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.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Research Value

At the Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Collections program symposium in Washington, D.C. last Monday and Tuesday (Katrina Dixon will report), we considered the impact of More Product Less Process, and discussed the drive for streamlined student and staff output--in tension with subject engagement.

While we are meeting our output goal (ten finding aids through March) and are engaged in team effort to create all-new software tools with CreativeAccess for Moving Images with EAD, we also seize a few moments to celebrate moments of content delight.

One of the collections described last month contains a short edited and intertitled 35mm film about Provincetown, Mass., produced in 1916 by Metro Pictures. As a record of work life we knew that it contained a town crier, a Portuguese fishermen, a woman making bayberry candles, and some footage of fine arts.

We did not know that it depicts the artist and teacher Charles Webster Hawthorne en plein air with his painting students. Hawthorne founded the Cape Cod School of Art, said to be the first outdoor school for figure painting, in Provincetown. He was born in Maine and was a founding member of the Provincetown Art Association in 1914.

Several subject threads arise connecting holdings related to Charles Hawthorne:
1. Hawthorne family home movies at the Library of Congress include film of kayaking; more on that when we describe our Norman Skene film, (he was author of Elements of Yacht Design),
2. Also at LOC, Hawthorne family film of the 1939 New York World's Fair.

This week we received a call from the National Building Museum about their exhibition Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s seeking film of the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. By coincidence, we were surveying our 1938-1940 collections, and talking with the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, and others about the Fair. We expect to find more amateur film of the Fair and its context in our collections and residing quietly in other repositories. Stay tuned.


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