The LILRC Committee for the Preservation of Local History presents:
24th Annual Archives Conference
Marketing Special Collections in the 21st Century
Monday, November 4, 2019, 10AM-3PM
The Milleridge Inn
585 North Broadway, Jericho, NY
Long Island Archives - May/June 2019 - p. 1
Volume 26 Issue 3
Long island Archives
Save the Date!
Best practices and sound advice from SAA's Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research - Part VII
Visiting an Archives
Once you have arrived at an archives, here are a few things to consider to maximize your time and efficiency, and to help the research process go smoothly:
Prioritize your requests: What are the materials that would be most helpful for you to view? Make plans to see those first and ask the archival staff for them promptly to ensure you have time to see them. This is especially important for materials you would not be able to get anywhere else. Do you have any questions that need to be addressed before other work can be done? Tackle those first.
Balance your work flow with the policies of the archives: After familiarizing yourself with the policies of an archives, you can better adapt your work flow to those criteria when conducting your research.
Examples: Will certain materials take time to retrieve? Do photocopy requests need to be submitted twenty-four hours in advance? Planning to have some materials to view while you wait for others to arrive, and submitting your photocopy request the day before your departure, helps you meet your research goals and honors the policies outlined by the archives.
Ask for assistance: The archival staff is there to help you. If you have questions, ask them. You are your first and best advocate for accomplishing your goals.
Bring appropriate supplies: Have pencils, notepaper, and a pencil sharpener handy. Some archives may provide these things for you, but do not assume they will be provided. Carry a magnifying glass in case you run across difficult handwriting or need to examine some small detail. And since books and papers are better preserved in cooler temperatures, archives can sometimes be on the chilly side. Have a lightweight sweater on hand in case you get cold.
Take thorough citations: While you are working, make sure to take full citations for the materials you are viewing, including any unique identification assigned to the materials by the archives such as the call number, collection title, etc. If you need to go back and reference something in those materials again, or if another researcher is later trying to track your sources from a published work, this will help the archival staff locate the materials.
From Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research by Laura Schmidt, reprinted with permission from the Society of American Archivists (https://www2.archivists.org/usingarchives).
Long Island Archives - May/June 2019 - p. 2
Ask An Archivist....
We are going to put [labels] with our art objects. We aim to use very simple information...and were hoping to use something like QR codes to allow a link to full discussion of the work. Comments or alternate ideas? Are there specifications for 2D art labels?
"A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." -Herbert Simon
QR codes are still used at some museums/galleries to enhance the experience for the patron, but the trend now is in augmented reality. If you have the time, it's worth looking into. It also depends on how often you plan to rotate exhibits.
As for 2D labels, the font should be on a reasonable size (16 pt), and type (most prefer to use a non-serif font). Remember to keep the label content brief and accurate. It's better to acknowledge what you aren't sure of than to make assumptions. Be consistent and take your time making the physical label. Basic information will include: what it is, the creator/manufacturer of the item, when it was made, materials used, inscriptions, its identification number and any special acknowledgement the donor may have required, and finally an observation. However, per the Victoria and Albert museum, "in helping people to appreciate the object, be careful not to rob them of the chance to make their own observations." Want more good advice? Check out the V&A guidelines at www.vam.ac.uk (Gallery Text at the V and A Ten Point Guide).
There actually is a competition for Excellence in Exhibition in Label Writing put together by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) . There are some great examples of professionally-made labels. Find it at the AAM website under Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition. I believe that the examples of past winners listed on the website might inspire you.
Recently released and upcoming books about Long Island history
Taking a Q&A stroll with Kristen J. Nyitray, author of Long Island Beaches
What was your initial inspiration?
My inspiration was the beauty and diversity of Long Island beaches. Through my work as a librarian and archivist, I have received and researched literally thousands of reference questions about the island ranging from glacial moraines to poetry. I have always wanted to research in more depth how beaches shifted from places fraught with danger to places of respite and fresh beginnings, specifically on Long Island. To understand the coastline requires knowledge of history, geography, marine science, politics (and more). I need to draw upon my knowledge and conduct new research to glean meaning of how the island has been shaped and continues to be transformed by beaches. Postcards were a ubiquitous form of visual culture that documented and communicated points of view, social norms, and history. My aims for the book were to use this ephemeral medium to communicate untold histories of beaches and to make a contribution to the historical record.
How did you find the research experience to be and where did you look?
Long Island history is multi-dimensional and beaches as a case study is a fitting example of its complexity. From science to art, all disciplines converge when you embark on the study of Long Island beaches. For practical reasons, I focused on Nassau and Suffolk Counties, due primarily to space constraints, but also books with coverage of Brooklyn and Queens are already represented in Arcadia Publishing's catalog. I needed to define "beach" and compile a list of beaches across the two counties. Given that one did not exist, I created one to inform my outline and subsequent research. Great effort was made to present a variety of beaches. I consulted hundreds of books and articles, and many electronic resources including: New York Heritage Digital Collections (nyheritage.org); freely accessible newspaper databases including FultonSearch and NYS Historic Newspapers; the genealogy sites FamilySearch, Ancestry, and Find A Grave; and sites with coverage of postcard history such as Metropostcard.com. Many of the postcards and related images in the book were sourced from archives, historical societies, libraries, and cultural organizations on Long Island. The process required many calls, e-mails, and visits to repositories.
What were your unexpected finds?
On the north shore, I delved into the early history of the beachfront bungalow communities of Rocky Point (1928) and Sound Beach (1929). William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper Daily Mirror was the catalyst for development of the areas. In an attempt to increase business, the company purchased beachfront land and offered annual subscribers the exclusive opportunity to purchase lots. The rise and quick decline of resorts and communities surrounding beaches including Chateau des Beaux-Arts in Huntington and Belle Terre Estates Incorporated, northeast of Port Jefferson were interesting to trace through newspaper articles and advertisements. I also found intriguing the use of beaches as destinations for religious gatherings and assemblies on Fire Island, in South Jamesport, and in Sea Cliff. On the south shore, I knew of the historically African American beach enclaves in Sag Harbor (Ninevah, Azurest, and Sag Harbor Hills), but I discovered more about Hemlock Beach which has been minimally documented. According to historian Paul Bailey, African Americans visited Hemlock Beach, south of mainland Amityville, every August from 1841 to 1910 to celebrate the emancipation of slavery in New York. I located supporting evidence in newspaper articles of a week-long event held at Van Nostrand’s pavilion and hotel. However, severe storms through 1914 caused irreparable damage to the area. In October 1915, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle declared the “passing of Hemlock Beach as a summer resort.”
What were your frustrations?
Specific to the production of the book, I could not include all beaches due to space constraints. Conversely, postcards were not produced for many beaches for a variety of reasons, which I discuss in the book. Conforming to the publisher's style guidelines proved challenging at times. The spelling of Long Island townships, incorporated villages, and cities should be capitalized, but they were changed by the publisher in the editing process. I was able to include a small percentage of maps, photographs, and manuscripts to supplement the postcards. There were a few scarce images I wanted to include, but the financial costs of obtaining scans and securing publishing rights were simply too prohibitive. It was quite disappointing to be met with a lack of responsiveness from a couple of curators, but those experiences were few. More positively, I made many new contacts with kind people supportive of my research.
Anything you think the readers want to know?
Living on Long Island, beaches have profound effects on our lives, some obvious and others more nuanced. Their influence have immediate and lasting influence and impact. Examples include health, recreation, weather, art, economics, transportation, and overall quality of life. There is so much more to be explored and further researched. Finally, the efforts of archivists, librarians, and volunteers who steward local history collections should be reaffirmed. Our efforts to document Long Island history do matter and are vital to preserving our experiences for study today and by future generations.
Long Island Beaches. Postcard History Series. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2019. Publication date: June 17, 2019. 128pp. $21.99.
Long Island Archives - May/June 2019 - p. 3
Postcard images courtesy of Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries
Long Island Archives - May/June 2019 - Editor: Nicole Menchise, Regional Archivist, Long Island Library Resources Council
627 N. Sunrise Service Rd, Bellport, NY 11713, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone:631-675-1570 x2004