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ARCHIVES  February 2005, Week 4

ARCHIVES February 2005, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Nekkid pitchers

From:

Bonita Weddle <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bonita Weddle <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 28 Feb 2005 18:25:59 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (115 lines)

I encountered a similar problem during my student days.  I was
processing the records of a social service organization concerned with
various criminal justice issues, and one folder concerned efforts to
reform laws barring pornography and obscenity, ca. 1970.  In addition to
reports generated by the commission convened by President Nixon, various
state legislative bodies, and reform groups, the file contained a
handful of advertisements for various films, books, etc.

The ads, which were pretty graphic for their time, seem almost quaint
now (anyone with HBO or Showtime has seen raunchier fare), but my
supervisor and I debated over how to handle this material.  In the end,
we decided NOT to make any mention of nudity or explicit material in the
finding aid, chiefly because the ads were so few (6-8 pages in a 45 cu.
ft. collection) and the creating organization exhibited only a passing
interest in obscenity laws.  We did, however, enclose each ad that
featured nudity in a "mini-folder" (made by folding an 11"x17" piece of
acid-free bond) and noting the presence of "explicit material" on the
exterior of each mini-folder; we also made a similar notation on the
exterior of the main folder.  We felt that this strategy would give
individual researchers the ability to decide whether or not to view the
ads.

Given that it's difficult to make "mini-folders" for slides, perhaps
jotting a note on the box that houses the slides is a good idea.  The
note will ensure that researchers with delicate sensibilities won't be
shocked, and put staff on notice that they should be particularly
watchful when someone uses this collection.

Since a substantial percentage of the slides seem to depict naked
people, I would lean toward noting their existence in the finding aid
(and bracing myself for the occasional leering researcher).  Moreover,
should someone decide to research the history of nudism in Utah, s/he
may be quite interested in these slides.  (Of course, anyone seeking to
reproduce or publish these slides should be told that no one depicted in
these images ever signed a release form and that publishing images of
still-living people may result in legal trouble.)




Bonita L. Weddle
Senior Archivist
Archival Services
New York State Archives
9C71 Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230
518-473-4258

>>> Roy Webb <[log in to unmask]> 02/28/05 04:59PM >>>
Should have saved this for Friday, but it is a topic worthy of being
laid bare, so to speak.

So I'm going through this collection of slides from the 1970s, all of
these outdoorsy shots where the folks are hiking in southern Utah, and
there are quite a few shots of them au naturel; the guy playing a
violin
on some sandstone slope, wearing nothing but a look of concentration;
a
woman swimming in a plunge pool, or laying out on a sandstone bench,
not
even wearing that.  I know the guy is long dead, which is why we got
his
photos; but I don't know about the woman.  We've run across naked
folks
before--the snowboarders are notorious for this--but it made me
wonder,
in these post-wardrobe-malfunction days, how does this impact
archives?
Should I put a note on the folder and in the finding aid, saying
"nudity," or would that bring only the prurient?  Then again, aren't
the
prurient our patrons too?

Thoughts?

Roy Webb, C.A.
Multimedia Archivist
Special Collections
J. Willard Marriott Library
295 South 1500 East
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah  84112
office: (801) 585-3073
FAX: (801) 585-3976
[log in to unmask]
http://www.lib.utah.edu/spc/photo

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A posting from the Archives & Archivists LISTSERV List sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, www.archivists.org.
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