Category: New Accession

Catching up with collections (November / December 2018)

Processing update on Irving M. London accessions

Work continues on the Irving M. London personal archives (MC-0750) and the Harvard-MIT Program in Health, Sciences, and Technology records (HST) (AC-0490). The line between faculty papers and official MIT records can be a tricky one to define. I’ve been dividing papers from London’s office into these two collections.

HST records such as committee reports, write ups about the history of the program, and course catalogs have been added to AC-0490. I’ve also added a new series to this collection titled “Office of the Director, Irving M. London files.” This series includes a set of the Director’s chronological correspondence from 1969 to 1998, committee related materials, and administrative material relating to events, personnel, and program planning.

The London personal archives (MC-0750) consists of biographical material (including CV’s and publication lists), lab notebooks, a set of alphabetical files, notes on and from symposia and travel, professional organization related materials from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM – which London was a founder of, and is now the Health and Medicine Division of The National Academies), and material relating to business and patents.

— Greta Kuriger Suiter

This means something…

It’s been a busy month in the archives, and that has meant reviewing unprocessed collections! Here’s a fun folder title from the mix.

Folder labeled extra-terrestrial life.

Search for aliens in the Bruno Rossi papers (MC-0166, Box 21).

Besides having alien encounters, I’ve also been processing new materials. In November, I added 10 record cartons of materials to the Records of Assistant Provost Doreen Morris (AC-0530). The added content consisted of budget files for FY2010-FY2016; meeting minutes of the Research Support Committee, 1998-2014; and materials related to MacVicar Day and the MacVicar Fellowships. I’ve also been continuing to work on the Hal Abelson personal archives (MC-0743).

— Chris Tanguay

Web archives metadata and digitizing DNA

I’ve been working on developing a web archiving metadata application profile, so that we can describe our web archives collections in consistent ways and open them up to the public this summer. With help from colleagues I’m refining the document and hope to make it available sometime in the new year.

I worked on a number of small requests for digitization. One interesting project has been preparing to get the open-reel video tapes from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oral History Program, oral history collection on the recombinant DNA controversy (MC-0100). Not only an important topic that deserves to be migrated from at risk media, it was a trial determining if there were duplicate tapes as they have been migrated a number of times over the years from open reel to Betamax to VHS.

Also, I continued with getting all of our digital material accessioned, having created 13 accessions in the past month and a half for both new and legacy material.

Joe Carrano



Catching up with Collections (October 2018)

This is the first of a series of posts reviewing processing activities of the past month. 

Short letter from Jerome Lettvin to Carroll "Curly" G. Bowen of the MIT Press

Short letter from Jerome Lettvin to Carroll “Curly” G. Bowen of the MIT Press

Reviewing and Processing, Processing and Reviewing

This month, I’ve been balancing reviewing materials for patron use with processing new materials to make them available for researchers.  One fun thing discovered during collection review was the “Dear Curly” letter, which is now possibly my favorite piece of correspondence I’ve seen thus far – or at least this month. It is certainly the shortest. It can be found in the Jerome Lettvin papers (MC-0525).

I’ve also been putting in time processing the Hal Abelson personal archives (MC-0743). So far, I’ve been working with a group of subject files documenting the history and people involved with computing and artificial intelligence.

— Chris Tanguay

Figuring Out Digital Provenance

Much of this month was spent trying to figure out where some of our legacy digital collections came from or when they were digitized. Which is important to know if we’re going to preserve and provide access to them! In this process, I’ve been either adding locations to existing records of collections or accessioning materials with no record. This month I accessioned 6 previously un-accessioned legacy collections.

We also continue to bring in new collections. Notable examples include two new oral histories from the Margaret MacVicar Memorial AMITA Oral History Project and the videos of the Gender/Race Imperative, the series put on by Anita Hill during her time as an MLK Scholar at MIT (2017-2018) discussing the past and present of Title IX.

— Joe Carrano

Finding Bullet Journal inspiration in collections

This upcoming IAP I’m planning to participate in a Bullet Journal workshop (tentatively planned for the afternoon of Tuesday, January 8th!). Bullet Journals combine many aspects of traditional planners and journals in a way that appeals to broad audiences that wish to increase focus, productivity, and intent in their daily living. I plan to present some examples from the Archives to show historic precedents for parts of the Bullet Journal method. Features like keys, indexes, monthly and weekly calendar layouts, hand lettering and decorations, as well as daily reflections are common parts of bullet journals and can also be found in past practices like scrapbooking, keeping a diary or journal, traditional planners, and even work notebooks such as lab notebooks.


The above example of an index and hand numbering of pages in a lab notebook is part of a new transfer of records from the office of Irving M. London, the founding director of the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST). Processing is just beginning on these records and includes many personal archives such as early lab notebooks from the 1940s to the 1960s as well as many documents from London’s time at HST.

— Greta Kuriger Suiter


Summer Time

Hey, it’s summer time! Which means people are taking summer classes, boat rides, visiting with friends and family, traveling, reading for fun, and possibly protesting. Students at MIT have taken part in all of these activities and they are documented in the Collection on Student Life at the MIT (MC618).

This post is concerned with a specific summer activity – summer reading! Summer is often a time to read for fun and to catch up on the books that have been added to your “to read” list throughout the academic year. This was the case for students back in the 1890s as well!

A recent accession of materials from the 1890s included a summer reading list, a Tech Theatricals program, Class Day Exercises program and calling cards, and a photograph of the class of 1896’s 40th reunion gathering in Swampscott, MA.

Class of 1896 materials from the Collection on Student Life at MIT, MC618, Box 12.

Class of 1896 materials from the Collection on Student Life at MIT, MC618, Box 12.

The Second Year Summer Reading suggestions one-sided sheet includes selections from 25 authors.  Below is a transcript of the sheet with images of some of the covers and selected links to the full texts. Many of these books are available for download through Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive, or HathiTrust. Notes not original to the source material are in block quotes. So, let’s travel back in time to when these were the hot new titles to read during the summer!



[This is not a course of reading, but merely a list of books suggested as suitable for summer recreation. It will be noticed that Dickens, Thackeray, De Quincey, Tennyson, Macaulay, Hawthorne, and in a word the classics, are omitted as being so well known as not to need mention. The works of Frances Parkman are left out for this reason, although they are strongly recommended to the class, especially On the Oregon Trail, The Conspiracy of Pontiac, and Montcalm and Wolfe. The two qualities which have determined the admission of a book into this list are that it is in itself worth reading, and that it is likely, so far as can be judged, to prove interesting to the average student in this particular class. There has been besides some especial reason for the admission of each individual work, as that it is historically suggestive, is especially well written, or something of the sort. The aim has been to choose books from contemporary authors, as far as possible; and poetry has been passed by on the theory that the majority of the class would not care for it as summer entertainment. That the proportion of fiction is so large is due to the desire to make the list an attractive one, and to the fact that the books are intended for vacation reading.]


R.L. Stevenson :

The Black Arrow.


Kidnapped by R. L. Stevenson on the Internet Archive

Kidnapped by R. L. Stevenson on the Internet Archive

David Balfour.

The Merry Men.

S. J. Weyman :

The House of the Wolf.

A Gentleman of France.

Rudyard Kipling :

Life’s Handicap.

Soldiers Three.

Mary A. Wilkins :

A Humble Romance.

A Humble Romance and Other Stories on Internet Archive

A Humble Romance and Other Stories on Internet Archive

A New England Nun.

T.B. Aldrich :

Margery Daw and Other People.

After slipping on a lemon peel and breaking his leg, Flemming has been ordered to remain at his New York City home for three to four weeks, confined to a couch…

Charles Kingsley :

Westward Ho !

Arthur Sherburne Hardy :

Passe Rose.

Anthony Hope :

The Prisoner of Zenda.

Q. :

The Splendid Spur.

From The Splendid Spur intro: “A year or two ago it was observed that three writers were using the curiously popular signature “Q.” This was hardly less confusing than that one writer should use three signatures (Grant Allen, Arbuthnot Wilson, and Anon), but as none of the three was willing to try another letter, they had to leave it to the public (whose decision in such matters is final) to say who is Q to it. The public said, Let him wear this proud letter who can win it, and for the present at least it is in the possession of the author of “The Splendid Spur” and “The Blue Pavilions.” It would seem, too, as if it were his “to keep,” for “Q” is like the competition cups that are only yours for a season, unless you manage to carry them three times in succession. Mr. Quiller-Couch has been champion Q since 1890.”

The Blue Pavilions.

Thomas Nelson Page :

In Ole Virginia.

George Cable :

Old Creole Days.

“Ostensibly romantic in plot, the stories in Old Creole Days recount the adventures, love lives, and misfortunes of Creoles. Cable offers an enchanting portrait of an exotic, alluring New Orleans society, and yet his stories are more than paeans to a long-lost South. Beneath the surface lies a scathing social satire that explores the problems of the racially and culturally diverse antebellum New Orleans.” – Bond Thompson, Documenting the American South

Walter Besant :

The Chaplain of the Fleet.

Thomas Hardy :

Under the Greenwood Tree.

The Return of the Native.

Far From the Maddening Crowd.

One can just watch the movie today!

F. Marion Crawford :

A Roman Singer.


Sant’ Ilario.

William Black :

A Princess of Thule.

William Black’s Works book cover from Project Gutenberg

M.E.M. Davis :

In War Times at La Rose Blanche.


Charles Dudley Warner :

As We Were Saying.

George William Curtis :

From the Easy-Chair.

More Essays from the Easy-Chair.

R.L. Stevenson :

Travels with a Donkey.

An Inland Voyage.

Virginibus Puerisque.

“The essays promote a spirit of playfulness in defiance of both the hardships of human life and the restrictions imposed by bourgeois Philistinism. The volume did not sell well but had a good critical reception…” RLS website

Mrs. Anne [Thackeray] Ritchie :

Records of Tennyson, Ruskin and Browning.

Chapters from Some Unwritten Memoirs.

Mrs. A. Martin :

Home Life on an Ostrich Farm.

Home Life on an Ostrich Farm book cover from Project Gutenberg

Sir Walter Scott :


Francis Espinasse :

Literary Recollections.

Sarah Orne Jewett :


William Morris :

The Earthly Paradise [narrative poems].

The Land of the Glittering Plain [fantastic romance].

The Glittering Plain cover, Wikimedia Commons

Summary from Wikipedia: “The Story of the Glittering Plain (full title: The Story of the Glittering Plain which has been also called the Land of Living Men or the Acre of the Undying) is an 1891 fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It is also important for its exploration of the socialist themes that interested Morris.”

Available for download via Project Gutenberg

-Greta Kuriger Suiter

New Accession in the Tech Community Women records (AC 320)

A new accession (2017-092) of material has been added to the Tech Community Women records (AC 320).

The group was established in 1922 as the Technology Dames to help the wives of MIT students feel like a part of the MIT community. It began under the sponsorship of the Technology Matrons, a faculty wives organization. The Dames sponsored social events, programs, and charity projects, including banquets, dances, instruction in international cooking, and craft sales. In 1972, the group changed its name to the Technology Wives Organization. Their membership was open to the wives of MIT students and teaching fellows and married female students and teaching fellows. It would later expand to include all female students and employees and the wives of students and employees. In 1983, the group changed its name again to the Tech Community Women to better reflect their membership.

New Directions, the newsletter of the Technology Wives Organization, drafts

Drafts of “New Directions,” the newsletter of the Technology Wives Organization, cut and pasted together. The December 1982 issue includes a solicitation for new names for the organization.

The new accession consists of approximately 2 cubic feet of material, with the bulk of the material dating between 1979 and 1986. Materials include yearbooks (comprehensive listings of each year’s activities), New Directions newsletters, president’s reports, reports of the second vice president, International Cooking Group reports and cookbooks, and Foreign Wives Committee reports.


Booklets produced by the International Cooking Group featuring recipes from their members.

– Chris Tanguay

First accessions of FY2018

On July 1st fiscal year 2018 began, and as such, we started back at zero for a new year of accessions. As of 8/29 there were 23 new accessions of materials. This is consistent with previous years. Last year there were 25 new accessions by September 1st.

The summer months June through August are often a busy time for the archives with office/home visits and transferring materials. Here is a round up of the first 23 accessions of FY2018. Material listed here does not mean access can be granted immediately for all of it. There may be gift agreement issues in addition to the normal restrictions of 75 years (student and personnel records), 50 years (MIT Corporation and Executive Committee records), and 20 years (MIT records). Processing of the material has also not happened yet which may result in future weeding of materials. Some materials described here have not yet been added to a collection. Total cubic feet of added material is 255.

2018-001: MIT, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR) records

Files containing information about the early history of the Center, 5 year plans, space planning and moves, director files, events, and the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and Energy Initiative. 7 cubic feet.

2018-002: MIT150 Symposium “Leaders in Science and Engineering: Women at MIT” records 

.03 cubic feet.

2018-003: MIT, Department of Mechanical Engineering student records

4 cubic feet.

2018-004: Bruce Mazlish personal archives

46 cubic feet.

Research notes from Bruce Mazlish personal archives.

Research notes from Bruce Mazlish personal archives.

2018-005: MIT, Committee on Curricula records

Materials covering the Committee on Curricula’s actions during the 2005-06 and 2011-12 academic years. Two folders, each containing membership roster, chronological index, topical index, meeting documents (primarily minutes). .01 cubic feet.

2018-006: MIT, Technology Licensing Office records

22 cubic feet.

2018-007: MIT, OpenCourseWare material

Material mostly from the 2000s including Mirror Site program, OCW Consortium, Provost / President communications, fundraising, Faculty Advisory committee (2005-2017), Project Athena technical plan (1986), computation and educational community committee (1990), MITCEI (MIT Council on Educational Technology), MIT online study group, OCW external advisory board (2006-2012), OCW program evaluation planning and reports (2003-2006), OCW Hewlett Foundation + Mellon Foundation (2003-2006), reports and planning files (2002-2017), foundations and sponsored grants to OCW, OCW movies and video clips on DVDs, USB thumb drive w/ Lazarus files. 8 cubic feet.

OCW material recently transferred and refoldered at the MIT Institute Archives.

OCW material recently transferred and refoldered at the MIT Institute Archives.

2018-008: Mujid S. Kazimi calendars

Mujid S. Kazimi’s appointment books 2008-2015. 1 cubic foot.

2018-009: MIT, Resource Development records 

Contents include photographs, publications, media, videos, invitations, samples, and marketing collateral. Issues of Spectrum and related original photographs are also included. 18.5 cubic feet.

I. M. Pei photo and other folders of photos in the Resource Development records.

I. M. Pei photo and other folders of photos in the Resource Development records.

2018-010 and 2018-011: Gift agreement pending

6 cubic feet.

2018-012: MIT, Office of Sponsored Programs records

26 cubic feet

2018-013: MIT, Campus Police pamphlets

2 pamphlets – “What every woman should know about self-protection” and “What every woman should know about rape” from 1972 and 1975 published by MIT Campus Police. .01 cubic feet.

MIT Campus Police pamphlets from the 1970s: What Every Woman Should Know About Rape and What Every Woman Should Know About Self Protection

MIT Campus Police pamphlets from the 1970s: What Every Woman Should Know About Rape and What Every Woman Should Know About Self Protection

2018-014: MIT, Committee on the Undergraduate Program records

Paper and digital copies of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program meeting notes 2016-2017. .01 cubic feet.

2018-015: Stephen J. Lippard personal archives

Oversize framed awards and certificates, 35mm slides and transparencies used for teaching, photographic prints, papers. 7 cubic feet.

Handwritten notes loose and in composition books, telephone logs, and transparencies used for teaching in one box of the Lippard personal archives.

Handwritten notes loose and in composition books, telephone logs, and transparencies used for teaching in one box of the Lippard personal archives.

2018-016: Class of 1927 reunion

Two group portraits of class of 1927 reunions one from 1962, the other from 1967. Also a packet of information gathered for 35th reunion. .01 cubic feet.

Photos and information gathered from class of 1927 reunion in the 1960s.

Photos and information gathered from class of 1927 reunion in the 1960s.

2018-017 and 2018-018: Leo Beranek papers

Digital files from home computer of Leo Beranek. Variety of email, images, publications, correspondence, research material. 1 carton of loose papers and booklets collected by Mrs. G. Beranek from LB material in their house for accessioning to the MC-506 collection. 46 GB and 1 cubic feet.

2018-019: MIT, Office of the Provost records

1 cubic feet.

2018-020: Thomas Kuhn books

77 boxes of books were moved from the Kuhn residence in Cambridge to the Annex – joining previously accessioned books. 77 cubic feet.

Thomas Kuhn books in Cambridge home.

Thomas Kuhn books in Cambridge home.

2018-021: Arthur Kerman personal archives

Research notes, course notes, correspondence (alpha and chrono), his publications (reprints), outside MIT work represented in papers from national laboratories, the Department of Energy, and other committee related work. 15 cubic feet.

Handwritten research notes from the Arthur Kerman personal papers.

Handwritten research notes from the Arthur Kerman personal papers.

2018-022: Peter H. Schiller personal archives

13 cubic feet

Peter Schiller materials post transfer to the Archives.

Peter Schiller materials post transfer to the Archives.

2018-023: MIT, Department of Mechanical Engineering student records

1.3 cubic feet

-Greta Kuriger Suiter









Recently Reprocessed: Davis R. Dewey papers (MC 70)

The papers of Davis R. Dewey were recently reprocessed to fully integrate three accessions. The collection had originally been processed in 1980.  Additional materials had been added in 1985 and 1988, but had not been interfiled into the existing collection series (intellectually or physically). Reprocessing the collection was prompted by the accessioning of a single set of bound lecture notes, transferred from the libraries. Most of these materials easily fit into existing series. However, a new series needed to be added for Teaching Materials, as course notes and syllabi in the collection did not fall under the scope of existing series.

Reprocessing the collection also allowed us to address some existing preservation issues. A few boxes had been overstuffed, and shifting materials allowed the materials to have a little more space. Many of the notebooks in the collection were just loose in a box – normally, this isn’t much of a problem, but one of the books was exhibiting red rot.

Red rot is a degradation process found in vegetable-tanned leather…. [It] is caused by prolonged storage or exposure to high relative humidity, environmental pollution, and high temperature…. The disease manifests as a characteristic powdering of the leather’s surface, along with structural weakness through loss, delamination, and a felt-like consistency. (Wikipedia: Red Rot)

Because of the red rot, the interior of the box was stained, and the resulting dust could damage the other materials. The stained box was discarded and replaced, and now each notebook is housed in its own folder.

Interior of manuscript box that had contained a notebook with red rot.

The box that contained the notebook stained by red rot.

Notebook spine showing evidence of red rot.

Red rot on the spine of a leather-bound notebook.

The collection itself consists of the papers of Davis Rich Dewey (1858-1942), professor of economics at MIT and Dewey Library namesake. It contains personal and family papers (primarily correspondence), student notebooks, teaching materials, and other materials concerning academic affairs, professional associations, consulting work, and publications.

Materials in the Davis R. Dewey papers relating to the Cyclopedia of American Government.

– Chris Tanguay

Recently Reprocessed: Department of Nuclear Engineering records (AC 346)

The IASC has just reprocessed the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering records after receiving a new accession of materials.

The records had been previously processed, and several new accessions had been added since that time. With the incoming 7 cubic feet of publications, it seemed like a good time to revisit the collection and more fully integrate the earlier accessions.

So, what’s new?

photograph of publications in AC 346

Newly acquired CANES publications

  • The collection is now divided into six series based on existing file groups: Department Meetings, Visiting Committee, Department Historical Files, Subject Files, Records of Norman C. Rasmussen, and Publications.
  • Materials were rearranged to bring like materials physically together. For example, department meeting minutes had been separated by several boxes are now reunited.
  • All materials are now listed on a folder level. The preliminary inventory had listed most materials on an aggregate level by group or box. Some materials had not been listed in ArchivesSpace previously.
  • Seven record cartons of publications from the Center for Advanced Nuclear Systems (CANES) and the Department of Nuclear Engineering – previously unavailable in the MIT Libraries.

– Chris Tanguay