Watercolor, box 11, folder 4
Oftentimes, when thumbing through a collection, an archivist finds something unexpected. This recently happened to me when I was updating the Ropes Family Papers finding aid, MSS 190. I happened to come across a folder filled with beautiful water colors and pencil sketches which have been attributed to Elizabeth Ropes Orne, not highlighted in the original finding aid.
The Phillips Library is an interesting hybrid. We are an art museum library and hold numerous art-related reference books. The art part, however, developed relatively recently in our long history. For two centuries, the core of the collection was composed of objects that now generally fall into the category of “rare.” The criteria that make an object rare are varied and tangled. One way to judge rarity is the binding or other form-related aspects of the object. Unique physical characteristics can set a book apart from other copies. Another way a book can stand out is through its provenance.
Art Libraries Society of North American Conference, 2015. Photo by Catherine Robertson/PEM.
It was 6:10am on a cold, windy Thursday morning in Boston, Massachusetts when my plane took off for Fort Worth, Texas and my first ever ARLIS/NA (Art Libraries Society of North America) national conference. This was also my first foray into the great state of Texas, land of Southern hospitality and all things cowboy. I had been looking forward to this trip since its planning inception in September, 2014 and could hardly believe that the day had finally arrived. Read more