Tag Archives: oversized

Heschel Highlights, Part 5

The Wow! Factor

Welcome to the fifth post in a series documenting the processing of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Papers.

It’s no secret I have an affinity for oversize materials (see here).  And while the Abraham Joshua Heschel Collection only contains a modest number of oversize materials, those that are in the collection are proving to be quite extraordinary. Here are just a few of my favorites:

MaimonidesDust jacket from first edition of Maimonides eine Biographie, 1935.

Completed in only 7 months, the book was Heschel’s first major work. He was 28 years old.

InstitutePoster, Opening of the Term at the Institute for Jewish Learning, London, 1940.

In 1939 Heschel received official confirmation from Julian Morgenstern, president of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, OH, of a position of a research fellow in Bible and Jewish Philosophy. Heschel left Warsaw for London, England to obtain an American visa for emigration to the United States. While in London, he founded the Institute for Jewish Learning to “introduce all ages and classes of Jew to the history and tradition of their forbears.”

Antwort“Antwort an Einstein” in Aufbau, 1940

Heschel’s article “Answer to Einstein” in the newspaper Aufbau (Reconstruction) which was a rebuttal to Albert Einstein’s paper “Science and Religion.” As a recent immigrant, this was an audacious and surprising move for Heschel.

Post contributed by Mary Samouelian, Heschel Processing Archivist in Rubenstein Technical Services.

Renovation Round-Up

It has been a busy summer here at Rubenstein Renovation HQ. With the help of the entire Rubenstein staff, we have prepared over 50,000 rare books for the move! These are books that have been reviewed and loaded into acid-free cardboard trays for safe transport to and storage at the Library Service Center.

We have made progress on the archival and manuscript collections front as well, and these collections are now almost 100% ready to move to our swing space and the LSC. Below, please find some highlights of some of the work being done:

  • Oversize Materials: 670 linear feet of oversize materials and flat files have been reviewed and re-packaged for long term storage.

    Archivists Meghan Lyon and Mary Samouelian prepare oversize folders for the move.
  • Ledger-mania: Our Conservation Lab has been working wonders on our extensive collection of ledgers. The bulk of this work has been completed. Our ledgers have never looked better! Read more about the ledgers project on the preservation department’s blog Preservation Underground.
  • Extra Extra!The Rubenstein Newspaper collection is getting enhanced catalog records, better housing and some much needed TLC in preparation for its journey and new life over at the LSC. This has been a multi-team undertaking led by the Rubenstein Print Materials Coordinator, her holdings management team, our colleagues at Perkins Technical Services, and of course the Perkins conservation team.

    Newspapers in new boxes, ready fto ship to the LSC
    Newspapers in new boxes, ready to ship to the LSC
  • Manuscript Box Stabilization: Many of our manuscript collections are housed in flat boxes. To keep things from needlessly shifting during transport we have padded boxes with what will forever be affectionately referred to as “burritos.” These are pieces of folder stock rolled into tubes and wrapped in tissue paper so they stay rolled. Here are the burritos in action.

    Flat manuscript box, padded and ready to move.
  • A new Rubenstein Renovation website is in the works! Stay tuned for an announcement about this site, it will be a one-stop shop for all your renovation news needs.

What’s Next?

We are beginning the home stretch of our move preparation efforts. Materials are starting to be shipped over to the Library Service Center in small but consistent batches now that the Center’s 3rd module is nearly online.

The bulk of our materials will be moving in January and early February 2013. This will be a very busy time at the Rubenstein, so if you are planning on visiting us during this time, please contact us so we can plan ahead for your visit. Don’t forget that the reading room will actually be closed December 17, 2012 – January 6, 2013 so we can move the reading room and our offices over to our temporary location on the 3rd floor of Perkins library. We look forward to welcoming you to swing space on January 7, 2013!

Post contributed by Molly Bragg, Collections Move Coordinator in the Rubenstein Technical Services Dept.


Here’s a puzzle for you: How does one best store and deliver architectural drawings ranging anywhere from 6 feet tall to 12 feet long? In these new custom boxes of course!

Mary Samouelian in her new forest of boxes for the Doris Duke architectural drawings.

The wide variety of architectural drawings in the Doris Duke Collection do not always fit into standard sized map cabinets, so they either have to be wrapped around tubes or rolled up within tubes. However, using tubes does not always offer the protection needed to store these fragile drawings — nor are they always the best way to deliver them to patrons for research.

Architectural drawings from the Doris Duke Collection, wrapped around tubes in storage.

The solution? Architectural boxes that give both rigidity and stability to protect the drawings, meanwhile making it easier to deliver to the reading room.

The new boxes will hold our extra-large architectural drawings and protect them from damage.

For more information about some of the Doris Duke architectural drawings, visit the Inventory of the Duke Farms Residence finding aid.

Post contributed by Mary Samouelian, Doris Duke Collection Archivist.

Fascinating Finds in the Stacks: Oversize Gems

Preparing our oversize manuscripts for the upcoming renovation means spending lots of time in a corner of the stacks, pulling folder after folder out of our oversize cabinets and trying to prepare these giant documents and photographs to be moved in a few months. “Oversize” is a term that archivists use to refer to things that are bigger than legal- or letter-sized paper. At Duke, our oversize documents range in dimensions from 11×14 all the way up to 40×50 inches in width and height. (We have things in our collections that are even bigger, but their move prep is a different process.)

The oversize cabinets have been used to house collections for decades, and there are hundreds of folders in each cabinet. It’s challenging work, but also fascinating to spend time with manuscripts and photographs that we’ve never had a chance to see in our years of working at Duke. (Usually, as Technical Services archivists, we work with new or unprocessed collections; most of the oversize cabinet collections are very old and were processed a long time ago.) There are so many wonderful collections in the Rubenstein, there’s no way that we would normally have the time to poke through them all — except now we get to, because we have to check them over for the renovation. Here are our favorite “new to us” discoveries from our oversize stack work. This project will be ongoing for the next several months, so more photos to come as we keep digging!

J.B. Duke and Directors of the Aluminum Company of America, 1925
This huge panoramic photo features J.B. Duke and his fellow directors of the Aluminum Company of America in July 1925. From the George Garland Allen Papers.
Here's a close-up of J.B. Duke, with his trademark cigar. This photograph was taken shortly before his death in October 1925.
Civil War vetaran Randall B. Williams poses with his memorabilia in 1924.
Civil War veteran Randall B. Williams, from Maine, poses with all his Civil War memorabilia for a 1924 reunion photograph. He was 80 years old at the time. From the John Mead Gould Papers.
Fred Chappell acrostic poem
Not everything we find is old: Students presented poet and author Fred Chappell with this acrostic poem after his visit to their classroom. From the Fred Chappell Papers.
There is a penciled caption at the top that reads, "This was dropped from an Airplane in Durham N.C. about June 11, 1919. The plane passed over my home, and it was the first one I ever saw! -- Mrs. Angier." From the John Cicero Angier Papers.

Post contributed by Mary Samouelian and Meghan Lyon, archivists in Rubenstein Technical Services.