Reprocessing the William D. Workman Jr. Papers Photographs: Rehousing Almost Complete

In my last update, the reprocessing of the William D. Workman Papers’ photographic materials was well underway. I had finished rearranging and rehousing all of the slides, standard prints, and contact prints and had begun working on the negatives.

Three different sized boxes for housing photographic materials sit open on a table. Enclosures containing negatives are visible in the boxes. In front of each box is an example of the type of enclosure it contains.

The three different kinds of enclosures we used for negatives. From left: four flap enclosures for damaged negatives, acid-free envelopes for standard-size undamaged negatives, and sleeves and envelopes for undamaged 35 mm negatives.

This photographic subseries has about 2,000 negatives that are divided into two primary groups—damaged and undamaged—according to their level of deterioration. The undamaged negatives are also divided by size into 35 mm protective enclosures and standard archival envelopes. Initially, I hoped to finish rehousing at least half of these negatives by the end of the year. However, I am happy to report that I have already completed this step.

The flaps of a four flap enclosure sit open to show a negative with visible emulsion bubbling inside.

A damaged acetate negative inside of its four-flap enclosure. This type of enclosure gives damaged negatives stability and protection from further damage.

Although I finished rearranging the images in accordance with the processing plan, transferring them to more protective archival enclosures, and labeling them individually, the physical reprocessing of this subseries is not yet complete. Since my initial processing plan has undergone slight revisions throughout its implementation, it needs to be reviewed and approved by my supervisors. Then, I need to add my processing plan to the finding aid and update its scope and content note to accurately reflect the photographic subseries. Finally, I need to update the collection’s ArchivesSpace record, label and renumber the boxes, and shelve the collection.

By mid-January, I hope to have all of these tasks completed so that I can begin the next step of this project: digitization. 

Reprocessing and digitization of the William D. Workman, Jr. Papers photographs has been made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

By Mae Howe

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