Washington DC so you can learn more about how to preserve a whole range of media that document family history as well as our national history.
We would love to have you come. But maybe you can’t be in Washington DC March 14th to visit the National Archives Building for the Preservation EXPO. If not, here are tips to help your papers and photos last as long as possible.
How do I preserve my family papers and photos?
Proper storage and safe handling practices are key to preserving paper and photographs. Your personal documents last longer when stored in a stable environment similar to what you find comfortable yourself: 60-70 degrees F; 40-50% relative humidity (RH); with clean air and good circulation.
High heat and moisture accelerate the chemical processes that make paper brittle and discolored, and that deteriorate photos. Damp environments may cause mold growth or encourage pests that use the documents for food or nesting material.
So the central part of your home provides a safer storage environment than a hot attic, a damp basement, or a garage.
Light also damages paper and photographs, especially light with abundant ultraviolet such as fluorescent fixtures and daylight. Light exposure has cumulative and irreversible effects; they promote chemical degradation and fade inks and dyes. Permanent display of valuable documents is not recommended. Photocopies, digital images or photos of documents can be substituted for display.
Store personal papers in appropriate sized enclosures, a folder, box, portfolio, etc., that provide physical protection as well as protection from light and dust.
Use an enclosure made of stable permanent quality materials that will not contribute to the document’s deterioration. See Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler’s “Preservation of Archival Records: Holdings Maintenance at the National Archives” for information on storage and handling.
How can I safely mount my documents, memorabilia, and photos into albums or scrapbooks?
The method you use to assemble scrapbooks, photograph albums or memory books can enhance the preservation of the items or can cause irreversible damage.
Avoid mounting with the following materials: white glue, rubber cement, pressure-sensitive tapes and films, staples, or hot glue gun adhesives. These materials do not age well and can physically damage and discolor paper and photographs.
Avoid albums with self-stick pages (“magnetic pages”) because the adhesive used on the mounting page is poor quality.
There are several safe alternatives for mounting. Valuable items such as birth certificates, family letters, and photographs should be mounted without use of glue or other adhesives. Use clear envelopes and sleeves made of stable plastics such as polyester and polypropylene to hold the materials and as album pages. Another good mounting method uses corners made from stable plastics (such as polypropylene and polyester) or from stable paper.
Plastic and paper corners used to mount photos should be made of a material that has passed the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). The PAT test determines if a storage material will cause fading or staining of photographs.
The PAT test, developed by the American National Standards Institute, appears in a national standard named ANSI IT9.16, Photographic Activity Test. Many manufacturers test their products with the PAT and advertise storage materials that have passed the PAT.
Paper corners to be used with paper memorabilia need to meet the standard for permanent paper ANSI/NISO Z39.48, Permanence of Paper for Publication of Documents in Libraries and Archives. This standard specifies the characteristics of paper that is long lasting and that will not harm documents with which it is in contact.
How should I frame and display my photographs and documents?
Decorative frames, available at many stores, are appropriate for everyday snapshots. Often these frames lack a mat or spacers to keep the document or photograph from contact with the glass, or have a poor quality acidic paper mat.
Unfortunately, many unmatted photos have been damaged or permanently stuck to glass when fluid seeped between the glass and photo. This fluid may come from liquid cleaner sprayed on frame glass or beverages spilled near the frame.
Never use liquid cleaners around photographs and artwork. Many cleaners are corrosive and can cause immediate fading and staining if they, or their vapors, come in contact with a photo or a document.
Mat important personal photographs or photographic artworks with museum quality mat board for the window mat and the backboard. Mat board for photos should have passed the ANSI IT9.16 Photographic Activity Test (PAT).
Photo corners work well to secure a photo to a backboard when the window mat will cover the photo edges and hide the photo corner. But do not use photo corners on unmounted prints larger than 20 x 24 inches, or very fragile photos.
Large or fragile photos should be attached to the backboard with stable paper hinges adhered to the back top edge of the photo and then secured to the backboard. Hinging should be left to a qualified framer or conservator.
Once a treasured photograph or document is properly matted and framed, do not display it in direct sunlight, or under bright lamps, near heat sources or in damp locations such as basements, kitchens or bathrooms. Typical diffuse home lighting is not harmful over the short term, but display in rooms that receive direct sunlight can cause rapid fading.
Light will cause fading and other irreversible damage that may become objectionable over time. So avoid extensive display of treasured documents and photographs that you want to pass on to future generations. Instead, make and display a duplicate copy while the original is stored safely in a storage container with other valued papers and keepsakes.
You can find more information on preservation on the National Archives website at www.archives.gov/preservation.
Have you ever wanted professional guidance on how to care for your family archives? Here’s your chance! Join us for Preservation EXPOsed!, a free event on Thursday, March 14th from 11 am to 2 pm at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Browse display booths at the preservation fair and talk with our knowledgeable staff. Attend free lectures for a behind-the-scenes look at special preservation projects. If you make an appointment, you can even bring in your favorite family treasure for a consultation with a National Archives conservator. For more information, see http://www.archives.gov/preservation/exposed-2013.html.
More installments from the Red Cross Uniform Preservation Project for American Red Cross Month (and #haturday):
Retired Archivist Pat Anderson (left) returns one day a week to help with the Red Cross project. Anderson and Senior Conservator Kathy Ludwig are discussing procedures to care for this WWI black summer wicker Foreign Service Hat.
ARC ID: 6882883
March is American Red Cross month, so it seemed a fitting time to reblog this great series of posts from our Preservation colleagues on their Red Cross Uniform Preservation Project:
When the Red Cross artifacts first come into the lab, they are carefully removed from their archival boxes.
This WWI Canteen Worker hat, 1914-1918, is made of blue wool with red hand sewn trim. The hat is shown before Pat pads the inside with cotton stuffers and non-buffered abaca fiber tissue.
ARC ID: 6882883
Next Week - Preservation EXPOsed at the National Archives!
National Archives Preservation Programs is hosting Preservation EXPOsed! on March 14th from 11 am to 2 pm in the McGowan Theater and Lobby at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Learn how to care for your personal treasures at the preservation fair, hear lectures on preservation projects at the National Archives, and bring in a document, book, photo, artifact, or motion picture film for a consultation with a conservator. The event is free and open to the public. Appointments are required for individual consultations; contact Preservation@nara.gov or Preservation Programs Officer Allison Olson at 301-837-0678 to schedule one. Attendees can enter at the Special Events Entrance of Archives I on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Street NW.
Guess what the Oscar winning historic figures pictured have in common with the Red Cross collection at the National Archives? Keep reading for the answers.
Seen in the photos are Captian Jack Sparrow from the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean, the gendarme from Scorsese’s 2011 film Hugo Cabret, and three characters from movies made in 2012: Les Miserables, Anna Karinina, and Spielberg’s Lincoln. The next photo shows a straw hat which belonged to “Dottie” a member of the American National Red Cross. What do the hats all have in common? Most curious, don’t you think?
During preparation procedures for housing and conserving the Red Cross hats, one of the first items we examine is information in the label. The label in this ladies hand-made straw hat with a silk ribbon and bow identifies it as being made by Ditta Pieroni Bruno s.n.c. in Rome and includes an address and telephone number.
Research revealed that the Ditta Peroni Bruno company was founded around the time of WWII and originally made hats for the Italian military. After the war they moved into the costume business for stage and screen and are still making beautiful hand made period costumes, including hats, armour, breastplates and gloves. The hats and gloves in Hugo’s, Jack Sparrow’s pirate hat, Lincoln’s top hat, and Dottie’s straw hat were all hand made by the same Italian company, Ditta Pieroni Bruno.
This is only the beginning of our research because previously we had mis-identified this hat as part of Dottie’s WWI clothing, but Ditta Pieroni Bruno wasn’t founded until 1939. Jana Dambrogio and I sent an email with photos to the company and asked if they had clues about its history. Thanks to information provided by Bruno’s son Massimo and Massimo’s wife Stefania Pieroni, we learned that NARA’s Pieroni hat is a replica of an original hat from 1900 made by Bruno Pieroni himself. The Pieroni’s provided this link to the news broadcast featuring an interview on their most recent creations found in many of this year’s Oscar nominated movies. http://mediacenter.dw.de/english/search/hatmaker/
The Pieroni coverage begins at minute 12:00 to 16:50.
Ditta Pieroni Bruno at one time made hats and military uniforms. Since the 1930s the studio changed their name and specialty to movie costumes. Check out their website at: http://www.laboratoriopieroni.it/ to learn about all the movies where one can see their work made for Fellini films to Dick Tracy in the 1990s.
From Perioni’s website it does not appear that they ever had a storefront for Dottie to go shopping. We are left to wonder did Dottie get it second hand and put her name in it? Was she an Italian film star that wore the hat and later moved to the United States and joined the Red Cross? What we do know about the hat is that it is strikingly stylish, made of very finely braided straw and is still in beautiful condition.
- Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Disney Website: http://disney.go.com/pirates/?int_cmp=pir_fran_ChP_redirect_Intl#/gallery/
- Hugo: Recent Movie Posters: http://www.recentmovieposters.com/2011/11/five-french-character-posters-for.html
- Les Miserables: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/12/les-miserables-movie-review/60013/
- Kiera Knightley, Vanity Fair: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2013/01/anna-karenina-costume-designer-oscar-nominations-keira-knightley_slideshow_item1_2#/slide=2
- Lincoln, The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2012/11/spielberg-lincoln-review.html