Friday, July 29, 2016

Climate Monitoring Begins at the Research Library

Today marked the start of climate monitoring within the Research Library in Building 15. A Lascar Electronics EL-USB-2 data logger was installed and will capture readings for temperature, humidity and dew point on an hourly basis for at least a year and as long as 18 months. The data logger readings will be downloaded periodically to a laptop computer, after which specialized software will create graphs showing the data trends over defined periods of time.

The goal is to record data which will support future grant requests for assistance in improving the climate controls for the library, which are presently zip, zero and nada. No heat, air conditioning or insulation. This poses a risk to the wellbeing of the archive records over the long run.

The data logger is small, easy to use, and connects to a computer's USB port.

Can you find it? It's mounted to the column in the center of the picture.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Toys, Games, Puzzles.... and the Suffrage Movement?

A small team of museum members were working at the museum today (7/24/16) preparing the new exhibit to accompany Dennis Picard's Toys, Games and Puzzles presentation on August 17th. While going through some 19th century books that would have been popular with children and young adults, a small newspaper clipping fell out of one of the books. As best we can tell, the following dates from approximately 1883. You never know what will turn up at NCCHP! In the spirit of keeping the drumbeat of history alive.......

Friday, July 15, 2016

COMING EVENT: 8/17/16 - Dennis Picard Presents "It's All Fun & Games"

Be sure to reserve August 17th to come to NCCHP in Granville, Ma. for "It's All Fun and Games: Recess Times and Farm Pastimes in 19th Century New England" presented by Dennis Picard, Director of the Storrowtown Village Museum. The presentation begins at 6:30 PM at NCCHP, 42 Water St., Granville, Ma. For more information go to

Child with Noble & Cooley "Princess" rolling hoop made in Granville, Ma. 
and Watrous rolling bell chime toy made in East Hampton, CT. 
(Photo courtesy of NCCHP member Robert Watrous)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Progress Update: Drum Storage

The Noble & Cooley toy drum collection has been stored in the attic of Building 14 for many years. So many years that the drums were put there long before there was any thought given to their future historical value. Unfortunately many of the drums have been exposed to extremes of temperature, humidity, various pests, and light that has caused some drums to fade.

Part of the Research Library project is to move all the drums over to the archives area in Building 15 where they can be stored under better conditions and more easily maintained. The good news: progress continues. We are still seeking donations of suitable heavy duty steel shelving. More good news: Work is under way to free up space on the entire 3rd floor of Building 15 for the archives.

Here are some pictures of Phase 1 of the transfer, which shows some of the drums now in Building 15. Phase 2 will be the cleaning, cataloging and more careful storage of the drums.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Massachusetts Roving Archivist Rachel Onuf Visits NCCHP

On July 7, 2016 NCCHP was pleased to welcome Rachel Onuf, the Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) Roving Archivist, back to NCCHP to review the Research Library's progress and provide expert counsel on how best to continue cleaning, organizing and presenting Noble & Cooley's extensive manufacturing history archives and artifact inventory. Rachel has provided many crucial insights into archiving techniques and resources and this visit was no exception. Her expertise in this area has been extremely valuable and we thank Rachel once again for her very able assistance.

After a thorough discussion of the physical archives the discussion branched into digitization opportunities. It has been our strong belief that the NCCHP mission to "keep the drumbeat of history" alive is best served by making our amazing treasure trove of historical documents available to the greatest possible audience. With the vast majority of the audience outside convenient driving range of Granville that means bringing the collection to the audience via some sort of internet platform.

Rachel suggested we look into the Digital Commonwealth as a potential means of digitizing a meaningful proportion of the archives and as a way to deliver the content via Digital Commonwealth's web resources.

An initial review of Digital Commonwealth has been very favorable and if all goes well we hope to have some content available by the end of 2016.

Here's some additional information about Digital Commonwealth but first a word of caution. If you have any interest in history and go exploring the web site, you will easily lose track of a few hours if you're not careful. It's that fascinating. So here it is: Digital Commonwealth web site; example of how a library uses Digital Commonwealth

Stay tuned for progress reports on the NCCHP Digital Commonwealth digitization project!

Friday, July 1, 2016


On the occasion of this holiday weekend celebrating the 240th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, we step back in time to 1854 when the Noble & Cooley company was in its first year of existence. Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln's predecessor, was President and the start of the Civil War was nearly seven years in the future.


Thanks to the recent digitization of James Cooley's and N&C co-founder James P. Cooley's daily journals as part of the Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation's Research Library project we are able to share the events of Independence Day 162 years ago when there were still living residents of Granville who had been born under British colonial rule.

As always you can click on the image above for a larger version. Here is the gist of the entry:

"July 4, Tuesday: Very warm, thermometer 96. Raised Liberty pole in morning. Humid. Church address by Doct. Cooley. Declaration [of Independence] read by R.H. Brown in Evening. Picnick out, 10 evening on the Green by Torch Light. Music by Choir & Rose & Hubbard. Said to be the best Celebration ever in G[ranville]."

We hope your 4th of July includes a reading of the Declaration of Independence and is the Best Celebration Ever, wherever you are!