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Archive for March, 2019

-contributed by Emily Gainer & Nicole Merzweiler.

During the past 11 months, we’ve started a large but important undertaking.  I am processing the Wertheimer Family papers!  The papers are a treasure trove of documents, photographs, scrapbooks, diaries, and correspondence from one of the giants in the history of psychology.  When complete, the papers will include the Max Wertheimer papers and the Michael Wertheimer papers. Max Wertheimer (1880-1943), an Austro-Hungarian psychologist, was one of the founders and leaders of the school of Gestalt psychology. His son, Michael, is a psychologist and historian of psychology at the University of Colorado.

Today, we want to announce the digitization and preservation of three scrapbooks from the Wertheimer Family papers. For this project, I had invaluable assistance from Nicole Merzweiler, a student in the Library and Information Science program at Kent State University.

The first, and smallest, scrapbook includes photographs of Wilhelm and Rosa Wertheimer (Max’s parents) as well as Max as a young man. The date range for photographs in this scrapbook is 1891-1929.

The second scrapbook includes photographs of Max Wertheimer, Anni Wertheimer, and their children, dating between 1915-1930.

The third scrapbook includes Max Wertheimer’s family photographs as well as some colleagues and friends.  The only dates included in the scrapbook are 1932 and 1933, though the range seems to be greater.

Smallest and earliest scrapbook from the Wertheimer Family papers.

Largest and latest scrapbook from the Wertheimer Family papers.

The scrapbooks each contained loose photographs, which were also digitized. These photographs were housed in acid-free folders and stored with the scrapbook in archival boxes.

Preserving and making these scrapbooks available online was a lengthy process.  It began with identifying the contents of each scrapbook and rehousing them in appropriately sized archival boxes.  Then, each scrapbook was added to the finding aid.  Next, each page of each scrapbook was carefully digitized in accordance with archival standards.  Then the digital files were prepared for uploading to the CONTENTdm, the Cummings Center’s online database.  Nicole created metadata for each scrapbook, including names, dates, and locations identified in each book.

Nicole scans the earliest scrapbook.

Finally, each page in each scrapbook is encapsulated using archival Mylar plastic.  For a full explanation of encapsulation, see Encapsulation Capers (written by a CCHP intern).  Nicole followed these same procedures to preserve and protect the scrapbooks.

Nicole encapsulated each page of the Wertheimer scrapbook.

Encapsulating the scrapbook pages maintains the historical context while also preserving the photographs.

You can view a digital copy of the three scrapbooks through the CCHP Still Images database.  The Wertheimer Family papers included additional photographs, which are also being digitized and added to the database.  Processing the Wertheimer Family papers continues and is scheduled for completion by June 1.  Watch for an announcement with more details when it is available to researchers!

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