Thursday, January 14, 2010

Research Adventures, Part 2

Daring guest blogger survived Day 2 and sends us this message:

Archives Day Two:

So remember when I said that I got yelled out for setting off the security alarm? Well, the guard who in her mind rolled her eyes at me about 4,000 times yesterday actually greeted me with a smile. It was probably because I wasn’t lugging a suitcase with me, but I will say that Day Two went way smoother.

I actually made it up to the Archives room today. Not without issue, of course. Around 11, when I knew my requests had been processed, I walked up the marble staircase to the second floor. People had mentioned all about the Archives being “upstairs” so I figured that those stairs would get me somewhere. But I ended up on the mezzanine where the twin staircases met. There was nothing but an Edwardian era elevator and doors with swipe-card access. The elevator opened and two men in suits asked me if I was lost. I said I was looking for the archives room. By this time we were headed up to the 5th floor and they instructed me to hit the big button labeled 2 which would get me there, and it did.

I then spent the rest of the day engrossed in ship’s logs from the 1850s that still held the smell of the sea in them. Or maybe it was mold. Still, it was way cool. Sailors who misbehaved in the early 1850s were flogged. Sailors in the later 1850s were put in irons. When sailors got too sick and had to be taken back to the United States, they were listed as “condemned”. Not a very promising outlook if you ask me.

It’s looking like most of my research is going to be on microfilm, which is a good thing, as it’s much easier to sort through. But there is something great about the smell of an old book. Maybe I’m just sniffing too much old glue.

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