Happy Flag Day!

According to all-knowing Wiki, in the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 and commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.


University Products’ Vice President and General Manager John Dunphy recently had the opportunity to visit Camille Breeze at the Museum Textile Services studio in Andover and took these snap shots. Read MTS’s blog to find out more about Solon Perkins Flag and Mary Baker Eddy Peace Flag projects.

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!

A Custom-Boxed Love Story…

We make boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. Large, small, metal-edged, ready-to-assemble, standard and custom. Sometimes a project comes along that leaves all of us breathless…  and not because of how difficult it was to create.

One customer contacted us with a sketch (see picture) and a story that certainly touched our hearts. He was looking for a box with a cut-out of a Humming Bird and a Flower, together with a Latin saying. It was a gift for his fiancee meant to hold World War I love letters of her great-grandfather. How cute is that?

It took hours of work, both designing and producing this truly one-of-a-kind special box, but when it was finally done, we were so proud of the results and happy to help our customer in his quest for the perfect gift that we wanted to share it with you, our readers!

Oh, Deer!

Rudolf the B-Flute Deer University Products Zund CutIntroducing… Rudolf, the B-Flute Reindeer, a new resident of our pre-holiday offices here at University Products.  Conceived on the world wide web, born and bred on the box-cutting machine in our Holyoke, MA building.

It was such a fun little project to make and now he is absolutely everybody’s favorite! His hide is a nice acid-free blue-gray, he’s strong and sturdy, yet light on his feet. Wait… he doesn’t have feet. Anyway, he’s light and easy to transport, how’s that?

All joking aside, our amazing Zünd G3 custom box machine can cut pretty much anything out of pretty much everything. If you need a custom enclosure (just one, or a hundred) or have another special project in mind, please feel free to contact our friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives for a quote (call 1.800.628.1912) or fill in this form and fax it to 1.800.532.9281.

And as a special treat, we would like to give you a chance to win your very own corrugated deer! Share this on your blog, facebook or twitter, leave a comment with a proof-link below and your name will be entered into a drawing which will take place at noon, on Monday, December 23. 
Happy Holidays from your friends at University Products and Rudolf!
Rudolf the B-Flute Deer University Products Zund Cut

Bonus: A little “in process” video:

Preserving the Old Glory

Archival Quality Flag Box from University ProductsMemorial Day was established for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces and naturally, the American Flag takes center stage in this somber celebration. There are very particular rules and procedures, called collectively The Flag Code for everything from carrying and hanging to folding and disposal of Old Glory (which are actually part of U.S. legal code). Although “flag etiquette” is not particularly enforced, taking good care of your cherished symbol will exponentially increase it’s life span, whether it’s brand new or an old family heirloom!

Conservation – As with any textile, make sure to conduct all necessary cleaning and repair before attempting to store or display the flag. Checking for possible insect infestation/ damage is always a good idea with textiles, especially if previous storage conditions were not ideal. Once it is deemed clean of unwanted visitors, conservators start by carefully removing dust, dirt and other environmental debris, treating stains with appropriate cleaning products and, if required, mending rips and/or signs of wear and tear. Old Flag conservation, repair and mounting at the Museum Textile ServicesWe always recommend contacting a professional conservator if you are dealing with an especially fragile item of high monetary or sentimental value. Our friends at Museum Textile Services specialize in treating all sorts of fabric treasures, including flags. Click on the image to read just one of their flag-restoration stories.

Cleaning – Minimize washing or cleaning of older flags. You should not wash or dry clean them except with the advice of a professional conservator. However, vacuuming gently (on low suction) using a brush attachment covered by a clean piece of cheesecloth is usually a safe and effective cleaning method. New flags, depending on the type of material, can usually be washed by hand using a mild soap.clear view flag storage box

Special Storage – triangular-shaped archival quality boxes are designed specifically for storing properly folded flags. Acid-Free Tissue or Polyester Batting may be used for stuffing and support, if needed. University Products offers 2 kinds of ready-to-assemble flag boxes: the Archival Quality Flag Box in Blue/Gray Corrugated Board and the Clear-View Flag Box in 20pt. inert Polyester.

Lucky Letter

Coming up on the day when “Everybody is Irish”, we couldn’t help but share this heartfelt story from The Huffington Post about a letter answered almost 3 decades after being sent.

Such is the tale of Megan Smolenyak, described as “an incurable genealogist who wears many hats in the family history world and does all she can to get the g-word out there and inspire others in their quest for roots.” Among many other genealogical mysteries that she has tried to solve was one of her own family history and Irish heritage. Please read the story about the letter and the answer received from the son of the addressee.

If you are on the path of discoveries of your own, you might be interested in the variety of books on Genealogy available from University Products. For example, the new edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors retains the familiar structure of previous editions but is now more useful than ever. Combining the key features of a textbook and a reference book, it describes the various steps in the research process while at the same time providing an indispensable body of source materials for immediate use.

“Erin Go Bragh!”

For the Love of Valentines

Antique Valentines CardsLast year, we wrote about history of Valentines, but this time, we’d like to simply admire some very special holiday cards we found on the web…

In this lovely video, conservators from The Currier Museum of Art, an internationally renowned art museum located in Manchester, New Hampshire, are demonstrating some very delicate fanciful cards from the late 19th century donated to the museum by the family of John W. Sanborn:

And in this photoset, courtesy of Chip Oglesby/chipoglesby.com you can see a more personal side of Valentines, complete with his mother’s comments on the actual history of each card, who they were given to and from sometime between 1930s and 1950s. You can read more about these cards in his original blog post here.
greeting card archival storage boxCards appear to be in great shape (a few creases and rips non withstanding) with bright colors and intricate details intact. We highly recommend storing cards in Acid and Lignin Free Boxes so they would last for a very long time and will be able to “tell” their stories for generations to come. Happy Valentines Day!