Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Senate Passes Orphan Works Copyright Act

Supported by libraries, challenged by artists, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 is a copyright amendment designed to free up creative works for which no owner can be identified. Many library professionals advocate for the act as it will allow them to provide reprographic services without fear of liability. Additionally, the act limits infringement penalties if an accused infringer can prove that he/she made a diligent effort to contact the copyright holder. The Senate bill supports the development of online registries of copyrighted works, such as the University of Reading/Harry Ransom Center's WATCHfile.

The Senate passed the act with last-minute revisions on Friday, September 26th. Professional photographers' organizations; such as the National Press Photographers Association, the Advertising Photographers of America and the American Society of Media Photographers; have voiced significant concerns about the act, and encouraged their members to contact their representatives as the Senate's version of the bill moves to the House. To read more, click here and here. To read the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) take on the legislation, click here.

The Southeastern Architectural Archive retains the following guides relevant to copyright associated with architectural records:

Lowell, Waverly and Tawny Ryan Nelb. Architectural Records: Managing Design and Construction Records (2006).

Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn and Diane Vogt O'Connor. Photographs: Archival Care and Management (2006).

Sabo, Werner. Legal Guide to AIA Documents, Fourth edition and cumulative supplement (2007).

Monday, September 29, 2008

George Eastman House on Flickr

In the last few months, the George Eastman House has followed the example of the Library of Congress and started making some of its extensive collection of photographs available on flickr. For those interested in historic buildings, the George P. Hall and Son photographs will be particularly noteworthy.

Hall and Son (1886-1914) was a commercial photography studio in Manhattan that specialized in views of New York City. Although the Eastman House has a significant collection of Hall, the New York Historical Society has the studio's log books, albums, prints and over 2000 glass plate negatives.

[Photograph: George P. Hall and Son, Construction of the Flatiron Building, gelatin silver print printed 1977 from original negative, c. 1905. George Eastman Kodak House, Rochester, New York]

Lexicon: Sacs des sable entre poteaux

Thursday's Architects Newspaper features an article about this year's recipient of the University of Kentucky College of Design's Curry Stone Design Prize, which honors innovative achievement in humanitarian architecture and design.

The Cape Town, South Africa firm of MMA Architects won the $100,000 award for their 10x10 house, built for just over $6,000 with sandbags and timber. It's similar to local briquette-entre-poteaux. To read more, click here.

One could always plan for flooding in the spirit of historic relocatable beach structures, such as those featured on Pruned's blog.

[Photograph: MMA Architects, 10x10 House, 2008. University of Kentucky College of Design as it appears in Architects Newspaper 09.25.2008]

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vino on the Bayou: Louisiana Landmarks Events

The Louisiana Landmarks Society has announced its next Vino on the Bayou event, a book signing by Jan Arrigo and Laura McElroy, who recently published Plantations and Historic Homes of New Orleans (Voyageur Press, 2008).

The first in a series of events will be held at the Pitot House Museum/1440 Moss Street on Bayou St. John on Friday, October 3rd from 5:30-7:30 pm. $10 per person/$5 for Landmarks members. All proceeds donated to Louisiana Landmarks Society.

On Sunday, October 5th, from 1:00-3:00 pm, the Louisiana Landmarks Society will present Pieux Redux: A Series of Historic Fence Workshops. This grant-funded workshop offers three sessions during the month of October: Lime Putty and Limewash Production (October 5), Limewash Applications on Wood & Plaster (October 12), and Cypress Splitting for Pieux Production (October 19). Tulane Preservation Technology Adjunct Assistant Professor Heather Knight and students from Tulane University School of Architecture's Masters Program in Preservation Studies will demonstrate how to make lime putty and tinted limewashes. Additionally, local craftsmen will demonstrate colonial era cypress fence-making techniques. Cost: $10 including all supplies. For more information and pre-registration call 504.482.0312.

From the Creole Lexicon: pieu (singular) 1) Picardy and Louisiana: a riven or split plank, generally thinner than a madrier. Louisiana: a stake or picket, but generalized to any medium-sized piece of wood for building, rough-hewn or split. Less commonly, a round or squared post. In 17th-cent. Canada and Upper Louisiana, chapels and other structures were built en pieux, or de pieux, meaning piquet or palisade wall construction. Walls built of medium-sized stakes were plastered with clay and covered with bark. To read more, check out Jay Dearborn Edwards and Nicolas Kariouk Pecquet du Bellay de Verton's A Creole Lexicon: Architecture, Landscape, People in multiple locations in the Tulane University Library. NA 730 .L8 E2997 2004

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When Disaster Strikes II: Galveston

The Houston Chronicle reported Saturday about the gradual return of Galveston residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Johnny Hanson's photograph of mold damage to books at the Rosenberg Library is a reminder of how quickly mold spores grow in tropical climes.

Today's Library Journal published an interview with John Augelli, the Executive Director at the Rosenberg, which houses the Galveston and Texas History Center. Augelli and two of his staff members stayed in the library throughout the storm, and witnessed a six-foot storm surge that wiped out the library's first floor, its childrens collection. Prepared for wind event, the library that sits on one of the island's highest points was overwhelmed with water.

To read an updated version of Sandra Nyberg's 1987 Solinet Preservation Leaflet, "Invasion of the Giant Mold Spore," click here.

[Above: Detail of Johnny Hanson photograph "Mold has damaged books on the lower floors of the Rosenberg Library, home of the Galveston and Texas History Center." 20 September 2008 Houston Chronicle]. For full article and photograph, click here.

Stone Mountain Granite/Graffiti

In 1901, the Atlanta-based Venable Brothers boasted that they had supplied the city of New Orleans with 25,000 feet of Georgia Granite for curbings and crossings (as opposed to the 900,000 feet for Atlanta). The company maintained quarries at both Stone Mountain and Lithonia, which were reached by railroad that was also owned and operated by the Venable Brothers.

In 1915, the United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) to survey the Ku Klux Klan rebirth site for a monument intended as a memorial to the Confederacy, the "Lost Cause Shrine". World War I delayed the project. Eventually Borglum and his patrons parted ways over disagreements, Borglum destroyed his models, and Augustus Lukeman (1871-1935) was hired to complete the work.

Lukeman informed the supervising body -- the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Association -- that Borglum's unfinished carving could never be completed, and recommended an altered design, smaller in scale, featuring equestrian figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. Borglum's carving was sandblasted away from Stone Mountain's face. The Crash of 1929 shut down operations again, and work did not resume on the project until 1958, when the Georgia State Legislature created the official Stone Mountain Memorial Association, and authorized it to sell revenue bonds.

The Massachusetts-based sculptor Walker Hancock (1901-1998) took over the project, following Lukeman's models. New Orleans stone carver George Weiblen (1895-1970) was ultimately commissioned to supervise the 7 carvers working on the site in the 1960s. Weiblen and his wife lived in a trailer at the mountain's base. On 25 March 1966,
The Atlanta Journal reported that the stone carving was costing $442.80/day in wages, including those of Mr. Weiblen. In the same article, the 70-year-old New Orleans tomb designer conveyed his reasons for taking on the project:

'I want to put my father's name there, too. He brought his family from New Orleans in 1911 to open a quarry on the back side of Stone Mountain and he leased the whole mountain. He offered the Venable Brothers a million dollars for it in 1920. He died in 1961 at the age of 99 and five months. He said he wanted to lie down before breakfast and he took one deep breath and he was gone. I don't know how I will work his name in but there is a way."

George Weiblen died at Stone Mountain in 1970, the same year Vice President Spiro T. Agnew dedicated the monument. It is now part of an expansive theme park that draws millions of visitors annually.

To read more documents related to the project, click here.

To read excerpts from David Freedman's 1997 book, Carved in Stone: The History of Stone Mountain, on googlebooks, click here.

To read the Smithsonian's oral history with Walker Hancock, click here.

[Photograph above: Frank Rippetoe.
Stone Carver at Stone Mountain, Georgia.
8 March 1964. Box 64, Weiblen Marble and Granite Company Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries].

Monday, September 22, 2008

FOR SALE: Swamp Castle with Alligator

Howard Solomon's 12,000-square-foot castle and its surrounding 70 acres of reclaimed swampland near Ona, Florida are for sale.The turreted structure has been featured on HGTV's "Most Extreme Homes in America" as well as on Roadside America. The Center for Land Use Interpretation has highlighted the self-built castle as an architectural and cultural landmark. Annually countless visitors tour the grounds and eat lunch on Solomon's 60-foot galleon in the complex's moat, which is populated by a resident female alligator.

The structure is 60 feet tall and largely constructed of recycled trash, including beer cans and oil drums. Sheathed in 34" offset aluminum newspaper printing plates, Solomon's Castle at times disappears in vibrant reflections of the intense sun. Over eighty stained glass windows populate the castle's many walls.

Although it is not as spectacular as the Forevertron, the Dr. Who-Influenced/Badger Army Ammunition Plant-Salvaged-Cold-War-Bits Concoction of Tom Every in Baraboo, Wisconsin, it is worth seeing.

What is the asking price? $2.5 million and listed on Castles for Sale.

Listen to This American Life's episode on "Simulated Worlds" and Read Umberto Eco's Travels in HyperReality: Essays (1986):

"We are dreaming the Middle Ages, some say. But in fact both Americans and Europeans are inheritors of the Western legacy, and all the problems of the Western World emerged in the Middle Ages: Modern languages, merchant cities, capitalistic economy (along with banks, checks and prime rates) are inventions of medieval society. In the Middle Ages we witness the rise of modern armies, of the modern concept of the nation state, as well as the idea of a supernatural federation; the struggle between the poor and the rich, the concept of heresy or ideological deviation, even our contemporary notion of love as a devastating unhappy happiness. I could add the conflict between church and state, trade unions, the technological transformation of labor."
Eco, p. 64 (Weaver translation)

To read more of the text: Check it out from Tulane: HTML PQ4865.C6T7 or googlebooks.

[Lomograph. Solomon's Castle, near Ona, Florida. Spring 2006 by K. Rylance.]

Abandonment and Blight

Nope, the man in the photograph is not preparing for a new tropical storm of the sort you may be imagining.

Today's New York Times features a video produced by Joshua Brustein, Ángel Franco and Dan Barry about Ft. Myers, Florida's attempts to deal with an increasing number of abandoned properties.

As Dan Barry reports in the related article:

"Come to Fort Myers, population 60,000, the seat of Lee County. Walk the Gulf Coast beaches. Cruise the Caloosahatchee River. Witness what happens when banks dole out easy mortgages and homeowners forget that the money isn’t free. Drive down McGregor Boulevard, or Cleveland Avenue, turn left or turn right, and see the empty houses, the overgrown lots, the signs saying AUCTION and FREE RENT."

In New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin's recent suspension of the city's Neighborhood Conservation District Committee (NCDC) demolition review process resulted in at least one tragic loss. To read more from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, click here.

[Photograph: Detail of Ángel Franco work for the NY Times 09.22.2008].

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who Were They: The Wimawalas

In August of 1950, the Atlanta Daily World reported the plight of a New Orleans citizen group -- the Wimawalas -- who were trying to prevent the expansion of the Magnolia Housing Project into their neighborhood, encompassed by Willow and Magnolia Streets, and Washington and Louisiana Avenues.

President Harry Truman had just approved some $26.5 million to be utilized for public housing in New Orleans, and the municipal housing authority wanted to enlarge the four existing projects using these funds.

The Wimawalas' founder and spokesperson, Mrs. Ida W. Johnson, conveyed to the press:

'This is not a slums neighborhood. Many of us moved into this community 40 or 50 years ago when it was nothing. Now we have built it up and have invested thousands of dollars in our homes. Naturally, we resent any movement which will force us out. Then, too, another question presents itself: Where are we going?'

The google-generated satellite image of the site today:

View Larger Map

[Image uppper left: Digital reproduction from glass lantern slide of the New Orleans neighborhood bounded by Louisiana Avenue and Third Street, Magnolia and S. Liberty Streets, c. 1937. Tulane School of Architecture Glass Lantern Slide Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.]

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lexicon: Sgrafitto

Banksy at the Listen Drop In Center, Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA. September 2008.

British graffiti artist Banksy has been leaving a trail in New Orleans, in his quest to do battle with the city's Gray Ghost, the anti-grafitti vigilanate Frank Radtke. Times Picayune art critic Doug MacCash recently addressed the friction between property owners and graffiti artists on the nola blog. Flickr subscriber anthonyturducken has posted some amazing photographs of the NOLA banksies here and has mapped their locations:

View Larger Map

Federal Way, Washington blogger-activist James Lamb has been using the Internet and GIS to map graffiti in his community. The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune have both published stories on "citizen cartographers", who are exploring new GIS technologies annotated with images, text, video, etc. and significantly changing the world of map-making. One of my favorites is Nikolas Schiller, who extensively uses historic maps, aerial photographs, and other imagery to create kaleidoscopic quilts.

To access archived NY Times or the International Tribune, Tulane University affiliates may use the database Lexis Nexis Academic Universe.

Architecture: sgraffito(Italian)
A type of decoration executed by covering a surface, as of plaster or enamel, of one color, with a thin coat of a similar material of another color, and then scratching or scoring through the outer coat to show the color beneath. Eg. Michelozzo, Palazzo Medici Courtyard, Florence, 1445-1460.
sgraffiti (plural)

Decoration:Graffito (English/OED): A drawing or writing scratched on a wall or other surface; a scribbling on an ancient wall, as those at Pompeii and Rome. Also, a method of decoration in which designs are produced by scratches through a superficial layer of plaster, glazing, etc., revealing a ground of different colour; chiefly attrib., as in graffito-decoration, -pottery, -ware.
Graffiti (plural)

To access the Oxford English Dictionary, Tulane University affiliates may follow the link here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Conducting Research in the SEAA

The Southeastern Architectural Archive (SEAA) is a secure closed-stack facility consisting of a large body of architectural materials in many different formats: drawings, specifications, photographs, diapositives, blueprints, etc. We have approximately 900,000 discrete large-format items and over 100,000 photographic works. In many instances, the SEAA retains the only extant copy of the project work.

To prevent unnecessary harm to fragile materials, we prohibit browsing through collections. In order to facilitate your research, we strongly encourage researchers to make an appointment with SEAA staff by calling the department at (504) 865-5699.

Access to the SEAA is provided by appointment with department staff in the Reading Room, located in 300 Jones Hall at 6801 Freret Street. Access to SEAA holdings is provided through Tulane University’s Library Catalog, SEAA’s online finding aids and card catalog.

Tulane University’s Library Catalog is the best place to begin research on your topic. Both the School of Architecture Library, located in Richardson Memorial, and the Louisiana Collection, located in 200 Jones Hall, retain strong holdings of published materials related to regional architectural history.

The Southeastern Architectural Archive’s online finding aids list individual projects by known identification (building name, patron, and/or street address). Researchers can search an individual collection finding aid by using the “find” feature within the portable document format (pdf) file. Researchers can search across multiple collections’ finding aids by using an Internet search engine such as google, and by entering known information (building name, patron, or street address) in quote marks followed by the qualifier “Southeastern Architectural Archive.”

Not all collection inventories are online. Researchers may consult the SEAA card catalog, located in the Reading Room, during our regular business hours. Card catalog indexing is based on information recorded on the project work, perhaps by building name, patron and/or street address. Knowing this information prior to arrival at the SEAA will expedite the research process.

Other tips:

The SEAA maintains supplementary materials to assist researchers in finding information about the built environment in the Gulf Region. We retain historic atlases, Sanborn maps of New Orleans (coverage dating from 1876), New Orleans city directories (from 1856), and a growing collection of trade catalogs and manuals.

Wayne Everard’s “How to Research Your House (or Other Building) in New Orleans” provides a step-by-step guide to using local repositories.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers preserves a sizable collection of historic aerial photographs of the region.

The New Orleans Public Library maintains an online street name index of its building plans.

The Historic New Orleans Collection’s electronic search facility, Mint Online, allows researchers to query its library, manuscripts, and museum holdings simultaneously.

Tulane University’s School of Architecture Slide Library is the home of the New Orleans Virtual Archive (NOVA), a growing collection of photographic images of the city and plans for its renewal.

Our staff:

Dr. Keli Rylance (krylance@tulane.edu)

Head, Southeastern Architectural Archive and School of Architecture Library

(504) 247-1806

Kevin Williams (kevinw@tulane.edu)

Library Associate, Southeastern Architectural Archive

(504) 865-5699

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When Disaster Strikes: Resources

Architectural records damaged in New Orleans during Hurricane Gustav.
09.2008 by K. Rylance

The Southeastern Architectural Archive received many calls after Hurricane Katrina and more recently after Hurricane Gustav from architects and engineers whose office records were damaged by wind and/or water. For those seeking resources and supplies, the following information may be beneficial:

For Appraisals: The American Society of Appraisers maintains a directory of certified appraisers. Why might one desire a professional appraisal? Many insurance companies require appraisal by a certified specialist. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also requires appraisals by qualified appraisers for tax reporting purposes.

For Mold Remediation: Document Reprocessors, Munters and Belfor are companies that provide disaster mitigation services. Tulane University Libraries hired Belfor to vacuum freeze-dry, gamma-irradiate, and process Hurricane Katrina flood-damaged books and documents.

For Conservation: The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) has an emergency response team and maintains an online guide to finding a conservator.

On 29 August 2008, the Library of Congress announced its new "Learning from Katrina" webpage that features seven interviews with conservators who lent their assistance in 2005. The site includes additional resources and tips related to hurricane response and recovery. Heritage Emergency National Task Force also maintains a website for current disaster information related to 2008 hurricanes and tropical storms. One feature is Heritage Preservation's ten-minute film "Coping with Water Damage."

Carol Turchan's 1988 article "The Chicago Historical Society Flood: Recovery Analysis Two Years Later" provides experience-based insights for coping with sodden architectural drawings.

For Archival Materials
: University Products, Talas, Gaylord, and Hollinger Metal Edge all sell archival storage and conservation products.

For Archival Flat File Cabinets:

Mayline Group
619 N. Commerce
P.O.Box 728
Sheboygan, WI 53082-0728
Telephone: (920) 457-5537
Fax: (920) 457-7388

Ulrich Planfiles
2120 Fourth Avenue
Lakewood, NY 14750
Telephone: (800) 346-2875
Fax: (716) 763-1818
Bradford Systems
Corporate Office
8700 Waukegan Rd., Suite 110
Morton Grove, IL 60053-210
Telephone: (847) 965-5070
Fax: (847) 965-5247
Safco Products, Inc.
9300 W. Research Center Rd
New Hope, MN 55428
Telephone: (800) 328-3020

Monday, September 8, 2008

Natchez, Mississippi 1940

Marion Post Wolcott. Unidentified Structure in Natchez, MS. August 1940. Digital reproduction from color slide. FSA/OWI Color Photographs, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USF35-115.

Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographer Marion Post Wolcott shot this image in the autumn of 1940. The digital reproduction is part of a Library of Congress pilot initiative to make some of its Prints and Photographs Division holdings available through Flickr, the photograph-sharing website. Begun in January of this year, the LC project was primarily intended as a means to make its collections known to a wider audience in a cost effective manner. The planners also hoped that viewers would contribute to the identification process, which would result in improving the cataloging for the related image, and thereby increase access. Architects have been especially helpful in this regard. To hear more about the logistics of the project, including copyright and non-exclusivity issues, click here.

Marion Post Wolcott (1910-1990) traveled extensively throughout the southeastern United States while working for the FSA. Among many other places, she visited the New Orleans Quarantine Station in Algiers, a Juke Joint in Melrose, and a Fish Shack in Natchitoches. Her daughter, Linda Wolcott Moore, maintains a sizable archive of her original negatives and has published a biographical sketch here.

ARTstor Collection News Autumn 2008

Image database ARTstor has just announced recent releases of more than 60,000 new images from various print collections: Scala, the Bodleian Library, the Phillips Collection, and the Berlin State Museums.

New collaborations on forthcoming collections include: field photographs/monuments/architecture from the American Institute of Indian Studies, stained glass from the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA) and the National Monuments Record (NMA), medieval stained glass from Madeline Caviness, contemporary architecture in Spain from ART on FILE, the Hal Box and Logan Wagner Collection of Mexican Architecture and Urban Design, the Hartill Archive of Architecture and Allied Arts, the Historic Campus Architecture Project, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South, and Renaissance and Baroque book illustrations from the Warburg Institute. For more information, click here.