September 18, 1998
Mr. Daniel A. Stokes
National Archives and Records Administration
National Historical Publications and Records Commission
Washington, DC 20408
Grant # 96-078
Please accept this as the final report concerning the activities of the Hare and Hare Project. I have attempted not to repeat the basic information provided in my previous report but instead to give summary of our accomplishments and an appraisal of the conditions and conclusions of the project.
The goal of this Project did not change. It was to enhance access to the records of the architectural landscape and city planning firm of Hare and Hare through a comprehensive arrangement and description of the records, and to conserve the materials by flattening, repairing, and providing appropriate storage.
Though we faced a variety of problems in accomplishing the Project, we proceeded as was outlined in the Proposal. We endured a number of changes of personnel and staff composition through the life of the Project (extended to a total of 21 months). We provided continuity to the work primarily though the person of Jennifer Parker, Senior Manuscript Specialist at WHMC-KC, who increased the number of hours of her time devoted to the project to 50% for a number of months. The team performed the main work of processing the papers, flattening the folded drawings, integrating the rolled drawings into the whole, and preparing the finding aids.
We began the project late, officially on October 1, 1996, because of difficulties encountered in securing adequate space on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus. The location we had originally anticipated using proved unworkable, and a variety of renovation projects made space on campus impossible to acquire. Instead we secured donated space off-campus. Though useable, the facility was a bit small for our needs and its arrangement less than
ideal. In early October 1997 we moved our operation to another building in the downtown business district. Though this move caused some disruption and expense to our work, the result was actually beneficial because the new space was much larger and more conducive to the work we were doing. We enlarged our humidification chamber, built additional tables, and generally had more room to spread out and establish an efficient workflow. Keri Peterson had worked on the team who prepared the preliminary inventory of the Hare and Hare Records, so she was already familiar with the collection and our procedures and therefore was a logical choice to be our full-time archivist from the beginning of the Project. As had been expected we had turnover in the part-time staff for a variety of reasons, the most common being the person found a full-time opportunity and moved on. I was able to fill the positions immediately, but this resulted in the need to spend additional time training and bringing new staff up to speed. When Keri left the Project in November 1997, we were still uncertain whether we would continue the work beyond the end date of January 1998. After determining that we could remain in our new location and that we had both the work to do and money with which to do it, we requested an extension to the end of June 1998. Rather than hiring another full-time staff person for such a short stint, we instead added another part-time person and increased the number of hours Jennifer Parker devoted to the Project. Given that we had worked through nearly all the problems of the process and had settled into a comfortable routine, this seemed the most expeditious way to continue.
Generally the work proceeded as planned. We discovered early that we needed to modify our numbering and descriptive systems slightly to accommodate some curious aspects of the collection. We had an elusive computer problem that required replacement of the hardware. And we found that the folded drawings were in need of more extensive repair than we anticipated.
Allow me to walk though the work to provide a clear idea of the process involved. We constructed a large walk-in humidification chamber measuring approximately 8 by 8 feet. We had three plastic shelving units, which allowed for about 200-300 sheets of drawings for each cycle of 6-8 hours. Before being placed in the chamber, each sheet or group of sheets was tagged with a pencil note of its original folder number. When removed from the chamber, the sheets were flattened between blotter paper for about 6 hours. When taken from the flattening table, they were stacked on a large shelving unit we built to accommodate them. The sheets were then repaired, new job numbers assigned, and finally they were rolled on to 3-inch tubes for storage.
Obviously humidification and flattening was simple and it would have been relatively easy to do thousands of sheets a week given the space and hands. However, as indicated above, many of the sheets demanded more attention. Depending on the complexity of the damage, a sheet may have required an average of fifteen minutes. Large sheets with newer cellophane tape took considerably longer. Repairs involved the removal of old tape (if necessary) and the application of heat-set tissue tape to fix tears. For a variety of reasons we avoided using toxic solvents to remove tape and opted instead for denatured alcohol and heat to loosen the adhesives. Training and oversight by Nancy Heugh, our conservation consultant, assured we were on the right track. We have been very pleased with the heat-set tissue because it is easy to use and provided an archivally sound solution to an otherwise difficult and expensive problem. So far the tissue has worked well on all the drawing media, including linens.
I am particularly pleased with the rolled system we developed to store and protect the drawings. Since undertaking this project we have had a number of occasions to pull processed items for researchers. The finding aids work well, the retrieval of rolls is easy, and the condition of the drawings is excellent and stable. We used 3-inch paper tubes cut to fit easily into 36-inch long boxes. The paper tube is sleeved with 2 mil polyethylene plastic and the drawings are rolled around its outside. Different jobs (e.g. sets of drawings) were put on each tube in job file number order, and separated from one another with an identification sheet of acid-free paper that gives the pertinent information about the project. As many as 50 sheets of drawings can be placed on each tube, with a log of the included job file numbers tied around it. The tube and drawings were then inserted into another polyethylene sleeve as an outer protective wrapper, secured by tucking its ends into the ends of the paper tube. The job file log for the tube is clearly visible, the drawings are well protected, and the whole fits neatly into the box. Approximately the same number of drawings is stored in a box as in a 5-drawer map case.
As a testament to this system, at the end of the Project we found that one of the windows in our storage area leaked when it rained and some of the 3-foot boxes had gotten wet. Careful examination of the rolls showed absolutely no damage to the drawings though some of the outer protective wrappers were damp. We wiped the plastic down and placed the rolls into new boxes.
Because we stored more than one job per tube, we used far fewer tubes and boxes than we projected in the grant. At the end of the Project 28,115 sheets of drawings in 3,957 job files (2,600+ pre-1959 and 1350+ post-1959) were completed. We estimate to have at least another 2,000 drawings previously rolled in the preliminary processing, which have yet to be integrated into the system. These represent the latest work of the firm, primarily for the years 1977-1979. As indicated in previous reports, this figure refines the number of sheets from 50,000 in the original proposal to 30,000. Additionally, we have processed all but 80 of the 225 cubic feet of the collection. Most of these boxes contain reports, books, and other material that will process quickly. We contracted with an outside photographer to duplicate the photographic negatives, part of which have been logged, and all of which have been placed in protective sleeves and had 5x7 prints made. These totaled to 2,920 prints.
Lastly, we devised an inter-linking database of forms into which we recorded the information about the collection; and the preliminary inventory was updated and improved with new information gleaned from the processing.
There is still work to be done, and to that end we are continuing to employ one of the part-time staff from our regular operating funds for the remainder of the summer and perhaps longer. She will work with the remaining drawings (flattening, repairing, and integrating into the system) and help with the inventory of the books and other materials.
As I indicated in my earlier reports, the goals of our proposal were perhaps too optimistic. We found when we had delved deeply into the collection that, because of their fragility, the folded pre-1959 drawings required more attention than had been projected, and the post-1959 drawings needed considerable effort in repairs, particularly in the time-consuming removal of old tape.
One feature of our original proposal that we have not undertaken is the production of a printed copy of our finding aid. Though there is approximately 100 cubic feet of records that would fit into our traditional inventory format, the most effective finding aid for this collection is a searchable database which we have produced as part of the processing activities. Though the database is not done, in that there are still records that we will add to it as we finish up the processing, we are proceeding with placing it onto the World Wide Web. Attached is a disk of the databases at the end of the Project. As indicated, we are continuing to add to and modify this database as addition material is processed.
Foremost is that we have created excellent control and conditions for an exceptionally valuable collection.
We have continued to actively use the collection throughout the processing Project, and a number of scholars and others have done research in the material. The Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, OK, which is in a Hare and Hare landscape, is preparing an exhibit on the work of Hare and Hare in Oklahoma. Also, we have begun discussions with the Kansas City Architectural Foundation about reproducing selected sheets for exhibit and sale.
During the course of the Project I spoke before several organizations including college classes, garden groups, and architects concerning the value and content of the Records. Several news articles and one scholarly article pertaining to Hare and Hare have been published, and several studies for National Register nomination and environmental impact have been conducted from the Records. Additionally, WHMC-KC created an on-line exhibit <www.umkc.edu/WHMCKC/> dealing with Ward Parkway, largely designed by the Hares.
We raised $20,000 in matching money and have also received in-kind donations, primarily in the form of waiver of rent, in excess of $32,600 toward the accomplishment of this Project.
We were also processing for future microfilming of the drawings a project I hope we can begin in the near future in order to make the drawings more easily accessible.
As a related matter, we intend to address a problem mentioned in a previous report concerning off-gassing of some of the individual sheets. After observing this over time we have concluded that these are sepia or blue-line drawings that have a distinct odor, caused by the paper and the diazo printing process being inherently unstable a problem common to all architectural drawings collection with concentrations of blue-lines and blueprints. There is no clear evidence that exposure to the off-gassing has effected the adjacent papers, but it is reasonable to assume it might. We shall review this issue again in the future as part of final preparation for microfilming and after filming is complete. Regardless, the plastic wrapping on the rolls is not sealed and allows for escape of such gases.
Lastly, as indicated above, we have several prospects for future exhibits and uses of the records. As part of the processing we attempted to identify items and projects that we felt might prove useful for exhibits or publications. Coupling the drawings with recently uncovered photographs from the J.C. Nichols Company will be a rich source for the exploration of urban and suburban development in Kansas City.
Comments and suggestions:
I would like to complement the quality and dedication of my staff working this Project, particularly in creatively finding work-arounds to the variety of problems in space, staff changes, and logistical and other issues that have arisen.
I hope this document satisfies our requirement for a narrative report. I welcome any questions you may have and promise to watch my schedule to insure that future reports are not late.
Forms and samples
Microsoft Access97 database of drawings inventory (3.5 diskette)
© WHMC-KC, University of Missouri
updated: Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Kansas City
(816) 235-1543 WHMCKC@umkc.edu