Share in our discoveries across three projects as we work to provide the first intellectual access to our hidden treasures relating to work and labor in early 20th Century New England, the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair and its period, and Boston local TV news.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Work Life

This week, Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science LIS440 intern Betsy Sherman asked, Why did Northeast Historic Film collect the Whipple Family and Helen V. Bird films and others like them?

For a student, it's an important question--why this? When we started Northeast Historic Film the question was more like why wasn't anyone else collecting this? There was no precedent for regional moving image preservation on this scale in the US. Our collecting policies (see below), crafted with Pam Wintle, founder of the Human Studies Film Archives at the Smithsonian Institution, direct us to collect at-risk materials, to collect in areas where we are building critical mass, to care for rare materials, and to look for under-represented voices.

From 800 collections at NHF, for the 50 in this Hidden Collections project we looked on two axes: collections not already described in NHF’s Online Collections Guide and those that relate to work and labor. You'll be hearing more about the records created by the Whipple family of Plymouth, Mass., Helen V. Bird of Quincy, Mass., Dr. Charles S. Houston of Burlington, Vermont, and Philip Davis, Medford, Mass.

Collecting Policy

High priority is given to moving images with the following characteristics. Materials preserved elsewhere, widely distributed, or requiring severely restrictive donation conditions are considered low priority.

  • Related to the northern New England region through location, subject, maker, source or other connection.
  • Unique, or inaccessible to the northern New England population.
  • Otherwise likely to be damaged or lost.
  • As close to the original film or tape generation as possible and is of good picture quality.
  • Well-documented, and where possible accompanied by related non-motion picture references such as notes, still photographs, audiotapes.

Yesterday my train from South Station to Framingham, Mass., passed the Dennison Manufacturing Co., now offered as condos. In footage from the Dennison Collection, Henry Sturgis Dennison (on right) confers with John Kenneth Galbraith, 1936.


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