If you are involved in the public sector and participate in the winter/spring budget season then you feel as though you have come through a storm that takes a long time to pass. The fact is that we are all involved because people pay taxes using their hard earned income and leaders make decisions to support public endeavors like PPL. In return, the Library commits itself to a full effort every day to make Portland a better place by opening the doors – for every resident regardless of age – to lifelong learning in so many ways. But even if the Library is successful, leadership from the City needs to possess a basic value system that sees the work of the Library as an essential part of a great City. There have to be leaders who see broadly the landscape of education and can see down the road.
Recently the Mayor of Miami, Carlos Gimenez, stated “the age of the library is probably ending” as a justification for closing 22 branches of the library system. The comment prompted a blog postingby Thea Montanez, President of the Hartford Public Library, that gets to the heart of the matter. We at PPL do not take the financial support of our community for granted. Over the past five years there have been significant challenges to urban library systems such as Portland’s. The leadership of this City, despite the financial stress experienced by all of us, has believed in this Library and its unlimited potential to change lives and to be a major partner in building a great City.
We are thankful for the great and farsighted leadership in this City that holds the values and vision to see the exact opposite of Mayor Gimenez’s world view.
Along with the 1882 Goodwin Atlas, which we have recently conserved, digitally scanned, and posted on the Library’s Digital Commons site, now you may view, research, and download the 1914 Richards Atlas of Portland. Like Goodwin, Richards is a footprint atlas, which means that each built structure and land parcel is outlined on this series of maps- which includes every street in the city of Portland, along with contiguous portions of South Portland and Casco Bay islands.
Just as 1882 shows us the pre-Deering merger Portland, 1914 shows Portland in its second decade as the merged city with amended street name changes.
Deering Oaks Park, in 1914. Notice the difference in the pond’s contour, compared to now, as well as that of Forest Avenue. At the top center is the old Portland Stoneware Company.
Screen shot from the Digital Commons portal for the Richards Atlas. (http://digitalcommons.portlandlibrary.com/richardsatlas/)
The original Richards Atlas has long been a very popular item in the Portland Room’s collections, such that our reference copy required some major conservation work, prior to digitization and continued research access. All the conservation work was done in the Portland Room.
Richards Atlas plates were removed from an unsalvageable binding, and thoroughly cleaned before any further treatments.
Removing the embrittled hinges, and preparing the plate halves to be joined in registration with the map’s lines.
Above and below: Richards Atlas plates had been on facing pages, with wide gutter-margins in between. For this project, the facing pages were joined together with acid-free, long-fibered Japanese kozo tissue and methylcellulose adhesive from the verso sides of the composite plate. Thus the viewing experience is now seamless- both in person, and in the digital scans.
Repairs on the verso (rear) sides, with handmade kozo tissue.
Repairing a loss in the original paper, using kozo tissue.
Above photo : The cleaned and repaired maps in their new archival box.
Below : The Richards Atlas conservation project provided many teachable moments for a Brandeis University intern, studying library and archival sciences. The maps have all been encapsulated in polyester mylar film enclosures.
A detail from one of the digitized scans, showing the Stroudwater area of Portland. Can you recognize where the historic Tate House is?
In the digitized version of the Richards Atlas, we encoded the names of the maps’ respective Portland neighborhoods of coverage. Thus, the maps can be searched by neighborhood. Major city landmarks are also included, to help ease the research.
A researcher in the Portland Room, using the conserved original maps.
Enjoy these, either online or here in the Portland Room!