Friday, April 29, 2011

Conservation in the Drawings and Documents Archive

In the Drawings and Documents Archive, a drawing of the Garfield Park Conservatory, a design for an outdoor amphitheater in Indianapolis, was carefully cleaned of soot and dirt.

For the full blog post, check out the Drawings and Documents Archive Blog!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Disappearing Muncie: Our Lost Heritage Exhibit

Disappearing Muncie: Our Lost Heritage illustrates the changes in Muncie`s downtown during the first half of the twentieth century. During its peak, downtown was vibrant and bustling with many multi-storied structures, an illustrious courthouse, hotels, and several movie theaters. However, decades of structural decay and an increased need for more parking led many of these structures, including the Delaware County Courthouse, to be demolished.

Richard Greene, Ball State University Archives and Special Collections

The exhibit was made possible by resources from the Ball State University Archives and Special Collections and the Drawings and Documents Archives. Photographs from the W. A. Swift, Spurgeon-Greene, and Otto Sellers collections will be on display, as well as architectural drawings, ephemera, and newspaper articles. For more information on this exhibit, please contact Archives and Special Collections at (765) 285-5078.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Preservation Perspective: Paper Life

In 2004, I was fortunate enough to take a printmaking class where we made our own paper and sized it accordingly for our artwork. As an archivist today, the process of making paper sheds light on the importance of paper preservation. Technically, paper consists of fibers that have been reduced to pulp, suspended in water, and then matted into sheets. Paper is made primarily from plant fibers (e.g. cotton, wood, flax, straw, and mulberry). Cellulose is the most important constituent of paper and is composed of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen.

The invention of paper is actually attributed to the Chinese dating back to 200 B.C. With the high demand of paper over the centuries, the quality has declined quite significantly. With this decline in quality, an issue of acidity has presented itself. Factors of acidity come from the types of pulp used to make paper, bleaching, inks, fillers and brighteners. These simple chemical changes create a preservation problem for us all.

When looking into acidity levels and preservation, the pH scale is very important. Sitting in design class years ago, the pH scale was introduced and discussed several times. For artists and archivists alike, paper types, inks, paints, you name it, has to be accounted for when thinking and working in terms of preservation.

Below is a diagram of the pH scale. In the archives, we use acid-free paper and boxes which has a neutral or basic pH (7 or slightly greater) level. Acid-free paper and boxes addresses the problem of preserving documents for long periods of time.

Highly acidic materials like newspaper should be completely isolated from other materials in a collection. Acidity migrates from document to document if not properly stored separately.

It is very wise to consult with professionals in regard to preserving paper documents. The University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections and Drawings and Documents Archives work to preserve history. If you have any questions about preserving your items, please contact us for more information!

Happy Preservation Week! -Bethany
For more information about paper and preservation, please visit the Library of Congress Preserving Works on Paper website. For general preservation, check out Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler`s book on preserving manuscripts.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Easterner: The Birth of Student News at Ball State

Archives and Special Collections is proud to announce, as part of our honoring Preservation Week, a new digital collection in the Digital Media Repository! The Ball State University Student Newspaper collection provides access to full-text searchable digitized student newspapers from Ball State's history, dating to 1922. Included in this collection are The Ball State Daily News (1968-present) and its predecessors, The Ball State News (1937-1968) and The Easterner (1922-1937). At present, issues from 1922 to 1939 are available electronically.  The online availability of these early newspapers will provide a first-hand look at the humble beginnings of the student press at Ball State.

The Easterner, the predecessor of the modern Ball State Daily News, published its first edition on March 30, 1922, debuting as a 4-page weekly paper which sold for $0.05 per copy.  Subscriptions were sold at $0.40 a term and $0.75 for two terms.

Thomas J. Breitwieser
At the outset, the paper had a distinctly campus feel, devoting itself to the coverage of campus events, including sporting events, performances, elections, and guest speakers, and reporting on the accomplishments of faculty and students.  The activities of social organizations were well-documented, helping keep students aware of activities of interest.  Jokes, riddles, and poetry could also be frequently found in the inside pages, and cartoons and illustrations could often be found on the paper's cover.  The name of the publication reflects the fact that the school was then known as the Indiana State Normal School, Eastern Division.

W. C. Harding, first editor
of The Easterner
Thomas J. Breitwieser, Dean of the Eastern Division and Professor of Psychology and History of Education, played a critical role in the founding of The Easterner, serving as the paper's faculty sponsor at its inception.  The initial staff of the paper consisted of W. C. Harding as editor, Arthur Campbell as assistant editor, Basil Swinford as business manager, Luther Myers as assistant business manager,  Roy Reynolds as advertising manager, Margaret Medsker as society editor, Thelma Carter as exchange editor, Fred Shroyer as circulation manager, and Charles McComas as athletic editor.

Basil Swinford in 1922

Swinford, who graduated later that year, was quite the school stalwart; in addition to his serving as business manager for the paper, he was also the assistant business manager for the 1922 Orient (the yearbook), the secretary-treasurer for his senior class, a member of the Navajo fraternity, a basketball letter winner in 1921, and a member of five additional school clubs.  Swinford would go on to serve as Associate Professor of Business Education from 1926 to 1962 at Ball State.  His interest in the student press did not wane as a faculty member, as he served as business advisor for the student newspaper during his years as a professor.  Basil Swinford would later be honored as a namesake for the Botsford/Swinford halls in the Johnson Complex.

On February 26, 1937, years after the school became known as Ball State Teachers College, The Easterner changed its name to the Ball State News.  On September 12, 1968, as a result of the increase in publication frequency, the paper became known as the Ball State University Daily News.  In subsequent years, the paper was known by that name, the Daily News, and The Ball State Daily News, and eventually chose The Ball State Daily News as its permanent name.

The staff of The Easterner, 1922