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MEDIA CONTACT: Sharon Dickman 585.275.4128
October 7, 2003
Preservation Grants Secure Future for Precious Library Holdings
More than $300,000 will be spent on preserving glass-plate photographic negatives
and prints, spoken recordings, paper music scores, and other historic items
in the latest round of state funding benefiting the University of Rochester
Work will begin immediately on parts of three collections held at Rush Rhees
Library: Ward's Natural Science Establishment Collection, the Fairchild Collection,
and the University Archives. Several thousand copy negatives, contact print
copies, and new archival masters will allow for more public access and improved
protection for valuable originals.
"In the Rare Books and Special Collections Library, we have tens of thousands
of historic photographs on unstable film bases and acidic photographic paper
in need of preservation," said Richard Peek, department director. "The
money and work invested in these historic items will ensure their longevity
and make them accessible to the public." Rochester's Museum Photographics
will serve as the vendor for the project.
Since 1989, the department has received grants for nearly 50 different preservation
projects totaling $3 million.
Papers and history about Ward's Natural Science Establishment, a successful
Rochester business and supply house for natural science exhibits worldwide,
detail the exploits of Rochester native and world traveler Henry A. Ward beginning
in the 1860s. He promoted the study and teaching of natural science in America,
and taught at the University. William C. Gamble, a University benefactor, was
president of Ward's from 1962 to 1980 and donated many materials.
The Fairchild Collection contains thousands of documents and other materials
from geologist Herman LeRoy Fairchild, who was interested in many fields both
academic and civic. He was a professor of geology and natural history at the
University from 1888 until his retirement in 1920, and professor emeritus until
his death in 1943. An exhibit of selected Fairchild photographs, showing his
early use of the camera to document how glaciers carved the terrain of Western
New York as well as the changing face of Rochester, go on display in the Rare
Books and Special Collections Library starting Oct. 10.
A project to preserve unique spoken-word collections also has been funded. The
re-recording work, which involves the re-recording of almost 900 hours of conversations
and lectures, will take place at Columbia University recording studios and will
include the Rochester Oral Jewish History Project (originally recorded in 1976);
the Rochester City Club lecture series from 1961 to 1968 with talks by anti-war
activist Dr. Benjamin Spock, Israeli Prime Minister Abba Eban, and historian
Alistair Cook, among others; and interviews with 20th-century composers from
Sibley Music Library's Ruth Watanabe Special Collections from 1970 to 1988.
The latest grants also will support the Greater Rochester Asian Community History
Project and the deacidification of thousands of acidic music scores from the
Sibley Library collection. Funds for these preservation projects are made possible
by the New York State Library's Division of Library Development to benefits
libraries and other organizations engaged in efforts to preserve research materials.
Funds to support the Greater Rochester Asian Community History Project were
received from the New York State Documentary Heritage Program.
About the University of Rochester
The University of Rochester (www.rochester.edu) is one of the nation's leading private universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering is complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and the Memorial Art Gallery.