Summer is sure flying by here at the archives! The museum is buzzing with activity, and more and more researchers are making their way into the archives to hash out the details of the past. The influx of new visitors has had me quite busy responding to research requests, dissecting census records, squinting at the fine print of old newspapers on the microfilm reader, and meandering between the lines of land records and abstracts.
In my spare time, I have been processing a variety of collections, discovering interesting bits of L&A history along the way. I have been working my way through a collection of miscellaneous items, donated individually over the years. Anything from ephemera of past election campaigns, to invitations and programs for community events, to advertisements for local businesses…
I thought I’d highlight a few of those bits and bobs here, to give you a sense of the broad range of records in our collections that can be located using our online PastPerfect database.
I’ve come across school year souvenir cards like this one, given to students of Factory School, School Section 7, Ernestown Township, in 1915, with student, teacher, and trustee names inside.
I’ve come across a broadside advertisement for an 1865 concert at the Switzerville School Room in Ernestown, and seventy year old ticket stubs and a timetable for the Amherst Island ferry.
Another fun find was a book from the early 20th century with inspirational quotations inside, encouraging the reader to “Be Strong”. This is one of a series of The Trotty Veck Messengers, inspired by a character in Charles Dickens’ “The Chimes”. The booklets were meant to be mailed as a gift to a friend in need of cheer and motivation.
After tidying up some of the odds and ends in the vault, I am on my way to the next project…digitizing a scrapbook belonging to the Johnston family and photographs from the early days of Gibbard Furniture, including a striking photo from September 1907 of a group of Gibbard employees sitting outside the factory. Some of the photographs in the collection I have had to deframe and transfer to polyester sleeves to help preserve them longer. Tasks like this, which at first glance seem mundane, are secretly what I look forward to most. There is something so satisfying about wrestling with the old frames, removing rusty nails and hardboard, then tidily arranging each photograph in a clear polyester casing to allow for safe handling in the reading room.
As the pandemic begins to feel farther from us, I look forward to seeing more of you in the archives reading room to explore local history! Go ahead and book your visit here.