852 Rare: Finding Some Cheer in a Sad Book

Every once in a while we find a book in Historical & Special Collections that would make even the most cold-hearted among us feel sorry for the poor thing. Pictured below is a scrapbook of newspaper clippings assembled by Eugene Wambaugh, an HLS faculty member who taught at the school in the early-twentieth century.

Eugene Wambaugh’s “Scrapbook of newspaper clippings relating to federal and local economic and political problems, 1884-1887.” HOLLIS 4180741

The front board (cover) is completely detached, along with several of the first pages, newspaper clippings jut out at both the top and bottom of the volume, and large stacks of clippings between pages have put a great deal of pressure on the spine. The newspaper clippings are also what we might call “chippy,” meaning that small pieces of paper are liable to flake off from the edges.

Once you get past the somewhat sad physical state of this volume, there is an absolute treasure trove of information to be found within it. The printed volume itself is a copy of the Journal of Ohio Representatives, volume 77, 1881. Local news articles that Wambaugh assembled in the volume touch on issues both local and national, economic and political. With text on both sides of each clipping visible, there are often surprising snippets on the reverse side of the article Wambaugh was presumably interested in.  A map of the results of an Ohio Congressional Election broken down by county is pasted on one page and, mysteriously, the following seventy-seven pages were at some point cut cleanly out of the book. Several other sizable sections of the book were also removed. Although it’s unclear why this might have happened, the one upside is that the newspaper clippings that are stacked in these sections of the book do not place too much additional strain on the book spine.

Side view of Eugene Wambaugh’s scrapbook of newspaper clippings. Take note of the large chunks of pages that have been cut out of the book! (HOLLIS 4180741)

This item has been reviewed by conservators from Harvard’s Weissman Preservation Center, and will ultimately be housed in a protective enclosure (a box!) in order to prevent further damage. Check out the WPC website to see news articles about the incredible work the staff there undertake to protect and preserve the Harvard libraries’ collections! No matter what, though, researchers will always have to use this item with the utmost care and attention.

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