Pella Community Memory Database

April 2020 - Volume 2, Issue 4

Pella Public Library is pleased to provide you with this free monthly newsletter keeping you informed on the progress being made on the Pella Community Memory Database (PCMD), a new grant-funded project sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). We hope you will find this newsletter informative!

Community Memory in the time of COVID

As Project Director, I send my distinct apologies for the delay in publishing this April newsletter. As many of you might have experienced, things are changing on almost a daily basis. At the library we are still getting used to our new routine without the public.


Within the past couple of weeks, an e-mail was sent out to all volunteers explaining the procedures going forward until the world "re-opens" post-COVID. All in-person volunteer activities and meetings are indefinitely suspended. Volunteers may continue to utilize the online systems to help us out at their own pace with identifying photographs, translating and transcribing documents, and improving document descriptions. If you would like to become a volunteer, we would love to have your help and it can be done completely from the comfort of your own home. Sign up here.


From our end, for the moment we continue to have staff to scan documents and move the project forward. Please take a look at our Project Status page to see some of the excellent progress we are making. We now have over 800 documents in the system!


Percentage wise, you may notice that after this length of time we are only about 17% done with the document scanning. This is because during the second year we will be working with Pella Historical Society and Museums photographs, and each photograph is considered to be a separate document. Compare this with the documents we are currently scanning, where 25 or more pages may only make up a single document. Once we begin scanning photographs, the number of completed documents will rise much faster.

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The Positive Side of Negatives!

Several weeks ago, an anonymous donation was left at the Pella Community Center, and upon realizing what they had, Community Center staff immediately contacted the Library. The donation consisted of steel cabinets and cardboard boxes containing approximately 5,000 photo negatives from the De Wild Photography Studio, which was located inside the T & D Department Store in Pella. The T&D occupied all three floors of the current George's/Brew building next to Marion County Bank on Franklin Street.


Among the treasures in this collection are thousands of family and individual portraits, as well as pictures of Tulip Time, local organizations, churches, and Central College activities. For our part, we have written and submitted a grant to obtain the equipment necessary to begin scanning these negatives into the system. We are also working on tracking down the copyright holder and obtaining a copyright release for these photographs prior to beginning the work.

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Featured Document of the Month: Catalog for Snow & Huber, 1876

This catalog was printed by the Canton Agricultural Works and re-issued by the local Snow & Huber implement dealers for its customers. The back pages contain even more amazing first person notes from D.S. Huber, who was on the school board at the time. He provides a daily journal of the erection of the original Webster School building. This document is now a part of the Pella Community Memory Database. View it here.

For More Information

This newsletter is published monthly with funding from an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant.


For more information, please contact:


Chris Brown

Project Director

Pella Public Library

603 Main Street

Pella, IA 50219


641-628-4268

cbrown@cityofpella.com