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June 13, 2001
Contact: Rick Speer 784-0135
Jim Henderson 287-5793
Not Enough Federal Funds for Bates Manufacturing Company Project
The Lewiston Public Library (LPL) was recently notified by the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC that, even though it was considered a worthy project, not enough federal funding was available this year to preserve the historic records of the Bates Manufacturing Company. LPL had requested $36,700 to catalog and process business records from the company dating back to the 1850’s.
The City of Lewiston had acquired the collection of Bates Company records when they took over the Mill in 1992. The 596 cubic feet of documents cover the activities of the Company from 1852 to 1980 and include personnel records, payroll registers, accounting records, ledgers, journals, and more.
The Library had applied for funding through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a division of the National Archives. The NHPRC provides funds to agencies and institutions for the preservation of documents of national and state historical significance. Only eight of forty-five similar projects received funding in the latest round of grants due to a lack of funds. The NHPRC funding plays a key role in preserving documents and manuscripts with regional significance.
Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will be contacting Maine’s congressional delegation to seek their assistance in providing the NHPRC with additional funding to ensure more preservation requests in Maine and the nation can be completed.
“Records preservation is an important part of our Department’s mission,” stated Secretary Gwadosky. “The Bates Manufacturing Company’s collection of documents are not simply pieces of paper. They represent a business and the toil of its workers who were the heart of Lewiston for over 125 years.”
According to State Archivist, James S. Henderson, "The condition of historical records in Maine, and the nation, is not good. Many are lost each year to theft, mishandling, and deterioration. The NHPRC has been a critical source of support in the past, especially to small states like ours." The Maine State Archives is a bureau within the Department of the Secretary of State.
This year a total of $18.5 million in restoration requests were received by the NHPRC--a 33% jump over last year’s requests. The requests to NHPRC were more than triple the $6 million that was available for distribution. The NHPRC noted that ten "records projects of superior quality which the Commission was unable to fund at this time were endorsed and encouraged to resubmit next year." One of these was the LPL project.
The Maine Historical Records Advisory Board had strongly endorsed the LPL proposal, recognizing its importance to understanding an important part of Maine history. The Board coordinates historical records policy in the state, encourages projects such as the Bates records proposal, and provides small grants to historical societies, libraries, towns and other groups to preserve their historical records and help the public gain access to them.
The Lewiston Public Library is currently reviewing their proposal and intends to re-submit the Project in October. “The history of the Bates Manufacturing Company and the history of Lewiston are synonymous,” said LPL Director Rick Speer. “The Library has every intention of preserving this history for future generations.”
Since 1976, NHPRC has funded the following Maine projects:
Maine Historical Society, Portland, ME: $82,536 for a project to gain physical and intellectual control over three collections of architectural records. (99-051)
Maine State Historical Records Advisory Board, Augusta, ME: $52,494 for its Preservation and Access Regrant Project, which seeks to improve preservation of and access to Maine's historical records. (98-075)
Maine State Archives, Augusta, ME: $85,235 for a project: 1) to develop state-wide policies for the identification and retention of permanently valuable electronic records; 2) to develop specific procedures for ensuring that permanently valuable electronic records are identified, retained, and accessible; and 3) to implement a plan for state-wide adoption of the policies and procedures developed. (97-008)
Maine State Historical Records Advisory Board, Augusta, ME: $12,396 for a two-year board planning project. The board intends to use information gathered during its recent regrant project and from public board meetings to be held across the state in order to update its current plan. (97-002)
Maine State Historical Records Advisory Board, Augusta, ME: $49,246 for a training regrant project to support the development of an electronic communications system for Maine repositories, a training program providing basic archival workshops and follow-up on-site consultations to selected repositories, planning for a program to increase primary and secondary school use of historical records, and the establishment of a grant program for small- and medium-sized repositories to adopt proper archival techniques and to preserve and improve access to important historical records. (94-090)
Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, ME: $72,849 to arrange and describe approximately 40-50 percent of the museum's 900 linear feet of manuscript materials. (93-091)
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME: $52,500 for a one-year project to establish an archives and records management program for the college's records. Project activities will include the development of policies and procedures, a campus-wide inventory, and the scheduling of an estimated 6,325 cubic feet of institutional records. (93-047)
Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, ME: $6,225 to hire an archival consultant and a conservation consultant to develop a plan of work to make the museum's archival collections more accessible, to improve or stabilize the condition of the materials, and to prepare for future automation and physical expansion. (91-108)
Maine Historical Society, Portland, ME: $66,585 to arrange and describe unprocessed manuscript collections and to create MARC AMC (MAchine Readable Cataloging, Archival and Manuscripts Control) records for inclusion in MaineCat, a statewide bibliographic network. (91-096)
Maine State Historical Records Advisory Board, Augusta, ME: $35,710 to analyze the current condition of historical records in the state, identify problems, frame potential solutions, and outline actions that can be taken. (90-036, 90-036S)
United Society of Shakers, Poland Springs, ME: $2,365 for consultation to evaluate the historical collections of the Sabbathday Lake community and to recommend preservation and access measures. (85-124)
Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, ME: $1,500 for consultation to help identify needs for an archival program for the museum. (83-075)
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME: $7,792 to prepare and store duplicate negatives and prints of the Donald B. MacMillan nitrate negatives in the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. The collection documents MacMillan's Arctic expeditions from 1908 to 1954. (80-074)