Recently, the Library and Archives acquired the collection of Cleveland’s own Jane Scott, which includes items accumulated over the course of Scott’s long career as the first rock critic at a daily newspaper: interview notebooks, autographs, personal and promotional photographs, handbills, tour books, concert programs, sheet music, scrapbooks, posters, set lists, press passes, buttons, books, magazines, newspapers, fanzines, LPs, 45s, audiocassettes, CDs, videocassettes, DVDs, correspondence, artist press kits and newspaper clippings.
Packing up all the materials from her apartment and moving them to the Library and Archives took nearly five hours, with the guidance of Scott’s estate attorney and myself, and the assistance of four professionals from local Wood-Lee International Art Handler. The estate attorney had much of the material sorted by type of material in advance of our visit, which made the entire enterprise go more smoothly.
Often when archivists are asked to do this type of work, there are few bodies to assist and even less organization, so it was refreshing to come into this environment where not only had some level of organization been accomplished for us — filing cabinets emptied into cartons and a closet full of clippings and other documents sorted and boxed — but everyone involved was aware of the importance of the materials they were handling and of the individual we were there to respect and honor. As everything for the Library and Archives was packed, we worked to further sort, separating books from magazines and CDs and other library materials in order to more easily process and catalog it later; while those with personal stories and remembrances of Scott shared with the rest of us who never had the opportunity to meet her. (pictured: carefully moving portions of Jane Scott's collection into the Rock Hall Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio.)
Once everything was packed up—tens of boxes and carts later—it was immediately delivered to the Library and Archives in order to keep the materials secure and ensure nothing was in the hot metal truck for too long. Upon delivery, we loaded the boxes onto shelves in one of our two staging rooms, which provided us with the space to sort the archival materials more thoroughly, identify if there was anything that needed conservation work, and rehouse everything properly in acid-free, buffered containers for proper archival storage. During this process we were also able to locate items of particular interest: a handwritten Bruce Springsteen set list from November 14, 1999; photographs of a young Scott with the Beatles; and a number of pieces of ephemera and Scott’s easily identifiable notebooks with inscriptions from Keith Richards, Cindy Lauper, Graham Nash, Bryan Ferry, Little Richard, Debbie Harry, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, the individual members of the Beatles, George Martin, and, of course, Springsteen.
To date, the collection materials have been sorted by format, properly rehoused and shelved in our climate-controlled storage areas. On the archives side of things, the next steps include physically processing the materials, which involves any conservation work that was identified (such as photocopying brittle or disintegrating newsprint onto acid-free paper, or digitizing it to archival standards), adding acid-free folders or archival plastic sleeves for loose materials that require it, replacing old folders as necessary, and removing any rusty staples and paperclips that could cause damage to the paper in the collection. We will also need to complete any further organization or reorganization of the materials that is necessary to ensure materials are easily located within the collection, and finish the finding aid, which will appear in the Library and Archives catalog and guide researchers to the collection’s content. (pictured above: Various books and recordings belonging to Jane Scott arriving at the Rock Hall Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio).
The library side of the operation handles the published and commercially released materials of Scott’s collection. The librarians will further sort the holdings to ensure we’re not duplicating anything that we already own and to identify anything that requires conservation or replacement (like loose book covers, torn pages or broken CD jewel cases). Once pared down, the work of physically processing (labeling, stamping, tagging) and cataloging begins. Books, CDs and DVDs will be the first and quickest to catalog. Processing of the periodicals, vinyl recordings, and cassette recordings will be prioritized by historical importance and rarity due to the large backlog we have of these formats. (pictured: vinyl from Jane Scott's personal collection, ready to be cataloged at the Rock Hall Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio.)
With more than 60 boxes of archival material and thousands of library items in the Jane Scott collection, and other collections coming in weekly, including Les Paul’s papers, newly digitized video of Rock Hall programming, and the impending receipt of Austin City Limits’ records, it will likely take several months before this meticulous and exhaustive work will be completed and the collection is made fully accessible for research. But the end result will provide an exciting and compelling story of rock music in Northeastern Ohio and of Jane Scott as an individual.
Special thanks go to William D. Scott, Sarah Scott Gooding, and Linda Scott Cook, Jane’s nieces and nephews, whose generous support made our acquisition of this special collection possible. Click here to learn more about and plan a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio.