This is only the beginning …

Image   A look at the personal papers collections in the SLHC stacks that still need inventories                                             

            At the last SLHC Board dinner I gave a synopsis of most of my cataloging and inventorying work. The reason for doing this, it turns out, was to show the Board the breadth of material that I have been working with in order for them to understand the progress of my work from my initial undertaking twelve years ago; in 2001 I began to catalog the library and archives collection not knowing what I was getting into. Truthfully, coming equipped with a limited archival and no library training, I was not sure how to even begin the process of this job, and I had no extended experience to draw on. Luckily I had a template, so to speak, in the library’s own cataloging systems and, because of this (without trying to be glib), what I came to learn was that as long as you can find it, it does not matter how it is organized; there is no single standard. After all, look at how many cataloging classification systems there are: LOC, Dewey, Cutter, etc. Archival work is altogether even more of an art form in that the “profession” is still coming into its own out of the library science field. Many archivists, including myself, come from history backgrounds. Anyway …

My initial idea for presenting this topic at the dinner emerged also out of a frustration of trying to explain just what it is I do all day at my desk. I too wanted to give the Board something that they could digest (other than the dinner) in a short period of time, as we only have five minutes to talk to them every six months. As I prepared my report that Monday morning I realized quickly just how much “stuff” that we do have in our collection. Of course, I have always been aware that we have a lot of “stuff” but never, incredibly it may seem, taken the time to look at the numbers all at once. The false perception that we are “small institution” (staff-wise, building-wise, Pennsburg is a small town, etc.) comes from the fact that we often, sub-consciously, compare the SLHC to bigger institutions. Yet this is not necessarily true. The amount of material in the collection reported at the dinner comes across as immense (for a “small institution”).

Here is the synopsis of my report:

          SLHC Fall Board Report


                                                                         October 7, 2013

I. Library:

IA. Cataloging:

1. Books:

Approximately 24,910 books in our collection


            17,760 books entered into PastPerfect:

                        Fully cataloged:

                        (Open Stacks= 4,880)

                     (Closed Stacks=5,262)


Total, fully cataloged= 13,256

Total, cataloged but needing checking=4,504

Not entered (approximate numbers):

Approximate # books not entered into PastPerfect

On shelves in Closed Stacks and office=app. 2,150 (43 shelves, 50 books each)

Total un-cataloged in stairwells= 5,000 (boxes in south stairwell=app. 2,000 ((200 boxes average 10 each)), and north stairwell ((Fritz Richter))=app. 3,000 books (30 boxes app. 100 in each)

Total, app. # need cataloging=7,150

    IB. Inventorying:

                2. Newspapers: 179 boxes, issues mostly inventoried (but in Word program)

                3. Periodicals: app. 9,000 individual volumes, mostly inventoried (not

    re-inventoried since de-accessions. Still have to inventory bound volumes

    in Closed Stacks)

                4. Schwenkfeldians, Schwenkfeldiana, Perkiomen Region: weeded

    out extra copies, library has tried to keep 5 of each volume.

    5. Maps: app. 250 individual maps sorted by region in map case drawers

    6. Microfilm: app. 160 reels, not counting the Silesian Collection

    7. Obituaries: “Gottshall” obituaries: 6,329 entered, so far

                8. Postcards: 1,913 total, arranged by location

II. Archives:

IIA. Inventorying

1. Personal papers, basic manuscript inventories started:

George DeBenneville, Chester Hartranft, Balthasar Heebner, Carl Heinze, Johann Friedrich Heinze, Balthasar Heydrich, Balthasar Hoffmann, Christoph Hoffmann, E. E. S. Johnson, Martin John Sr. and Jr., Krauss brothers, Christoph Kriebel, Abraham Schultz, Amos Schultz, David Schultz (not counting land drafts), Jonas Schultz, Joshua Schultz, Melchior Schultz, J. D. Souder (notebooks), Charles and Frederick Waage, Abraham Wagner, George Weiss, Christoph Yeakel

Other personal paper inventories planning to start:

H. W. Kriebel, Lester Kriebel, O. S. Kriebel, William Parsons, Friedrich Schneider, Christoph Schultz , J. J. Stoudt

2. Photographs: 2,900 inventoried and scanned

 (898 portraits and 2,002 images)

3. Deeds: 5,845 records inventoried

4. Land Drafts: 1,260 drafts

5. Loose Vault manuscripts:

VS inventory: 1,793 manuscripts

VSA-VSZ: 1,420 manuscripts

VOC: 222 manuscripts

6. Diaries/Account books: 432

7. Prints

Broadsides: 330

Certificates: 160

Taufscheins: 530

Posters and engraved portraits and structures: 235

8. Scrapbooks: 94

9. Minutes: various collections of minutes relating to the Schwenkfelder church

and library

10. Pastepaper books: 17 total, all in Vault-Archives

            11. Book box project: 620 books boxed and inventoried. Many of these

            Books are Vault folios which are also cataloged into PastPerfect


I tell myself often that I have two jobs, librarian and archivist, and I am not going crazy …

Hunt Schenkel



About schwenkfelder

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the Schwenkfelders and the history of southeastern Pennsylvania and the Perkiomen Region. The Heritage Center offers educational programming and tours, exhibits, workshops, and events throughout the year. Our blog is maintained by museum educator, Rebecca Lawrence, SLHC staff and guest bloggers.
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