As an archivist working with artist archives, one of my greatest sensitivities is ensuring that the logic of how an artist maintained his/her studio is recognized and preserved. Best practices must include maintaining that logic when preparing the materials for transfer to an archival repository, be it a museum, academic institution, or foundation study center. Preserving original order is a basic tenet in archival practice, but not always recognized when an estate is handling an artist’s studio after the artist passes away. Preserving the structure of how an artist used and accessed their resources provides valuable clues to the workflow of the maker.
Tag Archives | archivist
The Louis Vuitton exhibition, “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” installed inside the old American Stock Exchange building in New York City presents an absolutely stellar use of archival material. Leather lined exhibition cases with tiny brass tacks. Venetian glass chandeliers. Wooden vitrines holding archival documents in sultry-lit environments. The LVMH family tree elegantly silk screened on wood panels. It made me pine for limitless budgets to create installations for every archival collection on which I’ve worked over the years. Imagine… with no expense spared. read more
With each archival collection I process, another voice enters my head, along with another piece of wisdom. Ideas from a long lost soul have landed in my hands, before landing in the hands of countless others. This is strange kinship seeps into my consciousness. A voice, a thought, an image from a distant time.
Are these errant pieces of mental marginalia I collect beginning to coalesce into one shared memory, hailing from all the collections on which I work. Could there be such a think as an archival murmuration? A flock of ideas morphing into a particular spectacular pattern? read more
It’s fall, or leaning towards fall, and I’ve been thinking these days about the wisdom inadvertently passed on from any given collection of personal papers. As an archivist, I recognize my curious kinship with the collections on which I work … like the reader who stumbles onto marginalia wedged into the inner margin of a book page, I can’t help but read between the lines and imagine a back story.
These days, I’ve been immersed in a collection of love letters. I am working on companion collections held at Vassar’s archives and special collections library. Most archival collections generally contain only correspondence received by the collection’s donor. In the case of these two complementary collections of beloved faculty members, I am faced with the somewhat unusual opportunity of reading through letters from both author and recipient. read more
CONVERSATION WITH ARCHIVIST CELIA HARTMANN
Discussing the understated and extraordinary value of hand-delivered correspondence
Celia Hartmann is Project Archivist for a variety of institutions, including collections held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the New-York Historical Society.
COLLECTION: Guide to the Sigmund and Margaret Nestor Papers, 1942-1945. The collection includes correspondence between Sigmund Nestor, from U.S. Army domestic camps in 1942 and 1945, and from India and China in 1945 and 1946, and his wife Margaret Nestor in the Bronx (1942) and Florida (1945-1946). Included are letters, postcards, and a telegram; enclosures from the letters; and the Nestors’ wedding announcement. read more