Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sorting and Sleeving

Today I took the first steps into sorting out the collection. To start with, the negative sleeves are crumbling as soon as you touch them leaving residue all over the place. The dried paper seems to suck the moisture out of your hands upon contact.

I started by selecting a large box that contained 17 5x7 kodak dry plate boxes inside of it. 

I then sorted the boxes into general categories, by looking at the box description and a quick view of the contents. The primary groups were, Mount Holyoke College, Garden / Plants, and Home / Family. Next I numbered the boxes and captured the box with a note card depicting the box number. 

I started a spread sheet that allows me to itemize each box's general contents. How many plates, size, subject, box writing, general contents, and new negative number.

After describing the first four boxes, I then started to capture the individual negative's information. Each negative was placed on a light table with the front and back of the negative sleeve, along with an ID number. I then shot a picture of each set up and sleeved the negative in a new envelope with the ID number. 

This will allow me to digitally sort the negatives using Adobe Bridge. I can sort based on subject and type, then do a batch rename. This will generate a final file name for each negative. I'll illustrate this when I get to that process. 

It appears that I am the first person to go through this material in very long time, maybe even since Kinney worked with the negatives. Inside the first box, between the top two articles, was a newspaper clipping. It was from 1942 and showed the history of war relief efforts and gardening at MHC. It appears that Kinney clipped the article and placed it in with the negatives that were requested for reprinting. 

Many of the these negatives are out of order or sleeved in recycled housing. The description on the envelopes are at times hard to match up with the contents inside. It feels a bit like a big puzzle that will slowly come together as I start to recognize the terms and people's names that Kinney used for his own personal organization. 

More to come...

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