The Bancroft Survey Project began in February 2008. Funded by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundations, the survey project is intended to be a simultaneously broad and in-depth survey of all manuscript holdings of the Bancroft Library, which has been collecting for over a century. Four archivists were hired to scour the collections for a three year term, during which they will review the vast myriad of manuscript materials and use a survey instrument designed to gather data on collection scope, subject categories, and physical condition. The survey archivists are Marjorie Bryer, Amy Croft, Dana Miller, and Elia Van Lith, and they are also the authors of this blog.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Label Humor

Some creative container labeling has happened at The Bancroft, as these three labels from the 1960s and 1970s clearly show. But before we go further, let me dispel any worries about labeling standards at Bancroft by saying that all the containers had appropriate labels as well. Whew!

The first two labels come from the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown papers (BANC MSS 68/90 c), a 1,029 carton behemoth of a collection of the papers of Pat Brown who served as Governor of California from 1959 to 1967. Despite the interesting material and the importance of the collection, while we were surveying the collection I sometimes felt we would never see the end and I imagine the archivist tasked with creating all the carton labels felt the same way, possibly typing these two labels to alleviate the monotony.
The first label is funny on its own, but makes more sense when you realize that there are nearly 100 cartons of Senate and Assembly bills in the Brown collection. After 80 or 90 cartons of legislative bills, wouldn't you want them to rest in peace too?

I can't remember exactly where the second label was found so it will just have to speak for itself.

And now the best for last. This third label was found stuck on a carton in the Papers on European and American printers (BANC MSS 74/150 c). I'm not sure if the person typing the label was commenting on their feelings about the subject matter of the collection or possibly aspects of the archival profession, but I'm sure all archivists can relate.

--E. Van Lith

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