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Update on the Chace Catalogue

For those of you interested in the progress of our online catalogue, we are pleased to announce that the Chace Catalogue now contains 30,000 records!!! Most of the records are from the Osborne Library but there is a good percentage of curatorial records, especially from the costume and textile collections. Visit to check it out!

As we reported in the latest issue of the Textile Times, our museum newsletter, the Osborne Library has added over 500 media files to the Chace Catalogue. What does this mean? Now you can view a table of contents, a book review, links to websites and, in some cases, a full text copy of a book right on your screen.

To see a great example of this, just go to the Chace Catalogue and type “Cavalry Troop C” in the basic search box. What you will find is a photograph related to the Textile Worker’s Strike of 1912 and a link to an external website with detailed information about the strike.

Better yet, check out Jeremy Fielding’s draft book. Type “Fielding, Jeremy” in the basic search box and click on the link under related materials. Just flip the pages to see his notes, view samples, and much more right from your desktop.

Stay tuned for more additions to the Chace Catalogue as we add more and more media files.

Hurricanes and the Textile Industry in New England

Bad weather has always had an impact on the New England mills. Here are a few dramatic images from our collection:

“Ruins of the Reading (Pennsylvania) Silk Mill destroyed by Cyclone, Jan. 9, 1889.” The photograph shows the ruins of the Grimshaw Brothers silk mill destroyed by a tornado with over 200 operatives inside, many of whom were killed or injured.

A view of the Minterburn Mill in Rockville, Conn. This photograph shows flood damage from the Great Hurricane of 1938. Minterburn was part of the Hockanum Mills Company which was sold to M.T. Stevens & Sons of North Andover, Mass. in 1934.

A view of damage done to Elm St., North Andover, Mass. during Hurricane Edna, 1954. Buildings from Davis & Furber Machine Company (textile machinery) are in background.

View of flood damage to the foundation of a Hockanum Mills Company building in Rockville, Conn. from the Great Hurricane of 1938.

View of Warwick Mills, Centreville, R.I. The Hurricane of 1938 opened up the fourth floor of the mill and brought down trees.

Clare Sheridan

Stop Bugging Me!

“Say hello to my little friend!” No, I’m not Al Pacino; nor is this some horrible blog rendition of Scarface (nor am I holding a machine gun). It’s just that it’s my job to keep all those textile-eating insects away from our Museum collections and I’ve had a few too many “little friends” making appearances in my office lately!

I do regular visual checks and set sticky pest traps in an effort to lure notorious insects away from the collection, but every so often someone finds a lost bug wandering the halls of the Museum. Everyone knows to try to catch it and bring it to me, if possible. Then I determine (based on what it is and where it was found) whether we have a potential problem or not. The usual Museum pest culprits are easy enough to identify: carpet beetles, webbing clothes moths, case-making clothes moths, and a variety of wood boring/eating beetles, just to name a few. Luckily, we typically only have issues with the wool-loving webbing clothes moth and we have that under control.

However, in less than a month, I have had three different staff members bring me weird bugs and, surprisingly, none of them were from Textile Revolution, where the easiest access to the outside is located. The first our Assistant Librarian, Jane, brought to me. She had smashed the poor creature to within an inch of its life and I wasn’t able to tell what it was from the mangled, twitching remains in the paper towel (although I did scream pretty loudly when it started wiggling). From what I could tell, I didn’t recognize it as a “bad” Museum bug. No picture for this one. Moving on…

Next, I came in one morning to a Tupperware container on my desk holding an unusually large (over an inch long) beetle. I definitely didn’t recognize it, so I started my research and quickly found it to be a harmless Grapevine Beetle that frequents the vineyards of New England. Again, not a threat to our collections. I let him go outside and hope to never see him again!

Just a day or so later, our intern, Kelly, found a quick little beetle in the study room where she was working. He wound up in a Tupperware container on my desk as well. My attempts to identify him haven’t been nearly as successful as they were with Mr. Grapevine Beetle. His case (and his survival) have been severely hampered (okay, I admit it, he died) by my suspicions that his tastes might not be so innocuous. I won’t give up on identifying him just in case I am right, but his rather generic coloring and lack of markings is making it a challenge.

For the record, I don’t mind this odd little part of my job, but I DON’T DO SPIDERS. I would just as soon pull out my Al Pacino-style machine gun and take care of it that way!

Stephanie Hebert