June 9th is International Archives Day! In previous years, the City of Edmonton Archives has marked the day by participating in activities like the twitter event #AskArchives day. This year, archives around the world were invited to send a copy of a document from their collections to be uploaded to a website hosted by the International Council on Archives.
Our submission (pictured below) is from the 1892 Council meeting minutes when Edmonton became a town. On this page, a draft of the new municipality’s seal was written and a sketch was drawn. Elements of this seal are still found in the City of Edmonton’s Coat of Arms. Seals like this are used to create an impression in the paper, usually near a signature, and are part of the process of turning a document into a legal record. There is an example of this seal’s impression in the final image below.
I love this drawing and how much detail was put into it. It’s a wonderful experience to open this book and see the gorgeous handwriting and smell the paper and the ink.
These minutes are in a ledger book, pictured below. Books like this require careful handling when being digitizing so that the spine isn’t damaged. We use a camera, mounted above the book which is propped open with special blocks and weights.
Digitization is a powerful outreach tool and it opens up parts of our collection for people all over the world. But it is a time consuming process and the sheer volume of material in our holdings means that we can’t digitize everything. We’ll continue to add digitized material to our online catalogue but I still encourage people to visit the archives if possible. Not only will they have greater access, they also won’t lose out on the tangible experience of working with the material, especially when it’s over 100 years old.
Please join us as we celebrate International Archives Day:
Have you been to the City of Edmonton Archives or talked to us on the phone or through email?
Please share your experiences in the comments!