How will you observe the life and death of Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862), the American writer and naturalist?
Thoreau, August 1861 © Wikimedia Common
By taking a quiet walk?
By turning off your cell phone? Your computer?
By having a deep conversation with a friend, colleague, or family member?
By getting out a sheet of paper and writing a letter? (Yes! By hand.)
By randomly squeezing a Thoreau quote into a conversation today?
Or, by visiting Special Collections in the Davis Library 101 to visit our display of Thoreau artifacts: his inkwell, bricks and timbers from his cabin at Walden Pond, books from his cabin library, and more.
Middlebury College Library and Information Services does many things to preserve our collections. For instance, we regularly backup up computer file servers, bind heavily used paperback books in the circulating collections, perform conservation treatments on rare books in Special Collections, and digitize photos and films in the College Archives. Plus we spend a lot of time doing one of the most important things– getting and keeping things organized!
To mark Preservation Week, we’re reminding you that it’s easy to take some basic steps to preserve your own important family collections. Here’s a great web page that will tell you pretty much all you need to know! http://atyourlibrary.org/passiton/preserving-your-treasures
And we love this short video, Why do Old Books Smell? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInTfrDnA It reminds us that one of the most important things we can do is provide a good climate for our collections to slow the rate of organic decay.
What do experimental physics and Middlebury Special Collections have in common?
The Boston Globe featured the work of experimental physicist Carl Haber, the Northeast Document Conservation Center, and Middlebury College Special Collections as well as Harvard University and the Woody Guthrie Archives in a recent article, “Technology saves echoes of past from silence.” Our newly scanned sound files will start arriving this summer, Stay tuned!
The Northeast Document Conservation Center reports that they’ve recorded one hundred of the two hundred and fifty cylinders in the Flanders Ballad Collection. Quite a milestone! See the recording system at work and listen to the hundredth cylinder in the NEDCC blog post here! Take a look at some of the previous posts to learn more about this new sound scanning technology.
Due to the snowstorm, the opening has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 18, at 4pm in the Davis Family Library Atrium. Please stop by the 2nd floor display cases to view our current exhibition, Space & Place in the Graphic Novel:
We’ve been talking a lot about little things in the College’s Special Collections & Archives as we pay extra attention to pocket-sized books in our midst. Our smallest book (so far) is a 2 inch tall History of the Bible, published in Cooperstown, New York, in 1836 (pictured below). The general definition of a miniature book is anything under 3 inches. We’re assembling miniature books up to 5 inches, since we’ve found big books and tiny books don’t play nicely on the shelves together and can cause damage to each another over time. You can learn more about miniature books here or visit us and ask to see our mini books yourself.
Thanks to our hand-model, Joseph Watson, Preservation Manager and Special Collections and Archives .
The Korean American novelist Chang-rae Lee’s newest novel, On Such a Full Sea appeared in January with a technological twist: Lee collaborated with the 3-D printing company MakerBot to create a first-of-its-kind, limited edition 3-D printed cover, formed from a corn-based bioplastic and made on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.
© Riverhead books
Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives, copy number 465
“What I like about this project is that it re-introduces the idea of the book as an art object. Content is what’s most important, but this [3D edition] is a book with a physical presence too.” Chang-rae Lee.
Chang-rae Lee using a MakerBot Replicator 2 Photo © MakerBot
Middlebury’s limited edition copy, number 465 of 500 copies, will be on display in Special Collections and Archives in the Davis Library this spring.