Ever wondered what goes on in a library’s darknes corners, where you aren’t allowed to go?
Wonder no more, thanks to The Society of American Archivists’ Ask an Archivist Day.
On Oct. 4, university, corporate, and museum archivists around the world dug out the coolest, rarest, and weirdest items in their collections, photographed them, and set research results on Twitter.
They didn’t disillusion. Here’s just some of what they had in storage.
1. Small items. Very small items. Like a Bible so tiny that it has a magnifying glass with it for reading.
2. And a barely-bigger-than-a-quarter book about birds, published during the deadliest year of the Civil War.
3. Amazing and rare photos. Like this one of unhappy humen preparing a diver to check out the bottom of Loch Tay in 1890.
4. Or this one of three women in West Virginia, rocking the slickest hats of 1908.
5. A folding chair used by Barack Obama.
6. Dirt from the tomb of a well-known American novelist.
7. A Roman-era coin, depicting either a man in a helmet or a curious understanding of human anatomy.
8. A photo of a sailor whose ship faded in the Bermuda Triangle in 1918.
9. And one of of other World War I sailors giddily posing on top of two ginormous battleship guns.
10. A child’s sketch of a groundbreaking concept car — complete with a built-in kitchen and a 300 mph top speed.
11. A legal document drawn up in 14 th century France.
12. A pioneering, ultra-glittery run of feminist art.
13. A photo of fashion designer Ann Lowe, the woman who designed Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress.
14. A script for a rarely heard “Empire Strikes Back” radio play.
15. Campus activist fliers from the 1970 s.
16. And punk zines from the 1980 s.
17. An image of rows and rows of classic radiator shells waiting to be installed at a Depression-era Pontiac plant.
18. A handwritten letter from Sigmund Freud.
19. Ancient technology.
20. Proof that Queen Elizabeth II is apparently a secret football fan.
21. A memoranda advising campus police about an upcoming Ozzy Osborne concert, quoting the singer’s involvement with “abuse of animals” and “alleged satanic groups.”
22. Perhaps most importantly, a visual reminder of the tedious, painstaking work archivists do to preserve these items for random humen to gawk at on the Internet.
23. And why, if you want to see more, you’ll have to visit a library or archive in person.
You can merrily scroll through dozens more like this using the #AskAnArchivist hashtag.
No appointment necessary.
Update 10/9/ 2017 : The headline was changed to reflect that archivists and librarians differ, in part by the type of materials handled.
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com