Out of the Ashes
Since the creation of Historic St. Luke’s Restoration in the 1950s, stewards of the site have avidly collected and stored important documents pertaining to its corporate history. Until the relatively recent acquisition of a computerized constituent management system, St. Luke’s institutional records were all kept in hard-copy form. Unfortunately, many of these documents were stored in a house on the property that burned to the ground in 2005.
Twelve boxes of files survived the fire, and approximately 50,000 pages, mostly onion-skin copies, are slowly deteriorating. In early 2016, we began actively encouraging our volunteers to assist us by photocopying these damaged archives onto acid-free paper. We estimate that it will take 1,527 hours for volunteers to complete the copying of all of these documents. After these 50,000 archival documents have been organized, St. Luke’s will high-speed digitize them, create a computer database of all of its archives available for keyword searches, and store the hard copies in acid-free sleeves and binders.
Information contained in these surviving boxes documents the formation of Historic St. Luke’s Restoration, illuminates the 1950s preservation and restoration efforts, traces the acquisition of items in the collection, details financial records, and reveals philanthropic relationships and financial transactions. Critical corporate history lies in these twelve boxes of damaged institutional archives. We are actively seeking grant support so that we may retrieve St. Luke’s 1950s history out of the ashes.