Thursday, April 29, 2010

Using Microfilm Effectively

Patron's Perspective

Rhonda Kohl recently read one of David Swain’s reports. All the discussion of microfilm inspired her to write a quick tip sheet on reading and using microfilm. The DLAR has over 10,000 reels of microfilm, so Rhonda’s advice might be very useful for current David Library patrons and future visitors.

Patrick Spero


A microfilm image is a black-and-white reproduction of a two-dimensional object: a page that contains handwriting in ink or pencil. All sense of depth in the handwriting disappears when it is photographed and placed on film. In addition, not all microfilm is created equal, as most of us know; even the best-shot film is limited by the quality of the original. After transcribing hundreds of 18th and 19th century documents, here are a few tricks I have learned.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Edward Hand Papers Finding Aid

The Swain Report, Number Six

In this edition of the Swain Report, David relays some fascinating finds in a small but potentially rich collection of Edward Hand Papers that the David Library recently acquired from the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Patrick Spero

Edward Hand papers

by David Swain

Edward Hand (1744-1802) was a physician in Lancaster, PA. During the Revolutionary War, he was a brigadier general and, by 1781, adjutant general to George Washington. After the war, he served in the US Congress (1784-1785) and PA Assembly (1785-86).

The microfilmed papers owned by the David Library, made from manuscripts owned by the Pennsylvania State Archives, consist mostly of general correspondence but also include a few military papers.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Burd-Shippen Collection

The Swain Report, Number Five

In his most recent Swain Report, David writes about the Burd-Shippen collection the Library recently acquired from the Pennsylvania State Archives. The Collection contains a wide array of documents from the Burd, Shippen, Yeates, and Hubley families. These families were among the most prominent Pennsylvanians in western Pennsylvania, especially Lancaster and Cumberland Counties, during the colonial and revolutionary eras. The families were involved in all aspects of society, and their papers touch on important matters relating to law, business, and politics.

Patrick Spero

Burd-Shippen Family Collection

by David Swain

Introductory Information

The David Library owns two reels of microfilmed documents of the papers of the Burd and Shippen families, which are owned by the Pennsylvania State Archives.

The papers contain letters/documents of several generations of several closely intermarried families, including the Burd, Shippen, Yeats, and Hubley families. Overall, the papers cover the period from 1704 through 1900 (with a number of gaps, notably between 1834 and 1899).