Maps of Jennings and Ripley County, by William W. Borden (c. 1875): Part 1

This will be part one of a two-part feature on this collection item. Please be sure to check back in the near future for part two from Chris Marshall, who will give more information about the map book’s creator and the historical importance of its contents.

Rescuing a Book of Hand-drawn Maps from Repairs Gone Wrong

When Indiana Division Librarian Chris Marshall recently brought me a book of hand-drawn maps for consultation, it was a bittersweet experience. This little volume created by William W. Borden in 1875 contains notes, maps, and delightful remnants of pressed plants, evidence of which only remains in the impressions and acidic discoloration in the paper. Chris had selected the volume for digitization due to a patron request, but it needed some conservation treatment beforehand.

 

Suffering from loose pages, pages stuck together, taped hinges, and a fragile leather cover completely encased in stiff library book cloth with what was likely an overzealous coating of paste, this little book had received so much well-meaning but poorly executed repair work that it could barely open. A little pocket at the back also held three additional maps, each broken at their fold-lines in four sections. After some discussion with our Genealogy Division Supervising Librarian, Stephanie Asberry, a treatment plan for how best to restore access to this volume was agreed upon.

Here was the plan:

  1. Separate text block from binding safely
  2. Remove tape
  3. Separate all pages adhered together if possible
  4. Mend all loose pages back into sections
  5. Re-sew text block in a way that allows a relaxed, flat opening
  6. Mend the three additional maps back into one piece
  7. Send all to Chris Marshall for digitizing
  8. See if the original leather binding can be rescued from the book cloth
  9. Rebind either in original binding or new case, storing old binding with the book

As you can see, we are currently up to step eight:

Stuck pages have been safely separated. The title page seen in the first before image was a later, modern addition that Borden would not have intended to be there. We decided to separate the page and use the information for cataloging only.

Pages have been mended back together and the text block sewn back together for a comfortable, flat opening.

The pages can now relax flat.

Loose page from the before images above has been mended back in.

Lovely acidic discoloration left behind from a long-missing plant fragment.

While I was able to very carefully remove the book cloth from the leather binding, the leather is very stiff and brittle. Because it no longer flexes, it would not be safe to rebind back into its original binding.

When I receive the volume back from Chris from digitization, I will rebind it in a new case and create a box for the volume, the extra maps, and the original binding. At that point it will be readily available for researchers to view in person in addition to the digitized copy Chris will make available online in the near future.

Stay tuned for a part two about this map book in the near future! Also, if you’re interested in learning more about William W. Borden, the Indiana Historical Bureau had a wonderfully written feature about him in The Indiana Historian, December 1995 available here.

This blog post was written by Rebecca Shindel, Conservator, Indiana State Library.

Switzerland County Public Library 100th anniversary celebration

Switzerland County Public Library celebrated their 100th anniversary on Saturday, July 29, 2017. The history of the library, as posted on their website:

Original petition to establish the library

“The Switzerland County Public Library was legally formed in 1915, after the state library law was passed, and it has its roots in many of the local literary societies which donated the first books, including the Methodist Church Lyceum, the Vevay Literary Society, the Julia L. Dumont Club, and the Working Men’s Institute.

The first library was located on the south side of Main Street, in a building owned by Mrs. Abner Dufour. She rented the facility to the library for $7 per month, partially furnished. The ladies of the library board were expected to be responsible for cleaning and decorating their new library. In 1917, the library board asked the county commissioners to make the library open and free to all taxpaying citizens of Switzerland County, making it the first countywide library system in the state of Indiana.

The library’s original reference desk

On November 13, 1917, the library received a letter from the Carnegie Corporation, informing them that the town of Vevay and Switzerland County would receive a sum of $12,500 for a new library building. A vacant lot on Ferry Street was purchased from Mrs. A .P. Dufour for $1000, and a contract to build the library was given to the Dunlap Company for $10,975. The new library building was completed and opened to the public on January 27, 1919. This was the last Carnegie library built in Indiana, and one of the last in the United States. Dr. L. H. Bear was the first person to obtain a library card, and Will H. Stevens was the first person to check out a book.

Current Director Shannon Phipps and former Director Lois Rosenberger

In 1991, the library and the Town of Vevay exchanged deeds, and in 1992, the former Carnegie library became the Town Hall and police station, and the new library opened across the street, in the former Market Square Park, at a cost of approximately $492,000. The money for the new building was granted by the Vevay/Switzerland foundation.”

Juggler Paul O. Kelly

The event was packed with fun programs throughout the day. Juggler Paul O. Kelly made an appearance from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Happy Hooves Petting Zoo was in the library’s yard from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., musical group West of Dublin played in the library from 12-1 p.m. and Dan Bixler entertained the crowd with stories and music from 1:30-2:30 p.m. The event also included refreshments and an appearance from Lois Rosenberger, former director from 1969-1977 and 1979-1995. Louis was at the library when the current library building was built in 1992!

Musical group West of Dublin

Happy anniversary, Switzerland County Public Library!

This blog post was written by Courtney Allison, southeast regional coordinator, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Courtney at callison@library.in.gov.