archives


Circle Six Orchestra

Accession 2012.07(6): The Circle Six Orchestra

Here is a brief numerical summary of our activities in Deseronto Archives over the course of 2012.

New accessions received: 16

These included a photograph of the Circle Six Orchestra, a scrapbook relating to the Deseronto United Church, a photograph album from an airman who trained at Camp Mohawk in World War One and a list of Deseronto voters from 1914.

Email queries answered: 63

Telephone queries answered: 25

Visits to the archives by researchers: 101

Images uploaded to www.flickr.com/deserontoarchives: 105

Visitors to the blog in 2012:15,293 (13,058 in 2011)

Blog posts written : 17

Our thanks to all our patrons and donors and best wishes to you for 2013!

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The National Archival Development Program (NADP) was axed by Library and Archives Canada last week, without warning. This program was worth $1.7 million each year to archives all over Canada. For every dollar received from the fund, archives raised another dollar through matched funding, meaning that the total value of the program to Canadians was $2.5 million every year.

For this relatively modest investment, the program supported:

·   Outreach and educational activities in communities to help small institutions manage their archival materials

·   Development of the national on-line catalogue of archival descriptions, and its provincial and territorial counterparts, so all archives, including the very small, can reach Canadians to tell them about their holdings

·   Provision of archival and preservation advice to archives of all sizes

·   Work experience for new graduates from Canada’s archival and information studies programs

·   Cataloguing of archival materials to make them accessible to the public

·   Training opportunities for people working in archives

·   Site assessments to both urban and rural archives, to safeguard Canada’s documentary heritage

·   Preservation  of at-risk documents and other archival materials, including electronic records

Locally, the Archives here in Deseronto  has benefited from the work of Ontario’s Archives Advisor, Carolynn Bart-Riedstra; Preservation Consultant, Iona McCraith; and former Archeion Coordinator, Sharon White (now Archivist for the new Community Archives in Belleville). Recommendations from a report by Carolynn in 2007 helped the Archives Board in their planning for the Archives in Deseronto.

All three of these advisory positions have now been suspended as a result of the NADP cuts, along with similar posts across the other provinces and territories. This will affect small archives particularly, as the advisors were a much-used resource for information and training.

If you’d like to support the reversal of this decision, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Sign the petition against the cut
  2. Share the news with your friends and colleagues
  3. Email your MP (Daryl Kramp if you’re in Prince Edward-Hastings)
  4. Send a message to the Minister for Canadian Heritage, the Honourable James Moore [“The promotion of our culture…is at the heart of what I do every day”]
  5. Read more in the Canadian Council of Archives’ Call to Action

Archives are not well-funded institutions and the NADP was one of the few sources of external funding available to support the work of archivists in Canada. Without this funding, it is going to be harder for Canadians to get access to the information they need.

Waterfront Festival, July

Here are some facts and figures relating to the work of Deseronto Archives over the course of 2011.

New accessions received: 28

Email queries answered: 47

Telephone queries answered: 12

Visits to the archives by researchers: 73

Images uploaded to www.flickr.com/deserontoarchives: 109

Events organized/attended:

Doors Open, Napanee/Deseronto/Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory May 28th
Archives Association of Ontario conference, Thunder Bay June 17nd
Inter-agency Service Fair, Deseronto June 22nd
Waterfront Festival, Deseronto July 2nd
Deseronto Public Library 125th anniversary events October

Blog posts written : 17

Visitors to the blog in 2011:13,058 (8,097 in 2010)

From a Hastings County directory of 1868-1869, this map shows the street plan of the village of Mill Point, later to become the town of Deseronto.

Mill Point in 1869

It is interesting to see how few streets were laid out at that time: Thomas Street, which now runs the entire length of the town, was only two blocks wide in 1869. Centre and Prince Streets were yet to be established and there were no roads north of Dundas. In 1869 the village did have a Third Street, however, which is more than the town can boast today! Compare this plan with the appearance of the town in 1962:

Deseronto lots, 1962

In 1869 the industrial core of the village was firmly in the southwest corner, where the steam saw mill, wharf, post office and ship yard can be seen. The H. B. Rathbun and Son advertisement from the 1869 directory neatly summarizes the firm’s interests at this date:

1869 advertisement for H. B. Rathbun and Son

The 1869 map also shows the location of Deseronto’s first church, at the top of [St.] George Street, close to the current location of the Presbyterian Church of the Redeemer. The Union Church had been built in 1868 as a shared place of worship: the Anglicans had a service there in the morning, the Presbyterians in the afternoon, and the Methodists in the evening.

Only one residence is marked on the earlier map: presumably that of the Rathbun family. At this period, Edward Wilkes Rathbun (1842-1903) had taken over the day-to-day running of H. B. Rathbun and Son, due to his father’s ill health. E. W. Rathbun built the Deseronto firm into a hugely successful business, becoming a millionaire in the process. While other family members built houses on Dundas Street, away from the busy industries of the waterfront, E. W. Rathbun liked to be close to his concerns. His Main Street home was a substantial property, as this photograph shows:

E. W. Rathbun's house on Main Street, Deseronto

This house no longer exists. To the front, it looked out on Central Park (now the Rathbun Memorial Park), which was laid out at E. W. Rathbun’s expense. He brought in A. J. Hopkins, a landscape gardener from Oswego, New York, to do the work.  The back of the house would have afforded good views of the Rathbuns’ industrial empire along the waterfront of the Bay of Quinte: Edward Wilkes Rathbun was clearly a man who liked to keep a close eye on his business!

It’s ‘Follow an Archive’ day today, where everyone is being encouraged to discover more about history and archives through the online updating service, Twitter. Twitter is a great way of finding out what’s happening in all sorts of areas of interest: ranging from breaking news via long-established media organisations to information about local events and activities.

In Ontario, there are now quite a few archives who are talking (tweeting) about their activities and their wonderful collections on Twitter. You can receive updates from the Archives of Ontario, Dundas Museum and Archives, the Cobourg and District Historical Society, Port Hope Archives, Appleby College Archives and Elgin County Archives (and, of course, Deseronto Archives!).  The organizers of this event have compiled a directory of tweeting archives all around the world.

On Twitter, the #followanarchive tag will be used to share information about what archives are doing on Twitter to bring their treasures to a whole new audience.

In conjunction with the Family/Heritage Day competition, the Archives hosted a visit from a group of Grade 2 students from Deseronto Public School today. These children have visited the Library before, but this was the first time that a school group has visited the Archives.

I told them a little bit about writing through the ages and what an archivist does to take care of the things that people have recorded. They enjoyed looking at the Library’s 1920s borrowers’ register and the 1894 signature quilt from the Archives. I was wearing cotton gloves and explaining how precious these things were, but am not sure the message got through: one of the boys asked if he could slam the book shut and see whether a cloud of dust escaped. I said “Definitely not!”.

Matching captions to images

After that, we set them going on a matching exercise with a set of 25 Deseronto images which had lost their captions. I wasn’t quite sure how well this would work with this age group, but they seemed to have fun and several asked if they could take their particular picture home with them.

There was another activity set up with colouring materials to make an illuminated initial, but by the end of the matching exercise the children were more interested in choosing new library books to take home with them. Three or four girls came and looked at the print-outs of illuminated initials with me (I found the UK National Archives’ Flickr account a useful source of these) and took them home with them: perhaps this was too ambitious an activity for this age group.

It was a fun morning, if a little noisy and manic at times!

new shelvesPossibly you have to be an archivist or librarian to understand my excitement this morning when I came into the Archives and found that the archive fairies had been at work and installed our new (recycled) shelving and processing area.

Many thanks to Don Simpson, the chair of the Deseronto Public Library Board and to Frances Smith, Deseronto’s Librarian, for being the brains and brawn (not necessarily in that order!) behind this much-needed installation. Also a special mention to library volunteer Sean Woodcock who did a lot of the heavy lifting!

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