We are pleased to report on a number of ongoing and new projects.

Our effort to digitize the entire series of town annual reports is nearly done. All of the reports from 1847 through 2011 have been scanned into PDF files, where the computer-recognizable text has been extracted for searching. Next we are looking into compressing the files in order to make them available through our website. In the meantime, they are accessible here at the Archives.

The next Main Street Walking Tour, a collaboration with the NL Historical Society, will focus on the section from Pleasant Street to Newport Road, and we have added histories of those properties to our Main Street Wiki site. The historical figures chosen to convey stories are: Susan Greeley, Seth Lamson, Stan Little, Fred Pressey, 'Ma' Barrett, Bill Clough, and Josephine Holmes. (Contact JL Tonner at 526-6858 to reserve tickets for this September 15, 2012 event. At the NL Historical Society, we have also posted an exhibit of the historical images used during last year's Walking Tour.)

Among the new projects, we are creating a new index for our large collection of scrapbooks and hope to allow patrons to search and retrieve images of those pages. Much of the indexing work was done in the 1990s by Mary Lue Belden, who created the first index to a large portion of the Celena Todd collection, which now includes 47 volumes. By scanning Mary Lue's reports, we have been able to reconstruct her database of references to the scrapbook clippings.

One research request from Florida prompted us to digitize the early records kept by the Town Clerk and by the Selectmen. Four of those books were photographed and delivered via DVD along with the papers of the Rev. Job Seamans (previously converted to PDF from microfilm). This experiment in large-volume, long-distance research was mutually beneficial, as the researcher was able to review the documents remotely and the Archives now has digital copies of some of the more fragile records in its custody.

Also this spring, we provided support to the Selectmen and assessors in evaluating an application for a barn preservation easement under RSA-79D. This was the first such request in New London since the law was adopted ten years ago. Using deeds, tax and census records, we were able to document the agricultural history of the former James Colby farm and homestead (c. 1790) on Little Sunapee Road. From our research we confirmed that the barn not only met the qualifying criteria under RSA-79D, but it should receive the highest level of tax abatement because of its high public visibility, historical significance and integrity.

There are additional ongoing projects that take our time and attention, but we will mention those later, as new milestones or discoveries are made.

On behalf of the Archives Committee and volunteers,

James M. Perkins
Town Archives Committee / July 2012

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