New York State Archives Meet Your New Bestie: Me
When I saw the Easton Library was hosting a representative from the State Archives to talk about preserving family papers, I was there! I know, I know it sounds like a really hot date for a Thursday night. Lets just say I was the youngest one in the room by about twenty five years!
We found a ton of old papers in the school house, mainly from the 1930’s and 40’s. These included student medical records, standardized tests, reading and math worksheets, posters and more. Our most treasured item is a drawing by my grandfather, Richard Tefft Sr. from when he was a student circa 1940. We’ve shared some of these papers in previous blog posts: A Hop into History and Christmas at Gramp’s Old School. It’s so crazy to think all of these papers just sat on the school house floor for over seventy years! I’ve posted this pic before but wanted to share it again in case you missed it!
my grandfather’s original artwork
Preserving Paper Documents – Here’s the Highlights
-Store papers upright instead of lying them flat.
-The best environment for old papers is one with a stable temperature and humidity away from light. The back of a closet is great!
-Separate each of your documents and put them in acid free folders. Not all archival paper is created equal, the catalog below from Gaylord Archival is a good reference.
-It’s okay to write on papers with a No. 2 Pencil, a No. 6 works well for the backs of photographs (No. 6 is softer).
-Archiving digitally actually is much more temporary than paper, a CD with photos on it will last about 15 years, eek! Make lots of copies of your digital photos in lots of formats!
check out www.gaylord.com for archival storage boxes, folders and more
The New York State Archives are Online
A selection of the archives in Albany are digitized and available online here. It’s a bit of a maze to get through but also very cool. The NYS archives also has an agreement with ancestry.com. A basic account with ancestry.com (which I think is free) will allow you access all the records that come from the NYS archives for free. Here’s a list of some of the papers you can find in the online archive:
Civil War Muster Roles
WWI Muster Roles
Civil Service Cards
Land Patent Records
Digital Records and Country Schools
I found this photo of Washington County in the Board of Education archives online. It’s actually a lantern slide. Lantern slides are glass slides with the images painted or transferred onto the glass. Images were then projected onto a wall using a “Magic Lantern.” There are tons of slides on a variety of topics that were loaned out to rural schools for educational purposes in the early 1900’s. Some of these slides could have been sent to our school house! You can access all the lantern slides here.
screenshot, New York State Archives page, lantern slide
“Hay Harvest, Washington County” downloaded from the archives
“Magic Lantern” Projector used to view the slides
Work Site Update
Timber! The tree came down! It was a bit nerve wracking for Gramp! I’m experimenting with video so bear with me. I took an old iPhone, put it on a selfie stick and duct taped the whole thing to the road sign on Ryan Road. The battery died half way through so it’s pretty cool but not the whole day. Check out the time lapse!
time lapse of the first part of the day
I was pretty proud of my set up!
after and before
That moment on HGTV when they say “OH NO!” and cut to commercial!
The tree came down (good) but the bricks shifted in the front of the school house (bad). The front gable is now significantly tipping in (so much so that you can see a lot of daylight on the inside). We’ve met with a contractor who’s experienced in working with historic brickwork. He’s coming up with a plan to repair and stabilize the wall! Deep Breathe! After looking around the whole building the mason said “Well this is by far the worst problem you have.” Em’s contribution to all of this was to say “birds are going to get in now.” Thanks Em!
Solved one problem now on to the next! Look to the left of the peak and you’ll see the shift
Temporary wall support is up…more going in shortly, check out the daylight at the top…
Don’t forget to like the Gramp’s Old School facebook page for more photos and updates!
p.s. I think we found the house we are going to move to in the village of Greenwich, more on that next week!