We hope that you enjoyed the stunning set of posts by the Burns Library student assistants and staff members featured on the Burns blog this summer. Materials featured ran the gamut date-wise as well as subject-wise. Staff members and student assistants spoke from varied work areas, such as the Reading Room, Archives and Manuscripts, the conservation lab and exhibit review. Highlighted materials and type of staff work reflect dates as early as 1497 and as contemporary as now.
In her post: A Day in the Student life at Burns Rachel Ernst reflected, “By providing a place not only for the objects themselves but for researchers and students to view materials, the Reading Room fosters scholarship and discovery through a multi-faceted approach to texts and images. The digital facet of the reading room allows information to become more widespread and accessible without losing the inherent materiality of the object. As I scanned and e-mailed pages to a distant researcher during a typical day at work, I realized that there was nothing typical about the purpose and actions of the Burns library. Rather, it is an intentional community committed to the scholarly potential I was struck by the first day I visited.”
The post entitled, Conservator’s Notebook: New Faces in the Lab featured Joshua Rosenfeld, class of 2013, conservation assistant and Becky Koch, conservation intern and how they brought special talents to the lab. The post points out the type of work an assistant in the Burns conservation lab might learn to perform as well as several interesting pieces that were conserved. Josh contributed to the lab in a variety ways: attaching book plates, treating leather, preparing exhibit supports, and assisting in exhibit installation. Josh also worked on the leather binding of Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies. Becky who came to the Burns from the North Bennett Street School is a skilled bookbinder. In her time in the conservation lab she completed a number of projects including: surface cleaning two 16th century pigskin covered books, making a number of preservation enclosures, doing leather treatments, and assisting with exhibits.
The recent exhibit in the O’Neill Library featuring manuscript material from the Burns Library caught the eye of Reading Room assistant Rachel Ernst and prompted her post reflecting on why the Unsung Music Pioneer: Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore and the Peace jubilees of 1869 and 1872 exhibit triggered happy memories for her as a teenager participating in a musical band. Rachel’s post highlighted various documents and photographs and other historical material that tell the wonderful story of Gilmore and the Peace Jubilees.
In a two-part series Sam Keyes enlightened many people about the various types of prayers and hymns used in liturgical services in the late medieval world. In his posts, Exploring the World of Late Medieval Liturgy and Music I and Exploring the World of Late Medieval Liturgy and Music II. Sam not only highlighted exquisite books, such as the 1497 Augustinian Gradual, but he earlier pointed out how deep scholarly joy is to be found in finding something unexpected.
Archivist assistant, Trista Doyle traced the beginnings of the move from Boston College on Harrison Avenue to Boston College in its present location as she employed Boston College archival materials in a two-part series to share the story of the fund-raising, the purchase and the building of Boston College on the Heights. A Hundred Years on the Heights: Acquiring University Heights and A Hundred Years on the Heights: Raising Funds for University Heights feature photos, letters and other historical documents that allow an historical look back into Boston College History. Stay tuned for part three in this series.
Project archivist, Adrienne Pruitt in her post, Archives Diary: Organizing Like Mad Men shared the interesting story of the Donnelly Advertising Company. While Adrienne shared with readers her own satisfaction in the work of organizing and making collections accessible to researchers she gave a good example of how to use such a collection. She traced the history of the company through documents and was able to point to how an analysis of the advertising itself over a period of years reflects cultural changes in a society.
In her post Information Wanted: Missing Persons and Missing Pieces research assistant Gráinne McEvoy shares her experience in working on a project related to entering data from historical newspaper advertisements into a searchable database. As Gráinne explains, “The searchable online database contains information taken from “Missing Friends”, a popular column that ran in the Boston Pilot between 1831 and 1921, most commonly used by Irish immigrants to make contact with lost loved ones. Several of the lives described in these advertisements stick in my mind. Among the most memorable are tales of elopement, victims of mental illness, inheritance disputes, or runaway children.” This post told of the Cantwell family, a family who was able to be traced to a greater degree than most of those placing ads.
We have many more posts ready for the fall semester and we look forward to hearing from you!
- Kathleen Williams, Irish Studies Librarian