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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Notes from the Transfer Process

Although officially the Cataloging Assistant, I work more on the technical end of things, shepherding the moving images along their way from stacks of dusty film cans to shiny DVDs. Probably the most exciting point in the process is the actual moment of transfer—instead of viewing small, individual frames through a loupe, or cataloging the paper ephemera that has made its way into the cans over the years (found last week: a Peanuts comic strip!) the images are, as they have been anxiously waiting to be, in motion on the screen.

The past few weeks have found me slowly working my way through the collection of Everett Greaton. Mr. Greaton worked for the state of Maine for over 40 years, beginning in 1932 as head of the Development Commission, and later on as the head of the intriguingly-named "vacation travel." He is credited with being one of the first to recognize the potential of Maine as a resort destination, as well as the first to use color film in the promotion of Maine, capturing it all on beautifully-shot Kodachrome.

I have followed Mr. Greaton on his journeys throughout this big ol' state for several hours each day, accompanying a honeymooning couple from New York as they play tennis and take a romantic canoe ride, tagging along with a group of hunters wrestling pheasants out of the mouths of their mischievous hounds, and learning just what it takes to be one of the few young men chosen to keep our citizens safe as part of the annual summer Bicycle Safety Patrol.

But the images that are most hypnotic (and indeed, those most relevant to our project here) are when Mr. Greaton turns his eye away from the leisure class, and instead documents the local workers: tapping trees for maple sap on snowshoes, fabric weaving on outdoor looms, steaming up freshly-caught lobsters at the pound, apple picking & crate packing, and my personal favorite, seaweed harvesting.

(All still images are from the Everett Greaton Collection, Northeast Historic Film)