Personal Story Saved from the USS Arizona: 72 Years Later
A big challenge in preserving paper is dealing with the consequences of how records were maintained during the time they were actively used. Navy personnel records are difficult ones. Folded in thirds to fit into “jackets” or “bricks,” as the expandable brown folders are called, pages get torn, creased, and scrunched, requiring treatment. In the case of career Seaman 1st class Walter Lewis Hampton, the record is one hefty assemblage of papers spilling out of the small folder. Enlisted in 1925, Hampton served on the USS Henderson, the Arkansas, and the Wyoming, among others, before reporting for his final duty in December 1940 when he joined the USS Arizona.
Hampton’s sizable record contains a very special segment of documents - the Service Record kept on board the Arizona itself. This portion of his record was maintained to keep at close hand information on his enlistment, service, training, and physical description while at sea. It was among the records salvaged by the Navy after the loss of the USS Arizona on Dec. 7th, 1941. As Archives staff identifies records damaged aboard the Arizona, they are brought to the Paper Lab.
Hampton was among the missing after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He left four children and a wife who had initiated divorce proceedings on the grounds of years of abandonment. Although bearing the scars of the attack, his service record still details his personal description. Brown hair, blue eyes, a ruddy face, and tattoos—a kewpie doll, sailor boy, Red Cross nurse, pig, and rooster. This personal information is all perfectly maintained despite the bloom of heat from the center of the booklet, or accretions of dirt along the edges of the pages that still remain from long ago blasts. For these special documents, not only the information they contain but the remnant damage of battle itself preserve an important piece of history.
France has returned to Egypt five artefacts from the Ptolemaic dynasty (300 BC) that were smuggled out of the country after the 2011 uprising, an Egyptian official said Wednesday.
"The team in charge of monitoring sales of artefacts identified five pieces dating from the Ptolemaic dynasty on…
David Klocker Ehrenstrahl
Sweden (c. 1660s)
oil on canvas
122 x 145 cm.
Gripsholm Castle Collection, Sweden
One of the more frustrating things I encounter in my research is images are often photographed in a manner where the settings and light are such that light-skinned subjects show up, but dark-skinned subjects’ features are obscured with high contrast. For example, the scan or photo for this piece at the Bridgeman Art Library website is small and the central figure of the painting is barely discernible.
Another image I had to manipulate in order for the dark-skinned figure to be discernible at all.
I’ll go ahead and show you all the image from the link so you can see what I mean:
They’ve taken a better photo of the painting for the gallery’s website since you originally posted this! wow!!
They did! The image at the link for Bridgeman Art Library, which used to be the one above, is now this one:
New boxes! There is something wonderful about oversized items properly protected in boxes and neatly labeled. (Says the librarian…). Are these beautiful to you?
Lead curse tablet “tabella defixionis”, in which the god of the underworl Dis Pater (pluto) is invoked in order to put an end to the love between Rhodine and Fautus.
"Just as the corpse buried here can neither speak nor converse, so let Rhodine be dead to Marcus Licinius Faustus…"
Physics Solves Centuries-Old Mystery of Red Paint Darkening
Scientists have identified a novel chemical pathway to explain why bright red vermillion paint becomes black over time
Any regular museumgoer will recognize the darkened, muted color of red vermillion pigment that immediately signals that a painting is centuries old. But the reasons for this darkening are a mystery that dates back at least 1,200 years. Now scientists have used x-ray analysis of pigments in a medieval Spanish mural to study the degradation and have proposed a new explanation that had not been considered before.
Color is determined by which wavelengths of light bounce off an object. When light hits a surface, certain wavelengths can be absorbed by the material’s electrons, which use the boost of energy to jump up to a higher energy level. Different chemicals will be able to absorb different wavelengths of light, and whichever wavelengths they cannot absorb bounce back to be seen as a particular color by an observer. The process is complicated by interactions between excited electrons and the empty energy levels they left behind when they jumped up.
"One of the biggest challenges in this work was to describe, correctly, the effects caused by these interactions," says Fabiana Da Pieve of the Free University of Brussels. Together with Conor Hogan of the National Research Council of Italy and their colleagues, Da Pieve analyzed mural samples from the 14th-century Monastery of Pedralbes in Barcelona, which made ample use of vermillion paint. The researchers performed x-ray diffraction on the samples to identify the chemical composition of various layers in the mural and combined these data with calculations based on quantum mechanics to predict which color each chemical present should give rise to.
Read more here