Ted Lewis Museum Project

Ted Lewis, known as “The High-Hatted Tragedian of Song,” was born Theodore Leopold Friedman in Circleville, Ohio on June 6, 1890.  Starting in Vaudeville in 1910 as a comic clarinetist, Lewis later moved to New York, formed his own jazz band in 1916, and was one of the first musicians to bring jazz music to the masses. He captured the hearts of audiences for five decades with his trademark battered, old top hat, his clarinet and his immortal catchphrase “Is Everybody Happy?” Unrivaled in popularity from the 1920s to the 1940s, Lewis played to standing room only houses across the country, breaking attendance records and drawing larger audiences than Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw.

Over the years, his band included such musical greats as Benny Goodman and Jimmy Dorsey. Ted Lewis also had the first racially integrated cast, with African-American performer Charles “Snowball” Whittier portraying Lewis’s live “shadow” in the popular “Me and My Shadow” routine. Lewis made hundreds of records between 1919 and 1954, appeared in eight motion pictures, on television and in nightclubs until his passing in 1971.

In 1977, the Ted Lewis Museum was founded by Lewis’ widow, Adah Becker Lewis, to pay tribute to one of Ohio’s greatest citizens and one of the most influential jazz musicians. The museum holds and exhibits Ted Lewis’ archives, memorabilia and music library in the only remaining edifice that stood within the original circle of Circleville. Upon his passing, the Smithsonian Institute, Yale and Harvard University all asked for Ted’s collection, but his widow Adah made sure that everything was donated back to his hometown, which Ted fondly referred to as “The Capital of the World.” Admission to the museum is free and it is open every Friday and Saturday, hosting thousands of visitors from throughout Ohio, the U.S., and around the world.

In the last three years, the museum has diligently worked to preserve Lewis’ collection of musical arrangements, a project led by curator Joseph Rubin. In 2012, when Joseph first came to the Ted Lewis Museum as a visitor and inquired upon the collection, he was guided to the basement, full of trunks and boxes of manuscript and printed music. This was the very music used by Ted Lewis and his orchestra from the 1930s to the 1960s, including one trunk used to transport music to England in 1929 when Ted and his band performed a command performance for the King.

After taking in the treasure trove of historic music, Joseph volunteered to sort, catalog, and re-house the collection to be preserved for many years to come. He researched many suppliers of archival materials and selected University Products’ Perma/Dry Document Boxes and Manuscript Folders to house the collection. Then, he began sorting thousands of band parts and full scores for over 500 songs.  The collection now resides in a climate controlled location of the museum, as Joseph continues his work in cataloging, digitizing, and re-housing the archival scrapbook, photographs, and ephemera collections exclusively using University Products folders and boxes.

Through Joseph’s work, these arrangements have been brought back to the stage so that audiences could experience them live as they did back in the 1930-40s. The new Ted Lewis Orchestra and the Ted Lewis Museum presented Rhythm Rhapsody Revue for two performances in June 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.  The performances attracted standing room only audiences and garnered critical acclaim.  This coming June 14th, the Ted Lewis Museum will celebrate Ted Lewis’ 125th Birthday by presenting Ted Lewis & Sophie Tucker: Jazz Jubilee, further exploring gems from this historic collection of musical arrangements.

Many of the collections of big band leaders have been lost to time, thrown away by people who did not appreciate the historical value, or lost in natural disasters. The Ted Lewis Museum is one of the few to hold such a wonderful historic collection that can be enjoyed for years to come.

All photos are copyrighted and property of the Ted Lewis Museum and may not be copied or used for any other purposes.

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Local Archival Delivery Mystery Solved!

legal document cases archival university productsOn Monday, April 20, University Products received a rush request from Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University. They needed 35 legal size document cases, 200 legal size folders with reinforced tabs, and 65 spacers, and they needed them by Wednesday.  They had ordered it from another vendor last Thursday and had expected the shipment to arrive, but were told that it won’t arrive until Thursday. It was actually for an acquisition project going on in Leeds, Massachusetts.

We had everything in stock, and even offered to drive it to the destination to make the deadline.  The purchase order arrived Tuesday morning, and John Dunphy, University Products’ Vice President and General Manager set off to deliver the products that day.  He soon found himself in the country, in a residential area, and pulled into a driveway surrounded by a large number of sculptures.  It was then that it dawned on him that the person he was bringing the order to, Lisa Baskin, was the widow of famed artist Leonard Baskin.

Why was Duke University purchasing archival storage supplies and shipping them to a little town in Western Massachusetts?  Turns out, it acquired one of the largest and most significant private collections on women’s history!  Read more about Lisa Unger Baskin Collection: https://today.duke.edu/2015/04/baskinrelease

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Focus On Book Arts

Focus on Books Arts ConferenceFocus on Book Arts has announced its biennial conference to be held June 24 – 28, 2015 at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.  This event is a gathering of beginner through experienced fine art bookmakers and creative individuals from other disciplines interested in the book arts.  The conference offers five days of workshops, several evening lectures, a trade show, an artists’ shop, and an accompanying faculty and staff exhibit.

The 12th biennial Focus On Book Arts Conference offers workshops that appeal to beginning as well as advanced book artists. Each class description outlines the skill level criteria, so you are able to easily determine which class suits you best. You can go for just one workshop or for the entire conference; a range of class lengths lets you tailor an experience just for you.
Black accordion bookThey have new offerings and popular repeats in both the faculty and workshops. You will find detailed information at www.focusonbookarts.org as well as information on housing and other conference activities. Many other events are held in conjunction with the conference, and you will want to check out The Artists’ Shop, the Trade Show, The Faculty/Staff Exhibit and more.

This year, there will be two presentations by well known book artists: Shu-Ju Wang is the Keynote speaker, and Hedi Kyle is meeting with the group for an informal address. They will be sharing their experiences, their work, and their wisdom; conference participants can attend both!

The 2015 conference also introduces a restructuring of the traditional scholarship offering to a work-study program that allows direct involvement in the conference experience to the recipients of funding. The group has named it the Colleen Cavin Fund in honor of a great artist and friend who was such an integral part of the book arts community and this conference.


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Our Team: Renea and Marzena

Renea Anderson, our Controller, has been with University Products for 10 years. Renea oversees the Accounts Payable Department and Human Resources. She also manages the accounting of our vast inventory. Renea and her husband, Craig, homestead on a parcel of multi-generational family farm land where they tend chickens, keep bees, and organically maintain fruit trees, flower and vegetable gardens. She enjoys spending time with her family and her son, John. She loves to cook, host a good party every now and again, hang out with her canine “girls,” kayak, and take in new experiences.

Marzena Samek is our Accounts Payable Specialist. She joined University Products over two years ago. Marzena processes and maintains accounts payable records, verifies approval of invoices, reimbursements, bills etc. Marzena ensures that our vendors get paid in a timely manner. She also supports Controller and CFO in daily activities as needed.
Marzena came from Poland over 10 years ago with her husband Chris. They both raise their 4 year old daughter Veronica. Marzena loves to read suspense and crime novels; her favorite writer is Simon Beckett. She also enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, traveling, visiting new places and hiking.

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Our Team: Linda and Pat

Whether you need a shipping quote, advice on customs requirements or other kind of import/export information – the International Trade experts at our Customer Service are here to help you:
Linda McInerney has been employed at University Products for 35 years.  Linda’s past responsibilities have included purchasing, managing customer service, catalog production and bidding.  She is currently Customer Relations Manager and deals primarily with distributors and international customers.

Linda has two sons, Jason and Matt and enjoys spending as much time as possible with her grandchildren Lilly and Jack.  Her interests include traveling, oil painting, photography, yoga and relaxing at the beach.


Pat Bousquet has worked at University Products for 15 years, quoting and processing orders for our customers and distributors both international and domestic. She calculates freight costs and processes all necessary export paperwork for shipping all around the world.
In her spare time, Pat enjoys photography, graphic arts, reading and trips to the ocean with her granddaughter Viviana. She is fascinated with genealogy and has now identified over 4,000 people in her family tree. Not content to stop there, Pat is on a never ending search to discover new leads and connections.

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Our Team: Sharon and Kim

We continue introducing Team University Products with these lovely ladies from our Purchasing Department:

Sharon Fuller, our Purchasing Manager, has been with University Products for fifteen years.  She started in Customer Service; working  in the Bid Dept  and Web design before finding her home in Purchasing.  Sharon sources the raw material used to manufacture our archival products and oversees our daily purchases. Sharon is a native of Massachusetts where she lives with her son Cole, daughter Quinn and husband Shane.   She and Shane enjoy spending their free time on Cape Cod and attending their children’s sporting events.

Kim Himmelreich has been a purchasing agent for the past 8 years, and started with University Products 15 years ago as a customer service representative. Outside of work, Kim loves hiking with her two yellow labs and spending time at the beach. She also enjoys reading and photography. Kim and her husband Eric are always on the lookout for new adventures, and both enjoy watching their son Landon play basketball and baseball.

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Preserving the Time Capsule Contents

Images recently surfaced of items from a “time capsule” that was buried beneath the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in 1795.  The items were originally placed there by Samuel Adams (then governor of Massachusetts) and Paul Revere.  The box was opened in 1855, cataloged, and reassembled with new materials added from that time period.

Among the contents were 23 coins, a medal decorated with the face of George Washington, and several period newspapers, along with a plaque describing the laying of the original cornerstone.  You can read more about it in this Slate article.

Historical significance aside, what we liked seeing were all these treasured displayed in various archival storage products.  The coins were laid out on Corrosion Intercept®, which protects metal artifacts by reacting with and neutralizing corrosive gasses and place inside Artifact Specimen Trays.  There were also a number of Artifact Storage Trays with Clear View Lids that allow you to view the contents while protecting them from dirt and dust.  Acid-free Folders and Tissue also were visible in the images.

It’s fitting then that in March, University Products will exhibit and be a sponsor at a joint meeting between the New England Archivist (NEA) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) in Boston!  Members of both NEA and MARAC have been working together diligently over the past year to bring you a fantastic three-day program that is diverse, interesting, and collaborative. There are sessions, workshops, repository tours, a Day of Service community volunteer day, and more.  And of course, there is the opportunity to network with members of the archival profession from two regional organizations.

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Our Team: John and Kristen

While University Products continues to be the market leader in new and innovative tools, supplies and equipment, we are the same University Products you’ve known and trusted for years.  Our team of archival professionals has the knowledge and experience that only longevity can provide.  More than half of the staff has 15 years of service!

Over the next several months, we would like to introduce you to some of the members of the University Products family help us provide you with the quality and service you’ve come to expect.  We start with our sales and marketing department….

John Dunphy is Vice President and General Manager.  If you attend any of the conferences where University Products exhibits, you will probably recognize him.  He started at University Products as a sales representative for the northeast corridor, later was made Marketing Director, and now serves as General Manager.  He has been with the company for 24 years.  In his spare time he is an avid runner and skier.  He also enjoys oil painting and, together with his artist and art instructor wife Debra, owns and operates Dunphy Art Studio and Gallery.  They are shown here with a mural the couple just completed for an area business.

Kristen Hodge is the Accounts Manager for Archival Markets.  While she only recently joined University Products, she brings over seven years of experience in the archival museum and library markets.  Kristen spends her time visiting our very best customers to make sure they are receiving the attention they deserve.  She is also responsible for product development and is our display and exhibits expert.  When not traveling on business, Kristen enjoys running “Tough Mudder” extreme obstacle course races, and with her husband CJ, raises her 13 year old son.  Here is a photo of Kristen completing the 2013 Wisconsin Tough Mudder.

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Creating a Family Archive at the Thanksgiving Table

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we begin to anticipate a day filled with family, friends, food, celebration, sharing, and gratitude. Our Thanksgiving Day traditions are largely centered on family history, whether it is a special dish served every year, or a large gathering in a relative’s home.

The week leading up to Thanksgiving includes recipe planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation. This Thanksgiving, in addition to bringing food to the table, we seek to include a serving of family history.

We challenge you to join us in establishing a new family tradition by creating a family archive this holiday! Perhaps you’ll get inspired by the following fun ideas:

  • Bring out the photos! Dig out some old photos to pass around the table. This is a great way to spark memories and perhaps identify some of the unknown people in your photos! Afterwords, make sure to use archival quality albums or Boxes for your family treasures. Check out our Heritage Scrapbooks, Album Pages, and sleek Portfolio Binders.
  • Ask your relatives to share stories! Begin by asking elders at the table if they can remember what they typically ate for Thanksgiving when they were younger. Bring a small digital voice recorder and tape the conversations! Check out the Smithsonian’s Interview Guide for more ideas of questions to ask relatives!
  • Bring your camera and take new pictures! Invite your family to join a photo sharing website, or create a traditional Photo Album. Add new snapshots every year! These pictures can even serve as great holiday greeting cards or Postcards!
  • Time CapsuleIf you’ve inherited a family recipe, ask around the table and see if anyone wants to create an informal family cookbook. Our archivally safe Albums &  Pages can help collect and safely store the collected recipes and complete your project!
  • Create your very own family Time Capsule and decide on the date in the future to open it. Perhaps, Thanksgiving dinner in 10 years? Or even 20! Collect personal “artifacts” from all family members in presence and don’t forget to request something to be sent from the absentees.
  • Save information about items of sentimental (and/or monetary) value, by working on the Heirloom Diary together – the book contains space for detailing family heirlooms as well as the story behind them.
  • For the children at the table, create a family genealogy game by challenging them to match baby pictures to adult pictures. Or, make a personalized memory game using your own photos. Use their creative talents to build a family tree (2- or even 3-dimensional!) The children will become very familiar with their relatives, especially those they may not see very often.

These simple steps can help make your Thanksgiving a time of sharing family history and working to create a unique family archive. You may just discover information you have never known and learn something about your ancestors that you never imagined. You may even be surprised how your family traditions today have carried on or evolved between generations. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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Celebrate American Archival Month!

American Archives MonthSince 2006, October has brought a unique opportunity to display the importance of the work that archivists do. This month is American Archival Month!

Pioneered by the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) and the Society of American Archivists, the celebration involves various themes, exhibits, and events in archives, libraries, museums, corporations, historical societies, and organizations around the country.

South Carolina ArchivesThis year, South Carolina’s Archival Association also celebrates its fifteenth birthday, with the theme of the natural environment. Archivists and libraries across the state are hosting exhibits, lectures, open houses, and tours to highlight the landscape, conservation, flora, fauna, agriculture, natural resources, and outdoor recreation of South Carolina. Events include a display of the 1989 Hurricane Hugo at Hollings Library, a viewing of Maria Martin’s butterfly and insect sketch book at Charleston Museum, and a talk by National Geographic photographer Vincent J. Musi at Charleston Library.

Another large celebration is occurring at the 9th-Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, hosted by L.A. as Subject. This day features talks by archival experts from the Autry National Center of the American West and the Los Angeles Public Library. The bazaar will also feature an archives roadshow, a discussion on the monsters that lurk Southern California, and a screening of the documentary Monomaniacs.

Archives Month PhillyAnother archival hub – Philadelphia is featuring a series called Archives Month Philly including tours, workshops, screenings, exhibits, and lectures throughout Philadelphia’s various institutions. Specific events include a personal digital archiving day at Bryn Mawr College Libraries, a special tour of the John Bowman Special Collections Library at Batram’s Garden, a historic tour of the Curtis Institute of Music buildings and archives, and much more.

Despite the many events and celebrations across the country, archival month is more than viewing collections and hearing speeches. It is expanding our knowledge of people, stories, and experiences through records of another time.  It is truly appreciating the work of this country’s archivists. For a comprehensive list of events by state, click here or search for hashtag #archivesmonth on Twitter!

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