A Day in the Life of a Manuscript Processor at the Phillips Library

Orders from Elias Hasket Derby for Stephen Phillips, Jr., master of the ship Eliza for Bilboa, July 9,1794

The Phillips Library provides access for scholars and researchers to a remarkable collection of unique and rare materials.  Its patrons are curators and staff of the Peabody Essex Museum, scholars and researchers from around the world, local historians, and general readers.  The library collects printed materials and manuscripts related to the major collection areas of the museum, and it builds on traditional strengths developed over more than two centuries of collecting.

Many people are curious about what a manuscript processor or archivist in an art museum library does. Let’s start with what a manuscript is. Read more

Research Guides at the Phillips Library

Research Guides, Phillps Library Reading RoomIrene Axelrod, Head Research Librarian, and Catherine Robertson, Library Reading Room Assistant, wrote the following post about research guides available in the Reading Room.

According to our website, “The Phillips Library collections include approximately 400,000 books, pamphlets, and broadsides; over 2,000 collections of Essex County, Massachusetts, manuscripts, including family papers, institutional and business records, account books, and diaries; and extensive holdings of maps and ephemera.”  The sheer quantity of material in our holdings can be overwhelming for researchers of all levels of experience.  The Reference and Research staff at the Phillips Library have years of experience working with the astounding materials in our collections and facilitate use of the collections for all patrons.

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Logbooks as Art

The Peabody Essex Museum has its origins in the East India Marine Society. In 1799, twenty Salem, Massachusetts ship captains and supercargoes that had sailed around the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn formed a society and one of the stipulations for membership was that they keep a log of their journey, recording wind, weather, ship sightings, and other points of interest. The Phillips Library now owns almost 3,000 of these ship logs, dating from 1748 to the mid-1900s.

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