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 Post subject: Re: Where is discussion on saved Conrail documents?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:29 am 

Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 8:16 pm
Posts: 76
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a pretty good way to describe the buildings this material came out of. Smithsonian appears to be in the midst of a reevaluation of their holdings, something a responsible organization does periodically (Don't ask me how many timetables and library books I have surplused over the course of my career). At this point, they have good connections with the railroad world should any further material become available. They did go through and evaluate the DL&W material as part of a sampling exercise. While down there I asked if anything else was in the queue to be gotten rid of. At that time the only other thing available were studio portraits on glass negatives from a NYC photographer.
I hope to make my part of the haul available as quickly as possible while integrating with our other ongoing projects.
https://www.industrialarchives.org/

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 Post subject: Re: Where is discussion on saved Conrail documents?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:50 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 151
Location: Los Altos, CA
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
If "you" (and I mean anyone from an individual to the Smithsonian!) want your collection to outlive you and be of value to future generations, it requires advance preparation.


I have been slowly thinning my collection for years. Most of the airline stuff went to SFO Museum as part of a transcontinental move 13 years ago. I have been working on getting rid of the rail stuff, much of which was collected by my late father. See
https://sites.northwestern.edu/northwes ... ollection/

I second Alexander's "advance preparation" advice.

BH


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 Post subject: Re: Where is discussion on saved Conrail documents?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:52 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:18 pm
Posts: 477
Location: Illinois
In addition to ADM's suggestions above, I also suggest anyone with a large collection of railroadiana identify to the following to their heirs/executors in advance:

1. Define which pieces of their collections are primary/original sources, and would have value to a library, vs. what aren't. First-edition books from 50 years ago, and original corporate documents, fall into the former category. Coffee-table picture railroad books from the 1980s fall into the later category - these have no value as primary sources, and are very common, and can be given away to anyone who will take them vs. burdening a library with them.

2. Define which pieces the owner holds copyright to - and are created by the owner - vs. what came from secondary sources. Many collections have mixed together slides taken by the owner vs. slides purchased over the past 50 years, for example. Purchased slides don't have much value for libraries and can be given away or sold off for a trivial amount. As an example, the Bluewater Michigan Chapter NRHS had a collection of thousands of slides where the donor selected photographs from books and captured them on 35mm film. These slides had zero value for archival purposes and either should have been tossed in the trash or given away instead of placed in a library.

3. Thin out your collection now of items that have little to no value - such as TRAINS magazines from the 1980s and 1990s. Or common books from the 1980s or 1990s. Or HO trains from the 1970s or 1980s. This will make the difference between a manageable collection for a library vs. a morass in a basement or garage that overwhelms heirs or potential recipients.

Chris.


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 Post subject: Re: Where is discussion on saved Conrail documents?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:47 pm
Posts: 3
K.R. Bell wrote:
At my request, Nick Fry, Curator of the Barriger Library, was instrumental in reaching out to the NYCRHS folks which was a big help, too.

Sometimes railroad records do have happy endings.

K.R. Bell


This is the second time I've done this to the NYCSHS guys. They should've never shown me that they had an archive building. ;-) I hope they don't cancel the library's membership in response to the work we've given them.

-Nick Fry


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 Post subject: Re: Where is discussion on saved Conrail documents?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:25 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 933
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Thomas Cornillie wrote:
I'd be interested in learning more about the Smithsonian's timeline for deciding to dispose of these items. 639 cubic feet is a large amount for any archive to consider. For those of you not familiar with archives, the budget considerations for archives are not unlike those for locomotive or rolling stock collections. The items might be historically significant, but the costs of receiving and caring for them are not free.

A short deadline decreases the opportunity for archives to make informed and responsible decisions.


Are you sure it isn't linear feet? Whenever I have to report records available to purge from our agency, I have to report it to the Arizona State Library in linear feet-one banker's box=one linear foot.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: Where is discussion on saved Conrail documents?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:37 pm 

Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 8:16 pm
Posts: 76
Given the irregular size of some of the containers cubic feet makes more sense. While many places use linear feet I have always preferred cubic feet as it does a lot better for things that aren't in the standard off the shelf containers. I can cram a number of custom boxes for ledgers into one cubic foot, that could measure as a number of linear feet.

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