In the month of October, we refamiliarize ourselves with death. Each spooky sound and question unanswered becomes a dark mystery of the unknown and unexplainable. But for archivists and librarians, these unanswered questions and shadows beyond the shelves, are an everyday occurrence. It’s as if unnerving scenes of digging up the dead and putting them to rest are old hat.
Archives, like Man, have a deadline. Inherent vice, the fundamental deadline built into it all, which cannot be avoided. Time is not always kind and although deterioration can be slowed, nothing is made to last. Inevitably our pages become brittle and before our significance is really known, there are unwary hands which tear, tools that cut, and we find ourselves buried deep in a box, unmarked perhaps…mislabeled; we wear a shroud that does not quite fit and we begin to lose pieces of ourselves.
Yet, for archives to be raised from the dead, saved from the grave, makes an archivist’s heart beat and a librarian’s spirit soar.
This month we stood up to the inherent vice of “The Magnetic Cure” and “The Chiropractic.” We found preservation of the past with its clock ticking away. A gravedigger became Dr. Frankenstein and what was once buried found new life. An endeavor was undertaken to moderate the grasp of deterioration. The doctor took to encapsulating the specimens.
Each was sealed in archival polyester film, which supports the document and prevents the loss of any further pieces. Then, as even Dr. Frankenstein could not prevent the inevitable downfall of his creation, the information was preserved through digitization. Through encapsulation, we save the body for a lifetime, but through digitization, we save the spirit forever.
Not only did we bring these papers back to life; we discovered new life! Now, much mystery surrounds the beginning of chiropractic and even those with the utmost knowledge are still in the dark about some things. We knew of only six issues, beginning with “The Magnetic Cure” and ending with “The Chiropractic,” but we discovered a seventh issue printed in 1898 (the same year candy corn was introduced to America). With articles cut out and pieces missing, it still holds its mysteries, but we now know it exists.
We cannot know for sure, but based on the issue numbers and infrequency of printing,
there may be other issues out there. Or maybe, they lie in their grave. As always, with more knowledge comes more questions and more mysteries. The history of chiropractic remains in a realm all its own.
Please chance a glance at the digitized versions of “The Magnetic Cure” and “The Chiropractic” coming soon to our digital collection. There are more to come!