Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection
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conservation and preservation

download the CIDC October 2001 - April 2002 bi-annual report:
"Preservation and Digitization of Political Americana"

illustrationDigitization Project
The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell Institute for Digital Collections, and the Department of Preservation and Conservation at Cornell University engaged in a two-year project to preserve, catalog, and digitize a major collection of materials from U.S. national political campaigns, and made the digitized images and object catalog information available and searchable on the World Wide Web.  The collection consists of published material, ephemera, and artifacts dating to between 1800 and 1976, including ballots and slates of candidates; promotional broadsides, handbills, and posters; political cartoons (primarily from Harper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, and Puck); lithographs and prints (primarily by Kellogg, N. Currier, and Currier & Ives); pamphlets, leaflets, and brochures; songbooks and sheet music; badges, pins, ferrotypes and celluloid buttons; campaign ribbons; parade equipment such as lanterns, torches, banners, and walking sticks; bandanas and other textiles; and souvenirs of all kinds including plates, cups, vases, trays, bottles, sewing boxes, and games.  There are approximately 7,000 discrete items in the Cornell collections, which are currently represented by over 900 digital images and will soon be representated by an estimated 34,000 additional digital images.

All of the original artifacts and printed materials have been preserved through rehousing and selective conservation treatment. They have been scanned using either grayscale or color flatbed scanners, a digital camera, or traditional photography combined with negative scanning. The exact method was determined by the nature of the original object. Item-level catalog records based on an existing item-level indexing system were created, as well as catalog records for the collections and books and finding aids for the collection. Fully-searchable copies of the text will be available online as part of the successful Making of America interface. Images of objects and other ephemera are or will be available on the web.

In time for the 2004 presidential election, the Project will have preserved an important collection of material culture and published matter for later generations.  Through the use of digital surrogates, it makes the collection available to historians, political scientists, college students, and students in K-12 educational institutions.  The Project also serves as a model for other institutions that hold artifacts and wish to include them in their digital libraries.

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Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library

Copyright 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections
2B Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853
Phone Number: (607) 255-3530. Fax Number: (607) 255-9524

For information regarding copyright issues and securing permission to publish digital reproductions of images from the Cornell University Collection of Political Americana, please consult our Copyright & Permissions Page.

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