Preserving Scrapbooks at TTU’s University Archives

las leales

Las Leales scrapbook, 1927-1939, prior to conservation.

Texas Tech’s University Archives is located at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library. This archive collects, preserves, and makes accessible to researchers such materials as TTU administrative and faculty records, publications, photographs, and video and audio materials. These materials document the legal, historical, fiscal, administrative, and intellectual aspects of the university, as well as the cultural and social aspects of student life.

Many of the donations to the University Archives contain scrapbooks from various student organizations and departments.  The scrapbook featured here is from the women’s organization, Las Leales. Las Leales Club was a female fellowship society organized in the winter term of 1929, and its membership was limited to twenty. The scrapbook is part of the Dean of Women collection, which among other materials contains scrapbooks from Las Leales, the Association of Women Students, and Freshman Honor Society all dating from 1928 through 1957.

las leales front page

Front page, with hole reinforcement labels

As is often the case with older materials, the pages of this scrapbook are brittle manila paper. Most items are glued to the pages, which often requires special preservation techniques. Fortunately that was not necessary here, but in order to keep this scrapbook intact, we had to reinforce the holes with hole reinforcement labels. In short, we generally try to do as little as possible to the scrapbook, and what we do attempt has to be reversible.

back cover

Back cover of the scrapbook, with a shoelace for holding the pages together. The aglet was missing on one end, so tape was used to create one. The tape was later removed so it would not damage the scrapbook

If there are loose photos, they are sleeved in a photo protector and placed back inside the book at the appropriate location. Each page of the book is lightly numbered, in pencil, and a photocopy or digital scan is made of the book so it may be reconstructed if necessary. By making digital images of the scrapbooks, researchers are able to view the contents without handling the pages and materials, though the original scrapbook does remain available for research should it be required. Finally, scrapbooks are stored in an archival box.

reconstructed

The reconstructed scrapbook.

An example of a completely digitized University Archive scrapbook collection, the Human Sciences Scrapbooks, can be found here. The finding aids for these and many other University Archives collections can be found on Texas Archival Resources Online. And, as always, interested researchers can request a viewing or copies of any of these collections via our Reference Department.

-Amy Mire, University Archives

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