Thursday, July 2, 2015

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- 

Friday, June 26, 2015

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!


Monday, June 22, 2015

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!

Friday, June 19, 2015

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!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

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!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hello, readers!

My name is Alexa Schreier and I am serving as the Barbara Holley Intern for the next year (through Academic Year 2015/2016)! As the Holley Intern I will be moving around between the four main departments at Musselman Library, which includes Special Collections & Archives, Tech Services, User Services, and Research and Instruction. With that said, I will be spending the entire summer in Special Collections & Archives where I am currently learning the ins and outs of both book repair and preservation as well as what it means to process a collection, whether that be letters, journals, relics, historical memorabilia, or anything else that finds its way into the Special Collections department. As this is only an introduction, watch soon for details on the exciting projects I’ve already been tasked with!

Though there is a brief biography of each intern on the side panel, I’ll take just a quick moment to tell you a little bit about myself. As a Pennsylvania native, it felt only natural to be applying for a position at Gettysburg College after spending four years at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland as a double major in English and Environmental Studies. My childhood and teenage years were spent in and out of libraries, forming both an appreciation for the curation of knowledge and information as well as the fostering of community support in both public and private libraries, making it seem only logical to consider a career in the field. After discovering a dual passion for Environmental Studies, it soon became evident that Academia provided the research setting I was most interested in pursuing. In an effort to continue familiarizing myself with the ideas of research, information accessibility, and community involvement, the Holley Internship at Gettysburg’s Musselman Library seemed as though it would provide the exact opportunity I had been hoping to find as a graduate fresh out of college.

With that, hopefully you feel slightly more informed as to who I am and what I am/will be doing during my time at Musselman Library! Make sure to check back often for updates on the many neat things happening around here. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Last Post!

I cannot believe that this is my last post.  It seems like only yesterday that I was writing my first post about how my training for the reference desk was going.  This semester has been truly wonderful and I have learned so much.  Through the many projects that I have taken part in and my final project that I designed myself, it has been an amazing opportunity.

As a senior employee of the library, I was asked to pick a book to be plated in my honor.  It was certainly a hard decision to pick only one book! In the end, I chose Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I know that it seems a little cliché, but this book has influenced me as a reader and as a student.  I, like many of my generation, read this book as a young child.  I have always been an avid reader and this book remained one of my favorites throughout the years.  Additionally, I had to opportunity to read this book last semester in a class entitled The Golden Age of Children’s Literature.  That class meant a lot to me and helped me solidify my plans for after graduation.

With that being said, in the fall I will be attending Simmons College in Boston for a dual master’s degree program in Library Science and Children’s Literature.  I am very excited about this next step and I know that the knowledge and skills that I learned at Musselman Library will help me as I continue my education.  Thank you so much to the Reference Department for all your support this semester !