December 10, 1995
Daniel A. Stokes
National Historical Publications and Records Commission
Washington, DC 20408
Re: Proposal #3747-MO
Thank you and the Missouri State Historical Records Advisory Board for your consideration and advice regarding the Hare and Hare Records Project. I am particularly pleased that the Board supports the project, and only cites five points that need clarification. My answers to those questions follow:
1. Yes, the job description for the manuscript specialist is generic because this title exists within the Universitys personnel system and I cannot presume to rewrite it. However, as suggested by the question, I can and will select staff based upon skills and experiences that would contribute to the success of the project. The job title stipulates at least a BA in history, the humanities, or the social sciences. It does not specifically require archival experience. However, given the response to other job searches in the area, I expect to have a number of applicants who have had at least one year of archival work or a significant internship. Because few archivists have worked with architectural drawings, I shall instead focus on those with experiences doing basic archival first aid conservation and who have dealt with both oversize items and photographs. I foremost desire someone with basic research skills and an understanding of the value of research collections. We can train the person to do the tasks needed -- it is less easy to teach judgment. As will be answered in question #4, the conservator and architectural historian, in conjunction with myself as Project Director, will provide the initial and ongoing oversight to insure the work is done properly and completely.
2. Attached are the letters requested. For clarification I should state that WHMC-KC is a Central Administration office which falls under the jurisdiction of the University of Missouri-Columbia campus and not the Kansas City campus. The 24.5% figure is the MU on-campus Extension and Pubic Service rate.
3. We are seeking third-party funding to offset the expense of this project to the University. The Projects three sources of funds are: Federal monies of $57,860.00; University cost-sharing, in-kind, and cash of approximately $35,000; and third-party funds of about $20,000. I am aggressively pursuing third-party money. The value of the Hare and Hare Records is recognized locally and the initial response from potential funders has been positive. Regardless, the University is committed to undertaking this project and I have been assured that University monies will be found to make up for any short-fall in third-party funds to match the grant if it is made.
4. As suggested above, the consultants role is to provide for the Project guidance and professional level of oversight above the experience of the Project Director. The initial contribution of these experts will be at the beginning of the project to consult in setting forth work procedures and to give special training to the staff. An example may be in order: when we undertook the preliminary inventorying of the Hare and Hare plans we developed an ID sheet (appendix F.1. in the Proposal) for codifying the drawings. The typology of Hare and Hares projects and the drawings medium was based partly upon my experience with architectural drawings, but also on consultation with landscape design experts at Ochsner, Hare and Hare, and particularly with Cyd Millstein and Linda Becker of Architectural and Art Historical Research. This sheet served us well. However, once into the collection we discovered that the staff had some difficulty distinguishing among the type of drawings because they were not acquainted with the purposes for which the drawings were made. We did not attempt to address this problem at the time because of the speed with which the work needed to be done, and it proved to be unimportant in the creation of the preliminary finding aid. But it will be of concern as we produce the final finding aid and attempt to identify duplicate items and sheets which will not be filmed in a later phase of this project. This will not be difficult for the staff to learn and Cyd, as an architectural historian versed in the procedures of architectural firms, will be invaluable in providing such training and insight.
Regarding the timetable for using the consultants, the Proposal states on page 13, "Most of the allotted six days each for the consultants will be used at the beginning of the Project with the remainder reserved for spot checks over the course of the work." I hesitate to be more specific until we hire staff, know what skill level they have and determine exactly what will work best for the situation.
5. I apologize for the omission of specific information on the handling of the color slides, but I assumed they would be processed in our usual and routine manner. As implied in the question, color slides, particularly ones pre-dating 1979, are subject to fading. The degree of deterioration is largely, though not completely, related to their storage and handling -- color images will continue to fade even in optimal storage. Much as we plan to do with the photographs and negatives, we will sort, sleeve, and store the slides, reserve their use to limited exposure to light (no projection), and will duplicate upon demand.
One issue we will need to address is the purpose for which the slide was produced. There are two possibilities, and each may suggest different ways of coping with the problem. First, the slides may have been made to document a site or event and therefore is a significant original document, much as the earlier photograph prints. Second, the slides could have been made for presentation only and may or may not be original images. In fact there may be duplicates of the same slide in the records. Most, but not all the slides are still in the boxes they came in from the developer. Some are clearly attached to presentation narratives. We shall respect the order and arrangement of the original record whenever possible. Much as with paper subject to slow deterioration, we shall do all practical to provide a stable and appropriate environment, as well as controlled use to prolong the longevity of the slides.
I understand there was concern among the Board members that I may have been dismissing the influence of the rural cemetery movement in crediting Sid Hare with the development of the cemetery as botanical garden, bird sanctuary, and arboretum. This was not my intention. The discussion and interpretation of Sid Hares influence comes from Bettina Van Dykes masters thesis, The Evolution of 19th and 20th Century Cemetery Landscape Types as Exemplified by Hare and Hares Cemetery Design. Certainly, the cemetery as gathering place -- as park -- predates Hares work. The first park in Kansas City was associated with a cemetery, a fact of which Hare would have been aware having grown up here. Perhaps I should have been more specific in distinguishing Hares role as influencing the professional dialog on cemetery design.
Lastly, allow me to address the concern for the comparison of the Hare and Hare Records to the Olmstead Collection. I, too, bristle at overreaching claims, and, in fact, I spent considerable time checking with experts in landscape and city planning records throughout the country, including those associated with the Olmstead Project, to confirm that these were significant records supplementing an underdocumented area of historical research. What I found was that there are few such collections in size and scope, and there is a great deal of excitement that Hare and Hare Records will be available. I deliberately made the comparison with Olmstead because that Collection and Project is the gauge against which all other such collections have been measured. I thought my remarks, which modestly echoed those made in the supporting letters by Wilbert Hasbrouck and Catha Grace Rambusch, to be impartial and supportable.
Regardless, the Board also recognized the significant importance of the Records without the comparison, and I thank them for it.
I hope these responses adequately answer the concerns of the Board. I welcome any additional comments or questions if you or others need further clarification. Again, thank you for your assistance in the grant process.
© WHMC-KC, University of Missouri
updated: Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Kansas City
(816) 235-1543 WHMCKC@umkc.edu