It’s the most wonderful time of the year – that’s right, October is American Archives Month! This year, the LU Archives will celebrate by showcasing our wonderful photographic collections in some new and exciting ways. First up, we’ll have a photo caption contest. If you have a caption in mind for this photo, submit your entry at the display on the first floor of the library anytime October 7th through 11th. Library staff will judge the entries, and the contest winner will receive a gift card for Harmony Cafe.
All month, we will also be exploring the intersection of the past and present at Lawrence with rephotography – recreating historical images and comparing “then and now.” We’ll post some examples of modern and historical images juxtaposed or overlaid on our Facebook page. We hope you will consider creating some of your own! You can browse and search our digitized photograph collections for inspiration in our collections database. If you create your own rephotograph, please share it with us on Facebook or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Lastly (but unrelated to photography), we will again offer the Haunted Lawrence tour. Further details will be forthcoming, but mark your calendars for Monday, October 28th at 8pm!
We are pleased to announce an exciting new addition to our digital collections! After several months of scanning and data entry, a collection of 240 glass slides depicting the Lawrence campus and student life from the early decades of the 20th century is now available here. The collection represents the majority of the glass lantern slides and glass plate negatives housed in the Archives and is composed of several distinct series of slides.
About half of the collection consists of lantern slides from promotional presentations that date from about 1910 to 1930. These include images of campus buildings and grounds, student activities, and informational slides describing the college. A second series consists of photographs taken by Chester Allen, class of 1912. This series presents a view of Lawrence through the eyes of a student during Chester’s four years at Lawrence, 1909-1912. A third series includes images from the college’s 75th anniversary celebration held in 1922.
Since the fragility of the physical slides makes them somewhat difficult to use, we are particularly excited to be able to make these images more widely accessible through this digital collection. So go forth and check it out!
Materials in the Archives sometimes have odd lifecycles. Such has been the case for a set of glass plate negatives, recently rediscovered on a shelf in the back of the Archives. They represent a series of amateur photographs taken by Chester Allen, class of 1912, dating from his four years at Lawrence. They were found in an Appleton attic in 1953 and subsequently enjoyed a bit of fanfare.
These negatives have sat in the Archives for almost 60 years since this discovery, still in their original, carefully labeled envelopes. Since our rediscovery a few months ago, the negatives have been re-housed for preservation purposes, and a digitization project is currently underway. The 70 photographs in this series represent a truly unique look at Lawrence through the eyes of a student 100 years ago, and we are very excited to be able to share them with a wider audience.
The digitization of the Chester Allen photographs is part of a larger effort to digitize all 250 of the original glass slides in our collections. The images will eventually be added to our digital collections database, so keep an eye out for future updates!