A Collection is Born - Collections Acquisitions
In the spirit of American Archives Month, this October we’ve compiled a three-blog series about what archivists do and how we make collections accessible.
Recently, a donor contacted us about a lovely photo album documenting the relief terracotta work of Colorado artist Julius Peter Ambrusch. A descendent of Ambrusch had uncovered the album and felt it could have importance to researchers, so they called us and asked if they could donate it to the library.
- Uniqueness - This item is unique because it represents an art form that may be little understood today (terracotta ceramic work) and from a business that was local in Denver in the 1930s.
- Relevance - The album has added appeal in that it connects to buildings that still exist today.
- Added value to the collection - This item addresses a gap in our collections about artists and decorative arts industries in Colorado.
- Research value - Ambrusch had an interesting personal story. He was born in present-day Slovakia and came to Colorado in 1923. He was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) artist. The library has a related WPA archival collection. He worked for the Denver Terra Cotta Company, and many of his sculptural works still survive.
This blog is part of a series in honor of American Archives Month. Read all three parts to follow the album and learn about other archival work.
- Acquisition (you are here)
- Processing and Cataloging
The photographs are of such a great quality too! They're so visually appealing!
It's interesting to see the four major factors to this acquisition. I think a lot of people donate to archives without realizing that each collection is mindfully curated. Something that may not fit DPL might be perfect for the Colorado Railroad Museum or the Strauss Health Sciences Library. There's a lot of discussion and assessment for archives! Seeing the reasoning behind this acquisition is great insight!
Thank you for your comment, Rachel! You are right that sometimes collections are a better fit for a neighboring archive and we regularly make referrals and suggestions to donors whose materials we can't accept. A lot of thought and deliberation goes into acquiring. In fact, we have a committee that meets regularly to discuss our acquisitions and we make decisions by consensus and sometimes by a vote.
Is this collection available to researchers?
Hi Larry, thank you for reading!
Yes, although we're still finalizing the collection and catalog record, with a little advance notice we would be happy to make it available. If you let us know here (https://history.denverlibrary.org/contact-us) a day or two in advance of your visit, we'll have it ready in our reading room.
Once it's finalized, researchers can request it on demand.
We look forward to seeing you!
This is so wonderful. Architectural terracotta history is definitely something to treasure and so glad the library is protecting and making this resource available to the community.
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