The mid-year update is a little late this year, as we haven't found much time to take stock of all the activities going on at the Archives. Briefly, the highlights:

We received a major donation of materials from the Burpee Homestead on Main Street, which we inventoried using a new database designed for that purpose. Some items in the collection were related to the Colby-Sawyer College and transferred to its archives, but the majority was retained here. These include business records for some of the Burpee family enterprises and a diverse collection of schoolbooks, music, and other published materials from the 19th century.

We are making plans to properly outfit our secondary room for the archival storage of oversize items, 3-dimensional objects, and infrequently-used materials. This room is already full of those things, but it has never been painted to reduce dust nor has permanent shelving been installed. The room nearly matches the size of our secure stacks and will soon be a necessity. Even though we have entered a digital era, it seems there's still plenty of physical material heading in our direction.

Our maps, broadsides, blueprints, and large-format aerial photographs have nearly all been photographed, but we will retain the originals and need to acquire additional map drawers in which to store them. That too will be part of a capital improvement request submitted to the town later this year.

Last spring, the Society for Industrial Archaeology prompted us to research the history of New London's scythe company in much more detail than has been done previously. Our presentation to the group was followed by a walking tour of the former manufacturing sites in Elkins. We thank the Masonic Lodge for offering use of the former Mechanic's Hall (built 1873) as a presentation venue.

Research requests from individuals looking at their families and properties has remained quite steady, and those inquiries have led us to discover new things about the town; they have also been a source of new materials for our collection.

For much of the year we have been missing Arrolyn, Connie, and Doris, long-time volunteers whose expertise and knowledge of the collection is irreplaceable. In their stead, Verne Barrett, Linda Miller, and Kathleen Belko have been working on research and organization projects to keep us afloat.

Finally, we are looking forward to hosting the New Hampshire Archives Group here in New London on September 25. The group's members include archivists from towns, colleges, and historical societies throughout the state. To our knowledge this is the first time it has held a meeting/workshop in New London. Part of the program agenda includes a tour of our facility and collection.

On behalf of the Archives Committee and volunteers,

James M. Perkins
Town Archives Committee / September 2013

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