Summer 2011 brought our biggest accession of the year and fulfills a need that was identified before my arrival on campus. Nearly all photographic negatives, contact sheets and slides dating from the 1960s to 1990s that were formerly stored in the basement of Holmes Hall have been transferred for processing to the archives. Once processing is complete, we estimate the collection will occupy 130 linear feet.
This collection was inadequately protected both because of the physical environment of the basement and at the item level: negatives were in legal-sized envelopes and contact sheets were in shoe boxes. We are spreading the costs over a couple of budget cycles but our goal is to re-house the entire collection and make the index publicly available.
Also included in this photo transfer were some of the newer slides stored within the campus photographer’s office in good-quality sleeves, so material from the mid-1990s only needed a stable physical space.
It should be noted that other photographic material remains in various places in Holmes Hall, but this large transfer is a great start to ensuring that the collection is protected for the future. Additionally, research requests can be handled by archives staff, instead of taking up our photographer’s already well-used time!