The boxes for the cassettes and the index cards came in this week, so we got to work moving them in. These are mostly recordings of the regular public lectures hosted by the IAC over the years. A few of the tapes are from the Nag Hammadi expedition and seem to be of interviews with the people who discovered the codices.
Miraculously only one of these had an empty spider egg sac in it. It was a considerate spider though, it chose one of the blank tapes.
Still working through these too:
They're fun to look at; it's interesting to see all the different information that the archaeologists needed to conduct the their digs successfully. What the ground consisted of seems to be particularly important, which makes sense. They charted the types of stone and ancient building work and where they were in the site:
Wouldn't want to lose anything! That's why you went there in the first place. Next step is getting all the information put into Archivist's toolkit - series one and a chunk of series two are in there now but the cassettes are going to have to be described on the item level. Until next week!
I spent most of this week sorting and deciding how to organize the contents of the last three doc boxes. Most of the remaining documents are Nancy's artwork, as well as a few family documents. I learned how to use envelopes within folders, which has made organizing small, loose things like photographs way easier.
Lisa and I walked through entering everything into Archivists' Toolkit, so I would have a better idea of how the collection would be presented to researchers. That was really helpful, and I think I have a decent idea of how I'll organize the last few doc boxes. I've also started gathering info for the bio that I'll eventually put up on Archivists' Toolkit.
I'm going to folder Nancy's artwork by medium, as there aren't enough dates for chronology to be very useful. She has scrapbooks, picture books, pastels, pencil and pen sketches, a few oil paintings, and mementos of her time in France.
I'll leave you with an "action shot" of this table trying and (mostly) succeeding to contain all the stuff I spread out on it while I was trying to get everything organized.
Until next week,
Well it's suddenly the week of spring break, hard to believe the semester is already half over! The end is in sight and the proof is in those tidy boxes. This week I finished up the photos / slides and also started digging deeper into the maps. These are the most substantial thing remaining to be done, but luckily the mapmakers had an order system. Can't take chances I suppose when you're trying to keep track of a dig, seems like it'd be pretty important to know where things are. Unfortunately, some of these are so massive that we're going to have to keep them rolled up. It's always best to avoid leaving them that way but any folder big enough for these could also double as a queen-sized bed cover. Some of the maps look like they've been through the mill a bit, like the dirt-covered field notes, and must have seen a lot of use. It would be interesting to find out just how each kind was used in the course of the dig. We're still working on entering all the folder names into archivists toolkit as well, and getting some research done for the front material of the eventual finding aid. It's definitely shaping up!
Until next week -
The first series is complete! Everything has been sorted, refoldered, and put into new boxes so now we can work on getting them entered into the database. We've just got the rough edges of series two to smooth out - slides, a few photos, last week's maps and the audio tapes. While we were sorting through Series 1's photos I wrote about some interesting coins held by the IAC - now I've got some photos to share. Here are a few of my favorites from the collection:
There is no size reference for the coins, and they are in black and white, but the amount of detail on these animals and people is impressive. I want to look into how these were created, and what materials they're made of. I'm not even completely sure these are monetary coins.
This fellow doesn't look like he wants to be on a coin, and has lost his eyes.
Lion surrounded by/excited about eating conches(lilies?)
It's great to see the collection coming together! Soon enough the finding aid will be done too. There's still work to be done but it's moving along really well. Until next week!
I was out sick last week, but I'm feeling much better now... So here is the promised cats post!
I spent some time last week putting Nancy's many scrapbook pages in Mylar sleeves, as well as sorting through and making notes about the other contents of the three doc boxes. There are scrapbook pages, handmade cards, picture books, sketches, and memorabilia from Nancy's time in Paris--needless to say, she was an artist (more on that next week).
Nancy's scrapbook has lots and lots of pictures of cats (about a third of the pages have cats on them), but there are also other things: pictures of her home, places she visited (mostly state parks around California), and holidays.
The cats have fantastic names. Some of my favorites are Lucifur (with a 'u' instead of an 'i' because he's FURry, of course), Fluffy Mae Simpkins Reed, Roderich "Rod" Vich Alpine Dhu, Carmichael Reed, and Chiquita.
They were obviously a big part of her and her mother's lives. My guess is that they were rescue cats, since they have so many of them and they are all different types--big fluffy cats, smaller, short-haired cats, and jet-black Lucifur.
Now, for some pictures of cat pictures!
Here's a whole page of cats:
If you thought I was kidding about the great names:
Two cats... one has its arm around the other! These two were often pictured together.
What a pretty kitty...
That's all for the cats (for now...), folks. Nancy was both a chemist and an artist--next week's post will feature both of those things.
Next up is a box of maps and drawings from the archeological expeditions to Nag Hammadi. Inside we found maps of the general area, hand-drawn guides to the dig site, and (in a separate tube) a satellite image of the area. I've never been on an archeological dig but from what I've seen mapping has got to be a key component.
We've put materials relating to the dig into their own series, which contains these maps, field notes, photographs, audio tapes, and correspondence. The expeditions are divided into seasons that span from 1976 until 1980, when it seems their funding ended.
It's difficult to tell just from the labels, but I suspect the tapes are interviews from the dig. Some are labeled Mohammed Ali, and I'm curious if this is the same Mohammed that originally discovered the codices. Jason has mentioned this story in his posts, it could be that the tapes contain Ali's complete account. Maybe we'll come across some information on these tapes as we continue processing this week! Until next time -
It's so nice to see everything all neat and ordered like this, isn't it? Too bad that was the easy part, this collection has a lot of oversized maps and a multitude of photos, slides, negatives, index cards, and audio tapes. I'm not complaining though, the IAC was host to amazing artifacts and projects, and not just from the Nag Hammadi dig:
Most of last week was spent going through the photos - since we're going to have to sleeve them we need to break the folders apart into small chunks. Fortunately the IAC photos are pretty organized already and it hasn't been hard to group them up. Besides documenting the museum's holdings, the IAC photos cover special events, guest visits, and the staff through the years. The expedition to Nag Hammadi is of course a large part of the collection, but the IAC was host to many interesting people and artifacts.
This week I'll be finishing up a new crate of photos, getting all the newspaper clippings quarantined, and getting to work on the maps and blueprints. Stay tuned for Series 2, the records from the archeological expeditions to Nag Hammadi.
Well, another week has passed and I am still in disbelief of how quickly the days go by. This week is starting off with rain trickling down the windows of the library but I am looking through the window of history today! (Please excuse the cheesy cliché) As promised, I have a couple of interesting snapshots of the hundreds of pictures I have been combing through. Most recently I have been reorganizing the series on the Nag Hammadi dig and the surrounding work involved in such a monumentally historic project. This had included everything from field logs of the dig sites, pictures of the surrounding towns and landscape, and a plethora of amazing records documenting the whole process.
Going through this series in the IAC Nag Hammadi Collection has afforded me the opportunity to see a different time and place through the eyes of both the locals and scholars involved with the excavation and scholarly analysis.
One of the amazing photos included in the series are of the discoverer of the codices, Muhammad Ali and his mother.
Ali standing next to his mother (dressed in black).
Ali standing next to his mother (dressed in black).
The mother of Ali had actually burned one of the codex books upon their initial discovery. Unfortunately, there was no other information on the reasons for his mother burning one of the books but one can just imagine what was going through the minds of the IAC scholars upon hearing this story!
And as I mentioned in one of my previous posts I am including just one picture of Henry Kissinger from his tour of the Nag Hammadi Codices. He is intently studying pages of ancient texts while members of the project explain what is written and the significance to ancient Christianity.
There are pieces of history hidden all around us and it is up to us, historians and others alike, to document that history so others have the opportunity to look through the window of the past.