The treasure trove behind the scenes

This post is written by Kristal Walker, Digitization Assistant at the Rakow Library.

Tucked behind some of the vitrines that currently display the Curious and Curiouser exhibition at the Rakow Research Library, is a small office where digitization and rights and reproduction work takes place. Working behind the scenes, both literally and figuratively, we help people acquire the images and/or permissions needed for a myriad of projects. This can involve scanning items from the Library’s collection within our office, retrieving images from our database, or contacting our skilled photography department if an object needs new photography. We receive requests for images from co-workers in the office next door, as well as from authors from France, Japan, Germany … everywhere! Each request is unique, yet each is ultimately bound together by glass.

It is fitting that we are somewhat hidden behind our Curious display; we encounter so many intriguing images that could easily be a part of the exhibition. This vintage image of a Plexiglass Pontiac is amazing, much like the images of the Gorilla Glass dashboard of Corning’s Connected Concept Car.

People standing around a car with a clear Plexiglass exterior

Negative of man demonstrating transparency of Plexiglas Pontiac to group of women, 1940. CMGL 138226.

Sometimes we uncover private musings that were never meant to leave the safety of the journal in which they were written. One case is that of the Arthur and Leslie Nash notebooks and journals. Not only are these items a veritable treasure trove of glassmaking formulas, they are also full of heartbreaking realizations and strong opinions of the movers and shakers of the closely guarded glass world.

These are just two of the many curious examples that pass through our hands every day. If you ever find yourself in need of an image to support your presentation, to include in your publication, or share on your website, please contact us at [email protected]. We’re happy to help you, and gladly share the images when we can, always free of charge.

The Rakow Research Library is open to the public 9 am to 5 pm every day. We encourage everyone to explore our collections in person or online. If you have questions or need help with your research, please use our Ask a Glass Question service.

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