Vinegar syndrome

Senator Hattie W. Caraway (Ark) with 1938 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Buddy Poppy girl. By Arthur E. Scott, from the Arthur E. Scott photograph collection, C0096, Box 44. Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University

While processing the Arthur E. Scott photograph collection, approximately twenty negatives were separated due to vinegar syndrome. The term “vinegar syndrome” is used to describe the chemical deterioration found in acetate based film. The negatives show signs of deterioration in the vinegar odor they emit, as well as, bubbling, shrinking, and channeling on the surface of the film. In order to preserve the image before the film deteriorates further, we have scanned and saved the negatives at a high resolution. The above image is of the first elected female senator Hattie Caraway and a Buddy Poppy girl from 1938. Even though the image is obstructed by the white dots created by the vinegar syndrome, we are still able to see the subject of the image and will be able to preserve the digital surrogate into the future.

To see more images from the collection, a sample of almost 200 digitized images is available through this website.

This collection was reprocessed with funds provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Researcher Profiles: Erica Deschak

This is the second in a new series on researchers who use our collections. Meet Erica Deschak! Here are her thoughts on the research process and the special collections of George Mason University Libraries.

Please tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Erica Deschak. I turned 21 last week, I’m a junior at George Mason University majoring in History. I would like to minor in either linguistics or literature.

Describe your research project:

My research project is an archival paper about local history. I used George Mason’s Special Collections and Archives to research the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, and their views on the local juvenile justice system.

How did you find the collections here at SC&A?

I took History 300 with Professor Laura Moore this past semester (Fall 2011). On our first day of class, she took us to Special Collections to meet
Leah [Richardson], and to get some basic exposure to archives; procedures, folders, boxes etc.

How did you learn to conduct primary source research?

As a student, I have been exposed to primary source research before, but this semester allowed me to further my research a lot more. English 302 with Professor Saunders, History 352 with Professor Ritterhouse… I had many opportunities to do “original” research.

Advice on primary source research for other undergraduates or first-time researchers?

When doing archival research for the first time, take your time, and write down EVERYTHING. Pay attention to details. Everything has meaning.

What are your impressions of GMU? The archives?

Mason has been a great experience so far.  Special Collections is not intimidating. It’s for students and scholars, and everyone I talked to was extremely helpful. It made my research paper a lot more enjoyable.