I had a very big day today.
I’m working on a project about the earliest history of the campus, which means we’re back in the pictures that supervising architect William Ward Watkin took to document the construction of the first buildings. These are extremely valuable images–I’ve posted many here over the years–but they can also be quite mysterious. Even after hours spent squinting at them it’s often not at all clear what we’re looking at or from what angle. I always knew that we had all the negatives in another box but negatives are much harder to work with so I paid little attention. Today, though, I was desperate enough to go look in there and I discovered that Watkin had made beautiful, meticulous little indices of these negatives. They’re so small that they were invisible tucked down among the envelopes. Here’s what they look like:
Suddenly, exhilaratingly, everything makes sense. Here, for example, is Folio 1, number 71. It’s the sallyport, taken from the west on April 15, 1911:
Almost as thrilling, there are a substantial number of negatives that I’d never seen before because we don’t have them as prints.
If we didn’t lock the doors at 5:00 I’d still be at work.