We are working hard this summer to ensure that the Magnes’ amazing archives, manuscript and rare book holdings are properly inventoried, processed, and described for our researchers and users . We are blessed with a wonderful summer intern, Stella Liberman, who is diligently inventorying our rare book collection. With her valuable work, the Magnes will soon be able to make these rare books more accessible to researchers and the community.
I, myself, am focusing on processing archival collections both in the Western Jewish History Center and in the Blumenthal Library (where the Magnes keeps its archival collections relating to other areas of the Global Jewish Diaspora). Archival processing essentially means preparing a collection for use by current and future researchers. I am focusing my energies on recently acquired collections and also on older collections that need a bit more work to be truly accessible.
I hope during the coming months to use this blog to report and comment regularly on what is happening in the archives and library and to provide small glimpses of some of our newly processed collections.
I am just finishing up work on the James Mack and Elizabeth Lilienthal Gerstley family papers and photographs–a recently acquired collection. A catalog record and finding aid for this collection, notable for its beautiful photographs of the Gerstley, Mack, and Lilienthal families, will be available in the next few weeks. James Mack Gerstley was the son of James Gerstley of London and Adele Mack of San Francisco. He was President of the US Borax corporation and a very active philanthropist in the Bay Area. Elizabeth Lilienthal Gerstley was the daughter of Alice Haas and Samuel Lilienthal. Of the many wonderful things in this collection, I particularly like Adele Mack’s photo album from her time working as a nurse at the Hospital for Officers in London during World War I, Alice Haas’ 1909 wedding trip photo album and wedding scrapbook, and the fabulous courtship images of Samuel Lilienthal and Alice Haas. Here are few lovely examples: