Rethinking Oversize Materials in Archival Collections


Written by Deena Gorland, ICFA intern (Fall 2014); Edited by ICFA staff

Due to previous experiences working at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic, I was relatively well-prepared for the challenges inherent in processing substantial quantities of oversize materials in the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) of Dumbarton Oaks. Certainly, I was cognizant of how large format materials present a unique challenge to archives, since their physical size requires different organizational and storage needs than normal-sized documents (e.g., personal papers and correspondence).  In addition, the oversize items in ICFA has been intellectually separated from their parent collections; therefore, the context or relationships between the items was lost and needed to be restored.

Starting in 2011, ICFA staff conducted a re-assessment of its oversize architectural drawings, tracings, and rubbings, primarily to evaluate their current storage environments and state of preservation, as well as to determine their history and relationship…

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From Nazi-Occupied Denmark to the Labs of 4 Nobel Laureates

Written by Justine Rothbart


Following up on Katie Rodda’s post about discoveries, I wanted to share another discovery I made in the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) Archives. As I was processing the AAUW Fellowship Files, I came across the amazing story of Hilde Levi’s escape from the Nazis and three letters written by Nobel Prize-winning scientists:  Niels BohrGeorge de Hevesy, and James Franck. Just as Katie mentioned in her blog post, these letters could have easily been overlooked. If it wasn’t for remembering the Bohr model of the atom from my high school chemistry class, this discovery would have not been made!

Nobel laureate Neils Bohr’s letter I discovered in the AAUW Archives

Click here to read my blog post about this discovery in the AAUW Archives.