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Benjamin Franklin, a Sage Man

Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia printing shop made plaster molds from pressed sage leaves to create metal stamps for marking foliage patterns on Colonial currency. The distinctive contours of leaf spines, stems and veins were meant to thwart counterfeiters, and Franklin’s workers managed to keep the casting technique a secret that has puzzled modern scholars, too.

James N. Green, the librarian at the Library Company of Philadelphia (founded by Franklin in 1731), had wondered for the last two decades if any of Franklin’s actual metal leaf-printing blocks for the bills survived. He had concluded that if one of these castings ever did emerge, it would be “a really sensational discovery,” he said in an interview last month. And since that time...

...such a discovery has been made in a vault at the Delaware County Institute of Science in Media, PA.

Boston Archivists Demand Patience

A copper box sealed for over 113 years inside the head of a piece of statuary, a lion, at the Old State House in Boston has finally been opened.

Inside... there was a surprise book with a red cover...but we don't know the title or contents. Historians deem the book and other contents of the box too fragile to be quickly examined. They will need to be examined in a temperature and pressure controlled environment.

The society first learned of the possible existence of the time capsule three years ago from the great-great-granddaughter of Samuel Rogers, a craftsman who had worked on renovations to the building and was believed to have placed the box in the lion's head and catalogued its contents. A 1901 article from The Boston Globe surfaced later, alluding to contents of a copper box "which will prove interesting when the box is opened many years hence."

More from ABC News.

Moving Day for Priceless Historical Documents

From the New York Times a fascinating look at how invaluable historical documents and artifacts are secured while in transit.

Meet the Man Who Preserved Decades of NBA History

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/meet-the-man-who-preserved-decades-of-nba-history/
Dick Pfander has spent most of his life collecting and analyzing box scores from every NBA game since the league’s founding. He did most of his work in solitude, by hand, before the age of personal computers. And he did it simply for his own pleasure, surrounded by supportive family members who cared neither about basketball nor statistics, let alone their intersection.

Who owns Iraqi Jewish history? A personal story

In 2013, Maurice Shohet, an Iraqi Jew who now lives in Washington, D.C., received a surprising email from the National Archives. A librarian had recovered his elementary school record that was left behind nearly 40 years ago when he and his family fled Iraq. The record is part of a cache of thousands of personal documents and religious texts that were found at the start of the Iraq War, drowning in the cellar of a building run by one of the world's most wanted men.

Virginia History and Bunny Men

From The Washington Post:

"We Virginians, we really love our history,” said Laura Wickstead, director of the Virginia Room at the City of Fairfax Regional Library. “That’s for sure.”

“We’re sitting within a virtual stone’s throw of the Library of Congress, the National Archives and these fabulous university collections,” Laura said, “but even these smaller public library collections are superb and have things you don’t find other places.”

There’s certainly a lot to love. After all, this is the part of the country that produced George Mason, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Virginia was a hotbed of the Civil War. More recently, it’s where the mysterious urban legend known as the Bunny Man did whatever it is that Bunny Men do.

The Race to Save America's Public Media History

A new archive is trying to digitize thousands of hours of tape from TV and radio stations across the country—before those tapes disintegrate. "The scary thing about it is that they are on physical formats that are deteriorating," Karen Cariani, director of WGBH's library and archives told me. "Video tape and audiotape is not a stable format. After 40 or 50 years, they are disintegrating. And the information—pictures, sounds on that physical medium—is disappearing. Unlike a piece of paper or a photograph that might last 100 years, media formats are extremely fragile."

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/02/the-race-to-save-americas-public-media...

Subterranean trove of books, papers at risk in NYS Education Building

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/State-Library-s-tough-calls-on-what-to-save-what-515...

It is an eerie bibliophile's netherworld, accessible by cramped cages of creaky service elevators, dark and cool and redolent of mildew, old leather bindings and sloughing paper that litters the floor like snowflakes. There is no climate control among miles of metal shelves, and accessing the hundreds of thousands of volumes is an arduous task. From the time a patron requests a book at the State Library, it typically takes two days to retrieve. A clerk drives a van four blocks around the Plaza, descends into the stacks, hunts among the haphazard holdings and drives back with the book.

[Thanks Elaine!]

The Cleveland Public Library Found a Lost First Edition Copy of 'A Christmas Carol'

The Cleveland Public Library Found a Lost First Edition Copy of 'A Christmas Carol'
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2013/12/cleveland-public-library-found-l...
Cleveland librarian Kelly Brown had far more modest plans when she first began collecting items for a holiday traditions display at the Cleveland Public Library. But when she began poking around the stacks, she stumbled on a fairly unexpected Yuletide surprise: a first-edition copy of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

A School Librarian Found The First Ransom Note in American History

The Story Behind the First Ransom Note in American History

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/2013/12/the-story-behind-the-first-ransom-note-in-am...

One day last March, Bridget Flynn, a school librarian who lives in Philadelphia, was searching for an old family drawing to print on the invitations to her daughter Rebecca’s bridal shower. As she and Rebecca rummaged through the several generations of family artifacts—letters, photographs, an envelope of hair cuttings—she keeps in plastic bins in her basement, they found a stack of small envelopes tied together with a black shoelace.

“Oh, honey, these are love letters,” Flynn said...

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