Collection Highlight: Leonard Blood Papers by Kayla McDuffie

Throughout the summer I worked on many collections – the one I found to be the most interesting was the Leonard Blood Papers (collection number: MS-00161). This collection documents the life of Leonard Blood, who was responsible for hiring people for the Boulder (Hoover) Dam project between 1931 and 1938. The collection contains a scrapbook of articles featuring Blood, documents from the Boulder Dam project, his Navy and Naval Reserve paperwork, and his employment history.

While all the materials were really interesting to look through, my favorite part of the collection would have to be the photo album and loose photographs of his family. The photos roughly date from the late 1800s to early 1900s, and are just awesome to look at! I absolutely love photographs, and the older they are the better, because they give a snapshot of the time period, such as the clothing and hairstyles. The number of photographs in this collection suggest that this family was better off than most, because photographs were a luxury at the time. The range of the different types of photos was interesting too; most of them appear to be sliver gelatin prints, but there was a tin-type and a silhouette that made the collection even more exciting to go through. These photos made it hard to tear myself away from this collection, but I still had other collections to work on!

I chose to share this collection because it was a good example of the internship responsibilities. The interns were asked to go through the collections and make sure everything was documented, assess the collection’s physical condition (identifying any conservation needs), and input all of the finding aid data into ArchivesSpace. This collection actually had conservation issues – the velvet-bound photo album cover had become detached over time, and the loose photos will need to be sleeved. After I identified the conservation issue, I revised the finding aid and was able to make the information more understandable for Special Collections’ patrons. I am excited that all of the finding aids that I have worked on over the summer will go live in September. This experience has been awesome; I would love to have another chance to work with collections like these again in the future.

Kayla McDuffie is a graduate student employee in UNLV Special Collections.

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